The silence was especially loud today.
The most important sound in her cell. A sound she’d constantly overlooked, the in-betweens of moments that faded and the background noise of moments that couldn’t.
It was the split-second before glass broke, before your mum lay bleeding on the floor.
The sound after the neat click of a door closing, when you lay in silence, convinced that the world could hear every creak and murmur you thought you were making.
The lack of noise, the lack of screaming and crying was the loudest. It filled your ears and stuffed cotton in your skull, until you were half-convinced you could hear the thoughts inside your head.
She wasn’t the only one who found silence daunting; Papa had told her stories of prisoners who’d driven themselves mad over silence. Half-crazed criminals who would rather stay with rapists and murderers than endure the quiet.
He’d been sane, until Prisoner 168. The bitch was still alive - surprisingly healthy. Clean and beautiful, excluding the carmine scars threaded under her skin.
She was tired, too. So heavily tired, the sort of fatigue that wore you into nothing.
Papa had thrown her in here. Turned away and locked the door. It wasn’t my fault, she’d whispered. I didn’t do it.
But no one bothered listening to children. They were silly, young, stupid. It did not matter whether they were afraid or sad or cold; in return, they’d receive slaps to the face and kicks in the chest, or teddy bears and hugs while their screaming was ignored.
Her cell was a blinding white. Padding covered the walls, the ceiling, the ground she slept on. Her father hadn’t loved her enough to give her a goddamn window; she’d had to peek through the crack below, staring at clothed feet and people-shaped shadows for hours on end.
She had never known hate. Never understood how people could keep long, hot-headed grudges, or hate for the fun of it. Their prejudice baffled her, their rage blind and stupid.
This feeling was new; cold, clever and wholly terrifying. Horribly addictive.
She wanted to wrap her hand around his throat. To feel his scream as she plunged her mother’s knife deep into his chest, to warm her hands with his blood.
This will serve you well.