”What Is Said In The Silence” (Short Story)
Ashley | Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
Secondary English | Term 1 2021
“Dark.” Her voice echoed into the nothingness. She let out an audible gasp. What was this strange phenomenon? Why had her voice repeated like so? She was intrigued but for all she knew, it could have been another person mimicking her voice. She hurriedly pulled out a candle. Then with her other hand, she pulled out a match. Striking the latter against its container, sparks flew, and it exploded into a dazzling light. Warmth radiated from it as she brought it to the brown tuft and the light caught on. The light spread throughout the room, bringing the room into view. Hundreds of bookcases lined the walls, each filled to the brim with books. A musty smell permeated through the room and she could see dust caking the floors, walls, and shelves. Green patches could be seen growing on the high corners of the ceiling. Everything about it felt ancient and hidden, like a secret hideaway. Putting everything but the match box into her pocket, she walked forward.
Every step rang with a clear tapping sound on the worn wooden floorboards. As she walked forward, she could see that there was actually no one there. That previous phenomenon must have been her delusion. Her curious nature started to surface as her thoughts started to unravel into a messy pile. Startled, she stopped in her tracks, simultaneously stopping her train of thought as well. She had been mindlessly wandering and had almost hit a wall. She let out a sigh of audible relief, if she had gotten hurt or her clothes had gotten even a slight stain, she would have been questioned. She was never good at lying, the truth would have spilled out like a waterfall and who knows what would happen to her. She shuddered at the thought.
She walked through the hall of books, stopping occasionally, to open a book. None of these had words she knew. They had letters she had seen but none of them formed a word she knew. She felt a tingly feeling in her heart. She did not know what it was, but she felt the need to explore every inch of this library. The mere thought of this place made her feel thrilled. She checked her watch. It was almost eight. She had to go. Just as she was about to rush out of the door, she hesitated. Looking back, she grabbed a book before closing the door. Outside the hallway was a lengthy hallway. Green vines creeped up the walls, up into a ceiling so high she couldn’t see the top. The floor was damp. A dripping sound echoed intermittently from an unknown source. The hallway was barely lit with the candle she held. She quickly snuffed it with her hand and left it right at the camouflaged door. Then she ran, her feet splashing in puddles flooding the floor. Soon she reached a dead end and a ladder on the right wall. She climbed up the ladder, making sure to not look down. Soon, she reached a trapdoor with a rusty latch. She opened in and climbed through. Light flooded the tunnel below before the door shut with a slam.
She crouched, holding her breath as she scanned the room. The trapdoor was located coincidentally outside the window of her room. It was perfectly camouflaged by weeds, vines and other types of greenery. The place outside her window was quite secluded as well. No one had a particular reason to go there either. She had only stumbled across it after dropping something outside. She had to climb out the window and when she jumped onto the ground, she heard a hollow thud. After lifting her feet, she could see a wooden plank that was revealed after she had messed up the vines on top. It was only after a week that she chose to open and explore the insides of the trapdoor. Today was her third trip, when she finally discovered the hidden room. For today, she chose to feign sickness, taking a hot shower to raise her body temperature, telling others that she was going to take a nap, making sure to tell them not to disturb her. That’s how she ended here. Out of breath and drenched in sweat. A knock resounded at the door. Startled, she hurriedly climbed into bed, shoving the book she took under her pillow.
Clearing her throat, she imitated a sickly voice, “Who?”
A muffled voice floated through the door, “…Kaiden.”
She replied, her first word barely loud enough for even her to hear herself, “April. Come in.” Soon, the door swung open before quickly shutting. A boy, nearly as tall as the door he came through, walked in. His footsteps were unusually quiet and stealthy, even amid silence. Ebony hair brushed past his leafy green eyes as he walked. His hair contrasted greatly with his irises, making his eyes stand out even more. He was the typical pretty boy that everyone admired. He was smart, and well mannered. All the teachers liked him and often praised his intellect. Who would have ever guessed what he was up to? She was very unlike him. She was often scrambled and disorganized although she put in a lot of effort. She was often clumsy and was very close friends with the floor. All of that, however, could mask many things. She had great composure and a shrewd mind unlike her behaviour. She caught on quickly and could read the atmosphere. She was also a quick learner.
April eyed the string of numbers on his neck. It read ‘K-1286’. She sighed, eyeing him. Her eyes seemed to say, ‘Keep your voice down next time,’ in annoyance. The words April and Kaiden didn’t exist. Creating words was prohibited, even more so than other rules. When she was young, she caught sight of a small group of kids that decided to make a secret language only they could understand, excited at the thought of speaking a language only each other could understand. They were gone the next day.
Kaiden shook his head playfully, the edges of his lips curving up into a smile. His eyes turned sparkly-like as he blinked a few times while looking at her as if saying, ‘What do you mean?’
They continued that way in silence for a while, displaying small gestures occasionally, their actions delivering words for them. They talked for a while, the twinkle in their eyes or the twitching of their eyebrows delivering the conversation. Small gestures combined to form a flowing conversation in between the two of them. April first talked about the room of books she found, her hands forming excited gestures. Then, they talked about how adults were always ever-present, how a camera intermittently was found in the ceiling, never really there until you actually searched for them. Why did no one question why they were always being watched? Why did we wear white uniforms that would stain by the slightest thing? Why couldn’t we talk with freedom? Why was silence so ever-present? Why were words so limited? Where did they take those who broke rules? It was always answered with a shrug or a hopeless sigh. With all their combined intellect, they still didn’t know what was going on. It went on for a while before the dinner bell rang. They promptly got up and headed towards the door.
As they shut the door, a camera stealthily popped off the ceiling, a red light blinking in the very middle. Its black glassy surface reflected a worn book, half sticking out of a pillowcase. Slowly, it lifted back into the ceiling, as if it was never there.Ashley | Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
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