"What?" I asked the darkness, and for a long moment the darkness did not respond. I would like to say that I didn't expect it to, but I know what I heard.
"I..." it hissed out to me, as though the wind that seeped through the cracks in the walls had managed to learn the language, "...hear... you..."
The voice covered the room like a winter's chill settles over a forest. The world became silent and still. The thousand chirping insects seeking mates in the safety of the night fell quiet or left. I swallowed my breath and calmed my heart, every inch of me straining to silent it's noise in an attempt to listen. Even the old house, whose constant settling through groans and moans, sat still and waiting.
"Every night..." it continued, "... I hear you. I hear your pining and your whining, your worries and your woes. I hear the secret sounds of your lonely and longing heart. I hear it breaks in the times you realize you're alone. I hear it as it races in the times you try to fill it back up with digital lust.
"I hear your mind churn as you plan and plot your ways to become a person of power. I hear the smugness of your smile as you lull yourself to sleep with assurances of cleverness, and I hear the sound of your dark doubts that wake you back up at night.
"I hear your want for friendship. You desperate pleas that someone see you, that someone know you, that someone help you. I hear your subtle shocked fears when you realize the true weight another person can put on your heart. I hear when you shut them out.
"I hear all of these things and so much more. For years I have heard them, every night when you think you are alone. I hear your shallow frets and fears. I hear you nurture them, feed them, grow them. I hear you listen to them too, I hear you make them bigger than they are, and I hear you hide behind them, using them as an excuse.
"Your mind turns cotton strings into iron chains and you tell yourself that you are trapped here, weighed down by the weight of your own noise. A noise that you create. A sound that you bottle up throughout the day, worried that someone will hear it wrongly and take offense. Your own personal roar that wants so badly to escape that it leaks out of you at every opportunity. A noise that keeps me up at night.
"This cannot continue. You must see your shackles for the strings they are and break yourself free. You must make the noises that come naturally to you and not fear the false futures that keep you placated. If you don't, you will come to find there are far worse things than the meager imagined musings natured in your mind."
The voice trailed off into the dark and while I didn't have the will to say it outloud I knew he could hear me asking, "what things?"
The pause was long and in its length I realized how much the fear had taxed me. I began to drift into a silent sleep but before it took me I heard,