Silent Scream

A/N: My first piece since going to college…and jeez, it's not about Warren! These are two original characters of mine. It's a futuristic space story, and each set is from a different time and place. Meant to show their relationship in little snapshots. Slash and sad.

"Lieutenant Joseph Renwuld?"

I turned to the speaker and he took one of my bags, then passed it to a man to his left. "This is Captain Roger Varrstrad. He'll introduce you to the ship, show you to your room, whatever you need." He then demonstrated a fine pair of military heels. 'Roger' rolled his brown eyes and I followed him to a city bus. Polite conversation only lasts so long, and the ride up to the ship was silent. He looked out his window and I counted the number of lights in the aisle.

>

"These are screens one through eight, and the large one in the center is the Scream Screen."

The 'Scream Screen'?

"Why do you call it that?"

"It's where most of our enemies inform us that we're about to be destroyed or taken captive."

I frowned. "You're still here. These enemies must not be too tough."

"Oh, I wouldn't count on it if I were you. Besides, the worst enemies tend to be the silent ones. Here's your stop, Lieutenant. Have a nice day." He smiled distantly and strode off towards the bridge.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Through the haze of smoke, six sets of eyes turned to me. Roger turned away from the game of five-card stud and after a moment, broke the silence.

"Good evening, Lieutenant."

"Good evening, Captain Varrstrad."

He continued to regard me for what seemed like an hour.

"Deal you in?"

"No thank you. I'm just looking around."

He nodded. I left. The silence followed me out like bad perfume.

>

Months later we were planetside. A sticky, cloying atmosphere dominated this planet, and it was hard to get used to the cacophony of jungle sounds again after the silence and cold of space.

"Aren't you hot?" I called to Roger. To my complete surprise, humorless Roger turned towards me and gave a wicked grin.

"I'm always hot."

I should have written him up for breach of conduct. Instead I think I blushed.

>

The floor of the barracks was packed with sleep rolls. Coyotes whined outside the steel door and the night twisted around the sand dunes. All around us, the breathing of men and women of war were as steady as taps from a drummer. I rolled over and looked at him and an ironical smile curved his lips into an archer's bow.

"Just do it, already."

I stared into his eyes. "All right."

A few more seconds passed. Finally he chuckled and pushed me down onto my back.

"You're too impatient," I scolded.

He kissed me and I forgot what I was talking about.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mortar rained down around us. The thick black smoke that accompanied it hovered like a death pall above the trenches as we fought on. It was indescribably loud and tomblike silent all at the same time. I had lost concept of the hours, days spent on my stomach in the mud in this field, and I had lost all concept of the war I was in, which side I was on. The only thing that kept me from laying down and dying was the man crawling beside me, so close our ribs rubbed every time we shuffled forwards. We'd given up talking long ago, but we moved on anyway.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

The hospital ward was so white and starched I thought I'd walked into a twisted version of Heaven. Maybe it was Heaven according to a mad psychiatrist. Room 7 loomed and I opened the white door to view white walls and a white bed and now-nearly-as-white skin. He opened his eyes and gazed at me as I put my hand against his cheek.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

I wanted to run from the room so I wouldn't have to see it happen. His eyelids, transparent, flaking like the fur on a butterfly's wings, had ceased their fluttering long ago. A light sheen of pain traced his forehead. Deep in his bowels, the tumor pulsed and throbbed. I'd always imagined it as a white balloon-like structure laced with purple veins, poisoning the body around it. He whimpered and shuddered again. I lay the bridge of my nose against the arch of his eye and squeezed my own eyes together to stop the tears. He was right: The worst enemies were the silent ones.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

That night I went to the bridge, passed by screens one through eight, and turned on the largest in the center of the room. I flipped the 'Broadcast' switch. And screamed.

End.