October 4th
They Loved Silence
by delaney sweet

They knew that they had no one living above them, and they preferred it that way. There was no sound to be heard. They liked to hear the sounds of their forks and knives clinking together at breakfast and dinner; lunch would be had at their respective desks, at their respective jobs.

They never listened to music, and never turned on their TV; they owned one, of course, in case they ever had guests over or the mood struck to turn on some nonsense in the background. Mostly, they preferred to sit and stare at their collection of glass figurines that they inherited from her grandfather when they died. They still could not make sense of them and had spent the better part of a lifetime trying to figure it out.

One day, while they were preparing breakfast, the knife scraping against the grain of the bread, swiping hard butter back and forth until it gave the semblance of a spread, the back door swung open. It hadn’t been a particularly gusty morning. They had seen the leaves rustle, but nothing greater than a light breeze. Despite this fact, the back door swung open with such great strength that he, in his frightened state, flung the knife across the room and into the heart of his wife. Her face stopped, stunned, she crumpled to the floor. Her last breath was silent.

The door closed quietly. The knob turned to fit the door, closing perfectly silent. His heartbeat was the loudest thing in the house.

They did not have a phone, for they feared that it might one day ring and disrupt the perfectly balanced silence. He didn’t know what to do. He rushed outside. He looked right, he looked left. There wasn’t another house for a mile. He could see it, the farmhouse on the hill straight across from the hill where their house lay.

He started waving, faster and faster, until his arm was creating enough wind that it blew the house on the other hill away. Shackles and shingles flying away, one by one off of the hill and into the vast valley between the houses. He knew that their landlord lived there. He saw a man swirl around in the vortex of wind until his body was thrown into the ditch. He didn’t know how he would pay rent now.

He ran back toward the house, by now the wind opened up all of the doors and windows, and even the chimney was blowing smoke. The fire was fanned.

Inside the house, each room was its own tornado. He ran to the kitchen to protect his wife. He wondered how to help her. How could he help the dead?

He yelled her name, but the sound of his voice was sucked into the wind the second that it escaped his mouth. He yelled and yelled. The wind blew in his face. He didn’t know that he was crying until his own tears started falling from the ceiling, swelled up in the wind, now clouds hung overhead.

Her body was gone. The pool of blood on the floor swished back and forth with the wind, melding with his tears, pouring from the ceiling.

He looked up. The blood was dripping from the floor above. The door to the upstairs was swinging open and closed, but never closing. He ran upstairs, wiping blood and tears from his face, it didn’t matter, there was just more to fall.

The door to the upstairs swung open and closed, he heard it, he felt it. At the top of the stairs, he saw that his wife, knife still stuck in her heart, stood just inside the door, each swing barely missing the knife.

They locked eyes. He reached for the doorknob. She shook her head no. He nodded. He looked at her as the door finally slipped closed.

He went downstairs, grabbed the mop and started cleaning up the blood. It didn’t take as long as he thought it would. The ceiling was now stained red, as was the shower when he was done cleaning himself off.

When he went to bed that night he heard pacing upstairs. The only sound that was ever heard in that house in the twenty years they had lived there. A corpse pacing. He wished that she would please stop walking.

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