Since I do a bit of writing – and I once wrote a couple of books, the titles of which both began with the word ‘Silent’, I expect you’ve figured out what comes next. Yes, it’s a snippet from the venerable (and vaguely YA) Silent Apocalypse…
…which was my best book, until I wrote the sequel, Silent Resistance. Of course that doesn’t include The Psychic Historian: but how could it? Nothing compares with The Psychic Historian! Anyway, that’s by-the-by: on with the excerpt. Naturally random chance did the selection…
That evening we’d resumed our places at the table. From our vantage point we watched the sun dip below the horizon. It was an elegant but desolate place now. Nothing much appeared different, especially in the failing light.
‘What was it that told the eye that things had been altered forever?’
Lee was watching me, although I wasn’t aware of it. He must have been thinking along the same lines.
“Vapour trails.” He said, and I knew he was right. “The day we see a vapour trail again is the day we wake up from this nightmare.”
Katherine had been paying attention too:
“Until then the sky is the province of the clouds alone.”
We said no more and watched darkness march across the land.
Kevin broke the silence:
“I don’t want to hear The Whispers, Flissery: Can I go to bed now?”
I told him that he could, but he insisted that I take him upstairs.
Donald warned me, “Be quick: They’re coming on soon.”
Having tucked Kevin in I was barely back in time to catch the first ethereal sounds. There were indeed voices, buried by other voices, submerged beneath static or something else we couldn’t identify.
Lee put words to my thoughts; “Ya know – it’s like we’re supposed to understand it, but someone won’t let us.”
“It’s almost musical.” I opined. “Though I agree with Donald – it is spooky.”
“Lousy rhythm section.” Katherine added.
“It’s always the same, far as I can tell.” Donald informed us.
“Like its set on an automatic loop, you mean?” Lee asked.
Donald remained noncommittal.
“We need to record this.” Lee said, looking about the room, “I don’t suppose..?”
Donald answered Lee’s incomplete question, “What would I want with a tape recorder: Keep a Captains’ Log?”
“Then we’d better find one.” Lee urged. “Where’s the nearest town?”
“Not now, Lee.” I scolded him for his impetuosity. “It can wait until morning.”
“If it’s really that important.” Katherine added doubtfully. “I thought we were avoiding towns. Remember – gangs, violence, and disease?”
I tried to curb Lee’s enthusiasm. “Let’s not rush into anything: it’s not like we’re desperately short of time: we’ll probably find a village store somewhere…”
Lee recognized the good sense in this. He changed tack:
“Here, Don, mate – so what’s so special about this lake that we’re not looking for?”
Don gave him a long appraising look. “You’re really not looking for our island?”
“Cross my heart, and hope to fall in a bucket of pig muck.”
Donald wasn’t particularly forthcoming. He simply said, “It’s protected.”
“What – by razor wire? Dobermans? Machine guns?” Lee demanded.
“A snake pit?” Katherine chirped. Then she added, “Crocodiles?”
“Dunno.” was Donald’s even briefer reply. Then, “I haven’t actually seen it. I know where it is – roughly: But I haven’t been there. I don’t know what protects it. Maybe it’s God. Maybe it’s a psychic bubble. Gaia. I dunno. I just know that all my family’s people have gone there, and they reckon they’re gonna be safe.”
I could see that Donald was becoming upset; but I thought the subject might be too important to drop. I eased the conversation in a slightly different direction:
“You said that you’ve lost contact with them…”
“Yeah, that’s right. It’s been a while.”
“And that concerns you…”
“Yes it does.” He took a deep breath and dared to utter the words to us that he might never have said to himself, “I don’t reckon they made it.”
I took his hand. “Donald, I’m sorry, but I think you’re right. You would’ve heard…”
He nodded without speaking.
“Would you like to know – I mean for absolute certain?” I asked.
He shook his head.
Katherine stood and placed a hand upon each of his shoulders.
“I think you need to. You can’t go on in vain hope. It’ll drive you quite potty eventually, you know.”
Donald brushed Katherine’s hands aside, and blurted angrily:
“You want me to take you to the island: I knew it all along!”
“No.” I assured him. “Not at all. We want to take you.”
Lee shrugged his shoulders at Donald’s enquiring look.
“There’s no such thing as grown-ups, these days, Don.” He said quietly. “Not anymore. Not even the Chosen Ones. Sorry.”
Donald nodded minutely. We left it at that. He’d come around.
©Paul Trevor Nolan 2014
This book was actually written in 2004, when I was much younger and considerably more handsome and virile, with a good head of hair and firm buttocks. In fact it was whilst writing this book that they went all flabby. Clearly sitting around on your arse in front of a computer screen isn’t good for one’s backside. But it’s too late now. This is the tidied up version that I produced to accompany the release of Silent Resistance.
Naturally both books are available at most e-book stockists. See Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header – or click on the cover photos on the sidebar.