Silence

From whence they came, we do not know; for we do not know their ways. They travel not by foot, but by air. How they do this, we do not know. All we know is that they seldom speak; not just with us but amongst themselves. They would fly here in the early mornings of summer and sit under the great trees near the Second Lake, where they spent their days in absolute silence. Some would sit there with their eyes open, when some would not do so. But we know that their eyes are not used, for they are beyond sight.

But they came here in small numbers, perhaps bands of five or seven, but never more than thirteen, for that is the highest we have counted of their kind so far. At first we were too afraid to approach them, for their manner was different to ours let alone any other tribe we had met.

Perhaps it was our awe of their hidden powers and arcane secrets that sparked bravery amongst our older ones, for they approached the Silent Ones cautiously one summer night as they sat placidly under the shade of a great green tree, whose leaves danced gracefully in the night wind. The Silent Ones paid no heed to our older ones and so they grew bolder. They grew so close to the Silent Ones that their faces were inches away from the placid yet rigid bodies; yet they were too afraid to touch the unknown.

It had been twenty summers since the first time we saw them in our lands. As the summers passed, they came in less and less numbers and did not stay for long. This was when one of our bolder ones decided to test the true nature of the Silent Ones.

Our Bold One approached the band of three Silent Ones cautiously, but it seemed to be of little use as they did not seem to care for his presence. The Bold One was indeed brave, for he approached them almost instantly. He did not seem to want to stop as he leaned towards the Silent One closest to him. Perhaps, we thought, he was brave enough to touch them. For this, will he die? We were afraid for him. But I now think that we were afraid of our fate even more.

He grew closer and closer to the Silent One and there seemed no turning back. But then, the Silent One moved. The hands of the Silent One encircled our Bold One and held him in place as he began to scream. Though we were gathered in greater numbers and were larger and stronger than the Silent Ones, we did not dare move to his defense, for we were truly terrified.

His screams grew stronger, and turned into laughter. We had never heard such laughter in our lives, saved from that of a Mad One we knew once who lived in a far cave on top of the Greatest Rock. Yet this laughter was richer, even more insane perhaps. But then it turned to sobbing. He cried and cried; tears streaming down his eyes. Some of us started to cry too.

Suddenly he stopped and the Silent One withdrew from him. The Bold One stood there, motionless and utterly silent. The Silent Ones began to rise to the air around him higher and higher until they reached the clouds above us and surpassed them.

Then the Bold One, turned to us. We could see a faint smile on his face. He nodded to our oldest ones and closed his eyes. He remained there and never spoke a word since.

Later that summer, a young one came running to our cave, screaming incoherently that the Bold One had left us. He had risen to the air and ascended to the skies like the Silent Ones did so before him. And before he left, he had left us a gift; a spoken word: “Silence…” he had whispered and smiled before his unearthly departure.

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~ by Prageeth Thoradeniya on March 31, 2010.

One Response to “Silence”

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