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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8. Chapter 8

Thursday, March 9th:

‘Wow, Silence, you look like you had a bad night last night! What did you do?’ exclaimed Brian the moment he saw Silence walk through the door of his office. Brian, as per-usual, was sitting in Silence’s seat at his desk. Brian liked Silence’s office. It was strange; Brian’s office looked exactly the same, just slightly more cluttered.

Silence gave him a look which told him to get out of his seat and Brian obeyed, and quickly. Sometimes Silence could give a look which made you happy he could only give a look and not speak.

‘So who died?’ Brian asked as he sat down on a corner of Silence’s desk and fiddled with one of the desk ornaments.

Silence sat down, wrote a note and passed it to Brian. Brian read it and sucked in the side of his cheek and nodded.

‘Gotcha, I’ll see you at coffee break then.’ With that he hopped off the corner of the desk and walked back to his own office.

Silence and Brian could, and did, get along well with each other. And they both knew that if one of them didn’t want to talk, and asked them not to ask questions, then they respected that and didn’t look into it any more. Today was one of those days, Silence just didn’t want to talk with Brian about last night, or about Susan.

Silence had a business meeting upstairs at 9, which ended up lasting three hour so he ended up missing his cup of coffee with Brian.

At twelve he returned to his desk and sent Brian a quick message apologising for the morning’s bad mood. Brian sent a reply back almost immediately telling him not to worry about it. Business proceeded at usual then until twelve-thirty, when Susan showed up.

Silence was kind of thankful that she had shown up, mainly because he didn’t have her number and didn’t know where she was to contact her should he need to. He felt knowing how to contact her would be a good idea, it would be useful. He wanted to be able to contact her in case she started finding out too many things. He wanted to stop her, and not knowing where she is would make that hard.

‘I was looking you up yesterday,’ Susan told him as they sat at the burger place they had eaten at the day before. They had finished lunch, and discussing the fine weather and a few other things about their growing up and moving off into the real world, and now the subject had turned to where Silence had wanted to go since the beginning but had been afraid of pulling up.

‘A lot came up,’ she continued. ‘It told me everything I need to know about you, but I look up your parents, and nothing comes up. Don’t you find that strange? They would have been older than you are now when they died and so lots should have come up about them. When they were born, what their names and family were. Where they used to live as kids, the names of the schools they went to, but no, all that came up is nothing. Oh, well it did come up with the day they died, but that was it!’

This was new to Silence, he had never looked up his parents, why would he? It had never occurred to him to do so, but then, why should he? There were lots of reasons why he should have looked them up. He didn’t know them, well he couldn’t remember knowing, all he had were what people had told him and some pictures.

His aunt, she knew his mother, but she never talked to him about her. They hadn’t got on well together, that was why it had taken so long for them to find out that they were dead and for them to adopt Silence. Silence wasn’t quite sure how they had heard about the news and found him. There were so many things he should ask about. So why hadn’t he?

Why were you looking them up? He asked.

‘A good journalist has got to know her facts! I need to know about your family to write about their deaths.’

Have you ever thought about writing something else for your article? I’m sure there are lots of other stories out there that people would rather read. After all, this happened years ago. Wouldn’t this news be considered ‘old news’?

‘Certainly not! This is new news. Old news is news that has already been written about and everybody knows already. This is new news. No-one knows of it. By the way, Silence, I’ve been thinking. Do you think that your parents might have been caught up in something?’

Silence gapped at her, at her suggestion that his parents may have been caught up in something.

‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ she said upon seeing his face. ‘It’s just that this all seems very fishy concerning your parents’ deaths. They crash a car and end up on the other side of the mountain from where they crash, you’re the only survivour and there is nothing on the internet about them. Nothing at all! That sounds very fishy to me! So many questions to ask and no answers are in sight! I want to get to the bottom of this.’ She sighed happily, ‘Silence, this is the best story I could wish for to present to the Editor of Newest News. It’s great!’

But don’t you think that maybe if there are no answers then maybe you’re wasting your time trying to find out what happened? Or maybe you’re thinking too deeply into this. What if what was said that happened is really the truth?

Susan looked at him in surprise and disbelief. ‘Silence! Are you telling me you don’t want to find out what happened? Do you really believe that story about how your parents died? That it’s really what happened? It doesn’t even sound right! If everyone died in the crash, why didn’t you? And how did you end up on the other side of the mountain from the crash?’

Silence sighed. He did want to know what happened. Too many years of believing a lie to hide the truth was making him forget the truth, but he didn’t want her to know. He was silenced to prevent the truth coming out, he didn’t want to see her find out the truth and get hurt.

‘Well, there are no law against me looking into things like this, so I’m going to anyway, that’s final,’ Susan told him. ‘After all, I can see in your eyes you want to know the truth even though you’re trying to persuade me not to find it,’ she told him, standing to her feet.

