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?

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20. Chapter 20

Dastardious Hollow flicked through the black book on his desk. The guys at Forensics had cracked the code in it -some sort of hidden ink- and had made it so that Dastardious could read what was written in it easily, and what he read in it he found to be most interesting.

It was a diary, of sorts. It didn’t tell of Amerigo’s day to day activities; instead it told job related things like: Who hired him, for how much, who he was to kill, how he killed them, and at the top of each list was a date of when he was hired, made the kill, and received pay. It was to Dastardious very interesting, and he wondered why Simon Finnegan had been after it. Unfortunately though, they’d had to release him as they didn’t have enough solid evidence.

Frank Miller had sworn that he’d seen a light on in the house and that he had seen someone enter. Of course, it was late at night, and he couldn’t identify Simon as the man. But what Dastardious could do, and had done, was identify that Amerigo was the one responsible for the two murders in the basement. On top of that he’d already sent out for an arrest warrant for the man that had last hired Amerigo. Of course he didn’t have the information of why the man had hired Joseph to have the man and woman killed, but once he was arrested for whatever, being a partner to murder, he’d get the story. He always got the story.

He flipped through the book at random, puzzling in silence over why the people in there wanted other people to die. What was their motive? He didn’t care that the people died, but he hated not knowing why.

He stopped flicking through the pages every time he found something that caught his eyes, a change in colour of pen; a word written differently to how it had been written before. It was small things that caught his eyes. The subtle changes, it added things to the mysteries. He stopped on a page near the beginning of the books. It seemed that sometimes Amerigo kept tabs on the families of either the people that hired him or on the other members of the people that he’d been hired to kill. He had kept tabs on one such person whose family he had killed on November 21, 1985. A young man named Jonathan Crash, who later changed his name to Silence Mourner.

It was the name ‘Silence Mourner’ that caught Dastardious’s eye. It was an interesting name for someone to change to. Maybe that was why it had caught his eyes, because it was like Dastardious’s own name, made to fit.

According to why he had changed his name to that, it was because he couldn’t speak. He had lost his family when he was four, so all the kids in the orphanage had called him Silence Mourner. In the notes that Amerigo had taken of the boy, there was one that said why he was alive.

‘-I am not a child killer, except for that one time when the child was too old and would most likely have remembered me. But the boy was only four. I remember nothing of when I was that young, and neither does anyone else that I know. And if he does, he will have a mark to remind him not to tell anyone-’

There were a few other things said about him, and the more Dastardious read of him the more interested he became.

‘-The boy has lived his whole life… I am not sure if he remembers what has happened to him, but I do not think he remembers. Many things have happened to him that have pushed out that memory, I hope anyway. I promised him I would kill him and anyone he told if he does remember and tell, but I do not want to kill him anymore. He fascinates me-’

Dastardious put down the book, wondering if Silence Mourner knew about how his parents had died. He himself couldn’t remember anything of when he was that old.

Still thinking, he got to his feet, closed the book and placed it in a drawer of his desk, and then he locked it and placed the key in his pocket. If anybody stole the book from him he wouldn’t be very happy. It was evidence.

He left his office and headed down to the car park under the building. It was a strange idea that had reached him while he read about Silence Mourner, he would go and find him and tell him how his parents had died, and he didn’t know why.

He stopped short at the end of the grey hall, he didn’t even know where Silence Mourner lived. But that wouldn’t be too hard; he could find anybody he wanted to at any time.

Ten minutes later he received the information from a department computer and was on his way to his car when another officer stopped him and reported to him of another murder. They’d found a body with a bullet hole in his chest that had pierced his heart.

‘He’s been ID’d as George Oldwood,’ the officer told him, ‘thought you’d like to know ‘cause we looked him up and it seems he was hired recently by your dead, Joseph Amerigo.’

Interestingly as well, found Dastardious, Silence Mourner lived just around the corner. Without thanking the man or indicating that he’d even heard him he walked past, deciding on the spot that he would pop by the scene of the crime either on the way to Silence Mourner’s place or on the way home. Either way it would work.

