Firmly, you pressed your lips together, refusing to speak to your mother. The tears that had streaked down your face after the accident had dried, causing your cheeks to feel stiff. She didn’t understand. She was going to send you to a school where you could learn to speak again.
But your case was different, you just couldn’t tell her. You didn’t want to speak. The horrors of what words could do to a person had traumatized you, leaving you scared to open your mouth to do much more than sob for the past few weeks.
Your friend was dead because of people’s words, and you had suffered a brain-damaging concussion. After staying in a hospital bed for too long for you to care to remember, you were allowed home. Though, they wanted you to stay under your mother’s care for a while longer.
Mother leaving, you toyed with the sheets on your bed, twisting them in your hands only to smooth them down a second later. Someone walked back into your room and you looked up, expecting to see the weary eyes of your mother. But, it was someone else.
A tired looking boy walked into your room with a soft smile and a small wave.
You attempted a glare.
He didn’t say anything, just sat on the edge of your bed, handing you a small notebook that had been opened to the first page.
The page was filled with writing, presumably that of the boy. You began to read. “Hi there, my name is Toris. It’s really nice to meet you, (F/n).”
“I don’t talk, either. Only, I don’t have an option, really.”The handwriting was small and neat, almost feminine looking. You glanced up at the boy, who was staring expectantly at you with kind, green eyes. He motioned for you to keep reading.
Flickering your eyes back down to the blue lined paper, you continued to read the fluid writing. “There was an accident with some boys from school. I got pretty hurt. My back is covered in scars from it, on top of losing my voice. It was kinda scary when it first happened, but, some people are trying to help me learn to speak again. I can’t wait for that.”
Tears that you thought had dried long ago began to prick at your eyes once again, but you kept reading. “There are some days that are better than others, but I just keep thinking how grateful I am that I’m still here, you know?” Your hands were shaking now and emotions made your thinking jumbled. “But, you should talk. You may be really scared, but it’ll be fine. I promise.”
“C-can I see?” your voice was hoarse and cracked from underuse.
The boy didn’t even have to write you for further explanation of your request, he seemed to just know to turn so that his back was facing you.
Carefully, you pinched the hem of his shirt between your fingers, barely lifting the fabric. You were startled by warm hands encompassing your own, helping you to raise the shirt high enough to see the lean back of Toris.
Your heart panged to see the raised and red scars crossing over the boy’s back. With gentle fingers, your traced the lines of the most prominent ones. The hot tears that had burned at your eyes fell down your cheeks, landing silently on your lap as you continued to run your fingers over the scars of the boy you had just met.
Sudden emotion over taking you, you dropped Toris’s shirt back into place and tightly wrapped your arms around his thin waist.
“It’s ok that you can’t talk,” you told him in a hoarse whisper, “because, if you can’t talk, then you can’t lie. And that’ll make people like you. Because they can trust you.”
You pressed your cheek to his shoulderblade, his longish brown hair tickling your forehead.
“And I won’t lie to you, either.”
Hesitantly, the boy placed his arms over yours, staying there for a long time.
Liars hurt people. Liars who shouted and screamed spiteful words hurt more than the lashes and bruises that came with them. But Toris couldn’t speak. He could only write in his girlish and small handwriting. A liar wouldn’t write like that.