• J. M. Aznárez


I had always, as a child, wished for a world in which magic was real. Not the “magic” one might encounter at a show or a birthday event - for even back then I knew it was nothing more than clever tricks and sleight of hand - but true magic; the kind that populated the myriad books, films and videogames I consumed during my younger years. More often than not I stood by this wish, this… longing, to the point where it almost became a belief, perhaps even a certainty - there had, by force if not by necessity, to be more to this dull, drab, drudging existence than what I had so far experienced. I stuck to this desperate certainty with a young boy's stoic stubbornness, but was, inevitably, bound to be disappointed; for the inexorable and soulless march of Reality tolerates no resistance and makes no exceptions. Thus, as I grew older, I had to come to terms with the apparent fact that there had never been, and there never would be, true magic in this world - and this took me a long time, a titanic effort, and a desperate war against a savagely ravenous depression.

Now, however, magic has found me, and on its harrowing heels have come terror, grief and an insurmountable anguish. I spent the first thirty years of my life wishing that the stories were real, and now, in a most wicked twist of fate, I find myself trapped in a tale which I would give anything to escape from.

And yet…

It has been two and a half weeks since my chance encounter with the radio in the river, and still it sits there, in my living room, neatly centred atop the coffee table. A little over two weeks have passed since I almost lost my hearing to what I have come to call the Wail, and still I find myself unable to pick it up and throw it away, back into the river, no doubt following in the footsteps of my predecessor. I am well aware that any other normal individual would have most likely gotten rid of it the second the Wailing started. They would have screamed and been frightened, and would speak of it to those around them. They would perhaps not care that others might doubt the veracity of their account, for their ears would be bleeding and stranger things have happened. They would, indeed, seek the support of family and loved ones, and presumably they would find it, and slowly but surely the whole experience would begin to fade and eventually dissolve in the ephemeral mist of human memory.

But I am alone. I am alone because in the beginning I was forced to, and thereon I kept it so. When the Wail took place no friendly faces came to mind, and when it was over I did not think to ask for help. My parents passed when I was young, and I have kept to myself ever since.

So I held on to the radio, and I sit in front of it some evenings, listening to dead people die, hoping to hear my mother again and praying to the uncaring void that I am spared the pain of hearing my father.

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