Speechless

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Imagination Station

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I was cursed at birth.

Most babies come out screaming, shouting, and crying when they’re born.

I came out completely silent.

The doctors thought I was dead, for God’s sake.

Nobody knows why. Nobody knows who did it. All they know is that I can’t speak, no matter how hard I strain my vocal cords to do so. I’ve gone through numerous tests and none brought up any results. No answers. The doctors gave up after the first ten years of my childhood, where I was then put into a school for the deaf.

I wasn’t with the deaf kids.

I was in my own little classroom learning sign language from a single teacher.

I was not happy.

I couldn’t complain, though. I’ll let you figure out why.

Everyday things that sound so simple and so irrelevant become impossible to me because of my “disability”. I have to write things down on my notepad and show them to the person I want to speak to in order to get my message across. This isn’t the only way I communicate, though.

There is one other way.

Everyone has their talents and their quirks, their own special perks. Some excel in sports while others can speak in front of a wide crowd out in the open. I can’t do either of these things, but I can do one thing that gives me a reason to live.

I can draw very well.

Most mindless kids at age five, they draw their first people as stick figures in red crayon on the walls of their home.

I drew sketches of facial proportions on my notepad.

Detailed face drawings.

I like to think of it as a gift, almost to make up for my unfortunate condition, but others see it as a miracle. 

I draw dreamlike worlds now; worlds that take me away and whip me off in directions unbeknownst to me because I despise the world we live in. I draw the places I wish to go on the walls near my apartment, and I couldn’t be happier doing so. 

I’ve made a living doing the only thing I know how to do; making and selling my art. That’s actually how I met Jay, one of the best friends I could ever ask for.

There’s one piece of my work I have always revisited, one artwork that I can never get over.

It’s a doorway surrounded by jungle trees, wide open for me to walk through.

I’ve tried.

I can’t ever walk through.

I felt something different on that day after I had woken up. I felt stronger, so the first thing I did was to try and walk through. This was almost like a daily routine by now, checking to see if I could walk through the forsaken drawn-on door.

I went over to the wall, overcome by grime and overgrowth, where the door was painted. 

The door was a darkened purple color, almost metallic. The trees surrounding the door were vibrant greens and some more exotic colors, and birds hidden in the shade of the tree leaves could be heard chirpi-

The birds in the painting were chirping.

I could hear them.

I lurched myself at the wall, holding my hands out to protect myself from the likely impact.

There wasn't any impact.

I went through the open door painted on the wall and fell onto the jungle floor. The sun casted brilliant rays through the openings in the leaves, shining some light down from above. The melodies the birds sang grew louder and more crisp in sound, noting my presence. I heard movements from the jungle behind me, but my focus wasn’t directed towards that. 

Right then, I was happy. I didn’t want that to end. I was still in shock that I was even able to pass through the wall and through the door. Speaking of the door, I turn around to see the door closed. 

I didn’t think about trying to open it.

I wanted to stay there in that jungle, but something told me to run. I don’t know if it was my conscious, or maybe even just a gut instinct, but something was telling me to keep moving.

I should’ve listened.

I stood up, closing my eyes and breathing a sigh of relief. Just being away from the stress, from the inhumanity of the world beyond the jungle door just felt good. 

I heard a crunch from behind me.

I instinctively turn, and I see nothing. 

I think I see nothing.

A branch to the left of me rustles, then I hear a louder crunch. A closer crunch. I back away from the jungled area behind the door where the sounds are coming from when I then see an image.

Something was being created, almost coming into existence, out of thin air.

First I saw the wings. The dark, blackened wings.

Then the twig-like legs that dragged across the jungle grounds.

Then the head. The beady eyes glimmered with anger.

Lastly, I saw the elongated mouth. The mouth that wanted to suck my blood.

A giant mosquito.

I turn and run. I run as fast as my legs can carry me, which isn’t very fast at all. The buzzing behind me grows louder, leading me to believe it’s getting closer. I stumble over a fallen log and duck under branches overhead, pushing my way through the immense greenery. The mosquito gets caught up in a spiders web at some point, but I dare not turn around to check.

