The City That Never Spoke

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Once upon a time there was a city where no one ever spoke. It wasn’t that these people couldn't speak, or that they weren't allowed to, the activity had merely fallen out of favour. It had been so long since the last words had been uttered, no could remember exactly why. And so the streets echoed only with the patter of footsteps and cartwheels. Offices and public buildings were home to the gentle rustling of papers and the occasional scraping of a chair leg. In cafés, lone gramophones played to mute audiences. It was not a very exciting place to live. Now in this city there lived a boy, a boy with rusty coloured hair, who collected shells and oddly shaped buttons and dreamed of one day sailing the open sea. And of course since there was a boy, there was also a girl. She worked in the local green-grocer, had a pet frog and always kept a pencil tucked behind her ear for emergencies. Whenever the girl smiled, the boy felt as if he was falling a great distance but with a gentle warmth fluttering around him as he plummeted. Having only read about it in books, he couldn't be completely sure if this was "being in love", but it felt like it might be. He would visit the green-grocer's everyday and buy an apple, even though he had long grown sick of them. Sometimes he would try and catch her eye but she would look away and sometimes she would try and catch his, but then he would become the shy one. So consumed by this emotional predicament was the rusty haired boy, that one autumn morning he climbed to the top of the old bell tower in the northern quarter of the city and asked Grandma Faraway for guidance. With the city sprawling out below him, the boy tore a page from the little notebook he, as did all residents of the city, wore on a string about his neck and scribbled his question on it. Then, delicately between finger and thumb, he held the note up in the air until the wind shook it free from his grasp. He watched as it was spirited away into the distant sky and...
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