Silence

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: House of Ghosts

Featured Review on this writing by Oleg Roschin


In a world filled with sound, silence is often times a blessing



 

Silence

 

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”


 Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Silence is my world. Most people pay top dollar to achieve what I was fortunate enough to be born with. Or unfortunate; depends on how you look at it. Oh, it has its advantages…not being able to hear people’s arguments or the cries of small children that have been through the traumatic experience of having their whole life devastated by gunfire. If I close my eyes and pretend, just for a moment; the world is a peaceful paradise where everyone gets along and there is no bickering over political differences or religious beliefs or gender specifications/choices…

Although I sit in silence to the outside world, there is a symphony of thoughts and sounds within my head. Some folks call it a blessing and a gift; I call it spiritual communication. You see, the way others convey thoughts and ideas through words or conversations, my thoughts and ideas come to me as tones and semitones; which I in turn transpose into musical composition that has allowed me the ability to strike awe in the hearts of those that happen by and listen. Watching the children’s faces light up as they gaze at my fingers, nimbly dancing across the narrow stage of wood and wire brings delight to my heart. Innocence is not lost…

 

But then there is the other end of the spectrum of humanity. Two young men, probably in their early twenties judging by their acne scars and disheveled attire (including especially grungy footwear) jeer as they watch my performance. I observe one mouth to the other “how can he do that? He’s deaf and dumb.” The larger of the two, which isn’t saying much due to their physical stature not being much more than that of an anorexic fighting rooster; replies to the first “he ain’t deaf, he’s just pretending to get more money out of the crowd. Watch this.”

“Hey, asshole! You suck!” rooster-boy number one mouths, over exaggerating the syllables in an attempt to ensure I understood his feeble attempt at an insult. The two youths gleefully give each other high fives, much to the dismay of others enjoying my performance. I notice a mother pull her young child closer to her leg in a protective gesture, and more people begin to leave the area in annoyance of the raucous shenanigans displayed by rooster-boy one and two. They begin to mimic my playing, pantomiming an act of playing guitar while jumping around and bumping passersby, clearly disturbing the peacefulness of the previous moments; where everyone was enraptured by the angelic sounds emanating from the well-seasoned tone wood meticulously crafted by an expert luthier. The more forceful I played, the more boisterous they became; until all the observers had dissipated.

Seeing there was no audience to perform for, I complete the task at hand of sending healing vibrations into the atmosphere for anyone and anything to benefit from; and begin packing my instrument into its humble but worn abode. I cautiously watch rooster-boy one approach, slinking like a predator stalking its prey; a sneer appears on his face that briefly causes him to resemble a gargoyle. It is apparent that he has no intentions of asking for my autograph, nor is he interested in guitar lessons.

“Hey ass wipe, play me a song!” the leader of the nefarious duo taunts, sizing me up to see if I will be an easy target. I return his hecklings with a blank stare, hoping that my appearance of weakness will strike a sense of humanity in the young lad. Suddenly, I feel a tug on my beloved companion from behind me; it was rooster-boy two whom had circled to my rear and attempted to steal my cherished possession. Thankfully the carrying strap held, but the botched endeavor appeared to have enraged rooster-boy one. His sneer turned into a snarl as he lunged forward; pummeling me about the head and neck with a barrage of wild strikes. I tried to place my guitar case between us, but attacker number two succeeded with his second attempt of stealing my treasure. Backing away from the feral attack; my foot struck the curb and I tumbled backwards, striking my head with a fierce thump which caused a flash of light before my eyes and a faint taste of salt in my mouth. I watched as the victorious imps removed my intimate confidante from its place of rest and smash it repeatedly against the sidewalk. Attempting to rise to my feet made my head throb worse, my field of vision began to narrow until I saw nothing but darkness.

 

“Hey mister…are you okay?” a small voice queried. Tender, small, hands shake my shoulder as the voice asks again “Are you okay, mister?” Slowly opening my eyes, I notice darkness engulfed my surroundings with punctuations of neon… red, green, and blue shimmering in the distance. Rolling to my side, I slowly push myself to a seated position; which sends an eruption of aches from the base of my neck to the crown of my head. I slump forward and the small hands cradle my head in an attempting to prevent further injury. “Take it easy, mister. You got a nasty gash on the back of your head.”

After a moment of sitting and deep breathing, my head cleared but the pain was still there. I look to my left and notice a pile of broken wood and twisted wires, the breeze wafting an acrid scent of ammonia in my direction. The revulsion of the sight caused my gag reflex to spasm and I leaned forward and vomited between my knees.

“Oh God, mister. You’re hurt bad” the tiny voice uttered, which startled me. I look in the direction of the sound and there sat a young child, wide eyed and innocent with dust smeared cheeks and matted hair. Her smile was like the spring sunrise, comforting and refreshing; although it was emitted from a gaunt face weathered by months or even years of living by any means necessary. Her gaze was as if she was peering through my eyes and into my soul. She placed a hand on my forehead and says “we need to get you some help.”

