(WP) Subluminal Messages
Adriana Santos’s hearing had always been sensitive; she never realized that it wasn’t normal until she had gotten older.
She could hear people from miles away: a husband and wife arguing good-naturedly over whose turn it was to take the trash out this week, a dog’s excited, high-pitched yipping as it chased the growl of a car, a baby’s sharp, helpless cry.
When she first discovered it, the noise had been enough to drive her mad; all of that sound was an utter onslaught on her mind, especially when she’d been a child. Eventually, though, she’d learned to block it out.
But the day it saved her life had been completely different. She had been driving home from work when she heard an unfamiliar song on the radio, a man’s gentle, sad croon streaming from the speakers.
“I wanna hold your hand… I wanna hold your hand… Please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man… When I tell you something, I wanna hold your hand…”
But there was something under it, a whispery, rasping male voice that sent chills down her spine.
“Run. Run. They are coming. You must not let them catch you, child. They will use you until you are naught but a lifeless husk.
Go. Find shelter.”
Adriana blinked, shaking her head to clear it. Could it be that now, of all times, she was cracking up?
But there was a foreboding feeling deep in her gut, and she wondered to herself if, somehow, this mysterious voice was right, and she was in danger.
Who was coming? And what did they want from her, of all people?
This was insane; it wasn’t like she was living in a comic book or superhero movie.
What if somehow, this was all some sick prank?
Still, that kernel of unease grew in her stomach and spread dark roots.
As if she were watching outside of her own body, she let go of the steering wheel, grabbing her bag out of the passenger’s seat.
Still that song was playing, and it seemed to grow louder, until it was filling the whole cab of the car, pounding on the insides of her skull. Tears poured down her cheeks, and she gasped for air.
How was it possible to be suffocated by sound?
Blindly, through her tears, she reached for her car door and swung it open. Luckily, she was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, so there was no way to cause an accident.
In another world, another life, she would’ve never abandoned her car: she bought it herself. But the song was filling her mind, clawing through the fragile, delicate layers of her brain.
Clutching her bag to her chest, her head down, she trudged forward, chest heaving and her throat closing. She was certain that whatever unknown threat was after her, she would never escape it.
That same croak of a voice battled for dominance inside of her mind: those vaguely familiar lyrics and the man shouting at her, to run, run, run!