I make my way out of the thickness of the jungle, the buzzing distant now.

In front of me, there’s a pit. A vine hangs above.

On the other side is a door. The next door.

I have to think quickly. I back up as I start to hear the approaching buzz, the rustling of the leaves and the breaking of branches behind. I close my eyes again, breathe, and say goodbye to the jungle.

Not vocally, of course.

I start my sprint, slowly speeding up as I near the edge before taking a leap and grasping onto the vine. To my surprise, it doesn’t snap. I gain momentum as I know the winged bug behindme is very near.

I take an early jump. A very big risk on my part.

It pays off.

I turn the knob of the door and throw myself through without turning back.

***

Frozen.

Immobile.

My hands are numbed.

I struggle to open my eyes against the chilling wind of the arctic landscape. The shivering starts immediately, and it surely is intense. The snow crunches beneath my feet as I move forward. I don’t feel like I can move, but I need to if I want to survive.

I look up to see the next door.

It’s as blue as the ice before it. If I want to keep going, the ice must be crossed.

My first steps are slow, baby-like, and very cautious. I do not rush to get across the frozen body of water, but part of me knows that I should.

I force myself to speed up, the shaking becoming nearly unbearable. The temperature has to be below zero, and I need to move if I’m going to avoid hypothermia and eventual death. 

I stop when I hear a sound.

A screech.

A whale’s moan.

I didn’t think that creatures could be swimming below me. 

I keep my pace, ignoring the thought of what else could lie below. My feet are steady, despite the rest of my body not being as secure. I rub my hands together and heat my neck and face, trying my best to keep warm. This is difficult, considering that I’m wearing jeans and a jacket. 

I breathe out. The icy smoke I release blinds me. I try and raise my hands to wipe my eyes, but even that proves to be a challenge.

I hear the ice start to crack.

It’s not where I’m standing, but behind me where I once was. I keep walking.

The cracking follows me.

In a situation like this, one tends to ask why they’re in the suggested situation. I don’t. I need to put my attention towards finding a way out.

If the ice were to crack, by chance, and I were to fall in, death would be almost instantaneous, taking into account my body temperature and the drop if I were to fall in.

In short, I die if the ice breaks.

I can’t let it break.

I start focusing too much on my thoughts and lose my footing, falling onto the ice.

I freeze.

I turn my head to see the giant crack in the ice behind me. The crack is too big for me alone to have made, so I have no idea what had caused it to grow to such a size.

Then the screeching returns.

I jolt up and run. I run as the ice below me starts to fall, but I don’t fall in. I start skipping over the icy blocks, making sure I have less of a chance to meet certain death below. 

Suddenly, behind me, the ice crashes. I hear the screech of the aquatic creature echo around the icebergs and the mounds of snow around me, ringing my ears as it slams back down into the waters.

I speed up. I don’t want to trip myself up, but that can’t be an option to consider for me right now.

I just barely reach the edge where ice meets snow and I take another lunge.

I just get a grip on the snow before pulling myself to my feet as the ice breaks and falls into the frigid lake. I take hold of the knob of the blue door and look behind me, saying goodbye once again before I make my way through.

***

I don’t have time.

I can already hear the rumble of the mountainous area and the earth starting to shake, letting me know that I really don’t have any time to waste.

I sprint with the energy I have left, still shaking and thawing out the ice on my skin from the other world. The other people running, not surprisingly, are screaming and running towards the ocean on the other side of this apparent island. I’m following them towards freedom, not saying a word, hoping to anything above that a door is there.

The ocean comes into my line of sight and I see a wooden door.

The door to my apartment.

I run faster, faster than everyone else on the island, the door the only thing I want. Nobody else is running towards the door, so I assume I’m the only one to see it. They’re all moving past it.

I don’t keep my pace this time; I need to run a distance as quickly as I can because I can already hear the deafening explosions behind me.

The volcanoes are erupting.

I turn my head and see the lava flowing down the rocky terrain, the ash and dust flying into the air above. The sun is covered, and a shade comes down onto me. 

