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The Mystery of the Haunted Radio

Auditory hallucinations are the province of the schizophrenic. I wouldn't tell this story if it had been a subjective experience. I recognize myself as an unreliable narrator. But the things I heard, others heard. The things that happened to me, happened to my family. That alone gives me the confidence to tell you this. This story of how I became known as Sinister.

First, I have to clear up something. In earlier entries I said that I attended a Private school, but I also claimed to be homeschooled. Both are true. Grapeyard Elementary was my first school. Messianic Pilgrim Elementary was my second. Patriot Junior High was my third. Homeschool was my fourth and final resort.

Of those different educations, MPE was by far my favorite. We walked to Mass every Friday, sometimes in hail or rain. We did the stations of the cross on Easter. Chanted "Hail Marys" for every bead of a rosary, went to(but I did not participate) confession and took the Holy Eucharist with a shot of Welch's grape juice. We studied Transubstantiation and prayed over every meal. I hadn't given my life to Christ or anything; not at that point. I was Methodist first, Baptist second, Catholicism was a distant third. So my life had a lot of Jesus, for an unbaptized child. I'm not bitter about it. I love my Christian roots, despite how far afield my life has led me.

I remember one year we went to a monastery where they made the Holy Eucharist. We were given a giant bag of unleavened scraps that sat at the front of the classroom, where we were allowed, during lessons to go and get a handful to eat like popcorn. Most of the teachers were also Nuns. Sister Marie Geraldine Payne, sticks out in my memory. I used her unfortunate name to taunt and drive home to my parents the sort of place they paid tuition to send me.

Normal school buses didn't serve MPE, so all students were driven to school at 6 o'clock by parents. We still lived a nice long drive away, so I got up extra early and watched Transformers on the Sci-Fi channel, while my Mom made me PB&J sandwiches or packed Lunchables™. When it was time to go, we drove to school in the family minivan, which was a Toyota Previa, that I had later nicknamed "Silver Bullet."

Morning radio was mostly "Talk Radio" which neither I, nor my Mother, could stomach. So we listened to tape decks and CDs. I had burned through my tape of Pink Floyd's The Wall. I had secretly stopped listening to my favorite tapes, Elton John and Queen, because my schoolmates had made fun of me. They told me those bands were "gay". I didn't know what that meant, but I'd be damned if I gave them one more reason to make fun of me. And my mother didn't know yet about the Nirvana tape I had found at a local playground.

So the radio was our only option that morning. In our area, we either listened to 102.2 River City Rock, 98.9 Classic Rock, Country Music or the aforementioned Talk Radio. 102.2 was playing Mr. Brownstone by GNR. That was a no-go while Mom was driving, so she made me change the channel. Giant gaps of static separated radio stations out in the sticks. Mother and I were arguing or had just finished arguing. We did that a lot in those days, less so now. And in reaching across the dial to find something to listen to, I heard a voice come through the static crystal clear.

"Victory!" growled through the static, in what I can only describe as a demonic voice. Let me impress upon you right now, that it was such a horrifying voice that I'm talking about it now, decades later. I was busy trying to decide what had just happened when my mother:

"You heard that, right? Right, Sin?"

"Yeah. I heard it."

I went back to the frequency and left it there. Nothing. Just static. I started swinging back and forth a few megahertz, but there really was nothing there. I felt that, right then and there, something important had been decided by some Laplace's Demon. Maybe about my future? Maybe about my Mother's? Perhaps it concerned the both of us and thus we both heard it? Did that make sense? I didn't know.

MPE had a pretty healthy library. I spent the next two grades renting and reading every single book about Demons, Monsters, Ghosts, Witches and Hauntings. It didn't matter if it was fictional, anecdotal or folk legends. I started watching horror movies on the sly. This was, in my opinion at the time, a way of preparing. I didn't know what voice had declared victory nor against what opponent or force, but I had determined that it would not be against me. From that moment on, I was a Paladin. A force of Godly Wisdom and Righteousness, invulnerable to the forces of darkness. I prayed, was baptized and saved, read my Bible daily.

A strange thing happened. We had TVs, computers, phones and Cd players, baby monitors, speakers and headphones. In our house, in our cars and over every electronic device we owned that was capable of sound, a rhythmic beat would play at odd moments. I can hear it in my head now. I wouldn't know how to reproduce it here, but I'll try. It was fast and almost percussive. The speaker would crackle at first and then a low monotone register pulse would play: "_ .. _ .. _ _" We remarked on it the first couple of times, but it quickly became routine of just this thing that happened. I don't think our family even really bothered to tell anyone. I wouldn't know why. I didn't know if they thought it wasn't important, maybe they thought everyone's electronics did this?

But this went on for years. Occasionally, we would pick up our house phone only, instead of a dial tone, we'd end up listening, on our phones, to conversations happening a half mile down the line, on our cousin's house.

All of this weirdness, my Dad would just shrug his shoulders, laugh and say: "Well, that's ominous."

I didn't know what "ominous" was, but then came my third grade spelling list. We were to spell the words and then write a quick definition. Sinister was tucked in somewhere near the bottom and, after a little research, I found ominous listed next to Sinister in the thesaurus. I felt that that was the perfect word to describe all that had happened, all the horror stories I had read, the dark passages of the Bible of dead rising and seven-headed dragons with crowns, the giant statue of my dead lord and savior in the chapel. My mental fixations had become Sinister.

And when I had finally got my mandated copy of Pokemon Yellow and a gameboy and joined my very first forum, Euro-Asian Gameboy (<Click here for a sad bit of internet history)... To register, I had to enter a Username... The only one I could think of was Sinister, or for short, they could always just call me

-Sin

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