Chapter 1 – Current issues
Just like every night, I was focusing on my research. I was someone who tended to switch research topics quite often, to keep my brain matter working on new wonders as much as possible. Today’s subject was quite a good find. I had found critical data that was currently being played on my screen and I was fully immersed in it. Because I was greatly interested in the chosen material, it didn’t take me too long before I was ready to reach a conclusion.
This is when the incident happened. As the people involved in the research topic on screen reached their finale, I followed their lead. Unfortunately, the reactionary end product flew higher than expected, hitting my headphones. The low-quality headphones couldn’t handle the sudden liquid input and were short-circuited.
An electric discharge directly hit my brain and I felt a violent burst of pain. It was pain like I had never experienced before, as if my grey matter was both burning and boiling at the same time. After a second, it was too much for me and my body chose to protect me as best as it could by forcefully making me blackout.
(“Two pancakes? Or three?“)
(“I’m going to be late! I’m going to be super late!“)
(“Just five more minutes…“)
I regained consciousness, my head slumped on my desk, woken up by several loud voices. Right after, I felt my brain hurt terribly. I had to wait a few minutes before the pain got slightly better, allowing me to remember what happened the previous day. I sat straight and checked my headphones. A few parts were black or melted around the wires and they looked as dead as could be.
(“Let’s go with three pancakes today.“)
(“Ready! Let’s go!“)
(“Just ten more minutes…“)
The same voices kept ringing around. The noise only added to my headache and pushed me to shout out loud.
“Argh! Shut up already!”
(“Hm, they taste pretty good today.“)
(“I can still make it I sprint all the way.“)
I heard a door opening and closing in the apartment building and footsteps rushing down the stairs. My outburst didn’t shut the voices in the slightest and this was when I realized something felt odd.
The pain was slowly getting better and I took a better look around me. All I could see was the same studio flat, as small and disorderly as always. My stuff was all around the floor, the desk, and the bed. The mini kitchen still had leftover food from the previous day and the only window had its curtain firmly closed.
′I should clean a little… Wait! I’m alone here. Where’re those voices coming from?′
Even right now, I could still hear them. Someone was still going on and on about pancakes and another wanted to sleep more. A minute later, a new voice talked about some news on the TV. Some voices were coming from men, some others from women. It was similar to hearing someone talk about something at a close distance. Like hearing about other people’s conversations.
For a long time, I doubted my mental health. Speaking of which, my old headphones had given me a present just before dying. The pain I felt at that time was probably an electric shock to the brain. Did that finish off my brain, which had never been that great in the first place?
The problem was that the voices didn’t stop talking and it was quite annoying. I might need to go see a doctor soon. It hadn’t even been a week since I moved here and I had already gone crazy. Even though I hated everything about the reason why I was here, that was still much faster than expected.
(“This one with sugar, this one with honey, this one with jam, hehehe.“)
(“Fifteen more minutes…“)
(“Those gangs are simply out of control. What’s the police even doing?“)
I had to do something about it because those voices were making me insane. What could I do, though? It was Sunday and there was no way any doctor would see me unless it was at the hospital for an emergency. I could try to argue that hearing voices in my head was an urgent issue but I was pretty sure that wouldn’t fly. They might even send me directly to the mental hospital.
In despair, I did the only thing I could think of. Still wearing my clothes from the previous day, I put on some shoes and headed outside. My flat was located on the 3rd floor of the six-storied building. I quickly ran down the stairs, opened the building’s front door, and went into the street. However, that was a big mistake. I was assaulted by many times more voices now. There were children’s voices, men’s and women’s voices, voices that sounded like they could come from the elderly, and more.
(“Can’t wait to be home and play GGXVI.“)
(“I’m feeling under the weather these days. Am I working too hard?“)
(“Nice weather today.“)
(“My makeup is perfect. I wonder if he’s already waiting for me?“)
(“What’s wrong with that boy? Did he hurt his head or something?“)
While holding my head in annoyance, I looked at the people around me. There were a few children, a man who seemed very tired, a woman looking very neat while wearing nice clothes, a man checking the sky, and a middle-aged woman looking at me with worry. The pain was also getting less, as if I was getting used to hearing the voices now. This allowed me to realize that each one seemed to correspond to the people around me. However, none of them were talking and most were simply passing by, minding their own business in silence.
“Are you all right, young man?”
The middle-aged woman had approached me to ask about my well-being. At the same time, a similar voice resounded in my mind.
(“He’s been staying like this for a while now, is he hurting badly? His clothes are a mess too.“)
The two voices, the one coming from the woman and the one coming from my mind, sounded exactly the same. In front of such circumstances, I finally realized that something very abnormal was happening to me.