Silence So Deafening & Barthalomew Mace Steals the Day
Silence So Deafening
In this 2017 Writer's Game event, each writer had 72 hours to complete a tragedy where no one dies. My short story is about an autistic boy with tactile sensitivites and an extreme sensitivity to sounds. Desperate to provide an environment where Max can sleep safe and sound each night, Mrs. Brinswater agrees to accepty a gift from her son's doctor. Little did she know the gift Max's birthday and a meteor would line up to deliver a fate none of them could ever expect.
From the moment my mother pushed me out of her womb, I was on sensory overload. Hearing the snip of the scissors right before being yanked from my soft and warm cocoon seemed bad enough. But the brightness of the lights and the alarming tone of my mother's cries coming from outside of her, bombarded me with intensities. I just wanted to go back and hide where I had been safe.
Do I remember this? Of course not, but my mother told the story so many times it seemed like I did. Let's see, how did it go? Oh, yeah, she watched my floppy legs dangle as the nurse laid me across her chest and tears streamed down her cheeks as she caressed my tiny bluish hands. And, the best part, "He's beautiful. Robert, look at our son. He's beautiful," she repeated to me a gazillion times.
I know, kind of sick, but I think she clings to this because it was before she knew I was different. Evidently, babies are tested to see how well they cope in their new environment. My Apgar scores were on the unimpressive side. Mom said I scored a four at the one-minute mark. So, they cleared my airway and gave me oxygen. At five-minutes, I only registered a six on their scale, which designated the beginning of a long series of underperformances. To date, my birth has been my only achievement. I became the first to breach the 300 population count in ten years. My claim to fame—Butte City's 301st resident...
Barthalomew Mace Steals the Day
In this action packed short story, items from a bingo card had to be incorporated in order to qualify. Not only did I qualify, I used every item and received "blackout" points landing this short story second place in the 2017 Writer's Games 4th Event.
Cynthia Smith jumped over the bus's last step and landed firmly on both feet. She was headed toward her destination—6206 Apple Street—her babysitting job. 6202, 6204… She read her note one more time.
"Mrs. Mace?" Cynthia asked, just to confirm she was in the right place.
"Oh, yes, come in," Mrs. Mace said. She held the door open for the girl to enter then returned to her task of tossing items from her purse onto the foyer's console, "Do you go by Cindy?"
"No, ma'am. It's Cynthia."
"Ah-ha!" Mrs. Mace dangled her keys in the air like she was tinkling a bell. "I don't know why someone doesn't invent something to help people find their keys."
"They have, ma'am. It's a fob you sync with your compu—."
"I don't know anything about computers," Mrs. Mace interrupted. She threw her belongings back inside her purse and provided the day's only instruction, "I would like for you to stay in today." She shouldered her purse and draped a light sweater over her forearm. When she saw Cynthia's expression she explained, "Air conditioning." She hollered up the stairs for her son, "Bartholomew?"
Barrr-who? Cynthia thought. She wasn't sure she could even pronounce that, and she sure wasn't going to give some little kid ammunition to make fun of her all day. Cynthia decided she'd call him kid.
"Bartholomew!" Mrs. Mace huffed. She was about to start counting when Bartholomew began racing down their spiral staircase. Thump-thump-thump. As he reached the midpoint, he hopped onto the spiral steps' iron railing, swung his arms out into airplane wings, and slid to the bottom. "Wheeeee!" It was a spectacular entrance.
"Bartholomew!" his mother scolded.
"Hey kid, how's it going?" Cynthia was taking him in. He had on a light blue, long sleeve t-shirt with one of those pencil-sketched animals looking all sad and everything. His was of a penguin with its head cocked severely to one side. Cynthia thought the penguin's head had an expression that beggedsomeone to finish him off. Sympathetically, she tilted her head too.
"Hwaaaaa!"Raising one leg and lifting both arms into a crane stance, Bartholomew asked, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"This is Cindy," his mother said, "She's your new babysitter, dear."
"It's Cynthia, and no worries kid, I'm just watching you today."
Relieved, Bartholomew lowered his stance and began loosening the straps that secured a toy weapon to his arm.
"You know martial arts, kid?" Cynthia asked holding her hands in karate chop position.
"I'm a ninja. It's Ninjutsu." He pulled a leather glove out of his pocket and slipped it over his right hand and snapped its flap closed.
"Got it," she said pointing her index finger at him, "you're a ninja." This is going to be a long day...