NaNoWrMo – 1,823/50,000





I awoke with a scream, which to me was a silent scream. I ripped the sheets off myself and was able to put boxers on before my mother was in the room.

'Another nightmare?' She thought as she opened my door.

"Are you okay?" She said and signed to me, pointing her fingers into a ridged 'K' a worried look on her face.

I nodded my mind still full of sleep and my eyes no ready to comprehend sign language. I had been deaf since birth, and by the time I turned five I realized that I could hear peoples' thoughts. My mother and I could never figure it out, we told nobody, not even doctors from fear that they would do tests on me. The only theory we had was that one of my senses were taken away, in some cases sight or one of the other four senses improve and grow to make up for the lost sense. In this case, it was like one was taken away, but another one was given to me.

I waved her out of my room ready to take a shower. I slipped off my boxers and stepped into the cream colored bathtub. The water splashed to life and I shivered from the sudden icy water. The water warmed and I took a soundless shower.

I wrapped a towel around my waist. I found my razor and stepped in front of my mirror. I wiped the fog off and slowly shaved my face. My green eyes popped from the contrast of red, warm, irritated skin from shaving. My brown hair hung to just above my ears, and even when wet one little tuft stuck out on the left side of my head. I sighed and pushed it down with my fingers; it didn't help.

I found some jeans on my floor and tugged them on. I took a clean green t-shirt from my drawer and pulled it over my head, letting fall snugly against my chest. I ran my fingers through my hair and the bounded down the stairs for some breakfast.

'What does he want for breakfast…cereal…got to go to the store,' my mom thought as I walked into the kitchen.

'Cereal is fine,' I signed to her.

'You know I hate when you do that,' she signed back.

'What?' I signed an innocent look on my face.

'Keep out of my mind,' she signed and put the cereal on the table and sat down across form me. 'What do you want to do today?'

'Can we go to the shore?'

'It's raining,' she signed.


The rain came down at a steady pace. By the time we got to the shore the rain had steadied to a light misting. The waves crashed stronger than usual agitating the strong ocean. Tiny eco-systems formed in tide pools. Crabs and starfish took refuge from the navy blue waters. The sand was soaked, but as I walked through it the water pushed out in a circle, leaving dryer sand in its place. I walked along the shore; this place was my favorite place to be. It was quiet, and nobody came here, especially in the rain. This place was empty of peoples' stray thoughts, silent to me. People thoughts could be so loud and distracting. Sometimes I wished I couldn't read people's minds. Although the world was silent to me, sometimes the minds of people are much more horrific than anything anyone could say or do.

'Shawn,' I could hear my mothers' thoughts from twenty feet away.

I looked up at her, the look on her face was sad. She looked like she had to tell me something.

'Shawn,' she signed using my sign-name. She made an 'S' with her hand and placed it over her heart.

I pulled my mind away from her thoughts, not wanting to invade her thinking.

'Your dad called,' she signed. 'He wants you to come visit,' she paused, letting her hands drop, clearly having trouble with what she was about to say. I stayed out of her thoughts. 'He wants you to stay with him till Christmas.'

'No,' I signed and turned to walk away.

She grabbed my arm, 'look at me.'

I turned toward her and raised my hands furiously.

'I am not going. He hasn't talked to me in three years.'

She stared at me, eyes wide and sad.

'He has always been there for us financially. I want you to go.'


'Shawn, I think it will be—'

I turned around and bounded for the tide pools on the other side of the shore. There was no way I was going to go and live with my dad for a month. Especially in Massachusetts, where there was bound to be snow. He had not talked to me for three years. He would send money and letters to my mother, but never tried to contact me. He didn't know sign language; much less know about me hearing thoughts.

I picked up a rock and launched it into the stormy seas. The rain came down heavier than before. I sat down next to the tide pool and watched the starfish. They swam calmly in their safe pool as if unaffected by the rest of the world. It was their own little refuge where not even the vicious storm that stirred on the horizon could affect them.

