Silent Screams

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A reflection on a tragic event in the past, "Silent Screams" describes how the main character is dealing with her grief. She is beginning to realize that this grief can sometimes cross the line of insanity and poison her mind forever.

Submitted: November 14, 2013

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Submitted: November 14, 2013

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Silent Screams

 

Some nights, I lay in a bed.  Contemplating my decisions.  Wondering if I tried to do too much, or asking myself if I could have done anything differently.  These are the nights I feel a lump in my throat, but I force myself not to cry.  I shut my eyes, but then my parents and you are there, mocking me.  That’s when it begins.  I start trembling.  My head spins.  The bed feels fragile, much like my body. 

I can’t take much more of these nights.  I wish it would all just end.  But then I remember what I did, and I know this is your way of revenge.  I am your puppet.  You’ve already gone, and you’re making me pay for it now.  You won’t let me leave.  And you’ll never leave me.  On these certain nights, I wish that I could be trapped in the darkness forever.  But unfortunately, I still wake up.  And your ghost greets me.

 

This is one of those nights.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

“Good morning.”

 

I turned over and saw you leaning up against the wall.  Your eyes were malignant, your clothes tucked in, your hair neatly combed.  Groggily, I checked my watch.  The glass was broken, and the numbers were starting to chip away, because after all, it was 10 years old.  But I squinted and made out the time. 7:12AM.

Instantly, I was on my feet.  “Why are you here?  You promised you wouldn’t come until 8:00!”

You gave a small chuckle.  “Nice to see you, too,” you replied dryly.

I stomped over, getting in your face.  “You promised, Theo!”  I screamed.  “You promised!”

“No, I didn’t.”  Your voice was calm and controlled.  And you knew I hated when you did that.  I hated when you lied to me, and then pretended like it was no big deal.

“Liar!”  I grabbed the collar of your shirt and threw you into the wall, shaking the entire house.

“Relax, Cass,” you whispered.  “I never said anything, and even if I did, you know how I feel about promises now…”

My grip loosened.  I turned away from you, facing my bed.  The room slowly faded, replaced by our old home.  I saw you at the top of the staircase, your baby-like face in tears and your clothes torn up.  I saw your scraped knees and your gray, ashy hands.  You reached out to me, but I was already halfway down the stairs.  I turned my head around to glance at you, shouting, “I’ll be back for you, Theo, I promise!”  Then I ran out the front door, gasping for breath.  I slammed the door behind me and sank to the ground.

I kept staring and my bed gradually reappeared.  “Why can’t you just leave me alone?”  I muttered without looking at you.

“I’m scared you’ll forget me again.”

I gritted my teeth.  “It was an accident.  You’re my brother.”

“Oh, really?  I am?”  You inquired.  “Could’ve fooled me.”

Whipping around, I glared at you.  “I had to go.”

“No, I don’t think you did.”  You stared me down for a moment before leaving.

“Wait!  When are you coming back?”  I yelled after you.

“When I feel like it.”

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

What do I stand for?

I walked through the city, going out of my way to splash in every puddle, kick the stones out of my path, or snap a twig.  People stared and mumbled, but honestly I couldn’t give a crap.  I didn’t care what people thought of me; I already knew that I was a worthless piece of junk.  At least, that’s what you implied whenever I saw you.

I punched a stop sign.  Pain seared up through my knuckles, but it was numb compared to my rage.  I hate you.  I hate you so much.  An old man looked up at me, his gaze full of disapproval.  When we made eye contact, he shook his head slightly.  I kept walking.

What do I stand for?

The question returned to my mind.  I sat down on a bench near the bus stop.  Next to me was a Black man typing on his fancy laptop.  He had a sophisticated air to him, with round glasses, a round, mature face, and a long tie around his neck.  I stifled a snort of disgust and turned the other way.

I knew I had made a mistake, but that was over 10 years ago.  My parents hated me.  You hated me.  God hated me.  I must have apologized hundreds of times, but none of you would listen.  I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough for you, huh?  Nothing ever was!  You sick, ungrateful, ignorant, self-absorbed bastards!  I am me.  I am my own person.  You have no right to dwell on a mistake I made 10 years ago!  Just let it go, for God’s sake!

“Are you okay?”

The man with the laptop was staring at me, his forehead creased with a worried expression.

I kept my head down and picked at a hangnail on the side of my thumb.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him bite his lip.  “You just seem a little antsy, is all,” he said quietly.  His voice sounded as if he were some sort of authority figure.  It had a calm, yet firm tone.

