Mid-Week Blues-Buster is a “music prompted flash fiction challenge.”
Here is my entry this week, if you don’t want to see the original submission:
Eireann (Ireland) was the prima facie, but before The Silence there were reports from parts of Africa and France too. Wales went so quickly that only reports from the border confirmed that territory as being part of the initial wave of quiet that washed over the World. At first the rest of the planet assumed technical problems, or cyber terrorism, to be the cause.
When the phenomenon we now call The Silence took 99.9% of 7.2 billion souls, the few of us unaffected learned quickly to mask ourselves. The alternative for those not pawky enough to – how did they used to put it? – see the writing on the wall was quite horrific. Slavery at best. Mutilation or execution in the worst cases. It never ceases to amaze me how little communication a mob needs to become a mob.
We few (who can) call ourselves Muties. A bitter irony. The rest have no words for us, for they have no words. The Silence saw to that. At first it was like listening to a song from another land. People spoke, but the meaning had been stripped away, leaving just the melody. In all the confusion, it took a while to realise it wasn’t like a stroke depriving individuals of language. Hearing words as words was the first thing to go. The second symptom was loss of word formation. Other Muties I have contacted confirmed the same thing: loss of comprehension then composition. And it was not limited to vocal communication. People just stopped being able to write, then read, then for the majority to think.
Confusion spread like a plague, followed by conflict and combat. Maybe the World being so dependent on the Internet and its ubiquitous instant connection between nations was what rendered the lack of the concept of communication so horrific. Overnight entire cultures imploded. Dominant survivors emerged as the new leaders. The power of alpha males (and, in fact, females), seemed to not need the nuances of language. The fist and the foot quickly spread as the new punctuation in our lives.
Eventually, a form of physical gesturing began to emerge; Muties were particularly effective at this, but that was a two edged sword. Ownership of books, or any knowledge storage device, became dangerous to all but the most powerful. Yet the thuggery of the dark years of The Silence eventually passed. Without words to worry the weary fear became a useless tactic. The lack of difference in interpretation levelled the population in a single generation. A new peace descended on the scattered hamlets of the inhabitable continents. The Silence proved mightier than the pen and the sword.
That is when the true deliverers of our salvation made themselves known, coming wordlessly among us, signing a new dawn. Revelation. A becoming of beings worthy to be brothers in a shared future. They thought we would be grateful for this cosmic lesson in humility. Were we ready to begin again, they asked simultaneously across the Globe?
We said “No.”