[This is part ten of my short story Belly. To start at the beginning, click here.]
He thinks it's one voice, but as he listens to it speak its words, it seems to multiply into many voices speaking together. They sound not unlike his own voice, but not exactly like his voice either. Some have a higher pitch, some lower. Some sound much older, some younger. Some are smoother, some more raspy.
Despite these differences, they all speak at the same time, or almost the same time. Their words follow milliseconds after each other, and their timing drags out the sounds they make ever so slightly, so that the words reverberate in Jonas’ ears and stay with him a little longer than they otherwise might have. Most importantly, their voices, joined with each other, are clear and strong, as if they were coming from close by.
They say to him, "The next time you hear them, those voices, not ours, close your eyes. Close your eyes, like you’re doing now, but not too tightly. Just tight enough for you to see the black. And when you see that black, look. Look for the colors there, running within it. We’re there, inside those colors. You can be too, and inside those colors their voices won’t reach you."
Then they stopped speaking, and as he let them go, he let his eyelids rise. The newspaper was just a newspaper again. Its newsprint, and the stories and photos made up of it, held firm. And then he realized, he had reached his stop.