I balled some sand in my hand and squeezed the water out. I looked down the shore and saw my mom standing with her feet in the water. The chilled November water was surely cold against her bare feet, even in California. Her young looking face was facing up, letting the rain hit her face. Her arms relaxed at her sides as her brown hair blew back in the wind. I didn't need the power to read minds to tell me what she was thinking. She would give her life away just to see me happy.

I climbed to my feet and walked to her. I touched her shoulder and she opened her eyes and turned toward me.

'Fine,' I signed. 'But you're buying me boots.'

She smiled and laughed then pulled me into a hug. I didn't hug back but I laughed with her.

'And a coat,' she signed and pulled my hand into hers as we walked back towards the car.

I rolled my eyes the thought of living with my dad for an entire month was like the thought of being trapped in a coffin underground. Besides, he lived in Boston, which meant lots of people. Lots of people meant really, really loud thoughts. I hated crowds, that is why we lived on the shore of the California coast away from any major city. We lived on the outskirts of a town called Ferndale. It was quiet here. I could control to a point what minds I read and I could refrain from doing it. But when I was in large crowds there was too many to filter and my mind would fill with their thoughts. It was probably like what it would feel like to a hearing person to be constantly at a rock concert with no way out.

Actually I hated the term 'reading minds' because that's not what happened. I heard minds and saw minds. People don't just think in languages. The think in memories, feelings, images, emotions filled with more intensity than words could ever be worth. There were emotions not capable of speech, and there were people whose thoughts were more disturbing than anyone could ever possibly do or say.

Once in the car I peeled my socks off my feet and threw them in the back seat.

'Don't you dare leave them there,' my mom thought. I rolled my eyes and turned and stared out the window. 'Do you want to come to the store with me?'

I shook my head, too many people at the store.

'Shawn, you're going to need to get used to crowds of people.'

I ignored her, but she reluctantly brought me home. I flopped down on the couch and pulled the remote off the table to flip threw the channels. I settled on ghost hunters, and soon after my eyes started to get heavy as I began to fall asleep.

I felt a hand touch me and I opened my eyes.

'Your father just called, he bought a ticket for Saturday,' she signed.

I frowned but nodded, 'how am I going to talk to him.'

She laughed for a second, 'he hired an interpreter.'

I laughed, 'I'm hungry.'

'Food in the kitchen,' she signed and I got up to get some food but she tapped my shoulder. 'He had me write down a message for you, it's on the table.'

I was shocked for a brief moment but I got up and sat down at the table, taking the letter in my hand. I moved my eyes slowly across the page it still took me awhile to read.

Shawn, I realize I haven't been the best father to you. But I would really like for you to come visit. You're mom tells me so much about you. I'm missed out on you growing up and I don't intend to miss out on anymore. I know you dislike me, but come to Boston and I promise I'll do my best to be the father that you want from me. I will do all I can to start being able to talk to you. I hired an interpreter for now, but I plan on taking some sign language classes, and perhaps you can help me too. Thank you for giving me another chance Shawn. See you on Saturday.

Love, Dad.

I turned to my mom and furiously signed, 'What is with the sudden change. After nineteen years?'

'People change,' she signed.

'Not without reason,' I replied.

She sat down beside me, and pushed a lock of hair behind my ear.

'There is something,' she signed then sighed. 'You know that he is re-married?' I nodded. 'Your step-mom, is pregnant.'

My eyes went wide. So my dad was trying to make things better with me so he could believe he was a good father. I was disgusted. I threw the letter and went back to the couch to watch more ghost hunters. If he wanted approval he was going to have to look somewhere else. There was no way this was going to work out.

For the rest of the night we didn't talk about the trip, my mom made dinner and then we watched movies together. I didn't want to leave home, I was happy here with my mom away from every freak in the world. I was happy here away from my dad and my unborn brother or sister. I wasn't sure if I wanted to meet him or her. What if they were like me?