Darkness and Silence

by Peregrine
It was dark. And quite. It was always dark now. But it was never quite. Never. He didn't like the quite. He wasn't used to the quite. He never would be.

There was always noise. Soft sounds, he called them. Sounds that made you shudder. Sounds worse than battle.

Battle he could handle. Battle was loud. Eveyone heard battle. Battle was loud. There was always noise. Blades clashing against blade. Rocks smashing into human flesh or stone. Screaming men. Dying horses. Water spalshing. Feet stomping. Running.

They were loud noises. He knew the loud noises.

Soft sounds were worse. The soft sounds were the ones that made you hate things. That made you hate sound.

The sound of a man weeping alone in a dark corner. The crunch of gravel when a dead man's foot gave one last spasmic jerk. The whisper of a rat feasting of a corpse's face. The wind hissing through dried grass like the moans of the men who were gone.

You could hear the river.

He hated the river.

The river had carried his brother away. His brother was dead--killed by loud noises, carried away by soft sounds.

But it was quiet. He didn't like the quiet.

His father had turned away, without saying a word. He had been quiet. He had never said a word.

Sometimes, when he had still been a boy, he liked the silence. Then it was nice. Then there was only silence--and sometimes soft sounds. A man would laugh.

Silence.

A cricket chirped. A bird called. A door slammed.

Silence.

Stars were silent. Mountains, snow, the moon and the sun. Beautiful things were silent.

Tears were silent. Pain was silent. Death, now, was silent.

He hated the quiet.