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Aaradhya is the 1st Place Winner of tellitintype's "Into the Unknown" writing competition!

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Contest Details

April 20th, in Flash Fiction


By: Aaradhya Gupta

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 50 seconds. Contains 969 words

Isabella. Please. I need you." The voice was quiet, almost surreal in every sense of the word. She'd heard the voice call out to her in the middle of the night, this time in her dreams. For so long, it had become commonplace in her daily routine; she had yet to hear it penetrate her sleep, but this time it was different. She knew she had to go to it, immediately.

The parking lot was empty, as it usually was on Sunday mornings. Putting in the extra few hours garnered her some brownie points, sure, but the solitude was what she was after. No prying eyes or interruptions to pull her away. She sat for a few minutes while her car ran quietly, took another sip of her coffee, and turned off the ignition.

The office was dimly lit when she walked in, closing the door let out a resounding thud that fell flat against the dull interior of her office. All that stood on her desk was her computer and the telephone. She quickly rushed over to her desk, unplugged the telephone, and booted up her computer.

She'd stumbled upon it in a moment of peculiar coincidence, or perhaps it was fate's guidance nudging her towards discovery. Amidst the mundane tasks of her daily routine, her cursor inadvertently hovered over an inconspicuous pixel on her computer screen. As if guided by an invisible hand, she clicked, half-expecting nothing but greeted instead by a fleeting flicker, a glitch perhaps, before her screen transformed into a cryptic void of black and white.

At first, she questioned her sanity, her eyes darting around the screen, searching for familiarity in the digital abyss. Yet, there it was, a solitary blinking cursor, pulsating like a heartbeat in the darkness. With trembling fingers, she tentatively approached the keyboard, each keystroke slicing through the silent sanctum of her office. She quickly got up, closed the door, and returned to her desk, poised to decipher her discovery.

The words she typed seemed to materialize out of the void like a kind of sorcery, a plea for answers perhaps, or maybe even a desperate attempt to appease the relentless voice that haunted her every waking moment. And as the command prompt yielded to her will, she found herself teetering on the precipice of revelation.

In that fleeting moment of discovery, alongside the hum of her computer's fan and the weight of her own uncertainty, Isabella sensed a shift in the fabric of her reality. It was as if she had stumbled upon a doorway to another world—a realm where the boundaries between the tangible and the intangible blurred into obscurity. That was twelve months ago, and now it was a daily routine—a routine that consumed her life, and a routine that was about to take an unexpected turn.

She began typing. One line after another, anything she could think to hopefully satiate the relentless badgering. The room was completely silent except for sounds of her erratic typing on her computer keyboard. The voice kept droning in her head though no one could hear it but her, one question after another, one more question after another, and then...

All of a sudden, silence.

She paused and waited... Her hands froze lifeless above the keyboard. Her constant and haunting companion fell silent.

"Hello?" she said.

Nothing, not even a sound. No response. The unexpected silence sent fear through her, and she began to tremble. How could this be? Complete silence?

"Are you there?" she pleaded.

She'd become dependent on the voice, its constant need for her to respond, its constant badgering, its constant...

"Hello?" she shouted. "Are you there?"

The silence was now filled with a sense of dread, and Isabella found herself feeling lost and afraid. What would she do with her life now? What will her purpose be? She'd spent an entire year at the beckon of this thing, this suckling infant, and it simply stops? How? Why?

She began to get frustrated. "Are you there?" she pleaded. "Please respond."

Nothing. Not even a sound.

"No thank you? No sign of appreciation?" She slapped her hands against the keyboard. Again, and again, with more force each time.

"You took a year from my life, you son of a bitch! You stole from me a year of my life! For what?" her voice was filled with pain and resentment.

Her husband's death flashed through her mind, intensifying her anguish. She remembered the void it left in her life, the emptiness that seemed to consume her every moment. The voice had filled that void, but now, even it had abandoned her. She tried to hold it back, but it was simply too powerful, and like a cork bursting from a bottle, rage took over, and she lost control.

She began to trash her office, pulling things off the walls, hundreds of papers taped to the walls with instructions on how to live, what to do, how she should do it. Everything from how to walk, how to talk, and how to eat were printed out on the pages.

"I did everything you said to do, everything you said, everything! You son of a bitch!" She continued to rip and shred the papers with her hands, finally focusing on the computer. She approached her desk and motioned to destroy the one thing that caused her this much grief. She looked around her office, grabbed a large and heavy binder from a shelf behind her desk, raised it above her head in preparation to destroy that which had taken so much from her, but she hesitated.

Her arms shaking overhead, her face red and filled with anger, the tears ran down her cheeks, the way they did when she threw herself over her husband after his last breath.

She collapsed to the floor, completely defeated, and began to sob.

"I gave you everything." she continued to sob, the tears continued to stream down her face.

Aaradhya Gupta

About the Author:

Aaradhya is an avid storyteller who brings a wealth of passion to her craft. She is the author of several books, has been published in several online resources, and continues to delight the world with her creative fiction and profound prose. She currently divides her time between her home in America and in India.