Angela watched her window curtains billowing like ghosts in the breeze. It was a mild summer night, her sheets freshly washed, but she couldn’t sleep. After months of peace, the whispers started again. She tried playing music, using earplugs, even took sleeping pills. But the voices would penetrate her dreams.

Frustrated with tossing and turning, Angela got out of bed, pulled on a robe, and went to the kitchen. She flipped on the light and noticed she left the nook window open. After closing and locking the window, she poured a glass of wine from the bottle she had started on before bed and sat down at the dinner table. The whispers seemed to multiply, hungrily calling out to her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she heard a noise behind her. Her eyes flipped open as she got out of the chair and swung around. Before she could scream, a large gloved hand wrapped around her throat.

“Don’t scream,” the man said. ” Just give me what I want, and everything will be alright.” He was young, his shaggy black hair hanging over one of his dark brown eyes. She wondered why he wasn’t wearing a mask, then her eyes widened with realization. He meant to kill her. Was this the murderer she heard about on the news last night? The one who took eyes as well as valuables? She squeezed her eyes shut, fought against the bile rising in her throat.

“Relax, ” he said, caressing her face with his free hand. “Like I said, everything will be alright. Now, I’m going to let you go and we’re going to get your purse. Got it?” Angela nodded and the man slowly released his hand from her throat. She fought the urge to scream and claw at his empty eyes. She couldn’t believe her home had been broken into for the second time in the year she owned it.

“Where?” he asked, grabbing her arm.

“In the closet in the hall,” she whispered.

“Take me,” he demanded. His breath smelled of cigarettes and tequila.

Angela walked slowly out of the kitchen and into the hall. She stopped at the closet door and put her trembling hand on the knob.

“Wait,” he said. “I’ll open it.” He shoved her against the wall. “Don’t move.” Still squeezing her arm, he turned the knob on the door and pulled it open. The sound of the voices filled the house like a hurricane. Angela shut her eyes. She felt the man’s hand clawing into her arm, felt him being pulled, but she didn’t move or scream, just braced herself. When finally his hand released, she slammed the closet door shut, never opening her eyes, not wanting to see them.

The house was silent now except for the sound of Angela hyperventilating. After a few moments, she gained control of herself and walked back to the kitchen. She sat down at the dinner table and took a drink from her wine glass. She would be able to sleep tonight. Tomorrow she would look into selling the house.


Lisa Lerma Weber’s nights are filled with nightmares and strange dreams. Her words and photography have appeared online and in print. She is a junior editor for Versification.