front porchI know what they say about me. They say I’m too quiet, too observant, and too smart for my own good. They don’t ask me, so I don’t tell them. I learned that long ago.

And now, sitting here in the hot summer sun, I hear it all: the sirens fading in the distance, the crying behind closed doors, the statements given in hushed tones. I hear the excuses.

No, I never heard them argue.

No, I never saw her bruises.

They were such a quiet couple!

He seemed so nice, minding our house while we took vacation.

This is a peaceful neighborhood; nothing ever happens here!

Poor thing; do you think she’ll make it?

Who would’ve suspected?

Who would’ve known?

I suspected. I’m too quiet. I saw the signs. I’m too observant. I knew. I’m too smart for my own good.

They won’t ask me; they never do.

I’m the one who made the call, you know.

But people don’t want to know if they don’t ask.

So I won’t tell them.

It only causes problems.

I learned that long ago.

This post is being published as part of Writing 101. Challenge 18: Craft a story from the perspective of a twelve-year-old observing it all. Focus on specific character qualities, drawing from elements we’ve worked on in this course, like voice and dialogue. Think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

A Note from the Author

I really don’t know why my fictional writing tends towards depressing subjects, but it’s what seems to come naturally. This account is semi-fictional: here was a case of abuse in our neighborhood several years ago, so I wrote it as if I lived in the house opposite.

 

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