Silence is Golden
Light’s whispers echo Earth;
Glinting, golden hour’s shade
Champagne bubbles burst
Effervescent rays cascade
A toast and fatal kiss,
Tilt eve’s cobalt glass and pour
Sip of heaven’s chalice
Drown today in sky’s colure
Flesh, pierced to the marrow;
Day, devoured in Night’s feast
Yet, gold will rise from sorrow
Resurrected in the east
What silenced the world?
What evil quieted humanity?
What terror obliterated the sun
and muffled the melody of life?
What did that social media-obsessed
say or do to that dangerous commander
of a nuclear weapon-riddled nation?
Something he did cost humanity dearly,
sacrificed so many, initiated an attack
and caused the nuclear chemicals to
destroy our vibrant, beautiful blue planet.
The sky and earth became and remain
a dark tomb of ash like some
old abandoned house’s chimney,
where the crows slowly circle above,
barely flying, with wings bloodied
and eye sockets empty.
They and other birds like them
have been hushed; no longer do they
coo or caw; no cries escape their beaks.
And nothing else living above our
hidden underground shelter
makes any sound at all now.
There’s only four of us down here.
Only four souls wrapped in human tissue,
made up of skin, bones, and internal organs.
But without ears because ... what
is there to listen to now?
The universe is a silent ghost that
can’t even whisper in the dead of night.
And it’s frightening–
this graveyard of soundlessness.
There’s no person above ground to hear
the proverbial tree fall in the forest.
There are no living trees anymore either.
No leaves to rustle and murmur
in the blustery autumn wind.
Only dead air suspended, hanging.
No wild noises of nature,
twittering, howling, or barking.
There is only emptiness and sorrow
to listen to now.
Nothing other than our voices
and the grumbling of our
empty and sore stomachs.
Only the soot and smoke from
firestorms around the cities of this
changed world blankets the
scorched, blackened and muted earth.
The world has gone too quiet and
our muzzled lives are nothing but
a screaming agony of sad silence.
My litter sister clutched my arm, refusing to let go. She was trembling, terrified, but so was I.
“Let go, Sky! I have to close this!”
I jerked my arm away, locking the heavy, bulletproof door. For a second, I felt safe in the dimly lit bunker. I collapsed against the door. Sky dropped into my lap, struggling to breathe. Everything down here was meticulously organized and labelled, making an inhaler easy to find once I opened the medical closet with a tiny key obtained from neatly labeled hooks.
They said the old man next door, Mr. Darrell, was crazy; he ranted about impending disasters, raved about survival preparations. He was odd, but I genuinely liked the old kook.
Speakers crackled as I flipped switches on the control panel. Dots of colored light sparked like lightning bugs. The wall of tvs illuminated.
Despite his eccentricities, Mr. Darrell was a kind man with a sense of urgency. His words of wisdom were engrained in my subconscious; tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, inactivity invites evil, and action is divine.
Surveillance cameras showed several homes nearby burning. My eyes followed dark clouds of smoke billowing from one screen to another. Every news program showed the same things. Some screens were empty.
Chaos blared through the speakers, as cameramen fled, with cameras still rolling; frantic people, demolished buildings, thick dark clouds in a burnt orange sky. Screaming, crashing, and thunderous roars became too painful for me in every way. As my hand moved towards the volume control, the world went quiet. Too quiet.
I looked down at my hand then back to the screens. A couple of them flashed static before going completely dark. I led Sky away from the wall with its fancy, useless screens.
“Let’s go, Sky. We’ve got a lot to do.”
The world went quiet, too quiet.
For hundreds of years, humanity had been relying more and more on technology. They used it to learn, to entertain, and even to live in many cases. Gone were the days of the computers and the smart phones. Most humans had been receiving implants since 2200 to improve their senses, live longer, and avoid diseases entirely. It seemed like society was on the way to perfection and nothing could go wrong.
Until it did.
No-one knows who was truly responsible, but somehow every electronic device in the world was disabled immediately. Over 75% of the population died immediately, another 20% suffered first. The remaining population suddenly was missing eyes, limbs, and the ability to process information at the speed of light.
With no way to communicate the others and realize what was going on, several survivors went insane. Most of the world’s population died in just a few minutes and the rest wished that they had.
In the end, there were less than 5,000 humans left alive in the world that were still somewhat sane. Most of them were spread out and unable to communicate with each other. For a long while it was unsure whether or not the species would go extinct entirely.
They might have, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that they were human. They could be traumatized, they could be separated by millions of miles, but there was a similar trait that all humans shared.
They were survivors, and as long as one of them were alive, they’d fight to the end to live.
Rejoice or Run
The world went quiet
As everyone held their breath
Unknowing whether to rejoice or run.
Americans pointed guns
Cocked to fire
As did many in the Middle East
First reaction, always.
That's why they came.
To save the world
Swooping from the Heavens
Or those embedded on the earth
And broke out wings to join the Heavenly hordes.
Starseeds, Angels call them what you will.
Their time had come.
We had warned of this
The crescendo of events.
Hatred, prejudice, venomous vitriol
Could not go on.
The creator provided a planet of potential and beauty.
These humans would be stopped on their destructive quest.
They had ignored their guides, their siddhis; the basic intuition embedded in them.
So now they must be shown.
And they could either accept
Or be replaced.
The world went quiet, too quiet.
