The Voice on the Hill

He lay on the floor. Stared up at the ceiling lamp above him. It was cold in the old house, and it didn’t help that he had only a flimsy prisoner’s uniform to stop the cool and damp.

He could smell blood. His, probably. And sweat. And maybe urine.

It wasn’t exactly his finest hour.

What had happened?

EARLIER

According to the more informed prisoners of Cell Block Eighteen, there was exactly one (1) uncontained anomaly at the Site.

It lived on a forested hill outside the perimeter.

They called it the Speaker. Nobody knew why it had this moniker, but they weren’t about to ask the raving prisoners who were dragged down the long row of cells at night by grim- faced guards. Prisoners who mumbled incessantly, the quiet of their speaking, if it could be called that, contrasting with the horrified expression that was the same for every prisoner who had gone to see the Speaker:

“Voice”, they whispered. “Speaker”.

He was awakened by a loud bang on his cell door and a hand roughly grasping his collar.

He heard a voice say something- quietly at first:

“…up, we’re taking you to see it.”

He felt a wave of dread.

LATER

He stood just outside the forest.

The guard who had awoken him stood to the left. At once he heard two voices one tinny and metallic, the other… different.

“Dee- Two- three- three oh two three…” the tinny speaker announced, while, inside his head, a voice that he couldn’t quite place spoke words that he couldn’t quite figure out.

The different voice was inviting him in.

Into the forest, where the Speaker would chew him up and spit him out like it had the others who had stood here before him.

“D- 233023, enter the testing area.” commanded the tinny voice.

“Come in,” whispered the other voice.

A wave of fear hit him. It was the smell of death- the bodies of those who were less, or perhaps more fortunate than the madmen he had seen at the Site. The ones who hadn’t made it out.

He knew that somewhere in there the Speaker was laughing, mocking his fear.

And somewhere inside him, something died and something fell into place.

He felt his sanity, his barrier between his mind and terrifying reality, slide away.

And then he felt…

Power.

It was over before it began.

The guard beside him toppled to the ground. The sound of wrenching metal accompanied the sight of a observation tower crashing through the trees to his right.

And then he ran.

It felt like hours before he finally stopped running.

He collapsed in front of an old one- story house, the paint peeling from its exterior.

He woke up alone in a room, and he smelled blood and sweat and maybe urine.