A Silent Scream

Posted: September 19, 2013 in #fridayflash, Short stories

In the junkyard Tad was in his element, creating life from the bits and pieces others thought were useless.  An old kettle and a toy robots head, fused together to make a unique self service tea caddy sat on the office worktop, as Tad tinkered with an old shopping cart full of new admissions that had arrived today.

The nuts and bolts were like vanilla pods and spices to a confectionery connoisseur, the mere staples of his trade which made his master pieces bind together and come alive.  Whereas his icing and garnishes were repairable motors and re-useable cogs.

Tad’s overalls were always covered in dried oil along with his bare hands from the foraging through piles of scrap metal, car parts and discarded junk.  His mother despaired when he got home.  She would lie down newspaper and hang old sheets onto a chair so he could sit down.

“Tad, Tad the junkyard Lad”, kids would chant at him in the street.  He’d always struggled to fit in.  At school he was that one that everyone knew throughout the school as the vulnerable, easy to pick on kid.  Hair pulling; name calling; squeezing him into a locker in his first week of secondary school; tying him to the schools automatic front gate; sticking gum in his hair; and even ducktaping him to a chair and leaving him for a whole weekend in a classroom.  The whole town were looking for him.  It was only because of Daisy, Tad’s only real friend, that the police and headmaster found him.

You see, Tad was good with his hands, but he didn’t speak.  The doctors didn’t know if he could speak or if he just chose not to.  Tad would never comply with any tests they tried.  He just wanted to build things.  He tinkered with broken household items from the age of three.  He fixed his mum’s vacuum at the age of four, which ironically broke because he’d left nuts and bolts lying around on the floor.  And now he had a dream job as the junkyard apprentice.  He worked alongside Bill, Daisy’s Dad, who owned the junkyard.

“Come on youngen,” Bill called from one of the junkyard bins, “We’ve got a new lorry load coming later, we need to make some room”.

Tad nodded and drove the dumper truck to where Bill was standing.  He scooped the pile of broken ironworks into the dumper and began to reverse the vehicle.  He heard a scream.  The remaining parts and mound of unwanted metal began to tumble upon itself.  Bill disappeared underneath the avalanche.

Tad stopped the dumper truck and jumped out.  He tried to scream but no noise left his lips.  He began digging frantically.  He managed to scoop as much debris from Bill’s head and chest.  He was breathing but unconscious.

Tad ran to the phone in the junkyard office and called his Dad at work.  His Dad had caller id and knew the phone number of the junkyard, Bill called him every evening to let him know that Tad was on his way home.

“Hi Bill,” Tad’s Dad answered with a worried tone to his voice, “Bit early for Tad to be going home.”

There was silence.

“Bill?” Tad’s dad asked quizzically.

Tad was frustrated and grunted down the receiver.

“Tad.  Tad is that you?”

Tad grunted again as hard as he could, before letting out an almighty scream.  It was gruff and broken at first, then squeaky and high pitched.

“Tad, Tad what’s happened?” his dad replied, knowing instantly there was something wrong.

Tad screamed again, this time at the top of his voice and with more pungent tone.

“I’m on my way son,” his Dad said hastily and put down the phone.

His Dad arrived within minutes, closely followed by an ambulance and fire engine.

“I knew it was serious,” he shouted to as the paramedics and fire-fighters jumped from their vehicles.

*   *   *

Bill was in hospital for weeks.  He had to have one of his leg amputated after it had been so severely crushed and mangled from the rubble.

Tad visited him every night, after work.  He kept the junkyard running whilst Bill recuperated.  He still hadn’t spoken or made any noises since that afternoon.  It was as if it never happened.

When Bill returned home from the hospital, Tad and his family were there to greet him along with Bill’s wife, Daisy and all their neighbours.  As they all sat drinking tea and eating cake welcoming Bill home from his ordeal, Tad disappeared.  He returned with a large box.  The room fell silent.

Nervously, Tad put the box down in front of Bill.  He went to speak, but as before, no noise left his mouth.  He squinted and strained his throat as he tried even harder, but still nothing.

“Dont worry Lad,” Bill smiled, “Your voice came when it mattered kid!”

“Its OK Tad,” Daisy said coming to Tad’s side, “Nobody blames you!”

Tad nodded and quietly he spoke, “Sorry Bill.”

Everyone was astonished.

Tears brimmed in everyone’s eyes.

Tad cleared his throat and tried again, “Sorry Bill,” this time a lot clearer, “for you,” he smiled pushing the box closer to Bill.

Bill opened the box.  Inside was a metal leg, made entirely from scrap metal and bolts.  It was the right size, length and even had a bendable knee.  It was polished to a shiny, almost reflective surface.  It was amazing.

Tad knelt down and attached the leg and put his arm around Bill’s waist.  Tad and Daisy gently lifted Bill from his wheelchair.  Bill was standing and with help from Tad, he could walk.

“Tad you’re a bloody genius laddo!” Bill gleamed.

“And you can talk!” Daisy screamed.

Tad nodded and smiled.

  1. Larry Kollar says:

    I love the ending – Tad found his voice and his masterwork!

  2. Aww wipes tear from eye with handkerchief – that was a lovely story Brain – really liked it. ^_^

    No flash from me this week but I did do something different and posted on my blog – a study in sepia of Dorothy from Wiz ofOz – if you’re interested in taking a look love to hear what you think.

  3. I like the the voice-craftmanship entanglement in this uplifting story. Nice, bright ending.

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