Authors: Lydia Kelly
Screaming in the Silence
P.O. Box 610383
Newton, MA 02461
Copyright 2010 Lydia Kelly.
All rights reserved.
First published by WorldMaker Media, a division of TheNextBigWriter, LLC on October 2010. Updated on July 3, 2011.
For my best friends
J, H, A, & A
My ship, my anchor, and the stars which guide me home.
To learn more about
Screaming in the Silence
I felt the vibration before I realized what it was. I saw the pitch black interior before I realized where I was. And I felt a body, still warm, lying next to me before I remembered who she was. I almost gagged at the strong smell of blood. Something thick and crusty was smeared across my cheek and forehead. I scratched my fingernails over it and it crumbled away in flakes.
I felt the car gain speed and the body rolled on top of me. Was it Julie? I pushed it away with a sob, wondering if she was still alive, hoping she was still alive.
Then, before I could brace myself, I was thrown towards the front of the truck. The back opened and a dim light flooded in.
It was Julie. Moonlight lit her blood soaked hair. The gaping wound in her skull made her almost unrecognizable. Her eyes and mouth were open in horrific panic and her neck bone jutted against the skin like a needle attempting to push through fabric. Scrambling, I pushed away from her, closed my eyes as I hung my torso out of the car, and vomited onto the ground below me. I inhaled deeply, appreciating the crisp ocean air.
With my head dizzy from confusion and nausea, I slowly raised my eyes to view a face. A tall, glaring man stood over me with the look of a predator eyeing its prey. The car shook again and two more faces appeared.
"What the fuck is this? You said they were both dead." The face on the right spoke, its expression scared and confused.
"I thought they were," the tall man's lips moved slowly. He was thinking as he spoke.
"What are we supposed to do now, Ray?" The man on the right had turned his attention away from me, making it difficult to determine what he was saying.
"Kill her." There was no mistaking what he had said.
I shook my head in panic. I looked back to the man on the right, perhaps he would disagree with Ray. His eyes returned to me without a trace of remorse for what he was about to do.
A third man who I hadn't noticed before stood on the left. He moved quickly, grabbing me by the shoulders and throwing me from the car. Excruciating pain shot up my body as I was dragged across the bumper and then over the rough ground. My clothes ripped and I kicked my legs furiously, trying to find my footing so I could stand. As soon as I was on my feet, I felt a hard body press against my back, holding me up and pinning my arms in front of my chest, with one strong hand around my wrists. His other hand fingered the material of my shirt, flipping the ends of my hair, and pointing to my shoes. I couldn't see the man who was holding me. His grip was firm yet his rough fingers held me gently. Ray and the other man stared at us, their faces brightening like I was a prize.
"The basement? It could work." Ray nodded at the man behind me before his eyes locked onto mine.
"What's your name?"
A scene flashed through my mind. We were standing by the side of the road, our thumbs up, hoping to find our way back to a city of reasonable size. The beach had been pleasant during the day, but now the wind was picking up and the area between the road and cliff's edge offered no protection. It was becoming dark outside so she stepped in front of me, turning to explain that her white shirt would be more visible than my dark blue one. The car came around the bend, completely out of control, and the last thing I remembered was being thrown over the hood of the car as her head smacked the windshield.
Julie. Her name was Julie.
Ray waved his hands in front of me.
"What is your name?" He repeated his question. They hadn't realized.
The wind bit at my nose and chin and I couldn't keep my hair from flying between us. Ray didn't seem to mind and moved within inches of my face. The arms behind me hugged tighter.
"What. Is. Your. Name."
I felt warm breath on my ear and turned my eyes from Ray. The man holding me had his lips close to my face and he was saying something that I couldn't decipher from the angle.
Fingers harshly grabbed my chin and turned my face. "Answer me!"
I could feel the vibrations from his yell. His breath smelled of rum. I managed to free one of my hands.
R-A-L-E-I-G-H. I spelled my name, knowing they wouldn't understand.
"What the hell was that?" Ray started laughing and he turned back to the smaller man, who stood by the car.
"Sign language?" Ray's attention suddenly returned to me. I took a deep breath and brought my free hand to the side of my face. My fingers went to my ear, tapping lightly as I shook my head.
"Shit. She's deaf," he said to the man behind me.
He spun me around and I came face to face with brilliant green eyes. His dark eyebrows furrowed beneath black hair, which hung to his brows and swept across his forehead. His cheekbones were high and chiseled, his jaw square and strong.
"Can you read lips?"
I nodded slowly.
His lips twitched into a sly and sordid smile.
"Can you speak?"
I didn't answer at first, not sure if I wanted them to know the truth. Maybe it would be easier if they didn't know everything I was capable of. So I shook my head, swallowed my answer in my throat, and lied. Silence hadn't scared me in this way since I was six years old.