 I scraped at the hangnail with my index finger.  There was a small pinch, but I kept messing with it.  “I said I’m fine, thanks,” I responded, an edge of annoyance creeping into my voice.

“You were muttering to yourself.”

I put my hand to my mouth, nibbling at the side of my thumb.  I gave no indication that I had heard the man.  The hangnail was just about to be torn off…

“Maybe it’ll help if you talk about it.”

I tasted blood.  It gushed throughout my entire mouth- my tongue, my back molars, my gums.  Removing my thumb from my mouth, I saw the hangnail was gone.  Blood had taken its place, flowing rapidly from the new gap in my skin and threatening drown my thumb in the sea of red.

“Mind your own business, pal!”  I spat at him while wiping my wound against my pants, awed by the streak it had left behind.

The man raised his eyebrows and shrugged.  “Sorry.  I just thought you could use a friend.”  He stood up and brushed himself off as the city bus approached the stop.

“Scum,” I hissed as he began walking past me to board the bus.  It wasn’t meant for him to hear, but I saw jaw tighten and he jerkily reached into his coat pocket.

“Yeah, I’m the scum,” he retorted, tossing $10 at my face.  “Use that to buy yourself a real coat instead of walking around in a garbage bag.”

I stared at the money on my lap, dumbfounded by its presence.  It didn’t mean anything to me.  And anyways, my coat was just fine.  To me it was, anyways.

I don’t know anymore.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

“WOO-HOO!  We are young!”

I twisted, trying to get the voices and cheers out of my head.

“Hey, Cass.  Let’s set the world on fire!”

They screamed and shouted, not paying any attention to me as I protested.  “No, no, we can’t!”  I yelled, but it was no use.  Someone lit a match, then another, then another, and I was engulfed by the flames.

“No!”  I sat up quickly in my bed, drawing in sharp breaths as I tried to compose myself.

“You know that’s not what really happened.”

So you were back. 

“I know, but…”

“Shut up,” you hissed.  “The fire didn’t harm you.  You didn’t even get burned.”

Tears welled up in my eyes and started streaming down my face.  “Theo, I’m sorry, okay?  I never meant for any of this to happen…”

“But you let it happen.”

“It was an accident!”

“Oh, please, Cass.  Mom and dad left town for a day trip, so you decided to throw a party and invite a bunch of guys you met the weekend before?  What did you think would happen?  Thought you’d get off scot-free again, right?”

I tried to blink away the tears, but they kept coming down.  “Can you just go already?  I already feel guilty enough!”

Your eyebrows narrowed and you clenched your fists.  “You feel… guilty?!  How do you think I feel now?  Oh wait, that’s right, I can’t feel ANYTHING anymore!”

I stumbled out of my house.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  You were hot on my heels, and I could almost feel your breath on my ear.  “What’s wrong, sissy?  Can’t take the heat?”

Scanning the crowd of passer-bys, I spotted a sheriff writing a ticket.  He tore it off the notepad and placed it on a car parked near the sidewalk.

“Sir!”  I called out, running towards him, trying not to trip over my coat.  “Please help me!”

The man looked in my direction and stared at me as I came running toward him.  “Yes, can I help you?” he asked, looking me up and down with an odd expression on his face.

I pointed to you.  “Tell him to leave me alone!”

The sheriff gave me a cold stare.  “Is this some kind of practical joke?” he asked sternly.

“What?  Of course not!  This is Theo, he’s my brother.  And he won’t leave me alone.”

The man’s eyes became slits as he took a step closer to me.

“There’s nobody next to you,” he whispered.

My mind spun.  I heard you laughing, and I knew you had beaten me.  Again.  I shook my head slowly, and began backing away, inching closer to my home.  As I stepped inside, I heard a voice yelling to me.

“Hey, you!  Get out of that cardboard box!”

I didn’t know what they meant, and I curled up in a ball, trembling on top of my bed.  Which suddenly felt cold and uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s because my bed was a pile of newspapers.

I kept crying and I couldn’t stop.  My own life was slipping away.  I knew I was nearing the end; I had no desire to carry on.  It had become clear that nobody wanted or loved me.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

And now, every night when I go to bed, I hear your voice, and see your ghost.  It’s no longer only some nights, but every night.  And who could blame me?  There’s no one to keep me warm.  My whole life has become a terrifying nightmare, and I just wish that it never came true.  Every night now, you haunt me, Theo.  I just want it to end.  That way, when I’m crying myself to sleep, I won’t have to hear those same words every night.

 

“You should’ve cried earlier.  Water always puts out the flames.”


© Copyright 2019 Lauren Anne. All rights reserved.

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