The crowds of people don’t help at all, as they’re all trampling over each other in an attempt to get to safety. 

I also need safety, but it’s not the type of safety everyone else wants.

I still have the door in sight, but the darkness from the forthcoming ash makes it much harder to see. It isn’t far now. The rumbling isn’t stopping, and the lava has consumed some of the huts in the village. I have a feeling not everybody is going to make it out alive.

I really hope I do.

Somebody shoves me and I want to scream at them, to tell him what I’ve had to go through just because I wanted to escape reality.

I never thought I’d say this, but now I can.

I miss the real world.

I miss the deaf school with the kids I never am with, I miss my art, and my endless doodling in my notepad.

I miss Jay.

He’s the only one who ever knew me for me, and I miss him.

I keep running and I run hard, with determination. I run to get my life back, and when I do get it back I’m going to make it mine.

I reach out for the knob when I finally get there, the lava closer than ever. I close my eyes and shove myself through the door.

***

“Hey, Destiny, you here?”

His voice is like silk, and it’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.

I’m in my apartment with Jay. I turn around and open the door, expecting lava to be behind it.

I can see across the hall. There aren’t any other worlds.

I breathe and walk towards him. I sputter and cough, but something else comes out.

“Jay-“

I freeze. He looks at me, I look at him, and his mouth grows into the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

Tears. I can feel them welling up in my eyes as he comes over to me, arms wide. 

We hug.

I just went through world after world with no real purpose other than to get back here, and I can’t believe the truth.

This world, this reality, this place that I once hated, is where I truly belong.

I have a voice, and for the first time in my life…

I’m speechless.


Submitted: July 14, 2015

© Copyright 2021 H. Adams. All rights reserved.

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Comments

J Woods

Brilliant, breath taking, the imagery is astounding. Hell I'm a "Jay" so I love it even more :)

Tue, July 14th, 2015 6:32pm

Author
Reply

That was so unintentional... I love when that happens and you have the same as a character in a story. Thank you so much!

Tue, July 14th, 2015 11:42am

Jack Motley

The ability to step literally though a painting or piece of art, into the universe contained within, and I suspect the frame or the visual medium, like the canvas, is what the door represents: a place one's eyes go over, and the mind eye's enters the scene and imagines it vividly.

Really very nice work, Hanorbi! It's good to see one of your pictures handled is wonderfully, creating an almost urban take on the idea of perception of art.

Tue, July 14th, 2015 7:30pm

Author
Reply

I like the way your brain works. I glad you enjoyed my story as always, Jack! (also, thanks for giving me the little prompt challenge thing. probably wouldn't have written this if you didn't)

Tue, July 14th, 2015 12:34pm

Whiskey Charlie

Okay, that story took my breath away. There is no possible way I will read anything else today that would match this one, Hanorbi. In fact, I had to run through three more imaginary doors of my own before I could write this comment.

Tue, July 14th, 2015 7:53pm

Author
Reply

Oh, that must've sucked. I'm glad you found your way back. Thank you very much for reading, Whiskey - I really appreciate the comment!

Tue, July 14th, 2015 12:54pm

berktree

Whoa, oh my goodness, what a plot twist!! And while that alone was great, WOW the rest blew me away! Usually all I want is to escape into a fantasy/other world, but this made me reconsider such previous desires. Amazing, simply amazing!
-Berkley

oh and PS: thank you so much for the words of praise on your page! It's an honor :)

Tue, July 14th, 2015 9:29pm

Author
Reply

I always wanna escape to another world too, but I thought about it from a different perspective and this came out of it. I still would prefer a fantasy world though. Thank you so much, Berkley! It's my pleasure to recommend you to other authors and readers!

Tue, July 14th, 2015 2:33pm

Volatile

I must first take a moment and applaud this story and the sheer creativeness. Destiny is super cool. She is sarcastic and super strong to have lived through years of not being able to speak, plust the impossible worlds! O.O By the way, what I wouldnt give to be able to draw something good. Or be able to walk through them like that, even if I would most likely die a violent death. The ending shocked me, but I loved it all the same! Great job with this!! :) ~Girly

Tue, July 14th, 2015 9:46pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much! I'd love it too, to be able to go into my drawings or just any drawings in general. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I'm glad you liked it!

