The Story of Silence

Silence Mourner is like every other person out there, but not every person is like Silence.

The story starts in the small, Italian village of Paura where Father Demetre finds a four-year-old boy in the snow beside three fresh graves. A mystery surrounds the boy, who is he? What was he doing out there alone in the cold? How did he get there? Whose graves are they? And finally, why can the boy no longer speak? Faced with these problems, Father Demetre takes the boy in and with the help of the village doctor, they care for him until a stranger from New York comes to claim him.

Now named Silence Mourner, follow this boy's road to manhood in the distant city of New York where he has slowly come to forget his secret, but his silence serving as a reminder that it should never be told. Now faced with a girl from his youth who is determined to bring it into the light, will it stay concealed, or will his desire to remember bring it all out?


10. Chapter 10

March 11th, it’s still the same year. Nothing has changed, it can’t be bothered:

It rained on Saturday and it didn’t stop. Silence was awoken by the sound of it pouring down and splattering against his closed window. He rolled over with his eyes still closed and tried to return to sleep.

It was still early in the morning, about six o’clock, and he didn’t need to wake, it was Saturday, he never woke on Saturday. It was the start of the weekend for him and he needed sleep. Sleep was important. There was nothing better than to go to sleep after a long hard day of work and to wake up late feeling refreshed.

Actually, Silence could think of other things that were better than that, but at the moment, lying in bed listening to the rain and knowing that he didn’t have to get up yet, was the best feeling.

He woke later and found the time to be nine o’clock, he’d only managed a couple of hours sleep in. Though he liked sleeping he knew that if he went back to bed again he would end up with a headache, and so he crawled out of bed to the shower.

Thomas was still asleep when Silence passed his room. He didn’t know what time Thomas had arrived home, but Thomas usually liked to sleep until late. Sometimes Silence wouldn’t bother being quiet, but this morning he was, there was no reason for him not to be quiet.

He finished in the shower and made himself a quick breakfast of toast and eggs, taking his time to enjoy them before clearing away the dishes and grabbing his bag before heading downstairs to the Lobby. He collected his newspaper that he had delivered along with his mail to the lobby and headed outside.

Stopping under the hanging marquee that was set up over the front door of the building he gave the newspaper a quick skim through. One article caught his eye:

Joseph Amerigo (57) died early this morning after a fall on the sidewalk close to his home. The fall fractured his skull and Joseph Amerigo died fast.

The doctor that viewed him, Hans La-bree (44), told Newest News: “I do not think that Mr Amerigo would have suffered. The fall was fast and death followed quickly, and even if someone had been around at the time to witness his fall and called for an ambulance he still would not have made it.”

Joseph Amerigo was found at six this morning after jogger, Ann Burns (25), discovered the body on her morning run.

Neighbor, Frank Miller (55), says that though he (Amerigo) was a quiet man and they barely talked, his presence will be missed.

Amerigo’s funeral will be held at the Westlink Cemetery on Tuesday the 14th of March. Friends and family are welcome to attend.

Silence didn’t know the man, but he recognised the last name as it was an Italian name. He had known someone at the orphanage with that same last name, and Silence wondered just for a moment if they were any relation.

He folded the newspaper up and tucked it away inside his coat to read later, opened his umbrella and headed out into the rain, forgetting about the news as he headed off.

George Oldwood stood looking out of his window on the tenth floor of his high-rise apartment and watched the rain drip slowly down the window. Lying open on the coffee table in the middle of the lounge room was the same newspaper that Silence had just looked through.

It was open on the page about Joseph Amerigo’s death. Oldwood contemplated going to the funeral, but then he thought, if such things in time were discovered, showing up at the funeral might not be a good idea. Leave it to all those other poor sods that show up to be questioned later. That was if it came to that. It didn’t have to…

He turned from the window and dialed a number into his phone. It rang for a few seconds until somebody answered it.

‘Hello? Yes, this is George Oldwood speaking; I’d like to talk to Simon Finnegan please.’ He waited patiently while the woman on the other end went to see if Simon Finnegan was around. Presently George heard her voice on the line again.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Oldwood, but Mr Finnegan isn’t home right now. Would you like to leave a message?’

‘No, that’s all right. Can you tell me when he will be back?’

‘Sometime tonight, I think.’

‘Very well, I’ll call back at nine. Good day.’ He hung up the receiver and lit a cigarette. He supposed that a day would be all right. Any later than that though and it might be too late. After all, there’s nothing that will lead the police to us.

