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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21. Chapter 21

Thursday, 16th:

It was a sunny day the next day, though Silence didn’t get to see it. He was locked up in a cell, which didn’t really surprise him after what he had done the day before. It wasn’t all that bad, Susan was allowed to visit and so was his uncle. It had been arranged for them to visit him later that morning. It wasn’t the place that Silence had wanted to introduce his uncle to his girlfriend, nor was it the right place to tell him that Oldwood was dead, but Silence couldn’t help it.

As far as he was aware his uncle didn’t yet know about Oldwood’s death or of the reason why Silence was in jail. That meant that it would be up to him to tell his uncle everything, which wasn’t a task he was particularly looking forward to. But at least he would have Susan by his side.

He hadn’t quite expected Inspector Hollow to act the way he had, in Silence’s mind he saw the Inspector do something else. But it didn’t matter; it was up to a judge to decide what would happen now, he only hoped that the judge would understand what had happened.

Silence sat in his small cell and gazed at the wall, there wasn’t much to see. Never actually having been in a cell before, he wasn’t sure if all prisoners lived in a cell like his or if he was just in there until he was moved at a later date. It was a square room, about six feet by six feet, grey brick walls, and very dull.

He’d been searched when he had been taken in so all that remained were the clothes that he had been wearing when he’d left. He didn’t even have his watch so he had no idea of the time. But due to the faint sounds of talking and the clattering of plates and cutlery he guessed it was morning. He wondered briefly whether they would serve him breakfast in his cell or if they would let him out to have it with the others.

Visiting, he’d been told, was at eleven. For him anyway, apparently he was a special case. The guard hadn’t told him why though.

It was strange for him to think it, but he was actually enjoying the experience. It wasn’t something he would like to stay doing, it all depended if he would have to or not, but it was an experience.

Sometime later after he had been fed breakfast in his cell, his cell door opened and a man in uniform greeted him and cuffed his hands. Having had his pad and pencil taken away Silence couldn’t ask where they were going, but he guessed that it was probably time for visiting. He was led down a wide hallway that separated rows and rows of cells, full of people who had done who knew what. They laughed and jeered and threw dirty comments at him, Silence ignored them and wondered why they acted that way.

After a short walk later he was shown into a large, grey, room, with five tables spread out around the place. Each table had four, hardback, metal chairs that matched the shine on the tables. Seeing as he was a special case there was no-one else in the room besides one of his visitors, Susan.

She smiled brightly upon seeing him and rose to her feet to greet him as his cuffs were removed, and the officer who’d led him left the room. As soon as he was gone Susan threw her arms around Silence’s neck and embraced him with a kiss.

Parting, they took their seats and Susan pulled his notepad and pencil out of her bag. Handing it to him she said, ‘I hope they haven’t treated you badly?’

Silence shook his head. No they haven’t, they’ve been quite good. How are you? He passed the note across to her, happy that he could finally break silence and talk.

‘Oh I’m well, still a little shocked from last night but I’ll be okay,’ she told him as she reached out and gripped his hand in hers.

 Silence nodded, smiled, and then asked for the time.

‘A little past eleven, we’ve got half an hour to talk.’

Silence nodded again. I called my uncle as well last night and told him I was here, he said he would come by to visit.

‘Did you tell him why you’re here?’

He shook his head. No, I told him I’d tell him when he got here, which should be soon as he’s rarely late.

And true for just as he passed the note to Susan, the door in the back opened and a guard showed in Cuthbert Revine. He stood towering over the guard; his normally smiling face was straight and grave as he looked over at Silence sitting at a table with Susan. Thanking the guard, Cuthbert made his way to join them. Sitting down he cast his eye to Susan who was sitting next to him smiling. Before he could introduce himself she had stuck out her hand and proclaimed, ‘Susan Seganto, sir, I’m your nephew’s girlfriend!’

Cuthbert’s thick eyebrows rose in surprise as he looked at Silence, as if questioning him to see if this was true. Smiling, Silence nodded in reply.

‘Welcome!’ Cuthbert exclaimed cheerfully, embracing Susan in a large half hug. ‘I never thought you’d get a girl, Silence!’ he said as he released Susan and slapped Silence on the shoulder.

Silence just shrugged and grinned.

‘This is good news ta hear indeed,’ his uncle said, turning to face him. ‘But, tell me, this is serious, what are you doin’ in prison?’ The question came as Silence knew it would, he’d played it over in his head, except he hadn’t placed what his uncle would look like when he asked it. Cuthbert’s face was once again serious, with worried lines spread around through it.

It’s to do with Oldwood. Silence paused, unsure of whether to just go out and say it all, or start small and build his way up to it. He decided to start small and handed the piece of paper over to his uncle.

‘He put you here?’ his uncle exclaimed loudly after reading the note. ‘What right has he ta put you in here?’ He exclaimed, rising from his seat as Silence hastily wrote a note and passed it to him. His uncle looked at him after reading the note.