He still held my shoulders in his strong hands. He squeezed me harder and I thought for a moment he was trying to reassure me. However, the look on this man's face told me otherwise. This gesture was one of domination and it terrified me.
Suddenly and without warning, I was thrown over his shoulder, my body hanging down his back like a sack of potatoes. I nearly vomited again from the pain in my chest but I managed to look under his arm to see the smaller man pull Julie from the car, her head and arms bouncing as she fell from the trunk. With Ray's help, he pulled her by the feet to the cliff's edge. I didn't want to think about what was going to happen to her body. With a final push she was rolled out of sight and into the violent waves below.
As I was thrown back into the trunk, I clung to the shirt of the man with the green eyes. I struggled to get out of the trunk, grabbing his plaid flannel shirt. His hands pinned my shoulders to the carpeted floor.
"Stop. You'll hurt yourself."
The door closed on top of me and my silent world went black. My screaming did nothing but make my throat burn. If a tree falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? If I scream in the silence, will anyone be around to hear it?
My screaming ceased to bring me comfort a few turns into the drive. I relaxed onto my back, the most comfortable position I could find considering how badly bruised and beaten I was. Large tears fell from my eyes and mixed with the blood on my face. I wanted to sleep, I wanted to dream, I wanted to be pulled from this nightmare but even with my eyes closed, sleep alluded me.
"Hi, I'm Julie."
. Very nice to meet you."
The look she gave me was a curious one. I was used to this reaction and it didn't faze me any longer. At a younger age, it had hurt and I had been ashamed of my voice. Ashamed enough that I had wanted to remain silent. But I learned to move past it. I learned that I had quite a bit to say and even though I couldn't hear it, even though it sounded strange to others, my voice was worth the hassle of explaining my condition.
"Where are you from?"
"Oh. I didn't recognize your accent."
I smiled at her. "I'm deaf. There's no accent."
Her face reddened and she looked apologetic. "Shit. Now I feel bad."
But I shook my head. "Don't worry about it. It happens."
She nodded. "So if you're from
, what are you doing all the way down here?"
"Right. Sightseeing at a trucker stop in
"I'm trying to get to the coast," I explained. "I got a ride all the way from
"No shit! That far? How long did you have to wait for that one?"
"A few days." I smiled at her. I liked this girl. It had been a while since I had spoken with a female my own age.
"Which beach are you trying to make it to?" She picked up her bag from the ground and slung it over her shoulder.
"It doesn't really matter, I guess. Just one with an ocean."
"Well, I'm on my way to
if you'd like to tag along. I could sure use the company. These truckers aren't the best conversationalists."
I smiled and nodded, agreeing completely. Julie was the first female hitcher I had met and I was in desperate need of a friend. The road from
had been lonely and even though I had the company of whoever stopped to pick me up, I knew our relationship would be short lived.
"Alright, then! Let's go find us a ride! Two pretty girls like us should have no problem getting picked up." She smiled at me and extended her hand. I stood up from the curb where I was sitting and followed her to the first driver in a long line of waiting trucks, eager to see where this new relationship would take me.
My breath became heavy as I felt the car roll to a stop. Part of me wanted the three men to forget about me and leave me in the trunk. The other part was dying to stand up and stretch my sore arms and legs. I knew I needed to see a doctor. At least one of my ribs was broken and I wasn't sure how deep the cuts on my face and torso were. But a doctor was out of the question and even if I had been naive enough to ask for one, I knew I would be laughed at.
The trunk popped open and I blinked at the light. We must have driven all night and into the morning because the sun was high in the sky. As my eyes adjusted, I saw the smallest of the three men speaking to me. More like yelling at me.
"Get out!" I could tell he was screaming from the muscles chorded in his neck.
I sat up and looked around warily, not expecting to recognize where I was but hoping for a miracle. Pine trees surrounded us in every direction. An overrun dirt road forked up a hill. A quaint and unimposing house with yellow trim and a brick façade sat in between the trees.
I climbed out of the car and winced at the pain in my ribs. The small man closed his pudgy fingers around my arms and led me to the front door, which had been left open by Ray and the man with the green eyes. The inside of this house did not do justice to the outside. The windows were all open yet there was a heavy, stale smell in the air. The carpets were dirty and ripped from the floor near the walls. The wallpaper was stained and peeling.
The two men were already seated at a table, one of the few pieces of furniture in the house, pouring out the contents of my bag. Julie's bag sat on the floor next to them.
There, mere feet from me, being carelessly thrown about, were the entire contents of my life. Everything I owned and all I could carry with me. Clothes, underwear, toothbrush, expensive make-up - I couldn't leave my vanity behind - and my wallet. It contained my only identification.
Ray found the wallet and grabbed it, opening the leather pouch and eyeing what was inside.
"Raleigh Anne Winters from Dover, Delaware. Never heard of it." I watched him throw my ID aside and continue going through my wallet. I felt violated. What gave him the right?