Monday, February 3, 2014

Prompt: The voice in the silence

I wish there was somebody…anybody…who cared…


Olivia sat on the first row of the movie theater with her eyes closed, and hands over her ears. She caught the voice through the screen music and the people talking as they settled into their seats. Before she could pinpoint it any further, Marian jostled her elbow, falling into the seat next to her. “Honestly, Liv, you look like such a freak when you do that!”


She said it with a laugh, but it still stung. Olivia shrugged and pulled her hands to her lap. She’d try again once the lights went down. Hopefully Marian would be too distracted by the previews to notice.


Movies were great places, because the crowd was fairly small, focused on one thing, and sitting still for a long time. Olivia liked to sit in the dark and listen for the voice over all the noise, the one she heard with her ears covered. Once she heard it, she could look around the room and concentrate on who the voice belonged to. Over the years, she’d become an expert, and it was her own private challenge to find the person crying out, even if they didn’t realize it.


Since the shooting in Aurora, she’d had the idea that maybe she could really do some good. Maybe, just maybe, she could help someone, or even save someone. The freak turned superhero. Even if no one ever knew. So she started going to the movies as often as she could afford, with friends or alone. She was torn as to which was better. She preferred to go alone to listen, but she liked having company for the movie itself.


Sometimes she had the opportunity to strike up a conversation, make a connection. Usually it was no more than a brief moment, but sometimes she could maneuver a phone number or IM handle to continue chatting.


I don’t think I can take it any more…

Olivia felt the despair behind the voice and wanted to jump up and shout, “You’re not alone! Things will get better, I promise!” But she had to play it cool, seek out the person and find a way to connect with them before the end of the movie. Her own private game, with the highest stakes she could imagine.


The lights dimmed and the previews began. Marian passed the popcorn, and Olivia pushed it gently back. Marian shrugged and glued her eyes to the screen. Olivia slid her hands over her ears and listened…


Dogs in house
ZZ Ward, Till the Casket Drops
Time writing
20 minutes
February word count



  1. Writing report:
    Novel editing, spot edits Ch20, start new text Ch21

    Time: ~40 mins

  2. Oh, nifty! This one really brings the reader into the piece well -- I didn't know exactly what was going on at the start, but by the end I was highly invested and her listening pose seems absolutely natural.