Tue, July 14th, 2015 2:52pm

B Douglas Slack

Dreamscape. Definite dreamscape. I was struck by all the alliterations to internal struggles you present in this story, Hanorbi. Doors opening and closing as the character runs through them is classic - the stuff that great stories are made of. You did well here, man. ~Tom

Wed, July 15th, 2015 12:19am

Author
Reply

That's awesome. I love dreamscapes, so I'm glad this came across as one to you. I tried my best! Thank you so much, Tom.

Tue, July 14th, 2015 5:25pm

Evelyn Mason

I continue to be amazed by your writing. This was spectacular and beautifully written. What an interesting idea, the main character entering the worlds they created; awesome!!! I feel weird giving you one critique because your stuff is amazing but there seemed to be one too many spaces or breaks. It kind of broke up the flow sometimes. But this is just my opinion… and it certainly didn’t stop me from reading! You are truly an amazing writer.

Wed, July 15th, 2015 2:08am

Author
Reply

Oh, hmm... I'll look into the breaks. I tried using them to separate the worlds the best I could, but I'll see if any were unnecessary. I'm glad you continue to be satisfied with my writing! Also let me know when you get more of your novel up :)

Tue, July 14th, 2015 8:13pm

Anon Amous

This was amazing. The creativity alone was amazing. This is one of those stories that make you think about it long after you've read it. It was very well written! Can I ask how long it took you to write this?

Wed, July 15th, 2015 2:20am

Author
Reply

Well, this is gonna surprise you, but not long at all. Maybe an hour? Half an hour, give or take? Might've been longer (can't really tell; time flies when i'm writing lol). Thanks so much! Like, really, I appreciate you checking out my work :)

Tue, July 14th, 2015 8:15pm

McSticketh

Great story Hanorbi. Really enjoyed it. The contrast between light and dark was very well done. I'll most certainly be reading more of your work. Well Done Pal.

Wed, July 15th, 2015 10:29am

Author
Reply

Oh, that's awesome to hear :D I'll get to reading some more of yours soon too! I'm very glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks so much!

Wed, July 15th, 2015 10:50am

Chris Green

Fantastic imagery here Hanorbi. Like a series of paintings. Nice work.
Regards
Chris

Wed, July 15th, 2015 12:12pm

Author
Reply

I wanted it to feel that way, like a series of paintings, so I'm glad it did. Thanks a bunch Chris!

Wed, July 15th, 2015 10:51am

Jason Crager

This is very good, Hanorbi. Entertaining from the first word to the last. Clearly you possess an amazing imagination and it is a pleasure to watch it unfold in your writing.

Thu, July 16th, 2015 4:02pm

Author
Reply

I think my imagination is my strong point. I'm glad it felt that way, Ronin! Thank you so much as always.

Thu, July 16th, 2015 11:24am

A. K.Taylor

Nice story, Hanorbi. I feel my story was a bit of inspiration to you considering my recent contributions to the site. Great job. For a short story, it gets the imagery across very well.

Thu, July 16th, 2015 6:32pm

Author
Reply

It actually was, in a way; I really really wanted to do something with fantasy worlds, but I felt that I had to kinda take a twist on it. Numerous separate ideas went into this story (mute person, graffiti/art, doors, etc.), but I thought It'd be cool if I blended them all together. Each was originally going to be a different story. I tried my best with the imagery. Thank you so much for checking it out!

Thu, July 16th, 2015 11:37am

LeParadisNoirPoetique

You think outside the box when it comes to creativity, quite like me, and it makes the imagination limitless. You write stories that are not a simple read, and the reader gets it; you write stories in such a unique and original way that you suck the reader in, and makes them feel each word, each scene is a story in itself, and it is stunning. Being disabled in the real world, and then using the thought of your own art to try to live in a better world is fascinating, and it is like being awake when you are dreaming - the thought of something like that never happens. It is such a unique way for a person to communicate, and even our own made up perfect worlds are never perfect, and the place we hate is the place we want most. This has some of the best imagery I have seen, because it is beautiful, dreamy and unique, and the ending is perfect, and something that would end our dreams. Never change the way you tell stories, because this is different, and I believe it will take you further than you ever imagined in terms of progression. Also thanks for mentioning me on your profile. Just stunning work.