As he climbed into his car and drove out of the half empty car park, he realised that he didn’t actually know what he was going to say to Silence Mourner. What would he say? Well he knew what he would say, but how would he say it, and why should he? It was none of his business. But that thing about why Silence was silenced, not being able to tell anyone what happened, facing death if he did. He doesn’t have to worry about that any more, Dastardious thought. It will be a relief to him to know that.

He passed the address of the recent murder, deciding to just go straight to Silence’s place and visit the scene on his way back. They knew he was coming so they’d stay there.

He was able to find a spot to park his car, exited and walked the one block to the apartment building in which Silence Mourner lived. It was one of the better buildings on the block, costing a lot he could tell from the outside appearance; he guessed that meant that Silence Mourner was doing quite well in life. He himself lived in a small apartment downtown. On his salary it would have been impossible to rent one of the rooms in the building he now stood in, admiring the inside décor.

It was cool from air conditioning, and quiet. Far more than he thought it would be. Asking at the desk he was able to obtain the floor and room number of Silence Mourner.

A minute later his elevator dinged on the correct floor and he headed down the carpeted hall, checking off the numbers in his head until he stood in front of the right door. He pressed the bell and waited.

There seemed to be some noise coming from behind the door, but straining his ears he couldn’t pick out what it was. Pressing the bell again he stepped back, and was rewarded by the front door opening.

A scared, female face looked up at him, one that he recognised as being the annoying reporter who had been snooping around trying to get her story. Dastardious had always hated reporters; they always got in the way and would ruin everything by spreading everything he wanted to keep a secret to the public.

He remembered a long time ago he’d once tried to keep the news of a murder he had been investigating under wraps by cutting off the power for the houses surrounding the murder so that people couldn’t phone for the news. But word of mouth spread and he ended up having to turn the power back on because it wasn’t doing anything except be a nuisance. That and he’d gone and lost his phone so he had needed to use one belonging to a neighbour next door, otherwise he would have left the power off just the serve them right.

Even though the woman probably would have recognised him, he pulled out his badge and showed it to her just to remind her anyway. He didn’t miss the sharp intake of breath as she saw the badge.

He wondered vaguely what she was doing here, but had more important things to worry about and this was the room he’d been told Silence Mourner lived in.

‘Skipping the business of ‘what a lovely day this is’ I’ll get straight to it, does a Mr Silence Mourner live here?’ he asked.

The woman, whose name he vaguely remembered as being something beginning with S, glanced quickly to the left with her eyes before returning them to look at him. The quick look was enough to let him know that this was indeed the right place, and that something was also up, but before he could ask what, she had straightened up and opened the door wider.

‘Please come in,’ she offered, standing back to allow Dastardious to enter.

When he did, they first thing he noticed was a young man lying on the couch with a towel on his head. The man didn’t look exactly American, though Dastardious couldn’t be sure. The man’s dark eyes watched him carefully as Dastardious walked to the center of the lounge to stand before him.

Susan walked over to Silence, and sitting down next to him she dabbed at the wound on his forehead as she said, ‘This is Inspector Dastardious Hollow, from NYPD.’

Silence nodded his head as Dastardious cleared his throat and said, ‘You’re Silence Mourner then?’

Silence nodded his head again and Susan spoke up for him saying what he couldn’t say. ‘Silence can’t speak, as you probably already know.’

‘Yes, I know he can’t talk, that’s why he’s nodding his damn head instead of replying yes,’ Dastardious told her shortly, with a tone that implied he wasn’t stupid.

Susan nodded as she laid the towel down onto the coffee table next to the couch.

‘Well it has come to my attention, a matter that happened to you some time ago,’ Dastardious continued, watching with interest as Susan glanced nervously at Silence, who remained cool and impassive. Silence hadn’t taken his eyes off Dastardious since he’d entered the room, something Dastardious was not used too. He wasn’t often subjected to someone returning his strong gaze. Most would turn away after a moment of being stared at by him, but not the man on the couch before him.