Puzzled by the new sensory overload, I quickly stand; stumble and slide down the wall of a nearby building, dropping to one knee but keeping my eyes on the producer of the sound. The child slowly puts both hands up in a calming gesture. “I’m not gonna hurt you. I’m tryin’ help” the child said with a weak grin. “Somebody thumped you up pretty good.”

 

I didn’t understand what was happening but at the same time the child’s mouth was moving I could hear sounds coming out. Distant sounds were tickling my auditory passages; filling my head with a cacophony of jangles nearly unbearable. Shrill screeches from above and loud clanging from around the corner. A loud pop and tinkling nearby as a couple of men stagger by, arms on each other’s shoulders laughing loudly. I stand there against the wall, my hands clutching my ears and eyes darting to and fro with the change of each new sound. My head begins to fill with noises; banging, clanging, laughter, talking, screeching…

I turn to watch as the young child runs toward me; arms outstretched, and mouth wide open, a look of terror in her eyes. Glancing left, I catch a glimpse of bright light and a large looming object just before I am once again in a world of blessed silence.

 

 

Q. B. McKinney



Submitted: October 20, 2017

© Copyright 2020 Q.B. McKinney. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Oleg Roschin

What an emotionally engaging, touching story! I absolutely love it how you choose to focus on such an "insignificant" episode and expand it into a moving tragedy, how the story grows into a powerful call for justice and mercy - even though you, as the author, refrain from passing any judgment. The final plot twist is unique, unlike anything I've seen, and it left me in shock, full of contradicting feelings. The writing is superb, every phrase is composed with attention and care. I don't know whether it's your best story so far, but it's probably my personal favorite. Great work!

Sat, October 21st, 2017 5:22am

Author
Reply

Thank you very much. Your comments are too kind. I really value your insight and it is an honor to have a writer of your magnitude think highly of one of my stories.

Sat, October 21st, 2017 11:41am

Tom Smith

Another great story! This one has ended up on my shelf. I love how you present silence as a way of peace, where usually, silence is a representation of oppression.

Sat, October 21st, 2017 6:57pm

Author
Reply

It is the perspective of the beholder. To me, silence is peaceful. I have kids and grand kids.
Thank you for your kind comment.

Sat, October 21st, 2017 12:31pm

Momina Khan

yes i can imagine.......good piece of writing it is !!!!
I like the way you have chosen to write it. GOOD WORK.**

Sat, December 23rd, 2017 4:19pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind comment. Very happy you liked it. I am still learning and trying different styles.

Sat, December 23rd, 2017 8:27am

halle schaffer

I love this story. The way you used silence as a means of peace was a new perspective to life that people don’t normally think about, how sound could sometimes be seen as a bad thing in certain circumstances. Great work?

Mon, December 25th, 2017 8:00am

Author
Reply

Thank you. I'm happy that you liked the story.

Mon, December 25th, 2017 2:13am

matelot

Amazing story and so well told. I love the ending. So unexpected and like the approaching vehicle such a sudden rush! I hadn't noticed you before but rest assured, you are on my radar now and I look forward to reading the rest of your work.

Tue, December 26th, 2017 6:28pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind words. I am happy you enjoyed it. I'm still learning and trying different styles, please feel free to critique anything you read. It is the only way I can get better.

Tue, December 26th, 2017 11:49am

Bill Bungeroth

Beautifully written...thank your wife for encouraging you to share your stories. Bill

Sat, September 8th, 2018 3:10pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind words, Sir. I will pass the message to my wife, she has been a great source of inspiration and encouragement.

Sat, September 8th, 2018 8:53am

omarsb

An intriguing, thrilling interpretation of what began as a peaceful event!
Impeccably transcribed & depicted.
Thoroughly enjoyable!
Kudos Q.B.

Mon, November 9th, 2020 4:51pm

omarsb

An intriguing, thrilling interpretation of what began as a peaceful event!
Impeccably transcribed & depicted.
Thoroughly enjoyable!
Kudos Q.B.

Mon, November 9th, 2020 4:52pm

omarsb

An intriguing, thrilling interpretation of what began as a peaceful event!
Impeccably transcribed & depicted.
Thoroughly enjoyable!
Kudos Q.B.

Mon, November 9th, 2020 4:52pm

Jake J. Harrison

I guess he wasn't destined to hear. Sad when the guitar was smashed. Thanks for writing and sharing.

Tue, November 10th, 2020 3:15am

Author
Reply

Thanks for your input. It was indeed sad to destroy the guitar, being that I also play the instrument.

Wed, November 11th, 2020 6:43pm

clyde

QB
I loved the short story. Is it memoir?

Please read my poem, "Sound of the Sun" about a deaf man hearing the sunrise.

Sun, November 15th, 2020 10:26pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. No, it is not a memoir but I do play guitar and find great pleasure from my instruments. I will be happy to read your poem.

Peace

Sun, November 15th, 2020 2:48pm

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