It’s 5 Minute Fiction time! You know the rules (and if you don’t, check here — and make it quick because you’ve only got a few minutes!). A reminder–don’t forget your Twitter address if you’ve got one!

Here is your prompt:

Your entry must must begin with: The murmurings in my head.

NOTE: the photo is not part of the prompt–it’s decorative/inspirational only!

I don't know who and I don't know why

A Few Notes:

  • In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me.
  • I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.
  • This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

Go, go, go! You’ve got until 8:45p EST (on the dot. Yes, I’m serious) to submit your entry in the comments section of this post.

I’ll see you back here at 10p EST with the finalists.

*photograph courtesy of Michael Coughlan

30 Responses

  1. The murmurings in my head.
    They grow louder and louder.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Refuse to be silenced.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Pound and thrash and cry out to be released.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Threaten the sanity held by fragile threads.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Beat a tempo no one else hears.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Shout of pain and blood and darkness.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Never cease, grant no respite.
    The murmurings in my head.
    They cry for vengeance.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Pound on and on and on.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Silenced only in death.
    The murmurings in my head.
    Win.

    @dejeansmith

  2. The murmurings in my head always began so slowly, as if the hint of their whispers promised they weren’t really there. I used to believe they weren’t. Convinced myself is the better word, really. Because they always grew louder than whispers over the course of minutes that felt like hours.

    So loud.

    Not that anyone else could tell. It wouldn’t “behoove you, little girl,” as my father would say, to reveal a weakness to those who would gladly pounce on it no matter the consequence. So, as a good girl who always listened to what her daddy said, I learned to create a shelter for the cacophony in my head.

    A lover once told me he could only tell when the voices would arrest me when my left eyelid twitched three times in quick succession.

    One. Two. Three.

    There was never any hesitation, she’d tell me. And there was never any hesitation in her telling me these bold, unrepentant truths. That was her weakness. Because no one could ever find mine. Especially those who would have found her anyway.

    That’ what I told myself at least. A comfort in my misery. I missed her.

    Not as much as I’d miss the percussion in my throat, of course, if they found me. When.

  3. “The murmurings in my head. They never stop. They tell me things. Like what to do. What’s right. What’s wrong. How to fix things. How to correct things.”

    The detective looked at Stephen, as if he was insane. “The murmurings in your head?”

    Stephen nodded. “Did those murmurings tell you to jam an icepick into each of her eyes?” Stephen nodded again. “Did they tell you to hammer the railroad spike into her chest?” Stephen nodded again. “You’re saying the murmurings in your head told you to kill her?”

    “Yes.” Stephen smiled at the detective. “The murmurings said she was not pure.” Stephen stood up, smiling again. He dove across the table at the detective, grabbing for the detective’s throat. “And they tell me you are not pure either!”

    1. No doubt it’s my unflagging optimism–but I’m picturing Columbo here, which means it’s not going to turn out well for Stephen…

  4. The murmurings in my head had been going on for days. The pill I took last night before bed helped quiet them down but they turned into dreams. I’ve been trying not to listen to them, being the good Buddhist that I am, but it just hasn’t turned out as well as I expected.

    There’s a young boy’s voice reminding me of my brother and how much I still despise him and what he’s done to the family. I ignore that one the most.

    There’s the 80-year-old homeless woman pleading with me to get her some hand warmers. I actually have some in my sock drawer if only I could figure out how to get them to her. My hands aren’t cold, after all.

    But, it’s the 12-year-old Native American girl from the past who keeps my attention. She keeps telling me he’s dangerous. And she keeps screaming the word “orange!” Unfortunately, the murmurings are only murmuring; they are not listening. I keep asking her “who? who is dangerous?”

    I don’t see anything of these people, which of course is maddening. After three days, I finally try something I didn’t think of sooner. I googled some of the details. As typical, I skip the young boy. The homeless woman was killed by some thugs under a bridge about 20 years ago. And the girl? That took a little more creative digging. I found out she was raped, wearing an orange dress, by the Sheriff. The case wasn’t solved for years, not until it was found out the Sheriff was a serial killer.

    @dailybipolar

  5. The murmurings in my head…
    It’s hard to just simply be alone because of them. They can do a million things.
    Shutting up isn’t one of them.
    Guess the glass of Riesling isn’t helping. Not really. If anything, the voices like it. Makes them more bold. More vocal. They love telling me how weak of a woman I am.
    I shake my head, hoping to distract them into silence just when my date Arnold grabs the seat beside me.
    “Lovely party,” he smiles at me.
    I nod. The voices don’t agree with him.
    “Met your friend Thomas.”
    The voices swoon. Thomas. The whole reason I’m here tonight.
    “And his girlfriend, Anna. She’s cool.”
    I groaned out loud.
    “Not a fan?”
    My eyes grew large. Uh oh. Only the voices were supposed to hear that. “Uh…”
    Arnold laughs and shakes his head. “Hey, we all have our taste, right?”
    And she just so happened to be his. Thomas could have done a better job in the love department.
    But, what do you expect when he skips over you, the best thing to ever happen to him?
    Or, better still, what do you do when you don’t speak up about your feelings?
    I sigh, listening to the voices chastise me yet again about my many failings.
    If only they’d shut up…
    “Whoa?” Arnold waved his hands in front of my face. “Where’d you go?”
    I looked down into my glass. “This is good stuff.”
    “Only the best for an engagement party,” Arnold agreed.
    Wait, halt! What?
    “This isn’t an engagement party!” I whispered loudly.
    “You don’t pay much attention, do you?” Arnold shook his head.
    It was at that moment I heard the loud applause. Saw the people lining up to talk to the now connected-at-the-lips couple.
    Thomas and Anna.
    My mouth hung open in shock.
    The voices were silent.
    Finally.

