If You Listen Long Enough, Eventually You’ll Hear It

Christopher stood at the kitchen sink, turning the glass over and over in his pruned palms. He held it under the faucet and rinsed the suds from inside and outside. This glass was his favorite, and most used. You could see the faded Guinness emblem on the side. It looked as if it was a painting that someone brought a wet brush across. He stood there and considered how many times he had washed this item. A conservative estimate of fourteen hundred times came to his mind. He liked the way the glass felt in his hands. It was more of a mug in truth, in the style of a beer stein that one might get passed if in attendance at the Munich Festivals of the fall in Germany.

The stream of water coming from the faucet put forth a constant drone of squish. It was a thunderous waterfall in an all too empty house. Chris was comforted by the white noise. He could spend hours at the sink lost in thought. The water was real, and felt good as it removed the filth of the dirty dishes. He always seemed to be able to hold onto the glasses and dishes no matter how wet his hands, or slippery the items were with soap. It was a unprofitable and preternatural talent

The final rinse of the mug was finished and he turned it upside down and placed it in the dish strainer to dry. As he reached for the next dish, he heard a hoarse raspy utterance from behind him.

“Chrisss!”

He turned around and there was no one there. He was alone in the house. He reasoned that he was hearing things. No, it was the faucet he thought. Yes, the faucet’s stream of water made the sound that he thought was a person calling his name. He grabbed the faucet handle and pulled it down to stop the water from streaming. Then he turned it back on with an exploding hishhhhhhhhhh.

Satisfied with the rational explanation, he turned his attention back to the sink and the dish still in his left palm. He grabbed the sponge that was floating in the suds bowl at the lower right of the sink and brought it over the surface of the dish.

“Chrissssss!”

He heard it again, and immediately turned off the faucet. The appropriate silence followed. He was certain that he heard his name this time. He put the dish down in the sink and grabbed the dishtowel. It was beyond wet. He rubbed his hands back and forth across the lap of his jeans to get them drier. They remained wet, so he grabbed hold of the roll of paper towels and spun a ribbon of sheets off the roll and proceeded to blot his hands until moderately dry.

Chris then walked towards the bathroom door beside the kitchen island behind him. He turned the knob and flicked the switch outside of the door simultaneously. Then he swung the door open to expose the occupant of the bathroom.

There was no one there.

He went to the backdoor and looked out onto the deck. He could only see blackness. He had to turn off the main kitchen light in order to see outside. There was no one out there. Chris was certain he heard his name this time. He went and checked the rest of the rooms on the first floor. He found nothing.

He knew that the sounds could not have come from upstairs. He heard his name come from just over his shoulder. If someone was there and moved out of the kitchen quickly, he would have heard them on the old wooden stairs. Since the first floor was clear there was no one there to call his name. He was sure of it. He was also sure he heard it.

“It almost sounded like, but no, it couldn’t be…” he said out loud to himself.

This was quite unusual. He wondered if he was starting to imagine things, and if the stress of work was finally getting to him.

He returned to the sink and grabbed the dish. He pulled the faucet handle up and let the water flow again.  He grabbed his mug from the dish strainer and filled it with water and drank. Some of the water squirted out the sides of his mouth as he lost his breath and coughed. He put the mug under the faucet and soaped it again.

“Chris, don’t turn around honey…” said the voice.

Chris turned around quickly, and lost hold of the mug. It flew to the left and hit the stove then smashed onto the floor.   His favorite mug was in pieces all over the kitchen floor. He frantically looked through all of the rooms again, the bathroom, and then ran upstairs to check to see if there was someone else there.

There wasn’t anyone there. He came back down the stairs and grabbed the car keys from the peg beside the door and got out of the house. He walked to the car in a hurry, and opened the door and slipped in. He turned the car over, and pulled a three-point turn in order to get out of the common driveway. He almost hit his neighbors Volvo as he negotiated the final backing up motion. He then shot out of the driveway into the traffic lane. Luckily, no one was coming down the road.

He looked into the rearview mirror to see if he was being followed. There was nothing or no one behind him. There wasn’t even the dark shadow of a pursuer coming from the house or driveway as he had expected to see in the rearview mirror.

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