"Silence"

A 2019 Flash Fiction Winner: Cowley Student

The silence was peaceful, stretched across the house like a thick, warm blanket. My cat was purring up a storm in my lap, eyes closed, tucked into herself. It was nice. Soft. Comfortable.

The calm atmosphere splintered and broke when a scream bulleted through the air: loud, primal, bloodcurdling.

I shot up like a fire-cracker, sending the cat to the ground, and ran across my room as if someone was chasing me. Out the door, across the living room, into my roommate’s bedroom.

She was on her bed doing homework, and when I burst through the door, she blinked up at me, all confusion and paralytic shock.

“What’s wrong?”

“Did you scream?” I asked urgently. “Are you ok?”

“...yeah,” she said slowly. “Why?”

“You didn’t scream?”

“...No?”

I stood there silently, frozen into immobility by her words, panic seeping into my skin like blood. Echoed, “You didn’t?”

“No,” she repeated with a frown. “I didn’t.”