  6. The murmurings in my head are so inviting, so seductive and compelling.
    “Just go outside, that’s all. The moon is full, the night is warm. Come outside and play.”
    I want to, oh lord I want to give in so badly; but it won’t stop there, I know it.

    “Stay inside,” I firmly tell myself. “This isn’t the time and place.”

    Still they call to me, always quiet and gentle, never demanding.
    “Come,”

    I sigh and look out the window at the bright, clean moon; then I look down at the filthy street below, at the occasional cars driving by, the concrete “grass” and light post “trees”.
    “This is not Home,” I remind myself. “You get in trouble for that here.”

    I think back to the open fields of my Home – to the people dancing skyclad around the nighttime bonfires. To the laughing and communing with nature and ourselves. That is where I belong, where I *should* be. Not this urban jungle where no one knows what the stars truly look like.

    “Come outside and play,”

    I turn away from the window and wipe a tear from my cheek. Torn as always between livelihood and love.
    “No.”

    @KiusLady

  7. The murmurings in my head were my only companions. On this cold street in some city whose name I’ve long forgotten, I have the murmurings in my head for company. They are male, female, friendly, mean. The mean one is in charge tonight…and this little cocktail in my hands? If I listen to him, I’ll take it and *poof!* no more murmurings. There’s a downside…isn’t there always a downside? But in this barren wasteland of some city I can’t remember, does the downside matter? No one will miss me. I don’t remember having anyone to miss me. Clearly someone used to love me, but no one does, now.

    No, I can be stronger than the mean voice.

    I flipped the packages in my hands. All I had to do was mix them together into the fatal cocktail that would end me. The mean voice…he’s almost been the death of me once. And I dare say he’ll be the death me of again. Finally, I opened the relevant packages and mixed the contents together. Up my nose, in my vein…the delivery method didn’t matter.

    Nodding once, I filled the syringe. I tightened whatever passed for a strap these days around my left arm. Then, I pierced my vein and depressed the plunger. It took a moment and then, at last it was done.

  8. The murmurings in my head were talking too fast. A childhood curse that I’d thought I’d overcome, yet it lived on in my unconscious brain. Years of speech therapy spent trying to get me to slow down when I talked, and it didn’t kick in until late in my teens, and even then still came through when I got nervous.
    My fingers moved quickly, but they weren’t quick enough. The words stretched out behind me, becoming lost before I could get them out of my head and onto the screen.
    I looked at the wire. I hated the thing, but I had no choice. The story would explode if I didn’t get it out.
    The tiny USB fit neatly into the port behind my ear. I sighed as a wave of intense pleasure flowed through me, releasing the dam of words that had built up to near fatal pressure. I hardly noticed the nagging itch of the port. It was like I’d drunk an entire gallon of tea and run into the outhouse just barely in time. There was no stopping the flow once it started.
    Words appeared on the screen. They were definitely my words, yet somehow they weren’t as eloquent or organized as I needed them to be. But at least they were getting out of me.
    Drained, I watched the last dregs drizzle out. Reluctantly, I took the wire out, knowing that if I left it in too long, I’d become so dependent on it that I’d never be able to walk away. I’d never be able to look at my words with an objective eye.
    I always have to walk away when I’m done with a dump. It’s too raw and fresh when I come down off the high. It’s so raw, some of it is incomprehensible. But that’s what the editing process is for.
    And that is where the real work begins.
    @USNessie

  9. The murmurings in my head
    sound closer than before.
    Something bad has entered me
    and closed the only door.

    No one ever hears them.
    They never meet my eyes.
    Who wants to talk to someone
    who’s always in disguise?

    The voices deep inside me, now,
    they’re a different crew.
    They talk incessantly about
    murder, death and grue.

    Please believe me when I say
    I’d trade them in a shot!
    Except that lately they have been
    the only friends I’ve got.

    @onetarot

  10. “The murmurings in my head.”

    She looked at me, dumbfounded. “THEY said that…” She questioned, the incredulity screaming from her breathy alto voice.

    I nodded quietly. She waited for more. Nothing was immediately forthcoming as we stared at each other, and the moment stretched past awkward silence towards lethal hesitation. I caved – I always do. “You didn’t deny it. You asked me who had told me, and you wanted to attack them, but you didn’t deny it. Can you? Would you?” Would she?

