"There was a voice in my head that wanted me to do bad things. But of all these things I had done, of all the things the voice made me to do…there was none worse than the very last.”
It started with small things.
The sudden urge to shave off half of an eyebrow, replace shampoo with hair dye, cut a hole in a favorite shirt, pour salt in a drink.
It was sort of like a “prank war” except the pranks weren’t very funny. They were mean sometimes and I don’t know why I did them. It was the little voice in the back of my mind telling me to do these things.
If I didn’t listen to the voice my muscles would twitch, my fingers would spasm. It would command me over and over until the deed was done.
I never told anyone because they’d think I was insane…maybe I was insane. Maybe I was losing my mind. Maybe I already lost it.
But like I said before, it started with small things. But then the small things became medium things.
Deleting contacts from their phones, sending fake messages, stealing things that mean a lot to them, spreading rumors that would hurt them.
Those medium things I did in secret, though. They thought someone on our management team was doing it so we fired a lot of them. I went along with it, pointing an accusatory finger at those who’d been like family to us and worked beside us for years.
The weird thing is, though, I didn’t feel guilty. The voice that controlled me took away my guilt. It took away a lot of things. Control. Guilt. Conscience.
The voice took things from me and it wanted me to take things for it.
It began asking me to do bigger things. Breaking up relationships, ruining careers, ruining lives.
The voice didn’t “ask” me to do them, let me correct that. It made me. It made me do a lot of things.
But of all these things I had done, of all the things the voice made me to do…there was none worse than the very last.
“Boy, you must kill for me. One of the band. I want four in One Direction. Only four. Kill one of the five. Kill. Kill. Kill.”
The “assignment” had been given to me one week ago and the words have been background noise in my mind ever since. My fingers trembled whenever I was near a knife, a bottle of pills, anything like a weapon.
I could not do it. I could not not do it. How would I choose? How would I get away with it?
I would sit on the sofa with one of them playing FIFA on PS3 and images would flash through my mind, the wire of my controller wrapped around his neck. Crushed up pills hidden in one of their meals.
The voice gave me ways to kill and put them in my mind. My body ached from my prolonging the task I would ultimately need to complete.
“Four members in One Direction, you have to get rid of one.”
But how? They were my brothers, they trusted me with their lives. I trusted them with mine. How could I take the trust and abuse that?
I knew I should get help and tell someone about this malevolent voice inside my head but every time I would reach out the voice would send shockwaves through my body and I’d be unable to speak.
Today I woke up in my bunk with my body paralyzed, I could not move. All I could hear was the voice,
“Boy, you need to kill today. If you don’t do it I will make sure you all disappear.”
The voice took over and suddenly I had a thirst for blood. I needed to kill. My fingers itched to be clenched around a knife or a pill bottle.
I’d make it look like a suicide. I’d get them all drunk. We’d all get drunk together—it’d make this easier. I’d make a suicide tweet from his phone. I’d put them in the bathtub with a bottle of vodka and a bottle of pills.
It’d be a pretty way to die, just another rockstar who’d gone bad. Who couldn’t take it. Just another rockstar, just another teenager who couldn’t handle the world.
Tonight in our hotel suite we’d celebrate a recent award win. Just us five boys, liquor and the voice inside my head.
Five of the boys passing around liquor, gulping it down like water. Playing music, snapping pictures, screaming at the top of their lungs. The five boys who’d been together for over three years were wild and happy, euphoria buzzed among them.
Except one of them was only miming euphoria with a façade and false sips of alcohol. One of them was not drunk. He could not get drunk, he had things to do.
He pretended to be drunk, though. He wanted to play along. The voice told him to play along. The voice kept telling him what to do, telling him to hurry up. Make five into four.
“I love you all, I would marry all of you if you had boobs,” Harry calls out, spilling a bit of liquor on Zayn.
“I’m already married to all of you!” Niall shouts, giving each a loud kiss on the forehead.
“That’s incest! We’re like brothers!” Zayn adds, laughing hysterically at his own little joke.
“I incest that you’re all insane,” Louis jokes, laughing so hard he can barely finish. “You get it? Incest sounds like insist?”
“Everything’s funny when you’re drunk,” Liam adds with a slur, letting out a whoop and patting Louis’ shoulder.
The party slowly begins to die down and four of the boys are either to the point of sleepy delirium or blatantly passed out around the plush room.
“Do it. Do it right now.” The voice says, echoing in one of the boys’ minds. “Now is the time.”
Chills run downs his spine and goosebumps cover his arms.
Five would become four, who should he choose?
He quietly fills the bathtub, taking a phone and typing the simple tweet.
“It’s not your fault, I’m sorry I was not strong enough. This is my last good bye, this is my last song. Good night and good bye.”
One of the five is brought into the bathroom, where the tub is finally filled.
He takes the pill bottle that he’d snatched and slides pills past lips. A bottle of Jack goes in the other hand as he presses send on the tweet.
He waits in the dark until his least favorite would be gone. Dead. The voice slowly began to fade as does a life.
Five became four as the fully clothed boy in the bathtub slipped away with the pills and alcohol.
The phone of the now deceased buzzes like crazy with worried messages and phone calls but it’s too late.
The voice is gone, now.
It was hard to choose which boy to kill, which of his brothers. So he chose his least favorite, he chose the easiest way to do it.
There’s always been one boy he liked less than the others.
Pounding heads, hangovers. Clothes and empty cups. One of them is missing.
Harry wakes up first and notices the absence of a familiar face. Probably having some “hangover fun” with the porcelain throne in the bathroom.
He laughs to himself and ignores his pounding head as he steps over his sleepy friends and heads towards the bathroom.
The carpet is damp and water seeps from the bathroom. He hears water still running and he sees an envelope taped to the door.
“Open this before you open the door.”
It says, the handwriting is messy and Harry is suddenly afraid. He opens the letter with careful hands, his eyes struggling to focus on the messy words.
“There was a voice in my head that wanted me to do bad things and I did them until one of them was too much. It wanted me to make our band a band of only four. I thought about it for a long time and realized I could not live without any of you and so I decided to take myself away. Do not open the door, do not see me like this. You could not save me, the voice would not go away, it would not let you help. I am okay now and I will be okay. Thank you for being the best brothers a guy could have. Tell my family I love them. xx Niall.”
He can’t help himself, he opens the door despite the wishes. He sees pale skin and the bottoms of his jeans soak with water as he wades toward the tub. Broken glass and pills on the granite tile. He grabs the blonde’s cold wrist and checks for a pulse.
None. Tears slide down his cheeks and all he hears is the sound of water dripping and the faucet still going.
But then the near silence is broken with a strange voice and his legs begin to shake, the strangest voice he’d ever heard.
“Five became four but I prefer three. Four left in One Direction. You have to get rid of one.”