‘He didn’t put you here?’ he asked, a frown on his face.

Silence shook his head. It was sort of a lie though, in a way Oldwood had put Silence in prison, mainly because Silence was the one that had killed him.

Cuthbert lowered himself back down on to his seat. ‘So what about George then, what’s he got ta do with all this?’

He’s dead.

Silence held his breath while he waited for his uncle to digest the news. A surprise and stunned look rested on his uncle’s face when he had finished.

‘What happened?’ he whispered.

He tried to kill me. We got into a fight, he dropped his gun; I picked it up and fired it by accident. Died on the spot.

Silence watched his uncle’s face as he read the note. He noticed his uncle swallow with nervousness and a small bead of perspiration started to trail down his forehead.

Uncle, where on earth did you find him? What on earth was he doing trying to kill me? You brought a maniac in to be our boss! What if it wasn’t just me he tried to kill? What if he tried to take down other employees at work? You have to tell me everything; I know you’re hiding something.

He handed his uncle the note and leaned forwards, waiting for his uncle to read the note and then say something. And then he noticed with surprise that there were tears forming in his uncle’s eyes.

Cuthbert looked up at him, a distraught expression on his large face.

‘I am so sorry, Silence,’ he said wiping his eyes. ‘I am so very sorry for this. I-I,’ he uncle stopped as he buried his face in his hands.

Uncle, tell me.

Silence handed the piece of paper to Susan and asked her to read it out loud. Cuthbert sniffed once and looked up after she’d finished the note.

‘George Oldwood wouldn’t have tried ta kill anyone else, it was only you he would have killed,’ he explained quietly.

Susan’s eyes widened in surprise as she asked, ‘But why would he want to kill Silence, that’s what we don’t understand?’

Cuthbert nodded his head and cleared his throat. ‘I’ll tell you. Oldwood forced me inta appointin’ him CEO. I’d never met him before until he came ta my house one and a half weeks ago. It was a Sunday; I was sittin’ havin’ my mornin’ coffee and readin’ my paper when the doorbell rang. I called for Geraldine ta answer it as I was eatin’ breakfast, and she told me that she was doin’ her hair and therefore was unable ta answer it. As I was closer ta the door, I went and answered it,’ Cuthbert paused as he gazed around at the empty room, then rising from his seat he started to walk slowly around. At last he continued.

‘Oldwood was at the door. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but he seemed ta know me. He entered my house like he owned it, and offered a proposition. It was a really good one,’ Cuthbert sighed. He shook his head. ‘I couldn’t refuse it, I’m sorry.’

‘What was it?’ Susan asked, as she rose to her feet and walked over to stand by the shaking Cuthbert.

‘Business is failin’. It’s not as good as it once was. In another year or two it’s goin’ ta completely fail and, I haven’t told you this before, Silence, but I’m in debt because of it. Oldwood offered ta pay me a lot of money. Not quite enough ta pay off all the debts ta begin with. When I found out why he wanted the job of CEO, ta watch over you and make sure you didn’t tell anybody your secret, I said no. And then he offered me more, enough ta pay off everything.’ Cuthbert bowed his head. ‘I am sorry I accepted the money over your life. But I needed it, and that blinded me. I hope you might forgive me?’ He asked, looking up at Silence, a pleading look in his eyes.

You needed the money and so you accepted it from a man who wanted to watch me and try and kill me if I told anyone my secret. I don’t know. If it was something else, maybe I could. But risking family’s life to pay off your debts? I’m not sure I can. Is money everything? It’s starting to seem that way to me, I’m sorry. If you needed money, you should have told me. To me business is going fine. If it was that bad, you could simply stop paying my wage. I’d understand!

Oldwood still hadn’t signed those papers when he died, so you’re legally still CEO. Next time you find someone, make sure they’re not a killer.

Cuthbert looked up from the note passed to him and nodded.

‘I take it that as Oldwood tried ta kill you that you told your secret?’ he asked.

Silence nodded.

Cuthbert looked at Susan and then at Silence wistfully as he said, ‘What I wouldn’t give ta know what had happened.’

You never will. And also, you are an accomplice to attempted murder. Taking money and standing to the side and waiting for me to tell someone my secret and die. But as you are family, and you do mean more to me than money, or justice, I don’t want to mention it. But seeing as I’m in here because of you I think you need to tell Inspector Hollow what happened. It won’t undo what you’ve done but at least it should contribute to releasing me from here. He handed the note over to his uncle and then wrote another one thanking him for coming, ending the conversation.

His uncle nodded after reading the note and said, ‘I’ll tell him straight away and clear up this mess. I’m sorry once again, Silence. It was good ta meet you, Susan,’ he said, turning and shaking her hand. Silence allowed him to shake his hand as well and then watched as his uncle left the room.

