“Tell me child, what do you see?” the Elder spoke, her voice gentle in the darkness.

The child mumbled incoherently, its fingers tapping rhythmically on the Elder’s hand. The child did not know what it was to see, nor what it meant to speak. But the Elder knew. If no one else, the Elder would always know, much like a mother and her child.

“That’s right,” the Elder stroked the child’s bony features lovingly, “the happy blue of the sky filled with the fluffy white of the clouds, and the playful green of the grass and the exciting yellow of the flowers, just like the stories.”

The child’s mumbling grew excited as it tapped faster on the Elder’s hand. The child that did not know of sight or voice, knew of the stories the Elder told and of the warm feelings they brought with them, each like a fantastical fairytale.

“Yes, yes, and the warming orange of the sun that shined on the woodland critters that played in the playful green grass. From the big bull that ate the grass to the small squirrel that played in the flowers, the land made it so they could all play and be friends.” The Elder smiled to herself as she felt the child’s excited tapping.

Then the child’s tapping slowed. The mumbling quizzical as it tapped out its message. “What do you see?” it asked.

The Elder chuckled to herself as she lifted her head. From the top of a building in what was once London, the happy blue skies and fluffy white clouds were no more. Only the searing orange of the sun filled the sky. The vibrant colors of what life once lived in the city were no more. Only the dark blue of the depths of the ocean filled the streets. The rage and blame she once felt for the people with responsibility that didn’t accept it were no more. Only the shared responsibility as one that didn’t change remained.

Yet, the Elder smiled, as she had already made her choice. “What do I see? Well, I see…”

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Welcome to Voice club, Aaron. I really enjoyed it. Leaving an unanswered question is very effective. You let the reader guess what he or she sees. Love it. Nicely done.

1 year ago

I love your Elder. She is wise and compassionate. She sees, but protects the children in her care, as any mother would do. This is a very lovely story, Aaron. It is a pleasure to welcome you to Voice Club.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
1 year ago

Heartbreaking, but beautiful. The picture that accompanies your story is harrowing, and creates a dramatic dissonance with the Elder’s portrayals of the world. I’m pretty sure I know what she chooses to “see” at the end of the story, being the loving nurturing mother that she seems to be. She can’t bring back the world as it was except in words and mind pictures. We writers are trying to do the same… Read more »

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
2 months ago

Aaron, you have described a dystopian scene in their present-day London. So scary! How sad that the Elder has to tell fantasies to bring happiness to a blind and mute child.

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