Today the world started out quiet, just as it had been the day before. And the day before that. Indeed, I had lost track of when I last heard a sound not created by me. Outside, no animals chittered, no birds chirped. The air was still, and there was no water to run. Even going outside was to risk becoming part of the silence.
Inside, I had everything I needed. Except for something to occupy my ears. For some time, I tried talking to myself. That worked for awhile, but eventually my own voice began to grate. I felt like a monk who had taken a vow, not just of silence, but of deafness.
I ran water in the sink now and then, just to break up the monotony. The recycling system insured that none of it went to waste. I was more careful with the hum of electricity. The solar panels were still functioning, but I didn’t want to risk running out of power. I found other ways of making noise, but I had never developed any musical talent, and what I could create was limited in its variety. Over time, I just went through most of my days in silence. I still noticed it, but it became more tolerable as the days went by.
Today, however, there was a noise. A roar and then something slamming into the ground, shaking my tiny world. I had not used the monitoring system in a long time; the scene outside never changed, so it seemed pointless. But it flickered to life as soon as I turned it on, as though it had been in use just the day before.
After a few minutes of adjusting the camera, I found the cause of the commotion. A crater, maybe fifty yards from where I was. In the middle of it, still smoking from its descent, a metal object of some sort. A capsule, perhaps? It looked too small to be a ship. Nothing stirred from it.
I sat for a long time staring at the screen and wondering what to make of this development. Had someone found me? Or was this mere coincidence? Going outside to investigate meant entering into the heart of silence’s realm. But there was a chance that I might discover something to break its hold. In the end, the decision was easier than it might have appeared. I had to venture out once again. It seemed I had not begun to tolerate silence after all.