Do You Hear What I Hear?
by Walt Trizna
W** was known for his stories of murder and mayhem. Tales of ghosts and monsters were his claim to meager fame. A member of a writers’ group, he enjoyed sharing his twisted stories with the group and the support they provided. But how could they know, imagine, they were not all stories. W** carried demons of his own. Even his wife did not know the visions, the “truths” that journeyed through his muddled brain.
It was during the November writers’ meeting that the group leader, S**, announced, “In place of our December meeting, I suggest we meet for a holiday dinner. It will be a chance to relax and prepare for the year’s writing ahead.” The approval of the group was unanimous.
Reservations were made and the day of the dinner arrived. It was a rainy evening when W** set out for the restaurant. The back and forth motion of the windshield wipers gave him a slight headache. He was one of the last to arrive, greeted his fellow writers and took his seat next to S**.
The room was large with a single circular table at its center. A curious aspect was the room’s ceiling. It was domed with a most unsettling feature. From one side of the room conversations, even in the softest whisper, were conveyed to the opposite side of this domed affair.
As the meal was served, W** looked across the table to C** and G**, deep in conversation, discussing light matters. Suddenly, the conversation changed. To his disbelief, W** heard them plotting his murder. He clearly heard their voices discussing every detail. W** sat in disbelief while those about him laughed and shared stories. His friends asked if there was anything wrong, for he was visibly shaken. “I’m fine,” he replied and left the restaurant to make plans of his own.
January arrived and it was time for another meeting. S** was the last to arrive. “I have terrible news. C** and G** have met with horrible accidents. They are both dead.”
The group sat there in shock. Disbelief was soon followed by sounds of sorrow and grief.
The year swiftly went by. It was a good year with many of the members being published. Once again, at the November meeting, S** announced the plans for a Christmas dinner. The site would be the same as last year.
W** once again made his way to the restaurant, this time during a light and peaceful snow. He greeted his friends and took his place. Once again, he could hear the whispered conversations from across the room. And once again he heard his murder being plotted: this time it was T** and B** who made the fiendish plot. Once again two members of the group were visited with horrible and fatal accidents.
January found the group deep in sorrow once more. That was five years ago. And for each of those years, a Christmas dinner was held and shortly after, two more members met their demise.
Christmas neared once again, but there would be no Christmas dinner, for the only member remaining was W**. A creature of tradition, W** reserved the domed room for his private dinner. There he sat, alone with no whispering conversations to fill his head.
He gazed around at the empty seats, and his ears perked up. There were voices plotting his murder. Looking out at the overflowing restaurant, he saw a young family that he was sure was plotting his end. A fiendish smile crossed his lips. His work was not yet done.
Copyright © 2007 by Walt Trizna