The Silence Between Us

Submitted into Contest #250 in response to: Write a story in which someone is afraid of being overheard.... view prompt


Thriller Mystery Suspense

“Don’t close the blinds all the way, Sarah; they'll know we're hiding something. Just leave them, okay?”

“Are you sure you’re not being just a tad bit paranoid, Nathan? I mean, this is our house. Naturally, we’d open and close the blinds throughout the day. I always do when the sun hits the front side in the afternoon. It makes the room unbearably hot otherwise. If I don’t close them, I think that will draw more attention, especially if they have been watching us for—what did you say? Five days now? What are you not telling me?”

“Trust me. It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you. Remember the dead opossum in the yard the other morning? Or the break-in at the Duvall’s three days ago? We're talking about the same people here.”

“Trust isn't just given, Nathan. It's earned. And lately, you've been. . .cryptic. It’s not that I don’t believe you think all those things are connected. I’m just having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that those incidents weren’t just coincidences.”

“Everyone has their secrets, Sarah. But this —what we are facing right now? This is no joke.”

“If we are in that much danger, maybe we should just leave? Go somewhere for a few days. Lie low?”

“No, that’s the worst thing we could do. If we bolt now, they'll know we’re onto them.”

“Maybe that’d be the worse thing for you. . .”

“What was that, Sarah? You’re mumbling again. What have I said over and over about mumbling.”

“I said, ‘How would they know?’ We take off for long weekends all the time!”

“How?! Have you forgotten about the phone calls, that note on the windshield—”

“Nathan, those things were hardly threats. The phone calls were spam calls. Automated robocalls about our car's extended warranty and a business instant line of credit we didn’t ask for. The note on the windshield I can’t speak to because you burned it before I could see it!”

“It listed specific dates and places—clear signs we're being watched. I had to burn it.”

“Why don’t you start from the beginning and tell me how all this started? I’ll pour us some wine and start dinner.”

“No! No drinking. We need to have our full wits about us in case we need to take sudden action.”

“Sudden action? Nathan, are we really in that much danger?”

“Yes, ever since I overheard that man at the confessional, we've been in their crosshairs. We can't afford a single mistake.”

“How about I pour myself a drink and you talk. Tell me exactly what you think you heard and why it’s put us in so much danger.”

“I can’t. Not here. They have eyes and ears everywhere. And it was too unspeakable.”

“Do you have any proof of what you heard? Couldn’t it be a matter of you said, they said?”

“No. From what I heard, you’d have to have first-hand knowledge of the situation. That alone is my proof.” 

“I can’t imagine what that might be! Yet, you have enough brain power for both of us. You always have, with your dual PhDs and academic awards. I feel so inferior sometimes. Look. I can’t even uncork this wine bottle without messing it up. Some of the cork has broken off.”

“Let me see. Oh, Sarah. You put the corkscrew in at the wrong angle again. How many times do I have to show you?”

“See? All brain, you. I’d probably forget to breathe without your reminders! Now, tell me everything. When did this threat start?”

“Shhh. Did you hear that?”

“Yeah. It was the kid across the street revving his beater car.”

“No. The other noise. Listen.”

“Hmm. I don’t. . .”


“Wait. Is that. . .”

“Someone singing? Yes.”

“It sounds like the Henderson’s husky, George. He whines like that all the time.”

“He sings Appalachian murder ballads? That’s talent!”

“Is that even a thing? How do you come up with this stuff? Nevermind. Big brain. I get the feeling you are avoiding telling me everything about this mortal danger we are in.”

“I’m afraid to say anything aloud. They might be listening.”

“Through the fillings in your molars?”

“Hilarious, Sarah. Here, let the wine breathe a little first before you. . .”

“Ahhh. I needed that. Pour me another barkeep.”

“Look. I know this all sounds made up --- that I’m losing my mind. I’m not. And I know denial isn’t proof. But the proof I do have is this.”

“What the. . .Is that. . .”

“An AirTag? Yes.”

“Where did you find that?”

“In the wheel well of your car.”

“MY car? Is that why that weird message kept popping up on my phone? You said you handled it! On top of that, why would these people tag my car? You’re the one who is causing all this trouble because. . .because. . .”

“Shh! Jeez, Sarah. How many times do I need to tell you to keep your voice down? They’ll hear you. And if they hear you, they’ll know that I know what they know.”

