Jack

Jack enjoyed the quiet. For years he had sat, silent and immobile, praying there would be no interruption to his solitude. Of course, he knew the day would come, it always did. Sometimes it would be years between disturbances, other times, merely months. But when it came, it did not stop. Every day there would be noise. So much noise. The television, with its constant droning and buzzing, was a new sound for Jack, even muffled as it was by the walls of his hiding place.

He crouched, made himself as small as he could, hoping with all his soul that they wouldn’t find him. That they wouldn’t pull him about, throw him around or shake him. He was scared. It was so frightening outside, he had always felt it. On those occasions when he had been forced to go out, he had felt their hatred, sensed their violence. The ones with the big faces and dribbling mouths did not seem to hate. If anything, they seemed to have no control over themselves at all. They laughed and squeaked and shrieked. They shook Jack about, threw him across the room, tried to bite him and smacked him hard on his head. The abuse was intolerable. But the small-faced ones, with the blurry features, they held within them such hatred for Jack that he feared even worse abuse at their hands. Yet they had never hurt him physically. Perhaps they were scared too. They watched the big-faced ones constantly, didn’t let them out of their sight. Thinking about those times made Jack feel helpless.

Jack had stayed silent. For years he had endured the pain dished out by the grasping hands of the big-faced ones, but by the time he felt brave enough to say something, to do something about it, he would be left alone. He wouldn’t hear a thing and the noise would disappear. Until next time.

He could sense it getting closer. His hiding place had already been moved and the noises, though tolerable still, were getting louder. He knew that soon he would hear that chilling sound, the grinding of cogs, the metallic tinkling that would turn frantic, making his stomach lurch with fear and forcing the coils beneath him to propel him upwards into those big faces and grasping hands. Jack prepared himself. He checked his mouth still moved, that his teeth were still sharp. He exercised his jaw, his bite. Then it came, the eerie tinkling sound. Jack crouched, ready to be released from his box.

(422 words)

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