Silence

Samantha Kelly

The sign appeared one night, painted on the wall in perfectly formed black letters. Or at least, it wasn’t there when curfew began and was by the time you all woke up. But you suppose it could have been there all along and no one saw it – you have some experience with that. Of being unseen. Not that you mind. You’ve always been more concerned with what’s directly below your feet than around you. You have a job to do after all, and it’s only once the floors are clean that you can risk a glance up.

 

You hadn’t known what the sign meant at first. You do now.

 

That morning, months ago now, voices were raised, tumbling over each other. Wanting to be listened to. You did not raise your voice, did not speak at all. Since birth, whenever you opened your mouth to reach for sound, nothing happened. Some primordial lesson in your mother’s womb you don’t recall having missed. They used to think you were a burden. There is no one left to think at all now.

 

It took you weeks to get the floors clean again. Your back still pains you during the night. You hear heavy boots behind you. You continue to work, for you know what will happen once they open their mouths.

 

And anyway, you prefer the silence.

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Samantha is a graduate of the University of Warwick and now works (occasionally for money) as a freelance copywriter. She has been published in STORGY and Tether's End Magazine. She lives in the UK with her family and a cat named after the Terminator. Can be found on Twitter @SambucaJK