I had been trying to get the attention of anyone for the entire day with no success. I tried my next-door neighbor first while he was getting ready, which was weird because I had never seen him this close before. Sure we sang together when we each took a shower but that was with a faceless voice, now it was a guy putting his shirt on. I had seen him ride away and back on his bike from my window; I could hear the gears click as he rode away or came in the drive. When he first moved I would glance up at his window when I came home, but I never saw him looking back. I wondered if he ever did when I wasn’t looking, but didn’t think much about it as the years went on.

I even followed him all the way to our school, having to jog after him before I realized an advantage to being dead – no exhaustion and no need to move my feet. That was one thing I was glad to have escaped, our dreary school. The entire building had been painted with this sad, gray color that could have been called “The Tears of Students”. Everything about it made you went to kill yourself, which was a weird thing to think when I came into the gym to find the entire school staring at my photograph.

My boyfriend spoke some nice words, a bit creepy if you ask me. He had said sweet things before but I normally blew them off. He seemed genuinely sad I was gone, which for some reason I didn’t expect. I knew he was hard to read at my funeral, but I didn’t expect this much emotion was pent up inside of him.

His thick black eyebrows were scrunched up together so close it almost looked like he had a monobrow, something that always kind of annoyed me. He had a nice baby face and hair just a couple days off the recent trends, but that one thing made his whole face look wrong when he did it. It was also the face he made when he studied, which was one of the reasons he never came over to my house to study it even if we said we would.

I followed the crowd leave the room as if I was still one of them; one of the living. I tried talking to more people but no one paid any attention to me. I tried picking up pencils to write notes to my old friends but it was still too difficult to do. Why had I been able to pick up a blanket the night before but now a pencil was too heavy?

I heard a group of girls talk about me and I stopped to listen. They were talking about how my friends and I pushed a girl into a locker once, and I remembered how I felt in that coffin. Only difference was I could get out, and she couldn’t.

I knew I had to find her. Maybe she was the answer to all of my problems. Maybe my chore was to do something for her and I could “pass on” or whatever that grim reaper called it.

I found her just as she was getting a bus home and I followed her all the way there. When we arrived, I could see her mom’s car was still smashed up. I didn’t remember the plan – or if there ever was one – but I remembered being really drunk and the thrill of hearing glass break from the swing of the bat in my hand. That had been almost a week now; I thought they would have got it fixed. Was Claire’s family as poor at the clothes she dressed in?

Claire walked straight to her room and locked the door behind her. What kind of secrets could she be holding in here? What did she do to herself no one could know about? But instead of pulling anything out of hiding or doing anything at all, she sat on her bed and pulled her legs close to her chest.

That’s when I could hear the front door slam shut and the loud voices begin. A male voice started, then a defensive female voice joined the argument. I had heard my parents fight before, but it wasn’t anything like this. My dad had never talked to my mom that way. It was so intense I found myself slowly backing away from the door, even though I knew it was locked and that he couldn’t do anything to hurt me anyway.

Suddenly it stopped, very abruptly.

“Did he kill her?”

I looked down to realize I had ended up right next to her standing beside her bed. We were both as far from the door as we could be, but her eyes were as big as the fear trapped inside of them and her voice was as small as her courage – nearly non-existent.

That was the night when I finally understood why people fear silence. People fear silence because it is not only the absence of good nature, but also the absence of the known limits of evil.

For some reason – after discovering that – I couldn’t leave her side, and I stayed beside her the whole night.


ella ♡
ella ♡