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?


9. Chapter 9

Friday, March 10th:

The next day Silence was late for work, his alarm had gone off but he hadn’t heard it. And in his rush to get to work he almost forgot to pay his taxi driver, a large man who could have made his business elsewhere.

He glanced at his watch as he entered Inks and Paper and headed towards the elevator, ten-thirty, two and a half hours later. Well, he thought, I might get away with it by putting in some overtime with the accounts. He was deep in thought with this that he hadn’t noticed that someone had rushed over to join him in the elevator until they spoke.

‘The new boss wants to see you in his office straight away,’ the man told, interrupting him from his thoughts.

Silence frowned. I thought the new guy didn’t start till next week?

The man shook his head. ‘Well, apparently that’s what the plan had been, but he talked it out with your uncle and asked if he could start today.’

Oh great! Thought Silence. When did he ask to see me? He wrote, suddenly worried that it had been when he wasn’t there.

‘Oh don’t worry,’ the man assured him. ‘You won’t be late. He’s been seeing all the Members of The Board one at a time in his office all morning. He’s only just asked to see you.’

Silence breathed out a sigh of relief. So he wouldn’t get in trouble after all. Thanking the man he rushed off to his uncle’s office the moment the doors dinged open. He reached the boss’s door and counted to five before knocking. Inside he heard Oldwood say come in and he entered.

George Oldwood was seated in Silence’s uncle’s chair at his desk. Across from him sat one of the board members, one Silence recognised as Jonah Harret. Harret was looking extremely nervous, and as he glanced at Silence he gave a small smile of relief.

‘We will continue with this conversation once I am done with Mr Mourner here,’ George Oldwood told him, watching with his own slight smile as Harret’s vanished.

Harret rose unsteadily to his feet and walked slowly to the door. He tried to give Silence a reassuring look as he passed, but it didn’t work.

Silence breathed in as the door behind him closed, sealing him in alone with Oldwood, and then he took the chair that was offered.

George Oldwood ignored Silence by reading over a piece of paper on his desk. Silence thought that it was rude as he had dismissed Harret to talk to him, and now he was ignoring him. He was about to reach into his pocket for his notepad when Oldwood placed the piece of paper neatly in the Out Tray and placed his stare on Silence.

‘Mr Mourner,’ he began. ‘Your uncle has handed his business over to me,’ he said in his silky rich voice. ‘That makes me your new boss, the person in charge of it all. And may I say that this place is a mess! I will be making changes to things that don’t fit my taste of how a business such as this should be run immediately. That is why I have asked your uncle to let me start today, despite not all the details being complete.’

Silence waited for him to continue, and then realised that Oldwood was waiting on him to say or do something. He nodded. It worked and Oldwood continued.

‘Which brings me to why I have asked you to join me this morning…’

Silence felt that if George Oldwood had been wearing glasses he would have been looking down his nose through them at him.

‘You do more than just one job here, don’t you, Mr Mourner?’ Oldwood asked him.

Silence nodded, and went to write what he did but he was interrupted as Oldwood continued.

‘This must end. For each different job a different salary is given, we cannot allow you to be paid different wages every week for all that you do. As of now you will pick that job which you are good at and that will be the only job you do until such a time as I decide that you deserve to be moved. Is this understood?’

Silence wasn’t sure how to respond, but it seemed that Oldwood took his silence for a yes.

‘Good, then it’s settled. I will give you today to decide which job you will continue in, and then I expect you to be hard at it tomorrow.’ He turned away to look at another piece of paper that lay on a pile on his desk. He glanced up at Silence when Silence didn’t move.

‘That will be all, Mr Mourner. And oh yes,’ he said as he remembered something else. ‘Please do not be late again,’ he said as Silence reached the door. Silence paused for just a moment before opening the door and leaving.

He walked to his office on the eighth floor. It was only two stories down, and he didn’t mind the walk as it gave him time to think. So he had to pick just one job to do, did he? Well he didn’t know where Oldwood got his information from, but he was being paid the same as almost everybody else. It had been part of his and his uncle’s agreement. Silence would do what he thought needed to be done and be paid the same as everybody else. More got done that way, and nobody complained. If Silence wanted to do a bit of everything and receive the same pay though his salary could be up and down because of what he did, that was up to him. But it seemed to be a fact that his uncle had forgotten to mention.

Back at his office he waited for Susan to show up as he returned to work, or at least for her to call him at lunch time. But as she didn’t he ended up having lunch alone. The man behind the counter who took his order inquired as to the whereabouts of his friend and received the reply: I wish I knew.

Silence ate his burger on the way back to the office. When he had first started eating it had been difficult for him, he was lacking in what other people used to move their food from one side of their mouth to the other. And he would also have difficulty swallowing, and not just food, but all the time. After a while he got used to it. It became natural and he didn’t notice it so much, he went through it every day after all, every moment.  It was just another thing for him that was normal. But to everyone else, if you’re not like them, you’re weird, or worse than weird. He dumped his empty burger wrapper in a bin and headed inside.

