Silent House

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

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Fiction High School

“Okay so it opens with: Dear mom.”

“Okay.” 

“Dear mom. Dear mom. Dear mom I uhh- I uhmm- I- well I,” 

“If you can’t even read this to me, how on earth are you going to read this to her?” 

“I wasn’t- I wasn’t going to read it to her! I was just gonna leave it in a convenient spot...” 

“Cass, are you sure you’re really going to do this? Do you really want to?” 

“Yes. Yes- yes okay I’m reading. Here goes.” 

“You don’t have to.” 

“Yes I do. I’m starting right now, I’m starting, I-” 

“Breathe.” 

“I am, I am. Dear mom. It has been five hundred and seventy six days since the last time you touched the top of my head. It has been four hundred and a half since you gave me a hug. Thirty-four since you prepared food that wasn’t takeout, Thirty-seven if we don’t count microwavable dinners. You- you left me here, left me in this empty house and I- I can’t-” 

“Deep breaths. You can do this.”

“You- you’ve always left me here! Ah shoot wait, that’s not- that’s not what I wrote. Hold on.” 

“It’s okay. Just keep going.” 

“I can remember one morning in early January, the morning of my first band concert, all those years ago. There was snow on the driveway and little blue bits of frost on the window panes, and I was excited. You weren’t home, but you’re never home so it was okay. I didn’t know anything was off.” 

“I don’t remember this.” 

“It was before I met you. Now hush.” 

“Hushing.” 

“I didn’t know anything was off. I even practiced my parts, ran my fingers over the strings of the guitar and imagined you watching me play, watching me in front of the crowd. I knew I’d likely be hidden in the back, but the idea that you would be looking for me outweighed any worry.”

“Did it?” 

“Yes actually, for your information, it did.” 

“Mmm okay. Anyway, carry on.” 

“When you didn’t come home by the time I left for the school. I figured it would still be okay. Your meetings ran late, and you promised you’d come. You promised me, on one of the good days, and I- a true idiot- believed you. You don’t know this, but I skipped to school, actually skipped, because I was ecstatic, you know? I was excited and in those days I excited easily. I forced myself to wear the flats you always made me wear to fancy occasions, and they pinched my feet but I ignored that. I ignored everything as I warned up and tuned my guitar.” 

“There is no way you knew how to tune a guitar, as a fifth grader.” 

“I had a tuner. You’d be surprised.” 

“I’m sure I would be. Continue.” 

“I believed, like an idiot, all the way until I got up on that stage and he sat me in the front row and I looked all over the audience and you weren’t there. I believed right until I was blinded by the bright lights of the stage and they drilled the truth into me in a flash of painful warmth. I believed until after the concert when everyone else dashed off the stage to meet their parents and I ran with them, swept in the crowd really, but I couldn’t find you. I was surrounded by too many people, dancing people around me but I couldn't dance. You weren’t in the crowd and you weren’t behind the stage, and you weren’t by the concession stand and you weren’t anywhere and then I didn’t believe anymore.” 

“Cass-“ 

“I walked home in the cold and the two mile walk seemed a lot longer in the dark, a lot longer as car after car of happy families passed by- but ours wasn’t with them. My shoes pinched my feet and I bled into them and I couldn’t stand it anymore and walked home barefoot in the cold, and the flesh of my feet froze to the sidewalk as I walked and I- and I- and I,” 

“Shhhh, shhh it’s okay. I’ve got you. Please take a break for a second okay? Please take a break.” 

“No. No. I- I need to do this. I walked home in the cold. I came home to a dark and empty house. There was nothing left in it, nothing left for me.” 

“Then you met me.” 

“Yeah. Yeah, then I met you. But I can’t stay here anymore.” 

“I know. It’ll be okay. I knew this was coming.” 

“I- I turned away from the world. I didn’t have a place there, among those happy families and chattering children and I just- I couldn’t do it anymore. They were gray, gray dust in a gray world, and I didn’t understand. They smiled, but I couldn’t. The only thing that saved me was- well I- well then I met my best friend.” 

“Awwww.” 

“Shut up.” 

“You do care about me!” 

“Shut up, shut up, shut up! Anyway! Ahem! I met my best friend and he showed me that- that maybe I didn’t need you. Maybe I was okay, all on my own. He came out of nowhere and took me out to the backyard, when the cherry trees were in blossom and taught me how to cup the petals and see the beauty in them. He taught me how rainwater pools in leaves and droplets of mist stick to dewy ferns. He took me out of this house and into the woods and away from you and I’d never been happier.” 