Silence rose to his feet as well and, before forgetting and before she left, he wrote a note asking for her number so that he could call her. He also gave her his address in case she wanted to ask him some questions about things. She was after all writing an article about his parents. He hoped as he handed the note over that she wouldn’t think of him handing her his contact details as him giving in.

She frowned as she read the note. ‘How can you ring me if I give you my number?’ she asked.

I can text you, not ring.

‘Oh,’ she laughed, ‘I see, sorry, I didn’t think about that. But here you go. She tore the top of the page with his details on off, and wrote out her phone number on the bottom page and then handed it over.

He checked it and then placed it into his pocket with a nod of thanks.

‘You should probably get back to work,’ she said as they both left the restaurant, ‘and I have some stuff to do, so I’ll see you later, alright?’

He nodded again and smiled.

‘Okay,’ she picked up her bag and waved, and then set off across the street.

Silence watched her retreating form in thought before turning and heading back to work.

On his way back his thoughts were all on Susan. She seemed rather determined to get to the bottom of his parents mystery, but that he hoped would wear off in a couple of days when she discovered nothing. If there had been something to discover someone else would have done it already. But then, everybody believed the story, and not many knew the part about them being found on the other side of the mountain. That part always failed to come up.

Silence decided not to take the elevator up when he returned to Inks and Paper Incorporated, instead he chose to walk. His office was a few floors up so it would take a little while to reach, but he was still fit and it wouldn’t take him as long as it would others.

By the time he reached his office Brian was just leaving. He stopped when he saw Silence heading towards him.

‘I thought you would never get back from lunch,’ he said as he strode over. ‘I’ve been waiting here for ages; the boss wants to see you. I couldn’t call you because you didn’t have your phone!’ he cried as Silence ran over to the elevator.

The boss was his uncle, and Silence always came when his uncle asked to see him. He didn’t know how long ago he had been called for; he should have taken his phone with him!

Reaching his uncle’s office door he slowed to walk, stopped for a moment to catch his breath, and then knocked on the door. His uncle answered in his loud tone of voice to come in and Silence quickly walked in, closing the door behind him. He turned and started to walk into the room when he saw his uncle with another man and stopped.

Silence pulled out his pad and started to write a note apologising for interrupting, but his uncle rose to his feet and walked over and put his arm around Silence’s shoulder and gave him a shake.

‘This is my nephew, Silence,’ he said to the other man. ‘Silence, this is George Oldwood.’

George Oldwood was about the same height as Silence and older. He had a flat nose and piercing blue eyes which stared at Silence and he could feel distaste in the stare. Silence handed the note over to his uncle who read it.

‘Oh, no need ta apologise, Silence, he’s the reason I called you here.’

Silence nodded his head and wrote a note saying hello and handed it over to George Oldwood, who took it and gave it a quick glance before stuffing it into his pocket and shaking Silence’s hand. His grip wasn’t strong; in fact it was rather weak. Silence thought that it would have been stronger. George Oldwood released Silence’s hand and walked over to his uncle.

‘I’ll take a look around while you explain things to your nephew,’ he said in a silky smooth voice that matched his high priced cut suit and blond hair gelled back. He gave Silence a curt nod and promptly left the room. As he left, Silence decided that he didn’t like him, it was the way he acted and spoke.

He turned to his uncle and wrote: Who was that?

His uncle sat down and patted a seat next to him for Silence, who sat down.

‘I’m retiring,’ he told Silence as soon as Silence had settled in his seat.

Silence looked at him in surprise and wrote: What do you mean? Why?

‘I’ll still be around here,’ his uncle said, ‘I just won’t be in charge. George will be taking over as head of Inks and Paper. He’ll be your new boss. I’ve talked it out with him and he’s agreed that if you want, he’ll give you a promotion ta a higher level in the business.’

Silence shook his head and wrote: I like it where I am. I don’t want a promotion.

‘If that’s your choice, it’s your choice. You know I’ve never promoted you because you like it where you are, but this might be your last chance at getting one so I thought I’d see if you still don’t want one.’

Silence nodded and wrote, Thank you.And then he added, I would like to know why’re you’re handing over this job to Mr Oldwood?

‘I’m getting too old ta come in here every early morning and stay until late ta make sure everythin’s done right. I’m getting too tired, Silence, so I’m giving the job over ta someone who’s younger and knows how ta run a business like this. I know you’re my nephew and you know how ta run this place, but you don’t want ta, otherwise I would have asked you. You still don’t want to run this place, do you?’ he asked, suddenly worried that maybe Silence had changed his mind.

Silence shook his head. That would be a promotion, uncle. I don’t want one.

His uncle nodded. ‘True that. I was just making sure. I’d hate ta have signed it over ta George and then found out you wanted ta rule,’ he laughed and Silence cracked a smile.