When there was sound, she could convince herself that she wasn’t alone. When the chains rattled and the dogs snarled—she knew that there were others fighting too.
The dark doesn’t bother her anymore, she learned to live on sound and touch alone. No words had left her cracked lips since they placed her, there is nobody to speak to. Nothing to say if she could speak. She waited.
Then came the silence. It was overwhelming—all encompassing. She looked for the thin flickering line of light under her door. It’s been a long time since she’s seen color, but she knows red.
She crawls to the light, pressing her body against the ground—she listens, the light is sharp—she closes her eyes.
Then a creak, slow at first. When she pushes closer—the sound grows louder. Through her eyelids the light pours through—her door is opening. She startles and scrambles back, pressing her body into the corner of the room.
She waits. She listens. Still there is nothing.
Edging along the wall she slowly approaches the door, once solid, now it is something to fear, something to hope.
She tears a strip of cloth from her bedding—covers her face—and pushes further. Even through the protection she feels the pain. Stabbing into her head she squeezes her eyes closed. Slowly she counts to one hundred, and then she counts back. She repeats this.
Then steps forward, hands extended out of habit. Another step, and a smile. She steps over a body and a pool of red.
Infused with Sickness
Alec walked swiftly down the street, dodging the people around him.
He carried a paper bag filled with a loaf of bread and a glass container of milk.
The only thought that kept him going was the thought of his little sister. Merely six years old and fourteen years younger than him, it was his duty to protect her.
He thought of her laying in bed, coughing, infused with sickness. Every time he saw her eyelids start to close, he prayed that it wouldn't be the last time she would take a breath.
He was now standing in front of a small apartment building. He rushed inside and ran up the stairs to the third floor. He unlocked the apartment door and ran in.
"Ellie! I'm back.'' Alec said.
He didn't hear a response.
"Ellie! Ellie!'' He ran into his sister's room.
Ellie's big, round eyes looked up at him, wearily. "Yes, Al?''
Alec's heart beat fast but with relief.
"Oh, nothing. I'll get you food right away.''
"I don't feel so well.'' Ellie coughed.
"You probably just need food.''
Ellie tilted her head in doubt, but nodded slowly.
He rushed out of the room and cut her a piece of bread and poured her a glass of milk.
"Alright, maybe we should go to the movies, eh?'' Alec's British accent rang through the apartment as he walked into Ellie's room.
He looked down at Ellie. Her eyes were closed now. He set down the plate and glass and listened for her breathing.
The world was quiet. Too quiet.
His heart filled with lead and he watched his sister. She wasn't breathing.
He fell to the floor and sobbed.
This was the moment he feared.
Now the only thing he heard was the taunting screams of loneliness piercing his heart.
It was a beautiful summer day. I used my lunch hour to go walking in the woods. I planned to hike to the waterfall to mediate and write. And just be. I needed a break from all the stresses in my life. I needed time to withdraw into myself without needing to explain why.
As I walked, I could feel the surroundings soothing my soul. There was a soft breeze amongst the trees that was cooling despite the summer heat. There was a symphony of sound all around me: rustling leaves, singing birds calling to one another, the flap of bird’s wings, the gurgling of the brook next to which I walked. As I got closer to the falls, I could hear the swish of the water falling, splashing, pounding against the rocks.
I was thrilled to note that I was alone when I arrived at my favorite rock beneath the waterfall. I closed my eyes and lay back to enjoy the moment of peace.
As I lay there, I slowly began to notice a change in the air. It had become very still. And cold. The leaves, the birds, even the water, had become silent. The world had gone quiet. Too quiet. I opened my eyes to find a world that should not have been. Everything was motionless, ice crystals glistening from withered green leaves hanging low in trees bent under the sudden weight. The waterfall was a beautiful sculpture of cascading ice, unmoving.
I swiftly pulled out my journal and began to write. I felt the numbness in my feet moving up my legs and knew time was short. I, too, would soon be a part of this frozen landscape, a mere memory. If that. I had gone seeking time, a moment of peace, and found, instead, eternity.
The Quiet Goodbye
The sounds were so familiar. With my eyes closed I knew exactly what they were. I’m sitting in the pale yellow vinyl chair that has become a part of me the last 2 weeks. The sounds. The labored breathing in and breathing out of oxygen Aaron made through the mask that made him look alien to me. The beep of the thermometer every 4 hours. The steady pump of the blood pressure cuff. The soft chatter in the hallway. It seems like these sounds have been part of me since I can remember, and yet so new.
It was only two weeks ago that Aaron told me he had no more fight. Originally diagnosed with colon cancer that seemed at the time very treatable spread to his lungs. He endured so much through this treatment that shows no mercy. After a year our hopes have been crushed, stepped on without a care. The doctors were suggesting plan B. Aaron told me on a particularly difficult night of coughing fits and labored breathing that plan B was hospice. Holding him tightly in a grip of desperate love and anguish I said OK.
I use what little energy I have to pull open my eyes. Aaron made it through another night. Afraid of sleep, I try to fight it. Sleep won this time. His breathing is raspier than usual. I stand up and lean over him seeing something is different. I run to the hall and call a nurse. The nurse looks at Aaron with knowing eyes. The “death rattle”, she murmurs. This was my cue. I attempt to hug him and say the things I have played over in my head for just this moment. They fall flat. And then the breathing stops. The world went quiet. Too quiet.