Mr. Roger Auclair heard nothing but the sound of his wheelchair for months, or maybe it was years. He was a lonely man; it was his own choice.
It was a long time ago when he decided to move by the sea. It was a dream he and his wife, now long gone, had. A youth-filled dream that was fulfilled unfortunately too late for her to enjoy. He wished he did things differently, but that's human fate for most of us.
Alone in his mansion, he came and went. He turned on and off the lights and stood by the window to watch the mysterious sea every morning and night. Occasionally someone would pass by, but usually, there would be seagulls and stray dogs.
Autumn was a special season, windy and quiet unlike any other. You could compare it to winter, but Autumn had something special. It was the wind, the humidity, maybe the excess of rain.
There was one special night, the darkest of all. On that night he felt the call; an invisible invitation coming from upstairs.
It happened during one of those times he would stare at his old photographs: Remembering his wife in her wedding dress, the birth of his first child, that trip to Florida.
Suddenly something woke him from his thoughts, it was one single sound. Droning, he thought he had never heard something like it before. It was as if the abyss had a voice and the nothingness had melody.
He tried to clear his ears and shook his head. As the sound continued and his curiosity grew, he steeled himself. feeling a compulsion driving him, he threw himself to the ground out from his chair. He didn't mind, he didn't feel a thing despite his age and condition. Because like half of his body, as well as half of his soul, he was already numb.
He helped himself up the stairs with his hands, elbows, and arms. He dragged himself with a strength he didn't know he even possessed to reach that second floor.
With every grunt, every step, he pulled himself forward. Visions of times long ago in the army flashed before his eyes. He saw himself crawling under barbed wire through mud and blood. Explosions from mortars and grenades, and the deaf ringing from the shockwave in his head... and there it was... The sound!
Shell shock is what they called it, an overwhelming shot to the nervous system. Leaving a man blank, lost, and trembling not knowing why on a conscious level. He always found it difficult to come back, mainly because he didn't want to come back at all. After all the blankness, for a moment at least, would take him away from the destruction around him. Something surely never easy to forget; the bloodbath he never asked for.
Body to ground, Roger kept dragging himself up the spiral staircase. The void's emptiness continued ever louder. When he arrived at the top, sweating and shaking. He looked to one side and then the other of the hall. Following the strange noise, he reached the entrance of the old bedroom.
The door was half ajar and he could see a strange violet sparkling light emitting from the room. The old man opened the door and he couldn't believe what he was seeing... A hole in the wall. A perfect black hole, swirling and spitting shadows all over the scene. There was a ghostly light that shone and fainted in front of him. Light and darkness, the two opposites dancing together.
The loud continuous noise kept beckoning him like a siren's song. Roger thought to himself. ''Was this a portal going to another dimension? Should I call someone to investigate?''.
He was overwhelmed by confusion. Mouth agape, he touched his chin then scratched his head. He thought it was a dream. Could it be a dream? He believed he was out of his mind. He wondered if he had a heart attack and this was his call to finally go. It was after all... The light at the end of the tunnel everyone speaks about! Although less welcoming than he would have envisioned he could feel himself being seduced by its eerie and alluring glow.
He laid there on the floor staring. Time seemed irrelevant or even non-existent. Roger tried to keep a cautionary distance, but eventually, the attraction was impossible to bear any longer.
As his obsession to investigate grew, he could hold it any longer. The old man touched the hole with the tip of his index finger.
Just like that, it was as if Roger Auclair vanished and the hole closed. The violet light, the deafening sound, and the lonely man who once upon some seconds lived in the mansion were all gone.
It has been a long while since Roger chose the "quietest house". The house with the beach view, where all there was to be heard was the squeaky noise of his wheelchair and the sound of the waves rolling. The waves, coming and going... giving and taking, forever and ever.
It was on that darkest night when Roger and the sea became one. You see... the portal... that fantastic glowing hole... transported him to the bottom of the sea.
He didn't know where he was and he didn't care much. There he was floating in this abstract space of oblivion... Where there is no air, no view, no sound, no color, only idleness, only silence, and only the void.
He tried one time to scream into the guts of the ocean. While the coldness wrapped his bones, only one noiseless gasp escaped him. His lungs filled with water, his heart dry of hope, his eyes opened but he saw nothing. It was in that moment Roger ceased. His body drifted weightlessly in the cold wet darkness. Forevermore in his watery tomb bearing witness to the void he had felt all those long years without his wife, because Roger was an old lonely man... surrendering himself long ago to the inevitable.
It was the darkest house, it was the deepest sea... where he locked himself and threw away the key.