WHAT SILENCE HEARD
YA Speculative Fiction
Staggering away from her emptied village, Nyah knows she was left behind on purpose. The entire silent world is hers, but for an actor and scribe, it’s a gift she can’t accept.
And then she finds another. Shade, a left-behind from a different village, is as gentle as he is evasive. He's determined to bring together and provide for all of the left-behinds, to ease his remorse about cursing them to this barren world.
Only they're not as alone as they first thought. The loved ones who abandoned them, cruelly transformed and vicious, are returning for something. There are nine left-behinds, but there should only be eight. A vision of Nyah's little brother tries to warn her, but she can’t accept that her life will be ripped apart because of a baby, again.
The left-behinds must fight together or sacrifice the one who was never meant to be there. Either way, the existence of the ninth ensures their failure. Nyah and Shade, denial and guilt, will see to that.
Set in the wilderness of a pre-industrial civilization, the left-behinds run from the obvious danger, but discover it is impossible to run from themselves when silence is their most steadfast companion.
I found the mouth of the cave three weeks after leaving my emptied village. I froze when I saw it, grabbing the top of Nell's head to shush her. The entrance was no more than a yawn in the rock, and I was terrified if we moved it would close.
Because it was so much more than a cave. It was a promise of sleep: one night free from worry that a cougar would clamp her maw around my neck. Or worse, gnaw at Nell. Inside, we could be two girls on a campout instead of a girl and a doll, left behind.
I took a tentative step forward, and whimpered when it didn't dissolve.
Nell gave me the idea that we needed to flush out any creatures before bounding in. My chatter often bounced back from her and made some sense. If I didn't have her, I might have wandered right into the claws of a wolverine.