You, a telepath, are getting migraines from the loudest internal screaming you’ve ever heard from the next room.
Someone was playing drums in my head. At least, that’s what it felt like. The pounding was incessant. I squeezed my eyes tight, as I wished the pain away. The dark, cold room wasn’t helping either. When the headaches got this bad, it was my go-to and even that wasn’t helping. I’ve had two cups of coffee, hoping the infusion of caffeine might help but, nope. If the woman in the next apartment would stop her internal rambling, I might have a chance, but sadly, that’s not happening.
I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to hearing things I’m not meant to. Telepathy is a bitch to live with and I’ve learned long ago not to act on what I heard. Often, it just freaked people out, and my intention to help just got me into trouble. At that moment, I was listening to expletives of how horrible the male species was. I rolled my eyes as I got up out of the bed. Sounds like another girl fell for my neighbor’s lies.
The guy that lived next door to me was a real piece of work. Being privy to some of his private thoughts told me all I needed to know about him. He thought very little of others, but very highly of himself. He was a compulsive liar, telling women whatever he needed to get them home, and occasionally I was certain he’d drugged them against their will. Basically, he was an asshole. I usually heard them all when they were there. Sometimes their internal ramblings were amusing, but most times I just didn’t want to hear it. Out of necessity, I’ve learned how to tune it out and let it fade into the background until it just became noise. If I wanted to know what they were saying, I had to tune in and pay attention.
I walked into the bathroom and splashed some cold water on to my face. The cold water felt good on my heated skin. As I stared at my face in the mirror, I realized it’s been a few days since I’d shaved, and the dark stubble had grown in thick. As I contemplated my lack of attention to personal grooming, I realized that the screaming was louder than normal. It was strange considering the source was in the room adjacent to my bedroom, in the apartment next door. I’d never heard them quite this loud and clear before. It felt like she was standing right next to me. I ran my fingers through my hair in agitation.
What the hell was I going to do? I couldn’t go on like this. I wouldn’t be able to relax or concentrate. Should I leave and hope she’s gone when I got back? I stopped and listened for a moment to see what she was saying. She didn’t sound like she was in danger. My urge for relief spurred my decision. I’d leave and go down to the bar around the corner for a while. Hopefully when I got back, whatever was going on next door would be over, and I could go back to my life as normal.
After getting dressed, I approached the front door to walk out when I hear a scream. I paused, confused as to if the scream came from inside my head or outside. I heard another scream that was abruptly cut off. The second one confirmed it was not in my head, but rather from the apartment next door. The background chatter had stopped. There was complete and utter silence. I should’ve been relieved, but something seemed off. I got the feeling that something bad had just happened or was about to happen. Whomever this girl was, had a very active mind that never shut up. The fact that I heard nothing worried me. For once in my life, I was desperate to hear something. Why haven’t I heard my neighbor? Was her voice so loud in my head that I couldn’t hear him? I didn’t move, afraid I’d miss something. I strained and reached out with my mind until I heard it. It was low, almost as if he was whispering in his mind.
“Fucking bitch! Thinks she can just leave me like that. No one leaves me until I’m good and ready. I’ll teach her a lesson she won’t forget. She’s going to know that she belongs to me now. When I’m done with her, I’ll dump her like the trash she is. Used up and washed out. No other man will ever want her when I’m finished.”
What the hell? What did he do to her? My protective instincts took over and screamed for me to do something. I warred with myself; one side wanting to storm in there to stop whatever was going on, the other knew I had to think about this. As I contemplated my next move, I rubbed my chin, scratching the stubble there. I needed more information. I decided to play the part of a concerned neighbor.
I walked out of my apartment and over to his door. Before I knocked, I heard him again.
“Eh, not as bad as I thought. Slapping that bitch felt good, but I thought for sure it’d leave a better mark. Guess I’ll just have to step it up next time. Instead of a firm backhand to the face when she mouths off, maybe I’ll just punch her.”
I didn’t hesitate after hearing his inner monologue. I knocked on the door and I strained to hear what’s going on inside his head.
“Who the fuck is that? What the fuck do they want? Fucking nosy-ass neighbors always bothering me with stupid shit.”
Not two seconds later, the door flew open. If I wasn’t looking for it, I would’ve missed it. There in the kitchen was a girl tied to one of the kitchen chairs. Her head was hanging down and her auburn hair was shielding her face. In his anger, my neighbor opened the door too wide, but he quickly realized his error and shut the door, leaving less than a foot of space to speak to me. I schooled my features, not letting on that I knew he had someone in there.
