Inside Chris’s mind, he was hearing different voices which seemed to be located above the heads of the people around their table. Confusing him whether the voice he heard was spoken by the real person or just inside his head.
A guy sitting across Chris bursted into laughter suddenly. Chris didn’t listen to their conversation to know why he laughed but a voice above the guy’s head explained to Chris, ‘He’s laughing at how you tucked that napkin into your shirt’s collar. You silly man.’
Chris snatched his napkin out of his collar quickly and felt himself blush.
‘Look at him. Such a retard.’
‘Such an embarrassment to be around him.’
‘If it weren’t for his parents were rich, I wouldn’t even want to stand next to him.'
Chris palms were sweaty even though the air conditioner in the restaurant was set at a cool temperature. His brows furrowed even more. He was falling deep into the voices’ world until he heard a faint voice called his name.
“Chris, are you okay? You don’t look so well,” said his fiancee, Janet, with a worried look. Janet was not very beautiful but had a kind of graceful temperament in her. Chris had known Janet since a child and their relationship was not too close but distantly friendly in a peaceful way.
“Excuse me, I need to go for a rest now. My headache is killing me,” he managed to speak out. His mental condition must be always kept a secret within his family so he must lie. He got up from the table and headed towards the door but a hand caught his arm.
“Let me come with you,” it was Janet.
“No, it’s alright. Austin will drive me home,” Chris said while he caught her hand and moved it away from his arm. He turned away before she could say anything and stepped out of the door. He wondered if she would care for him at all if she knew he was literally nuts.
His butler, Austin, who had taken care of Chris since he was a baby, opened the limo’s door for him and he went inside the long black limo. Austin was an old man wearing a butler suit with a white mustache and about to reach retirement age.
“Drive home, Austin,” said Chris.
“Yes, Sir,” responded Austin.
The Lee family's house was one of the most luxurious houses located in the suburban parts of Hong Kong. The family ran a toy manufacturing company for decades, their wealth were inherited from generation to generation in the family. Chris was the only child and the legal inheritor of the family's properties.
That night, after Chris returned home, he realized his parents were working abroad again. As usual, his parents started a video conversation with him on the plasma TV inside the wall of his bedroom. The images showed up and he realized they were on the plane.
“Hey, son. How was the dinner tonight?” his mother sitting next to his father said.
“I didn’t feel too well so I left earlier. It’s the voices again,” he honestly said.
“Really? Hm, I think we ought to discuss this with the doctor. Can try other medications. Maybe that’ll change your condition,” his father said thoughtfully.
“Anyway, we should be back tomorrow morning. You got school tomorrow so go to bed early. Also, take your pills,” said his mother.
“I will,” he said shortly.
“See you tomorrow morning then, son. We have to get some sleep before the plane lands,” said both his parents while waving their hands with a smile on their face. Then the video conversation ended.
Chris had always got along with his parents well because his parents knew how to handle almost all situations with skilled tactics. But mostly because they were loving parents and he knew that in heart. A servant knocked on his door and handed him the pills his mother told him to take. They were anti-psychotics used for preventing his hallucinations. He put them into his mouth and swallowed them with a glass of water.
The alarm clock set at 6:30AM startled Chris from his sleep. He pressed on the alarm’s switch and went back to sleeping some more. Just ten more minutes, he thought to himself, but then he heard a voice repeat what he just thought and that ruined his sleeping mood a little. With a groan, he got up from bed and prepared himself for the usual school day.
When he went downstairs into the dining room for breakfast, he saw his parents sitting there. Dad was reading newspaper while mom was spreading jam onto her toasted wheat bread. His uncle, Pete, was also sitting by the dining table cutting a sausage with his knife.
“Good morning,” said Chris. Everyone around the table greeted him back and the servants bowed.
“Good day, Sir. We made toasts, fried eggs, and sausages for breakfast today. Enjoy,” Austin, the butler, said while placing the food onto the table in front of Chris.
“Thank you,” said Chris.
The family had a courtesy rule to not speak while eating so they ate their breakfast in silence. And it was quiet moments like these that Chris’s voices in his head acted up most of the time.
‘He’s so useless.’
‘Without his parents, he’s nothing.’
‘Look at him. Look at him.’
‘Oh there he goes. Eating the food he doesn’t deserve.’
‘Stop eating. I told you to stop eating.’
Chris was trying his best to ignore and not believe in the voices, but they were quite annoying to hear in fact. Finally, he was done eating his breakfast. He said goodbye to the family then he was on his way to school in the car while Austin drove.
Chris’s father, Edwin, and mother, Juliet, were on the limo on their way to work too.
“Don’t you think it’s almost time to get Chris and Janet married?” said Juliet while tapping her tablet computer.
“They’re still young. There’s plenty of time, no need to rush it. On the other hand, let’s think about how to explain his health condition to her parents first,” said Edwin with a glass of champagne in his hand.
Juliet sighed then with a palm over her face, she said, “It’s been almost two years now. The doctor said he would get better but he says the voices still influence him. If it wasn’t for us, he wouldn’t have this kind of disorder.”
“Don’t say that. None of us wanted that to happen,” said Edwin.
“If we didn’t follow the police’s instructions at that time, the kidnappers wouldn’t have had tortured him like that,” said Juliet with tears that wouldn’t fall down.
Edwin put a hand on his wife’s shoulder to try to comfort her then said, “At least he’s safe and with us now. We should be grateful God didn’t take him away from us.”
Their driver in the front of the limo stopped their vehicle before a red light signal leading to a crossroad. After the light signal turned green, their driver started to accelerate the limo, then all of a sudden, a rushing truck from the left side of the crossroad rushed towards their limo. The truck smashed onto the limo and the limo went seriously deformed. It wasn’t long until passer-by started dialing 999 then after a while, ambulancemen were carrying bleeding bodies out of the vehicles to the ambulance.
Chris was in his literature lesson at school. The teacher was lecturing about Edgar Allen Poe’s works. It was horror literature which Chris didn’t want to get into. He had had real life experience just like horror literature scenarios and it was already enough for him to get through. Suddenly, a female voice from the speakers on the top of the classroom walls spoke, “Chris Lee, please go to staff office now.”
Chris wondered what that was about. The teacher told him to go so he stood up from his seat and headed to the staff office. In the staff office, he saw his class teacher he went up to her. Her face was looking very serious and frowned.
“I’m really sorry, but you have to go to the hospital now, Chris. You parents were involved in a car crash,” she said somberly.
“What?” he didn’t know what to say anymore.