Silence

Beneath the shovel, the earth turned easily; he could taste its peaty grittiness along his tongue. The groping fingers of a rainstorm lightly stroked his neck.

He had found the shovel deep in the yard, down near the corner of the shed, at the end of the trail that led him where now he stood. He had followed that trail; it matted the grass down, bent the grass blades, beckoning him forward; there, like an x marking the spot, the shovel, driven into the ground. The top of the handle muddied a shade darker than the rest of the wood; well used.

From their home, his wife cried, cleaving the lulling silence much as the shovel cleaved the lawn.

Together, they had chosen this idyllic neighborhood, his wife and he, for its rolling hills, colonial houses, for its grocery store where the butcher memorized names, memorized meat cuts for those names, for the church where its worshippers flocked as one, smart in their deep-blue suits, unruffled mauve dresses, for its coffee shop where the scent of dark roast served as opiate for the mind.

Mostly, however, they had chosen this idyllic neighborhood for its silence.

He had never realized how quiet it truly was until they moved into their home, until they unpacked, sorted through their moving boxes, until they made love on wooden floors in empty rooms that did not carry an echo. He had never realized that the open windows delivered only summer’s hot breeze, not the birdcalls from the long limbs of the elms, so pregnant with foliage.

From their home, his wife cried, cleaving the lulling silence much as the shovel cleaved the lawn.

He had never heard the buzz of passing cars in the street, nor the crickets serenade the night. He had felt the eyes upon his back, however, as he carried the bassinet through the front door, eyes trickling over him as the sweat trickled along his spine, trickling, trickling as he carried the changing table, the dresser then its drawers, the rocker through the front door. He had felt the eyes, saw nothing when he turned. Nothing but sashaying curtains, quivering blinds.

He had never heard the mowers, had never given a second thought how practiced the lush landscapes could remain. Though thoughts and thinking were often difficult when sleep deprived, when thoughts and thinking were disrupted by needy cries of a newborn child.

From their home, his wife cried, cleaving the lulling silence much as the shovel cleaved the lawn.

He had followed that trail, from the front door to where the grass matted down, found the shovel deep in the yard, driven into the ground. He had felt the eyes upon his back as he stood gaping, felt the eyes along his spine, trickling, trickling.

From their home, his wife cried.

Beneath the shovel, the earth turned easily. He tasted dirt. Smelled rain. He called to his wife, stay inside, stay inside, called out above the silence for all in the idyllic neighborhood to hear. He turned, saw nothing. Nothing but sashaying curtains, quivering blinds.

He dug his hole without a further word.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

Β© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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About Joseph Pinto

Author of the poignant novella Dusk and Summer (2014). Horror author of the novel Flowers for Evelene (2005) as well numerous published works of dark fiction. Member of the Horror Writers Association. Cofounder of the Pen of the Damned. Rumored lycanthrope. New Orleans Saints fan. Pancreatic cancer advocate. Twitter: @JosephAPinto Share his unique spin at josephpinto.com Indulge in Pen of the Damned with Joe and the Damned at PenoftheDamned.com

22 responses to “Silence”

  1. adeleulnais says :

    Enjoyed this very much. I was there, carried away by the excellent descriptive writing.

    Like

  2. Karin says :

    Deftly delivered horror! I love how the refrain builds the tension. This is a great piece Joseph. ~ k

    Like

  3. Magenta Nero says :

    a wonderful piece Joe, haunting and melancholic, mysterious and beautiful!

    Like

  4. Joseph Pinto says :

    Thank you very much, Magenta! πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. Hunter Shea says :

    Dude, awesome as always. For some reason, I could actually smell the dirt as I read it. Oh wait, for a very specific reason – your writing put me right there, in that yard!

    Like

  6. 2old2tap says :

    This is beautiful. Hypnotically terrifying. Yet the words are gorgeous. The cadence was perfect. Love.

    Like

  7. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    SILENCE by Pen of the Damned’s Joseph Pinto

    Like

  8. Thomas Brown says :

    Reblogged this on THOMAS BROWN and commented:

    Beautiful, haunting prose from the talented Joseph Pinto:

    Like

  9. Thomas Brown says :

    This is tremendous, Joe. So sensitive and powerful but still delivering on disturbing feels. Beautifully written.

    Like

  10. blazemcrob says :

    Great story, Joe! I felt like I was there, tasting the dirt, seeing the shovel, feeling the sweat cascade down my back. Truly another great tale from a master wordsmith.

    Blaze

    Like

  11. jonolsonauthor says :

    Joe, sorry it took so long to comment on this. Fantastic and haunting story, my friend! You’ve managed to take something peaceful, like silence if you’re a parent, and turn it into something truly horrific. Well done, brother!

    Like

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      No worries Jon! πŸ™‚ Please, I’m pulling my hair out in my end with my perpetual lack of time to do things…wait, I have no hair! πŸ˜‰ lol Thank you very much, I’m happy you enjoyed SILENCE πŸ™‚

      Like

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