“Yeah? What do you want?” My surly neighbor asked me, staring me down, waiting for me to respond.
I quickly looked him over before I answered him and noticed he had a gun printing out of his shirt. “Uh, yeah, I just thought I heard a scream. Wanted to make sure everything was good over here.” I explained as I scratched the back of my head nervously.
“Just the tv man. Sorry ‘bout that. I’ll turn it down.” My neighbor actually looked sheepish as he gave me his lie about the tv. Who was this fucking guy? It’s scary how believable he looked. If I didn’t know what was going on in there because of my gift, I would’ve believed him without a doubt.
“Oh, Okay. No worries then. Have a great night.” I said as I backed up and turned around to go back into my apartment. When I get to my door, his door slammed shut. I stepped back inside my apartment and paced. I really didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just ignore what’s going on over there. I knew at that moment I was about to break my rule about getting involved.
I called the police and told them I was concerned about my neighbor. I admitted that I heard a few screams and some banging around. They assured me they would send someone over to check it out, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they would make it before it was too late. It usually took them a long time to get down here to my shitty neighborhood. I plopped down on my couch; my hands reached up into my hair and started to pull at the strands. As I tried to figure out how to help her, it hit me suddenly. I didn’t use it often because I didn’t want to take advantage of people. It put an incredible strain on my body as well. However, in this case, I thought it might be the only way. My power of suggestion through telepathy would do nicely. I knew what I needed to do now, but I couldn’t execute my plan until the girl regained consciousness.
Knowing it was going to take a lot out of me, I decided to fill my stomach with a sandwich and drink two glasses of water. That way, when it was all over, I wouldn’t pass out on the spot. I’d at least be able to maintain some control over my body for a little while before I was overwhelmed with exhaustion. Depending on how much I was going to exert myself, I wouldn’t know when I’d wake up. With nothing left to do but wait, I started pacing again and counting my steps. By the time I got to 250 steps, I hear her start to wake. I stopped pacing and sat down in my chair. I leaned back in the chair and relaxed my mind, knowing the moment would be here soon. When she awoke fully and remembered what was going on, I could hear her panic. This was the moment I’d been waiting for.
Silencing my thoughts, I focused on her voice as I mentally reached out to her. I instructed her to relax. I could sense the shift immediately. Her mind quieted momentarily. That was until my asshole neighbor realized she was awake and wanted to resume his game. She started screaming out loud in sheer terror when she realized this would not end the way she thought.
“Shut the fuck up, you stupid bitch!” My neighbor yelled at the girl before he slapped her again. It was quiet for a moment and that’s all I needed. Next, I found his inner voice and latched on. I searched through his thoughts and realized I was right. He’s carrying a gun under his shirt and eventually he plans on killing her with it. His thoughts paused, and I could sense his confusion. I needed to be quick before he realized something was going on and he was not in control. I pushed him to untie the girl and even though he was complying, I could feel his resistance to my command. It took a lot more out of me than I expected. While I was fighting for control over his thoughts and actions; I also reached into her mind and instructed her to grab the gun sitting on his right hip as soon as he untied her. Mentally, I pushed the instructions on how and where to shoot him to make sure he doesn’t get up again.
Being engaged in both of their minds gave me a pretty clear picture of what happened next. My neighbor untied the girl. As soon as he stood up again and faced her, she lunged at him. Just as instructed, she reached for the gun on his hip and pulled it out of his jeans. Within seconds of having it in her hands, she fired the gun and landed a perfect shot right to the head. My neighbor dropped like a ton of bricks, blood and brain matter everywhere. The girl released her grip on the gun and it clattered to the floor as she stared down at her hands in disbelief.
From her thoughts, I could tell she didn’t understand what happened. She was questioning how she was able to do that, considering she’d never held a gun before. Realization hit her hard. She killed someone. She’s a pacifist at heart, and the fact that she did this sent her into a tailspin of despair. Of course, she didn’t want to be tortured or die at the hands of this maniac, but murder? Why did she shoot him in the head? Why not just in a place that would slow him down enough so she could get away? It was almost as if she wasn’t in control of her actions. She shook her head at those thoughts. That wasn’t possible… was it?
I came back to myself and wondered if I fucked up. He was going to kill her. This much I knew, without a doubt. I heard his thoughts. He was going to torture her and then kill her. I shook my head in confusion as I started to walk towards my bedroom. As expected, using that much suggestion took all my energy, and I was having a hard time with motor control. I heard the sirens approaching nearer as I struggled to get to my bed. I made it to the bed and the last thought I had before I passed out was: Did I do the right thing?