Twenty minutes later, he pulled up at Robert’s office. Tim jogged past an empty Corvette where Robert was already waiting inside for him. He sat looking through Tim’s medical charts, studying what he saw.
Robert glanced up at Tim. “According to these records, your ears were fine when I checked them last.”
Tim managed a nervous grin. “I think you poked and prodded every orifice I had.”
Robert smiled and stood up from his chair. “That’s my job, Bonehead. Now get back to the examining room so I can take a better look at you.”
In the well-equipped examining room, Tim sat on a high, vinyl-covered bed while Robert scrubbed his hands in the sink. Tim sat both quietly and patiently as Robert took his vitals. Robert occasionally glanced at a chart, comparing today’s numbers with those of the last physical. He spent a good amount of time checking Tim’s ears also.
Robert peeled his latex gloves off and stood in front of Tim, silently thinking to himself. At last he said, “For the life of me, I can’t find anything wrong.”
Tim wasn’t sure whether he should feel relief or anxiety. He certainly felt better just having someone in the room with him. “So what do you want to do now, Doc?”
“I’d like to give you a hearing test. Just because everything looks OK doesn’t mean it is. While I’m in the other room setting up the equipment, why don’t you get dressed? I’ll return when everything’s ready. Um – will you be all right by yourself for a few minutes?”
Tim put on a brave smile. “Of course. Disembodied voices may be a nuisance, but they aren’t going to hurt me.”
Robert stood there for a moment as though debating whether to believe him or not. He shrugged then turned and walked out of the room, leaving Tim alone to get his shirt buttoned up.
Within a few minutes, Tim was redressed. He stood in front of the sink, staring into the mirror. He ran a comb through his light brown hair. He needed a shave and his eyes, matching his hair color, were bloodshot indicating he needed a good night’s rest. Both of these would have to wait until a more appropriate time.
“How can you live with yourself?”
He jumped back in stark terror. The voice seemed to emanate from the sink drain. He looked back up at the mirror, his face pale white. Was that the reflection of a murderer looking back at him?
Were the voices right? Did he really kill Becky? The evidence of his misdeed was plain to see in the bathroom this morning. But without a body, none of it seemed real. Had he buried her corpse somewhere? The voices refused to go away. They…
“You don’t deserve to live.”
Tim barely managed to clamp a hand over his mouth, stifling a horrified scream. He crept toward the sink, eyes filled with terror. He leaned forward just enough to see the drain. It looked ordinary enough, but the voice must have come from there. He’d heard it with his own ears.
“Kill yourself now, just like you killed her.”
Almost instantly, he found himself on the opposite side of the room, his back next to the door. Tim imagined the drain forming a circular, metallic mouth, lined with shark-like teeth. He must be losing his mind. It was the only answer. Inanimate objects don’t talk. The voice must be the guilty subconscious of his mind – the part that knew of Becky’s murder. No! No! No! He didn’t do it! He may have thought about it, but he didn’t follow through. Did he?
Tim balled up his fists and struck his forehead. He wanted the voices to stop. He had to drive them from his head. He’d beat them out if necessary.
Tim shrieked when the door beside him opened up. “Good grief!” Robert exclaimed. What in God’s name is wrong? You look as though you’ve seen a ghost!”
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