Dastardious could see the girl was hiding something, it was written clearly on her face. Silence might have known what, but his face wasn’t saying anything. Dastardious continued.

‘You might not actually remember it because it happened in 1985; you were about four at the time if I remember correctly.’

He heard a gasp from Susan and turned to glare at her, daring her to pretend that there was nothing wrong. Silence on the other hand for the first time since Dastardious had entered the room creaked a smile as he held up a hand for Dastardious to stop talk talking. Dastardious watched with interest as Silence wrote on a piece of paper at what he reckoned must be the speed that someone would talk.

Silence then handed the note to Susan who rose to her feet and handed it to Dastardious, who took it and read it. He had expected it to be squiggles considering how fast it had been written.

It read: Inspector, if you are referring to the night my family died, I remember exactly every detail. Are you here to tell me that my family was murdered by a man called Joseph Amerigo, who last week?

Dastardious finished the note impressed. ‘Yes, I did come to tell you of this. But I didn’t think you would remember.’ He waited patiently for Silence to write a reply and for Susan to hand it to him.

I used to not, and then I remembered every detail of the night last night. What do you know?

Dastardious shrugged. ‘That your family was killed by a hired gun by the name of Joseph Amerigo, and that he cut off your tongue so you couldn’t tell anybody what you saw. But you can now, and I’d like to know. I’m not sure why your parents were killed though; I’ll work on that later.

Silence nodded. He looked at Susan -who was torn between watching them both- and then turned back to Dastardious. He wrote another note.

First things first, Inspector Hollow, I killed a man this afternoon. It was an accident, he tried to kill me first; it was in an act of self-defence. I didn’t mean to kill him.

Dastardious didn’t bat an eye at the news; he’d heard that news before.

‘It ain’t for me to decide if you’re innocent or not, but I’ll take a note of your confession and you can come with me after we’ve finished our little chat,’ Dastardious told him. ‘It wouldn’t happen to have been a man named George Oldwood, would it?’ he asked after a moment.

Silence stared at him in surprise, and then nodded his head.

‘I got the call that he’d been discovered just as I was leaving. And if you’re interested, like I was, then you’ll want to know that he was the last man your family’s killer hired before his death.’

Silence frowned this time as his mind raced quickly to find answers, and then another smile appeared on his lips.

I think I may understand why he tried to kill me then.He wrote.I think he must have heard Susan asking me questions about my past, and guessed that I’d told her, so he tried to kill me to keep me quiet about it. Though why it would have mattered as Amerigo is dead now, I don’t know. Another thing I don’t know is why he was hired by Amerigo, but I guess you’ll find that out?

‘As both men are dead I think their reasons may have died with them, but I will check it out when I get back to the office,’ Dastardious assured him.

Silence nodded. And as both he and Amerigo are dead, I am assuming that it will be fine for me to tell you what happened. So here it is as I saw it:

And he told everything that happened on the night.

I don’t know why my father was killed exactly; something that Amerigo mentioned was that he killed his brother and a cousin. He was a part of the Italian Mafia as I found out a few years ago when I went over there to do some digging. He finished.

Dastardious looked up from the pages that had been handed to him to look at Silence. ‘This all true?’ he asked.

Silence nodded his head

‘Can I keep this?’

He nodded again.

‘I would have even if you’d refused,’ Dastardious told him, pocketing the notes. Then pulling out a pair of handcuffs he cuffed both of Silence’s hands, much to the surprise of Susan who jumped to her feet straight away as Dastardious said, ‘I’m arresting you for the murder of George Oldwood, as confessed earlier to me. You have the right to remain silent if you so wish, and anything you say can and will be held against you. So think carefully before you write anything down on paper again.’ He pulled Silence to his feet and ignored Susan as he led him towards the door. At the door though, he allowed Silence to write Susan a note telling her that everything would be okay and not to worry.

Well, at least this sorts out my past, now we can really look towards sorting out the future. He wrote, and passed the note quickly to Susan, as Dastardious hustled him out of the apartment, past a surprised Thomas, and into the elevator.

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