Roar and Quiet

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is an experimental short story I wrote to try out something new. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Submitted: May 05, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 05, 2018



The smell of smoke. The endless cellphone chatter. The sound of motors and flashing lights. A taste of ash in the air. These sights are common to those living in the city. As one walks through the dirt covered street, one starts to blend in with the walls, smelling of smoke and tasting of ash. Yet, this quickly becomes normal, until the only ones who can smell their surroundings are a family of tourists: the kids happily playing in the muddy puddles, as the mother watches in horror, and the father calls for a taxi. As for us, we cannot fall asleep at night without hearing the all too familiar sound of beeping cars stuck in traffic for hours on end. Yet we are no different from others, we just learned to survive and adapt in this unnatural world.

I gaze out my window, eyes blinded by the bright rectangle in front of me. It’s raining, as usual. I watch as the drops crawl down my window, slow at first, then fast as they are joined by others. Like people, the thought pops up, and I stand up to turn the heat up to stop the shivering. Then, just like that, it catches the corner of my eye. I turn my head, unsure if it was real or not. Yet, there it is, or rather, she is. A young girl, completely unweighted down by the rain. In the dusk street light, I make out her dry, light pink dress, and knee-length socks. She neither skips nor jumps, but walks forward softly and seriously, as if looking for something, someone. But this is just my imagination. I flick the switch on, increasing the level of always persistent white noise in the room. It is not enough noise to block out my neighbors, however, whose constant fights have previously kept me awake until 3 AM. Their fight today is especially noisy, and they are lucky that I have no time to sleep tonight, or I would definitely knock on the wall to tell them to shut up.

The bright screen and thoughts about the assignment capture my attention, and it is a while before I remember the girl again. Yet she is still there as if waiting for me to finish. This time she is standing in front of a long-lost man. The man seems unamused, but the girl is insisting on something. But then again, it is just my imagination. I turn back to my work, the clatter of the keyboard joining in harmony with the hum of the heater and the argument from the nearby room.

Tap, tap, tap…hum…. And then:

“Are you happy?”

I freeze. No, this time it is not my imagination, something, someone out there said it. My head snaps towards the window, but the street is empty, veiled by the darkness. Am I falling asleep at my desk? But no, those words felt so real, I could almost taste them in my mouth. I turn my body back towards the screen, when:

“Why do you ask?”

I almost knock over my chair in a hurry to open the window. I have to see what’s going on, I have to know that it is not a dream. A gush of cold, damp air greats my face as I slowly push the freezing glass. All at once my room awakes, each object fluttering from the energy of the storm. I push my head out the window, my hair immediately becoming wet. Though I am on the seventh floor, I still make out the small figures near the entrance: the girl from before and a little boy.

“I have a secret, I can make any wish come true.”

The girl’s words, though quiet, still reach me. I am unable to move, unable to impact the scene playing out in front of me, as if behind a glass. The wind builds a wall I cannot penetrate.

“No, I have everything I need.”

The rain is starting to pour down my back, gluing the cloth it touches permanently to my skin. It drips into my eyes, becoming my own tears.

“I don’t think so. I heard you crying under your pillow yesterday.”

I feel myself freeze into place, turn into a statute. I feel every drop landing on my skin.

“Well… You can’t fix that with a wish.”

Through the deafening roar, her words ring in my ears.

“Then I shall grant you my power. When you feel scared, just close your eyes and count to three. When you open your eyes again, you will find the magic within you that will let you do anything.”



The roar subsides as the rain slows down. My body is slowly thawing. The feeling returns to me, cell by cell, finger by finger. When I can finally move my head and arms I notice the boy walking away towards the apartment complex entrance. The girl has disappeared.

I pull myself out of the window, closing it. I am soaking wet. My room looks like it has been searched by a hundred hungry children. It is eerily illuminated by the only source of light, the bright rectangle. I hear a door open and close. The arguing noises stop as if someone finally found the mute button. I walk up and plop into my chair, stretching my arms forward. It is quiet once again.

Tap, tap…hum…hum…tap, tap, tap.

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