“A MURDERER! That’s what you are!”
A voice grated from the radio and ricocheted around. A familiar fear gripped Alex.
The voices were back!
His mouth suddenly went dry while his heart thumped against his ribs ready to explode. He tried to steady his trembling hand as he flicked the switches of the radio one after the other.
Obviously, none of the switches worked. The radio had been a trifling display-piece, till a while ago…
He pulled out the cord connecting the radio to the electric socket but as expected the belligerent voice continued, “You are a curse, a ball, and chain to the existence of people around you! A pestilential menace.”
He yanked open the drawer and gulped down his tablets. Alex, a professor at the local University, felt his knees give in as he collapsed on the floor, with the radio hanging loosely in his clammy hand.
It had been years since he was diagnosed and treated as a case of schizophrenia. The voices, his earliest symptoms were clearly getting a second wind.
The memories from the past unshackled themselves and writhed in front of him. His much younger form, screaming and railing, as his father whisked him to the hospital. A hairpin curve on the road —and it had cost him his father!
Alex clamped his eyes shut.
It had taken years of medication and psychotherapy; he couldn’t let his eyes off the ball this time. He had to do it for Lena, his wife, who had tenaciously stuck around, rain, or shine.
It had been days since he had let Lena enter his room. He stared at himself in the mirror as Lena stroked his unruly stubble.
The sweat-stained shirt hung loosely on his scrawny frame. The ashtray could barely contain the mounds of cigarette butts heaped on it, the floor was littered with empty beer cans and discarded bits of papers. The goddamned radio had been blathering since weeks even after the change of medication.
“Damn! You are a maggot! A first-order pr**k! You seem to be hell-bent on maiming and mucking up her life now! When will she ever get rid of you?” The pugnacious voice from the radio resounded across the room.
Alex grabbed the radio and flung it on the floor. The vitriol, however, kept pouring out from it. Lena rushed over to steady Alex as he doubled over, covering his ears with his hands.
“Madam, it’s a definite case of suicide. Your husband Alex has clearly stated his inability to ward off his affliction in his suicide note”, the constable summarized.
Lena threw a glance at the radio lying on the mantlepiece.
The radio, which she had rigged with motion-detecting infra-red sensors. A flicker of movement around it was enough to bring the recorded voices — ‘the hallucinations’ to life.
‘Your mind is your most powerful weapon’, she recalled Alex’s favourite quote.
And so is the radio— powerful and perfect … she snickered as she completed the quote in her head.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by relapsing episodes of psychosis. The symptoms include hallucinations (often hearing voices), delusions, social withdrawal and lack of personal care. Symptoms typically build gradually, usually beginning in childhood.
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