Short Story
                                                   The Voice
                                                                     By Oliver Lodge

      I am completely blind. I rely on a voice which is completely disconnected from who I am to tell me what
to do and where to go. But I don't feel I can trust this voice. It becomes peeved with me when I express this
doubt of mine about it. "You don't want to listen to me anymore?" it says. "Okay, fine. Let's put it this way
then: You can take the path to the left or the path to the right, but one of them is right and the other one is
wrong. But I'm not going tell you which one. You decide." And it leaves me suspended between right and
wrong, surrounded by darkness like that, feeling guilty for having challenged it and not sure who or what to
rely on now.

      Then I think, "Why did the voice only give me two choices? Couldn't I keep this voice from being cross
with me and assert my own independence at the same time by going somewhere in between these two
paths - somewhere down the middle?" I do just this and the voice immediately questions my action. "Hey!
What do you think you're doing? You're going to get yourself killed! One more step in that direction and it
will be the death of you!"

      I'm not sure if the voice is calling my bluff or not. But I have to give it the benefit of a doubt in this
instance. After all, the voice may have led me into a series of bad ordeals in the past, but it never brought
about my own destruction. But what if it was just lucky? No, this is not a matter I can afford to play games
with. I cannot see anything around me and I am completely alone except for the voice. It might not be much,
but it's better than nothing. It's better than taking one daring step forward and plummeting downward into a
free fall until everything is over for me. No, it's not worth the risk. I have to be reasonable.

      What if I were to take one step backwards? I know for a fact that I have already been there and that I
was safe in that spot a moment ago. There has been no indication that this situation has changed. And if I
take a step back, I will be doing it according to my own volition. I will not be doing it because the voice told
me to do so and thereby I will be establishing my own independence. But to whom do I wish to prove this
independence to? To myself or to the voice?

      If I am trying to prove myself to the latter, than I am just as much dependent on the voice than if I had
followed its orders to begin with. Therefore, I am taking a step backward to prove to myself that I am
independent of this voice. Yes, I can be sure of that. I take a step back and listen to hear what the voice will
say but all is silent. The voice has said nothing.

      Now I am the one who is peeved. I'm angry at myself for relying on a cue from the voice. Or am I angry
at the voice for not affirming whether or not I made the right decision? I've become too reliant on the voice.
I need to recognize that this is exactly what I wanted to begin with. I wanted to make my own decision
without the aid of the voice and that's exactly what I did. I should be proud of myself. Why am I putting
myself down instead?

      Yes, I will reiterate why. It's because I have come to rely on that stupid voice instead of my own
intuition. But if the voice does not exist to serve me than what other purpose could it be serving? Does the
absence of this voice serve to benefit me or am I even more handicapped without it? I am worrying myself
over nothing. I let out a sigh and look around even though I know I can't see anything. All is dark and quiet.

      I begin to get nervous. I cry out to the voice but it does not respond. I reach out my arms to see if I can
feel anything in front of me. But I already know that I will feel nothing. That's the way it has always been.
There has been no indication that this has changed, nor do I expect it to. Has anyone assured me
otherwise? Certainly not the voice. All it has ever done is bark orders at me and accuse me of being
wrong all the time. If there was only something I could do to sever communications with it once and for all. I
would be so much better off.

      I do something I have never done before. On impulse, I break out into a run. I sprint forward in the
direction the voice has just told me not to go. "Now you've done it," says the voice under its breath. But I
feel too exalted in this action I have taken to care what it says. I picture the voice in my head. It is
disappearing in the distance behind me as I race forward through the darkness with all my might, its glum
frown fading into the background, never to be heard from again.

      Very little time elapses before I no longer feel the pressure of the soles of my feet against the floor.
There is no longer any ground beneath me. It appears as though I am falling, but it takes me a short while
before I realize this. Now I am plummeting down into nothingness. I brace myself for the impact from this
fall. "I told you so," comes a voice. But this voice is none other than my own.
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About Oliver Lodge

Oliver Lodge is an author who lives in upstate New York. He has been published in “Blood
Moon Rising Magazine”, “Body Parts Magazine”, and “Yellow Mama”.