The voice had been speaking to him for what seemed like hours. Or maybe it had been days. Hell, for all Daniel knew it could have been years. It had a way of getting to him, and it unnerved him that he did not know where it came from. He pressed his hands to his ears but he could still hear it. Echoing in his head, saying his name, whispering, making him remember. And he did remember. He remembered very well indeed the horror it had brought into his life. But more than anything, he remembered the calm he had felt when he first spoke to it.
“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanieeeeeeel,” said the voice. It sounded strange, different from the way it had sounded before somehow. The way it spoke his name had an almost gentle quality to it. It sounded like the feeling you get when you are cradling a baby in your arms. To Daniel’s mind it brought the image of a gentle caress. He wondered why it was speaking to him in this way.
“Why are you saying my name like that?” asked Daniel. The sudden change in tone unnerved him. He had preferred it when the voice was referring to him as ‘fleshling’. It helped him separate the experience from reality.
“I have been… so… lonely,” said the voice. “All this time, so, so, lonely…”
Daniel took a deep breath and spoke. “What are you?” There were a million other questions going through his head, but this one seemed like the most pertinent to ask at this point.
“Strange,” said the voice. “I have never thought about that. All I have known, all that I have ever been was loneliness.”
“How far back can you remember?” asked Daniel. “What is the first thing you can remember?”
For a few minutes Daniel did not hear the voice. During this short period of time he started to wonder if he had imagined the whole thing. He was still coming to terms with the possibility of this happening when the voice suddenly spoke once again.
“What is… first?” said the voice.
“What?” asked Daniel, thoroughly confused by the question. “How am I supposed to know? You would know what the first thing you remember is!”
“I do not know what that means,” said the voice.
“You don’t know what… what means?” asked Daniel.
“That word. First. What does it mean?”
Daniel was at a loss for words. “I… I don’t quite know how to explain it. I guess… if I described your memories as a sequence of events, the first thing would be, well… the first thing. I don’t know how else to describe it. It is the thing that happened before anything else.”
“Before?” said the voice. “What does that mean?”
Daniel was slowly starting to realize that the owner of the voice was rather naïve. He began to feel a curious feeling upon this realization. He began to feel just a little bit excited.