A Silence Unseen by Gráinne Maxwell

In the doorway he stood waiting, waiting for a jump in her pulse at the vicious cold or the residual hang of the air or at the little pieces of him and those before him scattered and leaning and draping. But she waited with his hand in hers for nothing at all. On the perimeter they stood peering in at the space between four forgotten walls, where she saw the shape of a woman and her head bent down toward unfolding shapes of ink. Where the slick accompaniment of ball point scratching on paper played its rustic rhythm, woman to woman. There was no other movement amongst the living or the dead, just a concentration of authoritative wrist surrounding the stillness of a ceaseless hour. Nothing perturbed the silent cloak the woman gathered around her, not a shriek of the school bell, not the shrill echoing haunt of children, not even the two stripes of mineral and flesh in the doorway, one who saw her and one who stared through her into the abyss as he did every other day. They were all faint sounds or blips or nothing. A slight pause to absorb the pair of beats standing in the wooden frame between now and then before the silent rage of her cloak swooped by them down the deep black stain of the corridor behind.

And he was still waiting in his deity of the free

And she said nothing about the shape of the woman, her sweeping cloak or her feathering veins of black ink


An hour or half-dozens had passed and now they were in between those four forgotten walls both nurturing the hum of ravenous desire, a pair of flickering silhouettes; a strange girl with a pulsing leg whispering at him it’s time time time. Fibreglass crackers and wine.  Silent again but for the impatient rasps of breath in this new world without occupant, the coldest room she had ever found to be so warm. His beautiful face glowing beneath his dark angular trim, burning her with longing for his touch, his lips, his caress, the sweet press of his chin, telling her his story. All it took was his warm finger-clasp surprise in the cracker aisle followed by sharp conscious waves of stale air as he stood by her, showing her, waiting, oblivious

By now any sense of survival without the lonely dance in his eyes seemed beyond any bearable shade of bleak. Ripples gathered across his limbs sipping away her wintery-moon skin



It was like discovering a distant chimera of stars coarse in a midnight-blue watery sky or the unreal script of a reality dispossessed between the parting of her blood-red lips

Scarlet rugs and throws and paintings crawling upon the surfaces

her scent and taste wrapping his senses tight tight tight

in such dim blisters of light

‘Do you always shake your leg like that?’ he asked the shivering beats of flesh alongside him.

‘Yes’ she lied turning toward him again. ‘It’s a habit.’  But she wrestled with something new, something untameable, something her body could not hide from the iodine blots in his eyes.

He pulled her close into him, kissing the ice building on the curve of her nose

Somehow in the dead weight of the dark they both knew they would win.

Then she heard the scratch scratch scratch where the silent woman had been

Gráinne is from county Tipperary where she grew up with a love for reading and writing. The unrelenting love grew wings and brought her temporarily to The Netherlands where she is now thesis-ing. Follow her on twitter @Grainne93

Image Credit: Aaron Burden