    She stared at me again, her green eyes managing to turn to ice despite the warmth of her auburn locks or the pouting of her lips. I wanted to shiver, but I sat firm. I wished there was a way to look brave while sitting in a booth at the Common Ground Cafe. Instead, I settled for fiddling with my napkin-swaddled silverware.

    “No, it’s ridiculous.” There, the outburst, the fire that I expected to burn me up long before now. “Why would I possibly acknowledge something so ridiculous. From the ‘murmurings’ in your HEAD?”

    “They’re never wrong.” They weren’t. “They’ve kept us out of speed traps, out of accidents, kept our money in the bank…” I looked up from my nervous fingertips and met her green frozen eyes. “They saved your life. And they said it.”

    Her mouth opened for a moment and closed again. A beat, and then the denial again vainly tried to leave those exquisite lips. “I couldn’t have pulled him up.” As the words hung in the air, I wondered if her lips had even moved. Time froze, as did I. “The bridge was covered in ice, the rails moreso. He would have just taken me with him.”

    @Buzzynutkins

  11. Posted for Lisa McCourt Hollar (eligible)

    Voices
    by Lisa McCourt Hollar

    The murmurings in my head grew in intensity. Carry tried to block them out, to fathom what I was seeing, but they wouldn’t shut up.

    “You killed him!” Doreen screamed and in my head I felt Henry flinch at the force of her anger.

    “He was hurting her,” Henry said, defending his actions.

    Carry whimpered, the knife in her hand feeling heavy. His blood dripped, staining the carpet.

    “That will never come clean,” Maura bitched. “She’ll have to tear it out and get new carpeting.”

    “Better to just go with a wooden floor. She can stain it and I’ve always liked the look,” Tara said, quietly. She was almost not heard over the clamor of the others.

    “Please stop,” Tammy cried. She was in the far corner of Carry’s mind, the murder too much for her seven year old mind.
    “It wasn’t murder,” Henry said, soothing the child and glaring at Doreen who continued to scream over the death of her step-father.

    “What do you call it then?” Maura laughed. You stabbed him with a knife.

    “NO!” Carry dropped the knife and put her hands to her ears. She couldn’t block out the voices though, all vying for her attention.

    “That’s enough,” Tara said, her voice finally finding the strength to be heard over the others. “He was going to hurt her. Again. We couldn’t stand for it. No longer.”

    “Just shut up and be quiet, like you always are,” Doreen snarled. “He was still our father…”

    “He stopped being our father when we were seven,” Maura said. “What should we use to get the blood out?”

    “What should we…” Doreen sputtered. “We should call the police.”

    “Do you want to go to jail?” Tara asked? Suddenly everyone was looking at her, the quiet, shy one no more. “I don’t. If she goes to jail, so do we.”

    Carry stayed up all night cleaning. “The wood floors look nice.” She said when she was done.

  12. The murmurings in my head.

    They never seemed to cease.

    It wasn’t like I wanted them there. The misty figures of my past were graceful dancers, I would give them that. They waltzed divinely. In one nostril, around my heart, on top of my brain, and then went out my ear. It wasn’t the most… pleasant sensation. Frankly it was utterly heartbreaking.

    My past spoke volumes to me. I missed the balls, the costumes. I missed my black and white checkered dress, my harlequin mask, and my rich, black hair sitting on top of my head. Now my hair seemed to dangle, without heart, without love, and without dreams. And my dress and mask gathered dust in my wardrobe. It was the only thing I was allowed. Just because I couldn’t bear to be parted with it in this white tomb… with its padded walls.

    What had become of my life?

    @katielmortimer

  13. “The murmurings in my head,” she said, “trump any words coming out of your mouth any given day of the week, and twice on Wednesdays.”

    “The words coming out of my mouth,” he said, “at least make sense.”

    She frowned at that. “In whose opinion? That nitwit shrink of yours? He wouldn’t recognize sense if it crawled down the chimney and smacked him in the head with a bag of Barbie dolls.”

    “So I’ve heard you say,” he said, flashing his teeth in the kind of oily smile that always set her own teeth on edge.

    “Well, it’s as true now as ever. You belong here every bit as much as I do, and one of these days he’s going to realize it, and BAM! in you go, tight as a drum, bye bye, blue sky.”

    “You’re awfully confident for someone in a straitjacket.”

    That one stung, and she kicked at him. “You’re awfully confident for someone who’s been bamboozled by someone in a straitjacket.”

    His hands flew up in surrender. “Uncle! Uncle! Geez Louise, Uncle, all right??”

    “Why did you come here, then? Why do you always come here? To mock me?”

    “No. Never that.”

    “Why then?”

    “You know why.”

    “Say it.”

    “Why should I? Your murmurings are truer. You said so just a minute ago.”

    “Yes, they are.”

    “So why ask?”

    “Because,” she said, her lips trembling, “because I need to hear it. I need to know I’m not crazy, at least, not the unsalvageable kind of crazy. I need to know, between all the murmurings and all the voices, that I’m not alone.”

    His voice was a tender whisper. “But my love—oh, my dearest love. You are.”

    “I am not!” she said, kicking at him again.

    But as usual—the murmurings were wrong.

    @postupak

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#5MinuteFiction: Week 134

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