Stephen shined his flashlight on the opposite wall of the small security room. "You should try to get a job as a night guard at the mall." he could hear Greg's voice in his head, and he could imagine him spinning in his little office chair as he said it, "It'll be exciting, you'll get plenty of time to work on your midterm papers, and it'll finally give me some time alone in the dorm for a night!"
"Lazy ass..." Stephen chuckled as he thought of his roommate back at the community college, "This is a great time to work on my papers, but it's not exciting... And he's more than likely not alone..."
He smiled to himself. He made a few amateurish shadow puppets on the wall using his flashlight. He got up and walked over to the door of the security room. He flicked the light switch that was next to the entrance, and was instantly flooded with such bright light that it made him wince. He had gotten used to the darkness in such a little time. He flicked off the little yellow flashlight that had been given to him by the head of security that morning.
"This is for you, in case you decide to take a stroll around the mall." the man had said, "We can't have you turn on the full mall lights, for obvious reasons, but you can use this for walking around. Just be sure not to screw anything up on the first day. We had several other guards who were caught stealing things, accidentally wrecking up displays, and there was even this one guy who was caught... Jacking off to some of the manakins."
"What happened to that guy?" Stephen had asked.
"Well, we fired him, of course!" the head of security had responded, "I have no clue what happened to him after that... And truly, I don't care. He could be rotting away in some mental institution for all I know."
"Well, I'll assure you." Stephen grinned, "I won't be institutionalized after the first day. I'll at least wait a few weeks before that."
The security guard had laughed at that comment. He probably would have laughed at anybody though, just to make sure they enjoyed it here. If they had quit, then it would probably be very difficult to find another night guard. Especially since it was almost Halloween. He seemed like a nice guy. Stephen couldn't remember exactly what he'd said his name was, but he could remember it wasn't something like 'Bob' or 'Carl'.
He looked at the flashlight. "In case you decide to take a stroll around the mall." he could hear Not-Bob's voice echo in his mind. With some kind of semi-determination that had come from somewhere inside him that he wasn't completely sure even existed, he flicked on the flashlight, and turned off the light to the monitor-laden security room.
He took a quick look around the small area before leaving. He found it ironic that the security room was the only place in the entire mall without security cameras.
The rest of the mall was just as dark as the small security 'apartment', as Not-Bob had put it. It had looked exactly like Stephen had felt it would- Like something out of some stupid zombie movie- and yet, despite expecting as much, he started to feel weird.
He thought he heard something from a little ways off, but shrugged it off. "It's nothing..." he said, not even contemplating the possibility of a criminal, "The main difference between this and something straight from the mind of R.L.Stine is that I'm not some idiot kid who jumps at every sound I hear..."
"What about every voice?" he heard out of nowhere.
This startled him, unlike the other noise. "Who said that!?" he shouted, waving his flashlight around.
He sighed. "I guess I am some idiot kid, in a sense..." he said to himself, "Imagining voices in my head... If there really was someone here, he would not point out his presence to me... In fact, he would probably avoid me... It's just my head playing tricks on me..."
"Yes... Yes it is..." the voice said. Stephen jumped again, but not as much. The voice was fairly similar to his, he noted.
"Alright..." he sighed, "Now I know I'm hearing things... Maybe I'm just going paranoid..."
"'Paranoid'..." the voice chuckled, "It's funny because it's true."
By this point, Stephen had simply accepted the voices presence. He knew that it was only his imagination. He tried to think like a psychiatrist. He remembered that psychology class he had taken for a short time back at the college. He felt that this voice was just some kind of 'imaginary friend' he had subconsciously created to cure his boredom, at least for a short while. "So, me..." he said aloud, trying to start a conversation with 'himself', in a way, "What are you doing here?"
"Well, I had nothing better to do, so I decided I would come talk to you for a bit..." the voice said in a sarcastic tone.
"Why don't you usually speak to me?" Stephen continued, feeling oddly at ease with the voice now that he knew it was only a figment of his bored mind.
"Well," the voice answered casually, "Usually your in the dorm. The dorm is where all the lady voices hang out. I think of it as a sort of Dementia bar."
"Witty..." Stephen chuckled, "I like that. So, now that I have a job here at the mall, do you think we can speak more often?"
"Well, I wanted to come here to see what it was like..." the voice said, "But so far, it's just been boring. I was thinking of just transferring over to Greg's mind and staying at the dorm next time."
