The Hissing Sound
She could hear it. Always there. Always the same. The sound was impossible to ignore. It was maddening.
She sat in the corner with her hands over her ears, trying desperately to drown out the clatter. It never worked. How do you block out a noise coming from inside your own head?
She'd been ten years old the first time she heard it. She'd been curious, and looked around but hadn't found anything. She'd asked her mother about it. She could hear it, right?
Her mother had only shaken her head and told her that no, she couldn't. It was probably just her imagination. Her mother was right, it was just her mind playing tricks.
Still, the sound was there and growing louder everyday. She had mentioned it to her mother again. She'd seen the concern if not terror in her mothers eyes. Her mother had told her it was nothing to worry about. Just think of it as white noise, she'd told her casually. But her shaking hands didn't match the calm in her voice as she'd said it.
Her mother was on the phone talking to someone. She didn't know who and she couldn't make out the whole conversation. Her mother hung up and came to tell her to lay down for a while. She would feel better after a nap.
She'd woken up to three strange people in her room. Two men and a woman. She'd been dragged from her home and brought here.
She'd been told the rules. The biggest one was no sharp objects. They didn't want her to hurt herself. Or someone else.
The doctors always asked her about the sound. Why did she think she was hearing it? Did she hear it all the time? What about the first time she'd heard it, could she remember when that was?
She hadn't wanted to talk about it. She wanted to go home. To pretend everything was okay again.
Her mother had visited her. Told her how sorry she was but that it wasn't going to be forever. They would help and she could come home again.
That was six years ago. The doctors had all but given up. Nothing worked. Talking, pills, injections, they'd tried everything they could think of, all to no avail.
Her mother had stopped coming. Maybe it was too hard to see her daughter crying in a corner, unable to even hear her voice over the hissing coming from inside her head.