(Please note. This is written in response to a writing prompt for the writing challenge. I would give this a TW.)
Black. Inky, cloying nothingness. I reach my hands into the void, unseen extensions of the unseen me. The loneliness is enhanced by the breathing of others. We dare not speak. We dare not ignite the fiery red in the pit below. Each time it rises one other is consumed. It is never the one who spoke. Such kindness would be too merciful.
I know them all. I KNEW them all. We were comrades in the battle for life beyond the chains of the present regime. Walking down the street with proper down turned faces a whisk of wind would blow something at us, startling us to look up and we would see each other’s eyes. We would see the despair pleading to be heard before careful wariness quickly lowered our heads once more. Had they seen? Had they known our eyes met in that instance?
For some of us, the gusts of wind themselves became an excuse to look up. Slowly, we began to find each other, souls rebelling at the loneliness, seeking the solace in another’s eyes. Our steps began to change. We walked with the briskness of hope again. We dared stand side by side closer than regulations allowed. We began to take more risks — a nod of recognition, a dropped pen allowing hands to meet as we picked it up together. We were as subtle as we could be knowing that there were others watching, others we didn’t want to see this bloom of together that was slowly trickling across the city.
Where conversation was allowed, we began to find cadences and phrases interspersed in the acceptable topics, small indistinct changes to those who did not know this changing landscape of gathering. Certain others began passing on set routes, breaking routines as secretly as possible, knowing that should they be called up an explanation must sound mundane in describing this change.
Our first real mistakes were undetected so we became bolder. We found those uninhabited moment on our routes where lips could mold a smiling hello. We did not speak. We knew that everything we said could be heard. We didn’t realize it when the tuneless humming became a part of our unmonitored thinking. Music was awakening in our spirits and would not be silenced. It was those wordless songs that became our undoing.
When familiar faces stopped appearing one by one there was concern and questions in the familiar eyes we met but we couldn’t ask. We could only hope that they had been called to a new place. The disappearances were slow enough to keep us from being alerted to the danger until the day came that I joined the others here in this nothingness, chained to this flattened pinnacle so that I could not even choose the relief of dying. I could only watch while some defiant soul would try to break the silence and then scream as their words caused the death of another.
The breathing in the room was all that could be heard until a simple humming broke the stillness. We understood. As one we joined the song until the room was filled with the fiery light of mercy for all.