Silences, Shadows, and Lights–Part 1

The voices in the woman’s head were so loud that Jakob couldn’t hear himself think. Three of them, maybe four, badgered her with an endless stream of insults. Dumb cow. Ugly. Useless. Oh so fat, fat, fat!

Eyes bruised with sleeplessness, hair frayed and face pallid, the woman sagged into her commuter-train seat like a marionette with no one at the strings. Her red coat and black pants were designer-made, expensive, but also badly wrinkled and speckled with discoloration, simultaneously hinting at money and a fall from grace.

Jakob resisted the impulse to cross the aisle and hug her. She was worse off than anyone he’d ever encountered. One voice was common, sometimes two, but three or four? He’d never heard anything like it. It was too early to make his approach, though. If he frightened her off, he’d never be able to help her, and he’d certainly been scaring people away rather quickly ever since he’d run out of money. The inability to shower or wash his clothes had done a number on his appearance and aroma. One look at the empty seats surrounding him on an otherwise crowded train said all that needed to be said about the matter.

Still, he couldn’t resist psychically projecting a warning to the creatures berating the woman. “Enjoy your fun now, worms,” he thought. “It’s about to come to a very definitive end.”

Copyright 2018 Jeff Suwak


“Shadows, Silences, and Lights” is a short story of about 3,000 words, which seems a bit on the longer side for one-piece deliveries on Medium. So, I’m experimenting with putting it out in smaller, bite-sized chunks, to see how that works.

Part 2