SilenceMature

Elena said, "What? What do you mean?" But Geoff did not reply, just looked at her with sad eyes and said nothing. "What is it? What do you mean?"

"I'll tell you another time, Elena. But I - I can't..." He got up and walked out of the room, towards the kitchen, so that she was left staring at her own reflection in the faux glass of the window that pointed out to nothing, just a hologram. Because, of course, sunlight was just a fairytale. Stars and moons were just a fairytale...

She left the room, feeling awkward standing there when nobody else was with her. Geoff never left anybody alone there normally; it wasn't right of her to abuse this privilege. She walked back to her own room and sat on the bed for a long time, thinking.

"Elena? Are you coming to dinner?" Mattie walked into the room and tapped her on the shoulder. "Elena?" She said nothing, just retreated into her old shell once more where she would not speak even when spoken to. Her mother knew what this meant and left her alone, with her dinner going cold on the table.

"Elena, your mum told me you were upset." Mathew came into her room later that evening, but Elena still refused to talk. "Is it what Geoff told you? What did he say? If he upset you, I'll kill him, I really will." She seemed surprised by this and looked up at him, her eyes wide, but still didn't say a word. "He didn't tell you everything, I suspect." She shook her head. "Well, you probably know as much as me. I'll leave you now, shall I?"

He went away. Later, Geoff took his place. "Elena, are you all right? You mustn't do this. Retreat into a shell, I mean. I know you shouldn't ask questions, but that doesn't mean you can't talk... Hell, Elena, was it something I said? Is it my fault that you're being like this?"

He left her when it seemed that she would never reply, and Elena almost fell asleep before her final visitor came in. It was her father. "I know it's hard sometimes. I know you want us to tell you everything. But I couldn't bear to. Elena, you're still so young. You're just a child! How can I burden you with that? You have to find out for yourself. No one told me either."

"Go away," she whispered, the only words she'd spoken for five hours.

"All right, I'll leave you now. But you can't stay here forever."

"I want to be alone," she told him, her voice hoarse, as though she'd been crying. "Please go away." Jed left her and Elena was alone once more in her room.

She didn't sleep that night, just sitting there and wondering what Geoff had meant. It was never better to be dead, was it? She couldn't think of any situation she'd rather die than be in, and she didn't know what he could possibly mean. Okay, so people were taken away if they asked too many questions or generally upset the system, but nothing happened to them apart from prison, did it?

Suddenly her world was falling apart. She still hadn't found out what her parents had meant, either, about what people said about Geoff and his little gang. And she didn't know how to go about finding out.

"Tell me where you are," she whispered to the night, to the stars, to the things she'd been told her just stories. But there was no answer, because she was addressing a fairy tale. Nobody answered her, because they would never hear.

The End

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