3.11 A Different Kind of Quiet

by Matt P.

A few hours passed and the house was pulled into a different kind of quiet, that of restful sleep punctuated by occasional snoring. Antigone and Siobhan pulled their mattresses to the single door that separated their room and slept, if not side-by-side then as close as possible. In their dreams they saw the rings of a faerie circle beneath the richest verdant forest ceiling. The sky beyond it was filled with so many stars, like watching eyes waiting to see how the world below them fared.

They dreamed of the dark and the light, of the sun and the moon. One dreamed of ravens and one dreamed of doves, and they both dreamed of wingless crows beneath an endless sky. They would not remember, but in their closeness and shared dreaming there was a comfort.

Ryan had laid down in his bed and simply fallen asleep. While he was concerned for his family and the weirdness of his new home, he was also tired. He was asleep almost instantly, an ability which his father had claimed was him shutting down his robot brain for the evening. Ryan had rolled his eyes, and hidden the amused smile he always had while thinking about it. He dreamed of the things that teenage boys dream of, which would cause his father to laugh and his sisters to punch him for being a pervert, and which do not bear any sort of repeating in polite company.

Walter sat on his bed in the low light of a single lamp. When he closed his eyes he could almost smell her perfume, or see the little half-smile she liked to give him when she was particularly pleased with herself. He held her note in his hands carefully, as if crumpling it would cause it to be real but if he kept it in pristine condition it might not be. His other hand held an old fashioned glass heavy with ice and bourbon, sipping it for the burn and the comfort more than the intoxication. Even in the long hours of the night with stitches in his shoulder and bruises on his body, he had no desire to overdose on whiskey and vicodin.

“Anna, where the hell did you go?” He asked as he stared at the letter, her careful handwriting rushed with emotion. He finished the glass and set it aside, putting the letter back in the desk and its special space before he laid down in the bed and turned off the lamp. Night reclaimed the room as the painkillers kicked in, and the dark reclaimed his mind. His last thought was of her, the perfume and that smile, and a flight of dark birds before a massive tree.

He was as unaware of the pain as he floated in the night as he was of the eyes that watched his home in the dark and the humid heat of the summer night.