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Running Away

Searching for Silence

By A. J. SchoenfeldPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Running Away
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

The screech of tires punctuated with impatient horns interspersed with the wail of sirens from varying distances had become deafening. I used to find comfort in the constant drone of the bustling city, but then it became all too much. It was everywhere, all the time. I laid awake in bed tossing and turning, trying in vain to shut it out. I struggled to pay attention to television shows, my mind constantly pulled by the incessant noise that permeated the air. I could not remember the last time I was able to actually read a book. I chewed my fingernails to bloody pulps as my anxiety swelled. I had to get away, somewhere far away from the claustrophobic crowds that pressed in around me whenever I ventured out of my apartment. I had to get out of that filthy city and find some peace and quiet.

I found the perfect place, a cute little house in a quaint little village, far from the noise and chaos of the city. The small town was idyllic, the kind of place where neighbors take care of each other and become best friends over backyard BBQ's. After a month I had never been happier. I loved falling asleep to the soft chirrup of crickets and the chorus of frogs that backed them up. It was so quiet I was finally able read four novels. I felt I should have moved there years ago.

Why did I move there? I could no longer concentrate on anything. Everywhere I went I heard them whispering. With nothing better to do the townsfolk could not help gossiping about me. At night it was so quiet every creak, squeak, and drip sounded like a thunderclap. I tossed and turned, unable to tune out the sound of the wind whistling through the trees. The deafening silence of the quiet country screamed in my ears and slowly drove me to the brink of insanity. I had to get away from there, far from the nosy busy bodies that would not leave me be. I could not spend another night in that rickety old house that moaned and groaned with every gust of wind that constantly rolled through the mountain ringed valley.

I found my place at last. The perfect abode, miles from my nearest neighbor and their prying eyes, perched at the edge of an arid desert. There were no mountains for the wind to howl through, no ponds teeming with creatures to croak and chirp through the night. It was just me and my perfectly quiet home. I never felt so comfortable and relaxed. Everything was still and silent, the way it should be.

Once again my quiet evening crumbled at the incessant howling of the coyotes that stalked the night desert. They were far enough away that it took me months to notice, but eventually it became all I could hear. All night long they called to each other as though laughing at me as I buried my head in the pillows, trying in vain to block them out. It sounded as though they had surrounded my home, each night they circled getting closer and closer. I finally realized they were stalking me. I had to get away from there, far away.

Jumping from bed, I pulled my robe about my shaking shoulders and slid my feet into my slippers before running out the door into the chilly night air. The moon was full and bright so I could see easily as I fled into the desert before me. I heard the coyotes behind me and ran as far and fast as I could. I must have run all night before the sound of their howls faded away. I kept going as the horizon grew lighter. The world about me became strange and unrecognizable. I could not see my house or any familiar landmarks. There were no creatures, big or small, loud or quiet. Nothing grew anywhere within sight, not even a lonely cactus. It was just me and the sand. But it was so quiet. I sat down in the sand and inhaled deeply. As I exhaled, all the tension that had been building up expelled from my body. I finally found the peace I had sought after. Exhausted, I laid down on the cool sand, bathed in the warmth of the first morning rays of sunshine. I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.

Short Story

About the Creator

A. J. Schoenfeld

I only write about the real world. But if you look close enough, you'll see there's magic hiding in plain sight everywhere.

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Comments (2)

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  • Naveed 29 days ago

    Awesome story!!! Loved it!!!❤️

  • JBaz3 months ago

    This was really good. You drew us in with your descriptive words, and the repeating of why she moved…. Coming to the inevitable conclusion. Well done

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