He always heard ringing in his right ear. It started when he was in high school, and it had endured all the way to university. Back then he had been able to ignore it, giving him a false reprieve for a time. For a time. Those blissful moments of ignorance were what he craved most. Back in the present– the cold, empty now–he had lost his touch. Ignorance had eluded him.
He supposed that the only way to stop the ringing was to go back to its source . . . Back to the run-down shed he had broken into with a group of friends. They were all fine, or so they said. Why just him? That was the question that had burned him for six years.
“It’s not like they didn’t see it too,” he told himself aloud. At the sound of his own voice his head began to throb. He squeezed his eyes at the pain. A constant ringing meant a constant headache. To admit that his life had come to this was embarrassing. What he was going through was debilitating.
Paul, he thought, wincing, You need to get it together!
The pain was a thousand times worse when he thought. Paul could almost hear the words that spoken inside that shed; he could swear that he saw the incident unfold in front of his face. The shed loomed before him, somehow stark against a backdrop of blighted trees, giving off the illusion of bleeding into the structure. Once again that eerie silence wrapped itself around him, pulling him in. Closer, closer, closer.
The broken doorway stared at him. It captivated him. Through it was the source of the silence, the thing which devoured the light.
When Paul woke up he found himself spread eagled on the floor. As he checked himself in the mirror he noticed that the right side of his face was stained with blood.
It is inevitable, a voice said.
His eyes rolled into the back of his head. The ringing . . .