There are no words here.
Just screams, and tears.
Not mine, though. Never mine. I learned how to hide, how to disappear. Nothing bad can happen to me. See, the truth is, I’m a superhero. I have magical powers. The monsters can’t reach me if I don’t want them to.
I stare into the dark, tucked away in the confines of the musty linen closet. But, I don’t see the ratty towels or moth-eaten blankets. The walls before me form giant skyscrapers, their peaks scratching at the star-strung sky. I float among the clouds, flying high above the ant people below. Waiting, watching, knowing that any minute someone will call my name, needing help. Needing their hero to save them.
I’m fascinated with this world. The words, the music. Even when harsh, the mundane chatter of the ants is miraculous compared to the thundering silence of my world.
Shattering glass breaks through the barrier between two worlds. The hero in me wants to rush to the rescue, but I cower further into the darkness, the sound of meat being pounded pulsing in my brain in short, staccato beats. The monster roars, snuffing out any ounce of defiance.
I am ashamed of my fear. I wonder if my favorite superheroes are ever afraid. Do they quiver in linen closets, hiding from the evil monsters? Do they, too, know the meaning of silence?
I remember the week at school when Mrs. Abernathy talked about Greek Mythology. My eyes stood wide with awe, soaking in the stories of the superheroes of old. But, one stuck in my mind. Achilles: to be so strong, but to fail because of such a small weakness. Superman of his day, fallen by his Kryptonite.
I know all too well what my Kryptonite is: words. Their very sound brings the monster on full force. They send the beast into a snarling fit, until every utterance is obliterated. So, I add to the silence, my lips sealed, just like my fate.
But I don’t cry. I won’t.
I hear tears falling, though they aren’t my own. The shuttering breath follows a soft thud outside the door to my sanctuary. The soft sobs tear away at my heart. Memories flood my senses of a voice, so beautiful, singing sweet words of comfort. Words I haven’t heard in such a long time.
An ache in my chest has me reaching out, hoping to comfort the woman who cradled me and wiped away my tears so many times before. A soft click echoes through the room as I open my sanctuary to her. She gazes up, eyes puffy from tears and the fists of the monster. I crawl forward, settling gently into her lap.
I want to sing to her, like she did to me. But, words are forbidden. Only the silence can comfort us now. But the silence is quickly broken. The monster was coming. We both cling to each other, wishing we could return to the sanctuary and hide away in the other world, the world where we are strong. The world with words.
As the monster stands before us, I start to shake. Not from fear, but anger. I am a superhero. I have no weakness. I open my mouth, and do the unspeakable.
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