Fri, July 17th, 2015 5:38pm

Author
Reply

I am never going to stop with the weird and imaginative ideas. I have much too many of them and not enough time to put them all into words. I'm infatuated with the concept of dreaming and I'm so glad that came through with this, because I had no intention to make it a dream world when I first wrote it; after re-reading it a few times I was surprised that it looked that way. Don't thank me for mentioning you; I have to thank you for writing. Thank you so much, Dexter; it seriously means the world to me.

Fri, July 17th, 2015 1:54pm

ShadaStorm120

Aw that was absolutely brilliant! Even though he couldn't speak and didn't think that highly of the world he lived in, he could still draw, and that, along with writing, can be a wonderful escape. I wish I could draw people like he could though. I loved the little, yet dangerous adventure he had, and I couldn't help smile at the end :) His first word made him speechless, hehe, that was awesome and I'm happy that he appreciates being home for once, but I'm sure many people in a way feel like he felt at the start of this story. I'm very glad I read this. I truly loved it :) Great job.

Sat, July 18th, 2015 9:03pm

Author
Reply

The main character was supposed to be a girl (hence the name Destiny), but I guess it could be a dude too. I'm really happy you enjoyed it and thank you so much for reading!

Sat, July 18th, 2015 2:10pm

Jeff Bezaire

Great ending! Touching and sweet.
It's a great story for all of us who feel like outcasts. Regardless of where else we could go, no matter how badly we want to escape our life, we eventually discover that where we are is where we're supposed to be. We need to find the reason for it, but it's always there.
Great imagery for the different worlds. Great description without taking time away from the story. Loved the incorporation of art as a type of "power" that unlocked these new worlds. Loved the character's backstory. You did a good job of telling us about the main character while keeping the story moving forward. Awesome work!

Mon, July 20th, 2015 12:32am

Author
Reply

Oh, I actually did a story like that, with the outcasts and finding yourself and stuff. If you wanna check it out, it's called 'Meanings'. It's definitely not my best, but not my worst either. I'm glad everything was introduced at a good pace... I'm always worried about that. Thank you so much for commenting, Jeff; I really appreciate it!

Sun, July 19th, 2015 5:35pm

Ashlyn Heart

I absolutely loved this! I haven't read anything particularly adventurous in a while, so this was really refreshing. I loved the rapid changes in scenery. Your descriptions of the landscapes and the tone really set the mood. I could imagine all of it happening right before me. My heartbeat actually accelerated during the intense moments. I was expecting there to be a negative ending... But I'm so, so glad that there wasn't. I smiled so hard when she spoke... And I really, really just want to read more to see what else happens, and I want to get to know more about Jay too. Potential novel maybe? *puppy dog eyes* This was a really nice short story. Please keep writing and keep me updated. :)

Sun, August 16th, 2015 12:47pm

Author
Reply

Wow, thank you! Whenever I write a short story, there's always someone asking for me to make it into a novel... *sigh* If I do, I'll surely let you know! I'm kinda pleased with how this ended, though. I'll give it some thought. I toyed with the idea of a sad ending but it didn't really feel right, so I went with the happy one :) Thank you again for reading and for the wonderful comment, it seriously means the world to me!

Sun, August 16th, 2015 5:55pm

Salma Said

It is simply amazing! The descriptions are so good. It paints the scene to the reader fast and easily! Excellent piece H. !

Wed, January 27th, 2016 1:45pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Salma! I appreciate the compliments, and thanks for reading :)

Wed, January 27th, 2016 2:59pm

Wise Owl

Riveting and wonderful, Hanorbi!

Mon, August 1st, 2016 6:01pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much, Owl!

Sun, August 14th, 2016 12:34am

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