‘Of course George won’t be taking over for about a week. There are still things ta do, papers ta sign, things like that. And also we have ta let everybody workin’ here know what’s going on; we don’t want ta keep them in the dark, do we?’ He laughed again and rose to his feet.

‘Well, I won’t detain you any longer, Silence. You’ve probably got work ta catch up on. I noticed you yesterday and today headin’ out and comin’ in with that young girl. Anything I need ta know about?’ he asked slyly with a wink and a nudge.

Silence shrugged and smiled softly. She’s the girl I saved from that school explosion in high school. She’s studying to become a journalist; she wants to do an article on my family’s death. He explained.

His uncle raised a questioning eyebrow at him. ‘You’re okay with that?’ he asked.

Silence nodded. Nothing I can’t handle.

‘Good,’ his uncle clapped him on the back. ‘Ever you need any help with anythin’; I’m open for you ta ask.’

Silence nodded again and his uncle left the room.

When he was alone he relaxed back in his chair and placed his feet on another one. So many new things to think about, where will it end?

When Silence arrived home at his flat, his flatmate was having a party. Silence shared his flat with one other person, together they shared almost everything, the rent included, which was why Thomas Lee had requested for a flatmate. Thomas Lee had a job, but he didn’t always go to it and he didn’t always get paid for the days he showed up, so naturally he would want a flatmate to help share the cost of living in the big city.

Silence didn’t mind Thomas, he was at work all day to never see him and when he did see him, Thomas was always polite and said hello.

Silence turned the handle of the front door and walked in, as soon as he did loud music started to pound in his ears from two speakers set up on each side of the living room. People were bouncing and dancing around the place and everyone was yelling trying to be heard. Somehow Thomas heard and saw Silence open the door of the flat and walk in. He rushed over.

‘Hi, Silence! Sorry about the party, but I forgot to tell you! You want to join us? There’s plenty of booze and I know some great girls!’

Silence didn’t always have a good time at parties. As you know, not everybody has the patience to read.

I’m sorry but I really should just get something to eat and go to bed, I have work tomorrow. The note was a bit harder to read than normal because he was standing and people kept jostling into them, but he finished it and handed it over to Thomas. While Thomas read it, Silence made his way through the throng of people to his room. After a couple of footsteps though, Thomas caught him up.

‘You sure? How about just one drink? I’ll introduce you to some of the guys, it’ll be fun!’ he yelled to be heard over the noise of the party.

Silence sighed and pulled out his pad and pen. All right, just one drink, no harm will come of that. And you can introduce me to your friends. But then I must go to bed!

Thomas grinned, ‘Whatever you say!’ he said, slapping Silence on the back. ‘Come on! The people are over here, I’ve told them heaps about you!’ With that Thomas pulled Silence deep into the crowd and they were never seen again…

Silence ended up joining the party after about four drinks. He wasn’t a solid drinker, he drank, but he never went overboard. Somebody had to stay sober to help the others into taxis home.

Thomas’s friends weren’t too bad. They were fun to listen to, and watch, and apparently Thomas had actually spent a lot of the time before Silence had arrived talking about him, so it wasn’t just one or two people that wanted to talk to him. And what made it more fun for Silence and everybody else there was that some of them had gotten drunk quite quickly, and so when Silence would hand them a note saying something, they could never quite figure out what was said. They would end up answering to a question or replying to something that Silence never actually asked. With one party goer he ended up talking about everything ranging from his favourite pool toy to how much higher you would become by standing on your hands. Yet despite it all being hard to keep track of what everyone was saying, he ended up having a good time.

At about two-thirty when the party had died down to only a couple of random partygoers dancing on the kitchen table and singing along with some song playing from the speakers, Silence decided that he should probably go to bed.

It wasn’t quite the weekend yet, and he should never have stayed up this late, he still had to get up at seven to be at work by eight.

He said goodnight to a couple of the people who were still up and made his way to bed. But though he lay in bed, he didn’t want to fall asleep. He didn’t want to risk having that dream again.

Rolling over he wished there was something he could do to prevent Susan from investigating his past, no, not his past, his parents’. It seemed that the more he thought about how he could get her to stop, the more each outcome would make her want to continue. And his constant asking for her to let it be might lead her to think that he knew something, and then she would question him. Well she could try to question him, that didn’t mean he would tell her what he knew. Maybe he could tell her though what his name meant and the reason why no-one must know. But telling her that would alert her that something wasn’t right, and she would still look into it because he had told her there was actually something she would find. So letting her continue to look and constantly find nothing would, he hoped, lead her to think that there was actually nothing wrong and give up.

Exhausted by this train of thought he rolled over onto his other side and stared at the light coming in from between the gap in his curtain. Just letting it take its course might not work; he’d need something else to distract her from her job. But what?

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