Work had changed when he entered. Everybody acted differently as if somebody was watching them over their shoulder, making sure they were doing things correctly. And in a way that was true, somebody was watching over their shoulders.

When you enter the building there is like a giant tiled courtyard in the inside of the building, and around that in an O shape is the actual building going up. In that spot that is empty in the C, the part that makes it a C and not an O is a wall of glass. It heads up so that the offices on the other side of the glass have windows, sometimes on both sides of their rooms. The boss’s office was in one of those rooms with the giant glass windows looking out on the people on the inside and on the river on the other side of the building. From where Silence was on the ground floor, he could just make out the shape of Oldwood’s body staring out of the glass, watching everybody.

Silence felt Oldwood’s gaze fall on him, or he felt something of the sort. He wasn’t sure that Oldwood would be able to pick out each individual person all moving down below. He was, after all, ten floors up.

He made a mental note to ask his uncle about Oldwood. Silence still didn’t, not really anyway, know why his uncle had decided to retire. Sure he had said that he was getting old, Silence could understand that, but then what about Oldwood? What was his reason for being here? Why was he here? Why did he want to be here? Silence wanted to know, but he didn’t think he would get the answers out of him. Somehow, Silence didn’t think Oldwood would want to tell him, or let alone talk to him if he had the chance not to. Mr George Oldwood, guessed Silence, was one of those people who didn’t have the right patience.

When he arrived home later that night he immediately went to the kitchen and checked the phone for any messages from Susan. There were three. The first was apologising for missing lunch, then the second was saying that they hadn’t actually agreed to have lunch today so she didn’t need to apologise because she didn’t miss it, and the third was asking if it would be all right if she had lunch with him tomorrow.

Silence found her number on his phone and sent her a text saying that he would like it if she joined him tomorrow.

While he was cleaning up his dinner dishes in the sink the front door unlocked and Thomas entered the flat. Hanging on his shoulder was a girl whom Silence didn’t recognise.

Thomas never really stayed with a girl for more than two months, and in that time frame Silence would only ever see his girlfriend once or twice. Silence waved a hand at them and Thomas waved back, then settling his girlfriend down on the couch, walked over to the kitchen. He leant against the kitchen counter and watched Silence quietly scrub the dishes. Then at last Thomas decided to say something.

‘Selena and I are heading back out in few minutes to join some of her friends, you wanna join us? You’d be welcome.’

Silence looked up from his job and stared at a kitchen cabinet for a couple of seconds while he thought, and then shook his head.

‘Are you sure? It’d be fun,’ coached Thomas.

Silence shook his head again while he dried his hands. He pulled his pad out and wrote: I’m too tired to go out tonight, I need sleep. But you have fun, and say hi to Selena for me.

‘Alright then, have a good night then. Don’t wait up for me!’ Thomas cried over his shoulder as he picked up Selena from the couch and walked back out of the apartment.

Maybe one day when the rain has finally stopped he can step out of this room and into the light. Maybe, when all this is over with and done, and placed on the shelf for the world to see. Then maybe, just maybe, he will be complete.

A man unlocked the front door of his house and headed outside, walking along the uneven sidewalk that ran along all the houses on his street. Of course, all that talk about stepping out of this room into the light when the rain has stopped is all a figure of speech, he could walk out of any room that he pleased; at least, he thought he could.

One room is locked, and outside it rains. It pours and thunders. It never ceases. The clouds will never leave, and the sun behind them? That froze and will never shine again.

This room, and it’s bleak outside, it is his. It is his mind. He’s stuck in his mind and he can’t get out because he has lost the key to the lock. He has tried all sorts of picks to undo the lock, but as it is, it is a lock, and it is his own.

One day when he’s finally aware, aware of the people around him, of the broken hearts, the bleeding wrists, the deaths, and the screams heard in the night all caused by him. And he has confessed to the dirty deeds that paint the walls red, red of blood. Then maybe, just maybe, he will be free.

The man turned down along another rickety path that led to the park. There was rain, and there were clouds in the sky that barred the sun from shining. And because of this, it was cold. And also because it was raining, the ground beneath his feet was wet. The sidewalk was slippery. His shoes held no grip and he slipped. Falling onto his back his head cracked on to the concrete, just as the rain that had started to lessen turned full throttle. It poured down on him and pasted his hair to his head. The blood that seeped out of the wound in the back of his head stuck onto his hair and bound it together.

The rain pelted down, the blood joined its force and flowed down the cracks in the sidewalk. The man’s eyes stared unseeing up at the sky. No sound had come out of his throat when he had fallen; he fell too fast and died too fast.

Maybe this is how it is supposed to work? His last thought had been as his final breath left him. Maybe, this was his key, his key to unlock the door and walk free? Leave the world and all his destruction. Die and nothing remains.

A thought; a memory in someone’s mind; a scream in the dead of night; crying loudly; the dead remember. They waited at the gate for him, no wait was too long. But his until judgement, would last for eternity.

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