The Voices

The Voices

The Voices is a literary pastiche based on what it feels like as a creative. I wrote the piece to explain the intense emotional ride one feels while creating life from nothing.


Flash fiction


Christopher Ryan (United States)

“Hey! Wake up! You’re not done with me yet.”
The voices never quiet; they’re never silent and they’re always goading me on. They make me sit and think, contemplating my place in the universe and what truly matters in life. It makes me ignore my other responsibilities, my wife and children. These voices make me visit places in my head I’d oftentimes rather forget and never look at again, but how can I ignore those I created? I can’t, they won’t let me.
So I sit and stare at a glaringly white screen, a small blinking cursor staring back at me, waiting on me to finish what I started or begin anew and add another voice to the choir. And, so it begins, with a simple keystroke I let the voices out to surround me.
Together we run through lush forests, desolate deserts, deep canyons, and bustling futuristic cities. We stand silently listening to people talk to each other. We observe various religions as they gather together in prayer and we nod approvingly or sigh in disgust. We watch children play in shallow rivers while their parents stand with us watching, ready to jump in and save them at a moment’s notice. We watch lovers embrace in the dark of the night. We watch as they sigh in contentment then silently plot against each other.
We watch power seep into the hearts of good men turning them into paranoid beings, shells of their former selves. We sit next to drug addicts as they wrestle with their own demons, holding a needle in one hand while grasping a picture in another. We watch mothers and fathers, children, people en masse. We watch cities crumble and civilizations rise. We look out over great parcels of land as they change before our very eyes.
Am I the puppet master or merely a puppet dancing to the strings of an un-seeable master? Sometimes it feels as if I’m neither, but just another cog in a massive machine endlessly churning out joy and tragedy with a simple stroke.
The voices spur me on. We visit more places, both alien and familiar. We see faces I know all too well and those I’ve never met before. We see life and death. We sit and watch in silent splendor as planets collide and explode in a mass of color and ear shattering sound.
We watch from our cosmic perch an untold number of galaxies. We watch the worlds swirl around their star. We wonder who or what makes their homes on those planets and we both know at some point, we’ll find out. We’ll visit each and every single one. Together we’ll bear witness to every occasion filled with joy, every personal argument done on a street corner, and all the contentment of every species inhabiting the land, sea, and air. We know we’ll silently partake in the unbridled sadness of funerals as loved ones cry and pray to whichever deity they believe in for a savior either for themselves or for another. We’ll watch in harmonious joy as beings come together to share their lives in a union that will bring them untold happiness. We will watch the bearing of a new organism and we will watch, oh yes we will watch, as that organism matures and repeats the cycle anew with another. We know all this and yet we do not feel rushed. In fact, we are quite patient, we know we’ll get there.
My lips, which are typically fashioned in a straight line across my mouth, slowly begin to turn upward into a smile both calming and unnerving. The voices know that smile as they’ve seen it before and they’ll see it again in the future. They have me in their throes and I am in their thrall for all time.

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



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