Do you know the measure of silence? The idiosyncrasies of a pause, the beat between one breath and the next, the impact of saying nothing? I know more about that than I ever wished to.
Do you know the agony of a scream trapped in your throat? The prison of paralyzing fear? Do you know the pain of being incapable of forcing yourself forward? Of wishing to move, knowing you have to move, only to fail? Only to be too late?
Do you know the grip of your own hands around your throat, the feeling of that thundering pulse under your fingers? Of pawing at that delicate flesh, as if pressing against it will dislodge that intangible something that holds you silent? Have you ever dug your nails into the soft flesh of your arms? Pressed hard enough just to feel pinpricks of pain in the hopes of shocking your own system into action?
(Do you know the measure of a forced silence? A silence you wish so desperately to escape, but are always unable to?)
There is nothing left here for me. Everyone is dead. Swallowed by an unforgiving, suffocating darkness that refuses to take me too. To break me on the sharp cold points of it’s impossible teeth. To paint my world in too bright whites and too dark blacks.
It has taken everything from me. That beautiful and terrible void, that oblivion I tried so hard to hold at bay for the people most important to me. It left me the single survivor amidst a battlefield none of us had agreed to inhabit.
It ripped them from me; my friends and family, and left me here. Alone. With a scream trapped in my tight throat. It won’t come out, no matter how much I claw at my tender flesh. It hurts, but it is a dull pain, even as my fingers are painted in that too bright splash of red.
(I still can’t scream.)
But there are tears, at least. Hot and cold, running in rivers, blurring my vision. There are quiet gasping breaths, and the roar of my own pulse in my ears. The sound rebounding in my skull. Filling me up with a sound I feel than hear.
They are all dead. And nothing I did had helped. I did not save them, I cannot properly mourn them — but I do not think they would have been angry. I am only human, what chance do I have in competing with the expanse of an empty eternity, and those that command such an impossible force?
I breathe, it is not easy, it is not refreshing, but it keeps me alive. They are gone, my friends, the boy I love like a brother, my parents and Aunt. Ripped from my arms for roles I don’t think I will ever understand, even if they were explained to me. And I am still here.
I breathe deeper, and unlatch my hands. I rise to my feet, and swallow back my scream. I hold it in my chest, there will be a use for it later. I could not save my friends this time. But I have always been a stubborn person, I will try again and again, no matter how many times I fall.
(I know the measure of a forced silence. And I refuse to let it hold me down.)
I stand, take up my fallen arms, and march towards the void.
This is not the end, not until I lay bloody and broken at the voids edge. Not until that terrible force either destroys me, or swallows me too.