"You can do that?"
"Of course I can!" the voice answered cheerfully, "I'm like a sort of deity! I can do anything that I feel like doing!"
"Well, that's great for you!" Stephen said, in his mind only this time, not aloud, "So you kind of have complete control over the mind?"
"Yes, that's correct." the voice said, "In fact, I can even control you. Raise your hand."
Stephen playfully raised his hand. "That's amazing he said!"
"And that's not all!" the voice said, "I can control your thoughts too! Right now... You are thinking of that guy who was fired for jacking off to the manakins!"
"Awww, man!" Stephen laughed, "I almost forgot about that, too! So, do you enjoy Halloween?"
"Of course!" the voice said, "All the voices get together and go trick-or-treating, taking bits and pieces of information from each house as they go along on their merry way in their adorable little costumes! I remember my first time trick-or-treating! My favorite house was that drunk guy who was giving away his driving skill."
"That's great!" Stephen exclaimed to himself, "We have some Halloween ball at the college. I still have to get a costume, though."
"Well, let's get one now!" the voice said, "We're in the mall, aren't we!"
Suddenly, without realizing it, Stephen was standing up, grinning to himself as he walked to the clothing store, which he knew had a costume section in the back. Without second thought, he walked up to the locked door, and pulled out his key ring.
He didn't even attempt to sort through the keys, because by this point, he was completely out of it. He had no clue what was happening. He was simply there. There was no thought. The voice had taken over, and he hadn't even realized it.
He randomly started placing keys into the lock, and if they didn't work, he happily moved onto the next one. He had eventually made his way into the store and started his way to the back of the room. He stopped to stare at one of the manakins.
It's faceless body made him remember the story about the perverted man who had gotten fired for thinking it was a bit too pretty. He exploded into laughter, and said "What an idiotic man! I hope I never meet someone as crazy as that!"
He continued his trek to the costume section. He started shuffling through the costumes, throwing anything he didn't feel good enough onto the floor. "None of these are scary! What do you think I should get, buddy?"
"Be a ninja!" the voice cackled, knowing he had won control over Stephen, "You can never go wrong with ninjas!"
"Excellent!" Stephen said, still out loud, not realizing that he was slowly drifting farther away from sanity with each breath he took.
"No, wait!" the voice said, suddenly getting gruff, losing whatever resemblance it had to Stephen when it had first spoke with him, "I have a better idea! You should go as a zombie!"
"I don't see a zombie costume here..." Stephen said, sorting through the costumes, stepping all over the ones he had already knocked onto the floor.
"Then make your own! You don't have to buy a costume like the rest of the world says!" the voice said sinisterly.
"How?" Stephen said. He was completely gone now. He was no longer the Stephen he was when he walked into the mall earlier that day. He was now a puppet, completely dependant upon the voice that didn't even exist as far as anyone besides Stephen knew.
"It's simple..." the voice said, "First you have to go to the home improvement store... From there we proceed with making our costume!"
Stephen didn't question the voices orders. He ran out of the clothing area as fast as he could, knocking over the manakin that he had laughed at on his way to the back of the store.
He ran to the home improvement store, and began with the same process of randomly selecting keys that he had used to get in the clothes store. Once, he was inside, he asked aloud: "Now what do I do!?"
"Go to the kitchen supplies area... It's aisle 14, I think."
He did as he was told.
"Now..." the voice, the new Stephen, continued, "You need a knife..."
"Does it matter what kind?" Stephen, or the person who once was Stephen, said.
"No, it doesn't... But the larger it is, the better..."
"Alright..." Stephen said, grabbing a large butcher knife off of the wall.
"Now, simply take the knife..." the voice said, becoming inhuman, speaking in a language only Stephen seemed to understand, "... And shove it into your chest as hard as you can. You'll be a corpse in no time!"
From this point, you know what happened. Stephen blindly followed the demands of his new 'best friend', and shoved the knife into his chest.
The police found his body the next day. He was still smiling, they had noted, despite having a large knife enlodged in his stomach. He had died happily. He had died not as himself, but as another person who was not feeling. A person that didn't exist, and therefore didn't care for his safety. A person who blindly accepted orders from a stranger who only existed in his head, and then became a stranger to himself.
He became a voice. Just like the rest of the Earth's population. One among millions of delusioned men and women, accepting orders from higher powers, and going out of their way to protect them, despite what is asked. A puppet to society. A human being.
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