And Then There Was Silence (Five Sentence Fiction, May 2012)

The prompt from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction site this week was ‘Silence’.

(This one has been published today, 27 May, at Postcard Shorts under the title “Sound of Silence“.  Do you have a story to submit to them?)

Annabel did silence well, and in time I came to recognise that if silence was the first course in our daily encounters, then guilt would almost certainly turn out to be the second; liberally served, allowed to cool, and then to congeal into a glutinous mess that permeated every minute of my day.

Of course her silence wasn’t really silent, involving as it did plates being slammed on worktops, doors banging loudly and the odd expletive hissed under her breath, sending the dog scurrying for cover beneath the kitchen table, paws pressed over its ears to drown out the noise of her silence.

Since Annabel left me there is a different kind of silence in the house, regulated by the gentle ticking of the clock, the occasional creak of the dog’s basket as he shifts in his now peaceful sleep, and the murmur of lawnmowers meandering up and down the neighbourhood gardens; all things I never had the opportunity to hear before, as Annabel thundered silently about her business.

There is still the business of guilt to deal with, though I’ve found that my appetite for that has been dulled by the variety of my day, assuaged by my indulgence in previously forbidden pursuits, and blunted by the glorious, glorious peace of my daily existence.

It’s the dog who has been my undoing of course, with his exceptionally acute hearing convincing him that he could hear the silence under the cherry tree in our back yard – so persuasively it seemed that he felt compelled to dig up the source of the noise, to check whether it was that which he thought it was; as indeed it was, much to the horror of my neighbours.

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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19 Responses to And Then There Was Silence (Five Sentence Fiction, May 2012)

  1. TheOthers1 says:

    Had to silence her some way. I was thinking he (she/the narrator) divorced her, but this form of silence was a little bit more permanent. This is what a lack of communication and loads of guilt served cold does to you. Turns even the best into killers. ;)

  2. Whoa… you said you weren’t expecting my ending, but your twist was even more unexpected! Nicely done!

  3. Brilliant! I thought it was divorce too, but loved your ending…especially the dog insisting he could still hear the silence! Loved it.

  4. rgayer55 says:

    I really, really, like this little story, Sandra. The first paragraph was brillant, setting the table for what was to come. I loved the line about the dog’s acute hearing of the silence. Great job!

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Russell. Sometimes I just start a story with no idea of where it’s going. This was one such. Sometimes it works, other times … :(

  5. Brilliant is indeed the word. I am thrilled by this story!!

  6. “previously forbidden pursuits” lets the imagination run riot…
    So, what did the dog unearth? Grisly remains? Or did I miss something else?

  7. rochellewisoff says:

    Poe would be awed. Love the dog.

  8. sifdal says:

    This story made me laugh – nervously! Brilliant! Thunderous silence, love it!

  9. Louise says:

    Great twist at the end there! Brilliant! :)

  10. Wow, Sandra. Just so powerful. Mine has a similar theme, but after reading this I feel like taking it down. Enjoyed it!

  11. Wow!! Amazing twist at the end…all the imagery brought to a head. Loved it!!

  12. sjp says:

    Quite complex words that had me reading through a few times, liked descriptions of loud silence

I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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