He finished his cigarette and stubbed it out in the ash tray on the coffee table and sat down. He leafed through a magazine listlessly and then got to his feet again. He didn’t need to be at work, it was the weekend, but he needed something to do to take his mind off of things. Grabbing his coat and an umbrella he headed outside.

Susan sat at her piano and played a few bars of a song. She didn’t know what it was; well she knew it, just not its name. After a moment of not remembering the next key she dropped her hands to her side and stared at the pile of paper sitting on top of the piano.

They were in a folder to keep them all together and neat. She picked it up and, opening it, read what the piece of paper on top had to say.

She finished and then closed the folder and placed it back on her piano. She looked at her watch and then at her clock hanging above the frame of the door leading into her music room. Realising that if she was going to go and have lunch with Silence then she should probably start getting ready now. With that she got to her feet and headed to her room to get changed.

At 11 o’clock Silence ordered a doughnut and a cup of coffee at a small coffee café that sat in a row of other shops near the park where he normally went to on a weekend.

It was still raining outside so he stayed inside at one of the little tables in the corner.  He had his laptop set up and was browsing the web, not really looking for anything in particular, he was just searching. It was something to do while he ate his doughnut and drank his coffee.

He heard someone walk in and looked up, and found to his surprise that is was Susan. She was wearing a light blue summer dress and wore a long sleeved, white cardigan. Her hair was tied back by a ribbon, and she looked, Silence thought anyway, rather pretty. He heard her order a coffee and then she turned round to have a look at the place while she waited for it. She looked in surprise at Silence sitting there watching her. When she saw him she smiled.

‘Hey, Silence, fancy seeing you here!’ she said pleasantly and walked over and took the empty seat next to him.

‘You don’t mind do you?’ she asked. Silence shook his head. She continued on.

‘I just thought I would get a coffee to drink while I headed over for our meeting for lunch! How long have you been here?’ she asked looking at his half empty cup of coffee and half a doughnut.

About half an hour. He wrote, passing the note over.

‘Oh.’ Her coffee arrived and she took the lid off of it and blew on the froth to cool it. She took a quick sip and leaned over the table to have a look at what he was doing on the laptop.

‘Studying for something?’ she asked when she saw it open on an ancient history site.

He shook his head and wrote: I’m just using up time till lunch. He looked out of the window of the shop at the rain pouring down onto the street, and at the cars driving past with their wipers wiping to clear the rain from their windows. It’s a nice day. He added to the note and passed it to her.

‘Hmm?’ She looked out of the window. ‘It’s all right, I guess. I don’t much like rainy weather. It limits what you can do, and it keeps you inside, which for me isn’t exactly a good thing because I tend to spend a lot of my time indoors. So having good weather leads me to go outside and do things I wouldn’t normally do.’

Like what?

‘Well,’ she took another sip of her coffee while she thought. Silence noticed that her eyes gazed upwards, and that she placed her head on a slight angle to the right side while she thought. He had noticed her do this a couple of times before when he’d talked to her. He blinked and realised that she was watching him intently.

Pardon? He wrote, feeling embarrassed at being caught staring.

She looked at him amused and repeated her question. ‘I asked if you wanted to take a walk. The rain’s stopped.’

He nodded. All right.

She rose to her feet and waited for him at the door while he packed up his laptop and then they left.

They walked side by side down the road before they stopped at a crossing and watched as cars drove past before carrying on.

They laughed and chatted as they walked. Silence liked her laugh, he thought it was cute as he listened to her as she recounted a memory she had of when she was a child at her grandfather’s house.

She stopped laughing suddenly and gazed at him, he mentally shook himself and looked away as he realised that he had been staring at her again. There was just something about her that he found attractive, but he wasn’t sure what.

He looked in her direction again and found she was still gazing at him.

They had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and were gazing into each other’s faces. Silence wanted to reach out and touch her, kiss her. He took a small step towards her, unsure of how she would react. He was closer now; his face was close to hers. He leant in slowly and her face turned up to meet his.

Someone jostled him and he nudged her and they pulled apart, both looking away from each other embarrassed. Silence cleared his throat and Susan held up her empty cup.

‘I’m just going to throw this away, okay?’ she said. Silence nodded and she smiled and left.

‘Silence,’ began Susan after she had walked back to him from dumping her cup into a bin by the side of the sidewalk. ‘Do you remember much of when you were young?’