‘Silence,’ said Susan after watching Cuthbert leave, ‘wasn’t that a bit harsh? I know what you said to your uncle, I did read the note as you were writing it.’

Silence shook his head. It may have been harsh yes, but, how could he? Risk my life for money? I know people do stupid things, like what I did when I saved you back in High School. But I’ve never seen something like this. He did try to warn me though, telling me Oldwood’s way wasn’t like ours, so I guess that means he didn’t want me to die, but he mustn’t have really cared because he still took the money. It hurts, you know? To know money is worth more than family.

Susan nodded. ‘I know. But live and let live. Forgive and forget. It’s a good policy.’

I know. And I might get over it.

Friday, 17th:

Silence was released the next day, which was sooner than he had expected. Apparently Inspector Hollow was respected around the station and seeing as he was in charge of the whole case was able to release him, believing that Silence really had killed George Oldwood by accident in self-defense.

Silence was happy to leave; he had enjoyed the experience but decided that that was only because of Inspector Hollow who had allowed him to have a comfortable stay. If he was arrested by somebody else for whatever reason, he was sure that it wouldn’t be as nice.

And for the first time in his life he was free. Not because he had been released from prison, but because he was no longer chained to a scar that told him he must never tell. There was nothing to fear if he told people, not that he felt he would because it wasn’t any of their business.

As he walked down the street his mind spun to work out what he would do next. He’d decided in his cell the night before that he would quit his job at Inks and Paper, he just felt he wouldn’t be able to work under his uncle anymore. He was sure he could find a job elsewhere though, maybe find something this time that he actually wanted to do. He’d never thought about it before, he’d always worked with his uncle and never felt a need to study or do something else before.

He’d saved for quite a while and had enough put away that he wouldn’t be in dire need of anything so he would be able to do what he wanted for a change. Well, something different anyway as he had been doing what he’d wanted before.

On the corner of the street where his apartment was a man stood with his stand selling newspapers. Wondering what he’d missed in his day of absence, Silence bought a paper. He flicked through, just gazing at the headlines for something of interest to read. He found one and smiled.

Reports have been filed by the New York Police that one of Italy’s most wanted criminals, one who is responsible for over one hundred unsolved cases, has been found living a peaceful life in one of New York’s suburbs. His identity has been discovered to be that of the late Joseph Amerigo, who died last Saturday after a fall.

Joseph Amerigo worked for the Italian Mafia, and anybody else that would hire him as an assassin. His fee was high, and his proficiency in his job the same. Reports claim that Amerigo moved to America shortly after the year 1990, and hasn’t moved out of the state of New York since his arrival. He bought his house when he first arrived and hasn’t moved since.

He worked as a hired assassin to anybody that could afford his fee. And if they failed to comply with his wishes, then he would kill them as well as the target and take everything that was offered to him to leave the rest of the family alone.

Reports claim as well that Amerigo owned a Black Book. A book with the recordings of every single person that once hired him, and every single person he has killed. The date of the hire, the date of the kill and how much he was paid is inside the book.

Inspector Dastardious Hollow was handed the investigation, and has so far completed it and is bringing in men from all over the country, and others, on claim of accomplice to murder.

Amerigo was discovered when neighbor Frank Miller phoned the police to say that someone had broken into Amerigo’s home.

When the police arrived no-one was found to be in the house, but they made an arrest of a man that was running away from them. It is still being decided if he was the alleged robber.

During a search to see if anything was taken, police stumbled across a room in the basement holding the dead bodies of a man and his wife from Colorado. More searching of the house led Inspector Dastardious Hollow to find the black book kept by the deceased, telling of what he’d done and who had paid him to do what.

Inspector Hollow is now being promoted for his services.

After finishing the article, Silence rolled up the paper and walked on. In his mind he wished Inspector Hollow all the best of luck.

It was evening, nearing dinner time, which was why they were all gathered and dressed in their best and standing around in a room. This was the announcement before dinner, and Dastardious wished they would hurry up with them because he was starving.

The crowd started clapping as he took to the stage. The Commissioner smiled and shook his hand, and clapped with the others as Dastardious took his place before the mic. He pulled at his collar in a sign of nervousness at having to say something to a large crowd, and cleared his throat.

‘Gentleman, and ladies, if any can survive being in a room of boring old farts for more than five minutes. Any in here and I salute to you.’ He mock saluted and then fell at ease, looking around the room while something else came to him to say.

He was only faintly aware of the stir he had caused by starting his speech like this. Something else came to mind to say and he proceeded.

‘Due to the late Joseph Amerigo’s book, we have made more than fifty arrests. All arrested will not be going anywhere except to prison. And, and-‘ he faulted. He didn’t know what else to say.

He cleared his throat, a slight smile appearing on the corners of his lips.

‘And damned if I know what I’m supposed to be saying to you lot! I’m off for dinner!’

With that he left the stage and headed off to the dining room, fully aware of the giant stir and the chatter coming from the people inside that he’d left behind.

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