It, and the Sound of Silence

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

A kid struggles with the shadows that haunt him in his life. With only one body for two spirits, it's a battle for control.


This was my first real attempt at developing a character through their words and actions. It was also one of the first journals I wrote for my English class (second to be exact) which sparked my whole obsession with creative writing.

The distorted click of the locking door behind him shot Liam's thoughts barreling through his teeth, surfing off his tongue and into the air where they kissed the walls before sailing back in a whispered echo. His stuttered words and hurried phrases collided with each other as he stumbled to verbalize all the panicked chaos in his brain with hopes that it would relieve the tension in mind, like drawing pus from a wound. The thoughts themselves came out unintelligible; only he, the smith that had crafted them in the pit of his heart, knew their intentions. Pacing ensued. A cuss slipped out with nearly each step hoping to be masked by the shuffling of his soles against the carpeting, but in the silent murk of the room, they stood abreast of focus.

“Damn.” He repeated louder, “Damn!”

Liam struggled with the form that hugged his shoulders: a worn, sordid corduroy jacket littered with holes born from flagrant misuse. It finally gave way to his fit and slid down his lanky arms, only to be pitched aimlessly into a distant, dusty corner. Liam's body went numb; arms first, collapsing past his waist, followed soon after by a limp neck and finally legs, going slack at the knees and casting his weight over the naked mattress. It caught him, but just barely. His eyes searched for blemishes in the seemingly vast stretches of pallid canvas that hovered above him, only to be disappointed by its immaculate perfection. All in immediate view had escaped scrutiny for the time, and his eyes resigned to closing as his head lolled to the side in shallow defeat. Silence flooded in. Silence. Silence. Its serpentine shadow rolled over every niche, nook and crevice, nestling home in the ears of the shape sprawled across the altar of spring and twine, a meek offering to an eternal deity. The ringing—oh, the ringing—it began in a hum, progressively swelling and mutating into a bastardized dissonance of sound. The boy in his near-slumber welcomed the noise. It shadowed the world around him, smothering his thoughts and calming the din behind his eyes. For a fleeting moment, he forgot.

“Liam! Liam! Dammit, Liam, come here!” Liam turned in his skin at the voice. He was struck with a convulsion, seizing the edge of the mattress and pulling his body to the side opposite the call, returning to his sore feet once more. He rushed the side table at his knees, tracing the outline of a lamp up its curves and clumsily feeling for the peculiar shape of its switch. It clicked in compliance. The pathetic radiance dusted the room, revealing more shadow than surface. In the quilt-work of light stood a figure of modest stature, palm raised in defense of the new imposing force of brilliance. Liam's disposition devolved into a savage tantrum as he began to throw his hands about in a defiant attempt of dominance.

“Get out!” he shrieked repeatedly.

“Hey, hey man, relax!” The being inched with hands forward to display itself in a non-threatening stance. Liam continued, his lunacy compounding with every advance. “I just want to help,” it pleaded through a reserved smirk. These words froze the boy momentarily before driving him into deeper distress. Just a reach from him, the figure finally felt the light. It's previously sheltered countenance now stood plainly in familiar judgment. The sight horrified him—a repulsive reminder of nights long lost in hazy and perforated memory. He reacted in childish terror, fondling about for shelter. His fingertips caught the cold ceramic of the lamp beside him, clutched, raised and hurled it at the phantom. It soared briefly, yet crashed to the floor in a clamor of shattered silence and pottery. In a fatal flash of spark, the room died. Any embers of calm went out with the vanishing light.

Liam stood isolated, but not alone, for the darkness wrapped her arms around him like a repentant lover appeasing the troubles of the one they so greatly scorned. Breathing dipped shallow; time moved conversely. Sight failed to penetrate the blizzard of pitch that was whipped up in the sudden. Its brothers of sense, too, foundered under the weight of duty forced upon them. Silence returned, the ringing its companion. In time, it also vanished.

A deep rumble pushed through the refuse of what remained in the room. Liam—still shaken—stood pressed to the wall. The unassuming phantom had forced its hands around his throat and around his life, holding fast. He did not fight, nor struggle, nor rebel, nor even fidget. No, this was a resignation of a fight. Should it end here, so be it. Time, love, experience—all abandoned him in unison, mocking and keeping stock of his life ever since. He had nothing, wanted nothing, needing nothing, felt nothing, saw nothing, and heard everything. Was this any life to live?

Ill breath tickled his ear.

“You will not forget me. I made you,” the rhetoric became aggressive, “without me, you are nothing.” Through gasps of air Liam filled his lungs, and, thinking cautiously, proffered a reply.

“And what if I want to be nothing?”

A glare cut into his own. “You already are, because you've forgotten me.” A cold ran up the staircase of his spine and came to rest just beneath his chin.


* * *


Two men, formal in attire and gait, approached the motel room door, taking careful steps to avoid scuffing the tips of their shoes. The first, the taller of the two, pursed his lips and poked his head inside the room, timidly widening the aperture. With the door fully ajar, they stepped inside, joining a cast of others who had arrived much earlier and with much more prompt. The second man pushed his way through the first, leading a proud, lone crusade deeper into the action of the room. He stopped at a form that laid prostrate on the carpet, and was joined shortly after by the taller man.

“This him?” The short man hummed a positive response, to which the taller man clicked his tongue in disbelief. “I'll be dammed. He's a kid!”

“That don't mean nothin', Marky. Kids do pretty bad stuff all the time,” remarked the other, taking great care in planning to assert his knowledge. He leaned over the boy and examined his features, but the taller man had seen enough.

“I'm grabbin' a smoke, you comin'?”

“Be out in a sec, mom.”

He moved for the door and squinted in the sharp heat of the sun. The man removed his hat, hanging it off the corner of the door, before removing a cigar and matchbook from a concealed pocket deep inside of his jacket. He lit it, and took a few puffs before he was joined again by his partner.

The smoker started in awe, “So you're telling me that kid really did all that?”

“Yep,” the short man responded without missing a beat. “Killed three people, includin' his own brother. Damn shame, really. But who shoots a guy point-blank in the face, especially family? Somethin' hinky with that, man.”

“The kid was locked in a basement, brother's ashamed of him! That's what's hinky, man. People need their freedom, even if they have to take it by force, you hear? Besides, don't leave a gun layin' 'round near someone who might use it.” He nodded slightly at the other.

“Yeah, yeah. Socrates over here.” The short man tossed his eyes away to the side.

“Hey, I doubt the kid knew what he was doing,” he paused to puff his cigar. “Wish we coulda' caught him sooner. Ain't right for the ill to go that way, schizophrenic or otherwise.”

The short man chuckled. “I guess you're right. But he was so scared uh anyone at that point, he killed 'em when they tried to help! We coulda' been next!” The tall man disagreed, but kept silent. A couple minutes passed before anyone spoke again. The short man turned about and bent forward, looking back inside the room. “Well whoever got to him sure did a number on him, huh? Saved us some trouble, alright.”

The other dropped his cigar and extinguished it beneath his foot. “Wound beneath the chin, gun in hand...and how long you been on the force again? That's textbook suicide, my friend.” He took a deep breath, and the other turned his gaze to him. “Whatever happened in there,” he motioned towards the room and the boy kissing the floor, “that was all him.”

Submitted: March 30, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Kean Flynn. All rights reserved.

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