How young?

‘Well, when you were a child.’

Silence nodded and Susan waited patiently while he wrote her a long note. He handed it to her and she stopped against a wall while she read it.

Most people, I don’t think, remember much of when they were young. Some are surprising and remember every detail of their life from birth to end. And others, well, they remember snatches of things they did.

I don’t remember much of my early life. One thing that I do remember, maybe not quite well but well enough, are the lessons that I learned from my teacher at the orphanage I grew up in and a friend. I remember their names: Father Demetre found me in the snow, so he stays. And Doctor Faloni tended to me when I was brought inside to make sure that I would live.

I remember a lot of what they told me, and I remember the day my uncle arrived to adopt me. I don’t quite know the feelings I felt for that, they were, maybe happiness, sadness, excitement, nervousness and fear. A lot of everything all muddled together in the heart, mind and soul of a nine year old.

I remember bits and pieces of the trip over from Italy to here, settling in and starting school. And then there was a drop while I went through school, not much to remember there. Now I am here and a lot of my past is fuzzy. So I think I remember more than most people remember of their lives when they were young. But maybe not.

‘Do you remember the night your parents died?’ Susan asked after she had finished the note.

It wasn’t just my parents that died, wrote Silence, my sister died as well. He handed her the note and walked on.

It was a minute or so before he felt her at his side again. They didn’t say anything as they walked. Silence didn’t know what to say, and he bet that Susan didn’t know either. He would have thought that by her looking him up she would have known that his sister died as well.

It was strange for Silence, well maybe not strange, but he hated how everyone always thought of him as an only child and they only thought of his parents dying when he had a sister who shared their fate.

He hated how everyone knew him and remembered his parents but no-one remembered his sister. He barely remembered her, and he knew that wasn’t right. But would she and his parents have wanted to be known?

Silence looked down at his feet as they walked and noticed swinging into view every now and again, the corner of a brown leather bag that Susan was carrying by her side.

What are you carrying? He asked.

Susan looked down at the bag in her hand. ‘Oh,’ she said lifting it up. ‘This is just where I place important things like my own laptop for when I go out. And important files that aren’t on my computer.

What sort of important files?

‘Well, files of things I’ve learnt. Well, some of the things I think are important enough to print out.’

What is so important about the papers that you’ve printed out? Silence asked, he felt nosy asking, but he wanted to know.

Susan looked at him. ‘They’re to do with my work, the article that I’m writing, just what I don’t want to lose.’

Why don’t you want to lose them?

‘You’re obsessed with my papers, Silence!’ she laughed. ‘Anyone would think that it’s a crime to print out information on paper! What do you have against me having information that I think important printed out?’

It’s just that if they’re about my life… my early life, about when my family died… I don’t like it. I don’t like it that you’re doing an article on this subject.

‘Why don’t you want me to look into this?’ She asked suddenly, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk so that others behind bumped into them and muttered rude words before finding their way around her. Silence stopped next to her.

He didn’t reply for a moment. Could he tell her the reason without making her just want to research even more? He decided not to tell her.

I don’t see why you have to look into this, what is it that you think you are going to find? What is wrong with the story that you have to find out if it’s true or not? So what if I was found on the other side of the mountain from where we crashed? So what if my family were already buried when I was found? Somebody probably found us and took us to the nearest place he could think of!

Silence was getting angry and he could see it in his writing, it was a mess, but still readable. He handed the note to Susan and breathed in deeply; then let it out in an effort to calm himself.

Susan took the note and read it.

‘And I still don’t see why you don’t want me to look into this! What is it that you think I’m going to find? And what is wrong with the story? Well frankly, why would someone drag three bodies and a four year old child across a mountain and bury the bodies and leave the child? Why didn’t whoever found you in the first place call somebody instead of leaving it as a mystery? And why did you say it was a ‘him’?’

Some things aren’t meant to be found and known!

‘Why not?!’ cried Susan in exasperation.

Because it’s my life! Silence handed her the last note and re-joined the walking crowd, leaving her behind him.

Susan watched him go, feeling both annoyed at him and sad at his departure. She didn’t understand him; she didn’t understand why he didn’t want her looking into his past. But because of him not wanting her to investigate, her interest was spiked and she was more eager than ever to find out what Silence was hiding. Anyone who doesn’t want something found is hiding something, she thought. And I’m going to find out what it is.

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