Fiction: The Speaking Thing

It was just past midnight last Tuesday when the thing began speaking to me.

At first, it was barely a murmur. A bauble of idiocy, perhaps. But the sound grew clear rather fast. I was honing my ears toward the darkness with no hesitation or thought as to what this thing could be.

It was late, of course. My wife was asleep upstairs. The kids lay docile and dormant in their beds, dreaming of far-off lands. I had been about to cart off a sandwich into my office, ready to nail down a few more sentences, when the thing started speaking.

Just jumbled syllables – “…monafimanlefenman berlumnamufmn…” – for a few seconds. Tuning in, I began to recognize words and names – phonemes that flickered with meaning. Still, I couldn’t place many of them. And the absurdity of this thing speaking to me became hauntingly real. Why was it speaking at all?

“Why are you speaking at all?”

“…folamparmam the the hajjanmaralar…” It didn’t make sense all the time. But every now and then, yes, I’ll admit, a few bits of insight and flashes of relevance.

“The the milk is rotting in the the fridge, Eric Eric…” I checked. The thing was right. Per its label, the milk had expired yesterday. Had my wife drank it? Had the kids poured it on their Sugar-ee Flakes that morning? Had I poured it on my Sugar-ee Flakes that morning?

“The the rotten Trafalgar for milk mermanmarl…”

I began to turn away from the thing. My sandwich was getting flaccid and dewy. The lettuce curled downward, enrapturing the bottom slice of bread in leafy surrender. The ham was getting sad. The mustard…oh… the mustard.

“…jarunaumarf hither unto irunkador… carpet…” It just sort of kept it up as I backed into the hallway. “…harems of of geese in the the sky and Carl is walking walking walking walking walking down…”

I began to hum a familiar tune to block the thing’s voice. Hopefully, it wouldn’t wake my wife or the kids during the night. I made my way toward the office and the thing’s voice trailed off. I tried not to think much of it, but that was difficult for the next hour or so. It grew louder, as though it needed me to hear it speak from the other room!

In the morning, my wife and kids joined me at the table and we shared our hopes for the day over coffee and juice and Sugar-ee Flakes. The thing wasn’t there anymore, nor was its voice.

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