“Those were good times.” 

“Remember the time you thought you saw a snake right next to your-” 

“OKAY no need to go there, good times remembered, let’s get back to the letter.” 

“Heh. Idiot. Okay so then it goes: but I couldn’t be satisfied in the woods forever. I still had to come back to the house, still had to wander the silent hallways and listen faintly for the echo of your footsteps. Why’d you even have a kid anyway? Surely you knew what you were getting yourself into? Or perhaps not. Perhaps you were too young, too foolish, too in love with someone who never saw you the same way. Perhaps it was all just a mistake. But mistake or not, I’ve decided- I can’t live here anymore.” 

“Hey Cass.”

“Hmmm?”

“What are you gonna do first? Where are you gonna go?” 

“Not totally sure yet. I think I’ll head east. Everybody goes west, but maybe I can get a job out east somewhere. I’ll drive until the money disappears and then- and then I’ll see.” 

“So basically you have no plan.” 

“Sh- I- Oh for- yes I have a plan!” 

“Really?”

“I do!”

“Not what it sounds like to me. Seems you’re just rushing in headlong, as usual.” 

“Well that strategy hasn’t failed me yet so...” 

“Only ‘cause I’m always there to stop you.”

“Yeah… that’s probably- Hey! Stop distracting me! I gotta finish reading through this before she gets home! I gotta get out of here!” 

“Right, right, my apologies.” 

“Seriously, It’s almost like you’re trying to stop me!” 

“Okay okay, guilty! I’m being quiet!” 

“I can’t live here anymore. There is nothing left for me in these empty halls and friendless streets. I’m too old for band concerts and too grown to believe that I might place among the people here, like if I try hard enough... I might belong. I know better now. If you’ve found this note then, I’m gone. Please don’t try to find me. I’m going to make a life for myself, in a world far away from you, and I’m going to maybe go to a party, maybe go a little crazy, maybe go skydiving, like you used to do. So this is goodbye. Maybe you can remarry once I’m out of the picture, start going on dates again. If you ever have another little girl, please love her more than life itself. Please hold her tight in your arms and tell her you love her enough times that she believes it. I wish you the best, I really do. -Cass.” 

“Jesus, you’re gonna make me cry now.” 

“Awww don’t pretend to be a sap, just because I’m leaving.”

“I’ve been a sap for eight years and it’s your fault because you made me one!” 

“That definitely wasn’t me. You evolved the sappiness, all of your own. Cream puff.” 

“Well fine, but you had something to do with it. At least take partial responsibility!” 

“Partial responsibility taken. Now are you going to send me off, or what?” 

“Depends. Di'ja write me a long letter too? Maybe something declaring your undying love for me, praising me for my excellent everything?” 

“Nah. But I will miss you.” 

“I could come with you, you know. I could follow you anywhere. All you’d have to do is think the word” 

“Nope. I’m starting over, starting fresh again. It’ll be a whole new world with real people, real friends. You belong to this world, these walls.” 

“I could change.” 

“I’m sure you could. But if I’m successful, I’ll be somewhere where I won’t need you.” 

“Ouch! You have wounded my precious heart. If you retrive the defibrillators fast enough, perhaps I’ll survive long enough to see you off!” 

“Oh you. Come here drama queen. Give me one last hug.” 

“So this is really it? It’s real this time?” 

“Yeah. I’m leaving and I’m taking nothing with me. That includes you. Bye David. Thanks for being there, when no one else was.” 

The figure in her arms began to fade with each blink of her eyelids, lashes brushing his wavy hair and windswept figure out of existence. She envisioned one last soft smile on his face, before turning to grab her suitcase. By the time she turned back around he was gone, merely a figment of her drifting imagination, as though he’d never existed in the first place. 

She shut the door and there was no more conversation in the silent house. 

January 16, 2021 03:23

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3 comments

Vera City
01:45 May 30, 2021

OH MY GOD WHAT'S UP WITH THESE PLOT TWISTS? that was amazing!

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Caroline Greaser
20:07 Jun 03, 2021

OMG THANKS SO MUCH!!

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Maria Amir
07:41 Jul 24, 2021

Oh My God! That is a sensational piece of art. Especially, I loved the ending. I loved how someone so lonely found comfort only in herself and the plot twist at the end was totally unpredictable. Good job!

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