Lauren Sargent

Tell It/Tweet It Assignment: Eyes Wide Shut

The end of the world came not with a bang, but with a white, blinding light. And with that came a new way of life. Expose your eyes to the naked light on Earth and not only will your eyes burn up but the rest of you will go with it. The only thing you will see is the end. Now everyone walks with their eyes closed, eyes bound in blindfolds or goggles, navigating the world with whatever senses they have left.

A world so changed has some benefits, strangely. With sight so dulled, the rest of the senses stop being so dumb. Some people follow scents alone; different houses plant different combinations of plants and scents to beckon their inhabitants home in the dark. Others use touch and an intricate system of ropes, symbols and figures to feel out exactly where they are and where they’re going.

You’d think that a society without sight would be without judgement. There is no skin color to know, no physical bodies to judge without intimate physical contact, no way to place one being above the other. But if you’ve ever been a human then you should know that they will always find a way to create a hierarchy. Now is no different. Our society is divided into the Louds and the Softs. Those who can raise their voices and speak up with booming authority or with brutal force alone (actions can be just as loud as words) are considered one of the Louds. They control cities with firm fists and bullying words and actions. The Softs are of tender voices and hearts, unable to stand up to the rough attitudes of the Louds or just not willing. These are the pacifists, the disabled, the sensitive and downtrodden.

That brings us to me. I am a Soft, with a quiet voice and a manner just as silent. It’s difficult to live like this but you learn things. The one good thing about the Louds is that you can usually sense that they are near, whether from their booming voice or their physical manner that disturbs the air and tips you off. It makes them easy to avoid, unless you are unfortunate enough to run right into them. I’ve heard countless stories about bad run ins with Louds but I’ve never actually experienced it firsthand. Usually your neighbor or the man down the street or your usual grocer is just quieter than usual and you can never be sure if they are even there at all anymore.

You may think that this sounds hopeless. No voice to speak up, no way to assert change in our communities and upset the bullies from their thrones. But the Softs have a secret weapon. We don’t have the strongest voices or backbones but we will not go down without a fight. Our quiet manners allow us to move undetected if we’re careful. And that’s exactly how we’ll strike.

With footsteps soft as toes sinking into sand, we approach. Some follow the rich smells of citrus and jasmine and others find their way with fingers steadily roaming over the silken length of rope that leads to the home of one of the most prolific Loud families. We’ve brought no weapons but dull blades, enough to threaten without compromising our strong feelings against violence. The revolution starts now.

1 thought on “Tell It/Tweet It Assignment: Eyes Wide Shut”

  • I really love this story, Lauren. It reminds me of one I just ready by Octavia Butler called Speech Sounds. In it, a plague robs some people of the ability to write/read and others of the ability to speak. But both your story and that one are about an apocalypse in which a breakdown in communication is actually what leads to violence and abuse.

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