By Noeme Grace C Tabor-Farjani

It is midnight, everyone has gone to their rooms. The lights are dimmed, the silence invites you to go to bed but the gleam from your laptop reminds you to finish what has been started. There is no other sound but the distant howls of dogs joining the entire chorus of the night… and some random visit of movements within hollows of your quiet space. The lizard clicks its tongue, the faucet drips. There’s a mouse that noticed you and postponed its nightly soiree.

The children, you remember, do not have the P sound. Those in another world, who party on through shellings. “They are fireworks, Miss N!” insisting it is a wedding and not a street war. One of them ask through kind eyes, you wonder how violence keep them calm and gentle, “Miss, you want some Bebsi?” You smile, thanking the offer for a can of soda. The children, they do not have P’s. Teach new words through songs. You ask, what is the lowness or highness of tone? They chirp their answers “Miss, bitch! It’s bitch! Miss, bitch!” Turn towards the board, while they continued to compete, who will get called, who will you call, who gets to stand and say the answer. Stifle the laughter, hold in that smile. You picture calling one of them, and he or she calls you back: the answer with a B. Remember, they do not have the P sound. Give them some. Turn to them, smile, make a stop sign and say, “it’s Pitch.” You wonder how they are now. If they can now say Pepsi, and shopping, and pitch and please…

“Low battery” sign blinks on your laptop. You plug the charger. You continue typing, a lone living character of a nameless play. You begin to see flickers of shadows and hear your own breath. A rasping comes from the ceiling but it stops soon like a final exhale. Maybe you should just go to bed, the silence is so spooky. Still deciding between finishing your work or surrendering to an imagined haunting, when a voice of what might be a female dwarf sends you jumping off the chair. It is soft but high pitched, almost squeaky, saying, “Shoppee!” A relief it was only an ad of an online retail shop. You decide to finish your work.