I was debating whether to post this.
Not because I’m worried about it being stolen (I also uploaded it on Wattpad, even though I know a way around the disabled copy-paste system. But because I don’t believe it’s quite my best yet.
I can always improve. And I was kind of worried it might reflect on me badly later on, where I feel humiliated by my current stage in writing.
Then I realised that this is a blog. This is the internet. The date is beside all my works and, obviously, I’m going to be worse now than a year onwards. So I took the plunge and uploaded it to both Wattpad and here. Hope I made the right decision. >.<
The following is the prologue of my story. Happy reading! 😀
The City Is Silent [Excerpt]
Grace Sawyer stops at the welcome mat, unsure of her next move.
She should go inside. It’s her house, after all –how ridiculous to be frightened of the one place endless shelter is available. The same familiar things, nostalgic memories and faces are reason enough to enter. Why is she standing out here, pointlessly hesitating?
When an answer to the rhetorical question flashes, she shakes her head ferociously in avoidance. She doesn’t allow herself to remember what’s behind that door: beyond her mother’s bedroom.
Her dark curls tousle aside by the raging wind. The setting sun behind her creates a vivid sky; one she’s tempted to run towards. Away from the gloomy place she calls home, where dreams are merely impossible fantasies. But in the end, she must face this life. Her life.
She takes one last glance at the grass outside. A pavement path leads from the white picket fence to her front door, and on both sides, mowed grass spreads out evenly. Daisies and dandelions bloom, showcasing the true beginning of spring.
Grace’s shadow casts on the grass. Her profile is shown blatantly: the sharp nose, thin lips and short, stubbed eyelashes. How would this profile be captured effectively? Photography won’t capture personality, and outlining the edges with white chalk is too extreme.
To her surprise, Grace considers sketching –or even painting– this profile. One month ago, photography would’ve, supposedly, captured her entire personality and white-chalk wasn’t extreme. Grace noticed how quickly things had altered; she just never stopped to consider how she reformed.
The silver key fits perfectly in the lock. She turns it with trembling fingers. There’s a click. The creaky door displays a path: dark from the setting sun and an instant gloomy atmosphere, but a trail all the same.
Grace pulls off her blue sneakers. The schoolbag’s placed gently on the door –contradicting to her usual reckless throwing. Each step she takes towards the kitchen is filled with caution, suspicion. Her very own house seems unpredictable. A hollow sound erupts with every taken step. Each pace seems loud in comparison to the haunting silence.
A grandfather clock stands in the corner of their living room. Roman numerals replace every number, as a classy attempt to appear ancient. Keith, Grace’s father, bought it from a garage sale. At every hour, a rather battered wooden owl pokes its head out and hoots –but it’s always drowned out by the excessive noise of the Sawyer residence.
One week ago, this house overloaded with shouting voices, full-blasted radio stations and the doorbell ringing a minimum of three times a day. To top it all off, the television played an occasional part of the routine. Not only was the ticking of the grandfather clock unheard, but it was practically invisible to the naked eye.
She can hear it now, though. Loud and clear like whale-calls across the vast ocean.
Tick, tock, tick tock.
The grandfather clock seems mocking. It’s a strange thought, an inanimate object showing human-like traits –but the unspoken leers are inevitable.
Sunlight streams through the windows. They light up the entire house. On the left, a clear sliding door indicates the backyard. The emerald grass is freshly cut, the scent somehow making its way into the house. She wants to head outside so badly –to pull her soccer shoes on, tuck the half-flat ball under her arm and simply run.
Nothing stops her. There are no physical obstacles preventing her from taking the next move: but they’re all emotional. She’s mentally incapable of leaving her present behind; unable to head outside, have fun, and forget about her suffering mother.
Any hope of freedom disappears. She closes the sliding door, tiptoeing across her tiled floors. When she moves closer towards Iris Sawyer’s bedroom, a sound startles her –one she didn’t hear at first.
There’s always talking coming from her mother’s bedroom. As a writer, she always chants her sentences aloud unknowingly. When Grace used to hear them, she’d chuckle. She’d know the whole story before her mother gave her a copy of the manuscript.
Today, however, the sound isn’t chanting. Or talking of any kind.
Grace presses her ear to the door. Light sobs erupt behind the door. Her elbows tense, for she’s unable to keep listening. But walking away isn’t an option either.
Among the muffled, heart-wrenching cries, she hears her mother’s voice. On the verge of croaking, her mother says every word of her novel aloud. “When Francesca stepped outside again, she couldn’t wait to start living again. She loved her life. Her fans adored her, her family cherished her, and she found the happy ending she always wanted.”
The backspace is pressed repeatedly, with more force than required. Iris Sawyer preferred bulky, old laptops which made excessive sounds. Every key typed is loud without the added strength.
“I can’t do this.” The voice is hardly audible. “I can’t deceive people like this; they deserve to know the truth.”
Alongside her audible narrating, the sound of simultaneously typing is also overheard. “Francesca’s husband turned out abusive. Her son hated her. And the fans, those who loved every romantic book she wrote, turned against her. They found a new favourite author, for her last one didn’t reach their expectations. And thus, she was stuck. Forever in oblivion.”
Her voice cracks at the last word. No more sobs, chants or unhappy endings. An eerie silence overcomes the house. The type that leaves people speechless and helpless, for no words can bring optimism to this scene. Grace knows it deep inside; she just has trouble believing it.
Nothing pulls Grace towards the plain white bedroom-door of Iris Sawyer. No more string-along sentences, faint sobs or muffled chokes. Yet, she can’t seem to leave. It’s as if unbreakable glue sticks to the soles of her feet, bonding her with the dirty wooden floor. Her mother isn’t able to clean the house any longer.
Her fists clench tightly. The strong legs she developed from regular soccer give way. She crumples to the ground, her knees tucked under her chin. Although an effective physical protection, she’ll never escape her losing mind.
Once upon a time, Grace would’ve mistaken her mother’s silence for happiness. Or, at the very least, current satisfaction. Her naïve-self would’ve assumed the halted tears must mean peace at mind.
After the accident, her entire perspective of life changed. Iris Sawyer’s inability to write positive novels is another bitter ending all by itself. Grace has a newfound wisdom, the rentful kind, which no middle-school student should develop this early.
The silence isn’t a sign of her mother’s happiness.
Iris just cannot produce anymore tears.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed it! 🙂
Please tell me what you think in the comments’ section! 😀