Charlotte Lenox

Posted on December 26, 2011


Broken Silence

When the teacher ambled by his desk, he used his flabby arms to shield his paper. She knew what he was writing, what he was inflicting with his sweaty Ticonderoga. She had even told his parents, but they had done nothing in response. “At least he’s not playing those video games,” his parents had said. “You know, those violent ones.”

But playing such games required no imagination.

He wrote about people. Not to worry, it wasn’t like they were real people, so what did it matter? His scenario this morning, just before recess, included people and wild animals that tore at each other as much as they ripped at their screaming feast. Maybe tomorrow he would quarter someone with shining horses, just like the illustrations in his history book. Or something else from that noble text–he’d learned about choke pears and the boiling Brazen Bull, along with so many, many other cruel devices.

When he wasn’t writing, he was paying dutiful attention to the teacher’s chicken scratch on the board, or politely asking for butter at the dinner table. His expression was always genial.

He was so busy daydreaming, thinking about what else he could add–their claws shredding skin–that he wasn’t aware of what he wrote. He was about to finish off the last survivor, a little girl, but instead he saw in jagged graphite, “Stop it, Damion.”

Everyone turned to stare at him as he tore up the paper, then vomited. The teacher smiled.


Charlotte Lenox was born and raised in Alaska. She moved to Philadelphia to finish a BA in English and an MS in Library and Information Science at Drexel University. In her spare time, she is a chaotic gardener and struggling fisherman. Her work has appeared in “Danse Macabre,” “Flashshot,” and “365tomorrows.”

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