“Which is what exactly?”

“I refuse to play this game with you! I told you five days ago when we were having dinner at the Lakeshore Supper Club. If you hadn’t been emptying your second bottle of wine into your oversized glass, you would remember. The minute I told you the details of what I overheard at confession, strange things started happening, and they haven’t let up. These people are serious. And it's not just about us anymore; it's about what happens if this gets out.”

“Because of this unspeakable thing you learned by some magical means.”

“Not magical. Just a bit of inadvertent eavesdropping.”

“At a place you shouldn’t have even been. You’re not even Catholic!”

“But you are, and I was. . .curious. That part doesn’t matter. It’s what happened as a result.”

“And if you speak it aloud, they’ll be moved to act against us.”

“Yes. You’re finally getting it.”

“So then, why can’t I close the blinds? You want them to see us?”

“Yes. They need to see us as acting normal and oblivious to their surveillance.”

“But you found their AirTag. Moved it into our house! Don’t you think that sends a strong message that things aren’t normal?! God, I need another bottle of wine. No! I need to get out of here. This is your mess. You should be the one to clean it up.”

“You’d seriously leave me alone to deal with this? What happened to ‘For better or worse?’”

“I never said those words. We intentionally left all those outdated misogynistic promises from our vows. I believe I said something like, ‘I’ll resist an eye roll when you come down with the man-flu,’ and pretend not to notice your ear hair and receding hairline as we age.”

“Okay, then. When the going gets tough, Sarah splits. I wish I’d seen that one coming. Let me just offer, before you decide anything for certain, there's more you should know. We’re not just passive players caught up in this.”

 “What do you mean?”

“I haven’t been entirely truthful. I regret that now. The thing is, I didn’t just overhear something at the confessional by accident. I was there because I was tipped off. Someone wanted me to hear that conversation.”

“Tipped off? By whom?”

“By someone deep inside. And it’s not just about exposing them; it’s about taking their place. We could control everything, reset the board.”

“We? Nathan, what are you dragging us into?”

 “It’s already done, Sarah. The pieces are in motion. That’s why they’re watching. But it’s also why we can’t run. If we play this right, we’re not just out; we’re on top.”

 “You planned this without telling me? Put us in danger to. . .what? Become what they are?”

 “Not to become them—to replace them. To do better. And I couldn’t tell you, not until I was sure you’d be safe.”

“Safe? Nathan, this is the opposite of safe!”

“I’ve set up fail-safes and insurance. If anything happens to me, the information goes public. If we make it through, though, we control it all.”

“This is madness, Nathan. And illegal! We could go to prison. We could—”

 “Or we could fix things. Use their resources for good. You’ve always said you wanted to make a difference, Sarah. This is how.”

“If we’re doing this, it’s on my terms too. Full transparency, no more secrets.”

“Agreed. It’s the only way this works.”

 “Then we need a new plan. One that doesn’t end with us running or hiding. We stand and fight.”


“Together. But first, you owe me a real confession. Everything, Nathan. No more half-truths.”

 “Everything. Starting now.”

May 15, 2024 17:25

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Steven Nimocks
20:59 May 23, 2024

Wow! That's quite the story. I'm glad I don't have neighbors like that! :D The story immediately grabs your attention with the mysterious threat and Nathan's cryptic behavior. The "unspeakable secret" overheard at confession is a great hook that keeps you guessing. I thought the dialogue felt authentic and kept the pacing up to where you didn't want to stop reading. Great job with a great story.


KT George
15:56 May 24, 2024

Thanks, Steven!


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Trudy Jas
22:04 May 22, 2024

So, is he? or isn't he? :-) Great mystery, KT. Though I kept wondering if there are ears everywhere, how come he keeps talking about it? Oh well, it's fiction. :-)


KT George
17:43 May 23, 2024

He wanted us to believe there were ears everywhere, didn't he?! Makes you wonder if he's capable of complete honesty. 😆 Thanks for reading and reviewing. ~ ktg


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Hannah Marie
17:36 May 19, 2024

I need more! Well written! :)


KT George
11:01 May 20, 2024

Thank you!


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Mary Bendickson
18:37 May 15, 2024

Still don't know what "it" is.


KT George
22:53 May 15, 2024

lol. That is part of the mystery. :)


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