The world can't get more divided, right?
Here we have a world where no-one speaks any language other than their own. It doesn't make for good international relations when the only way to speak to other heads of state is by using very basic sign language.
But there is a girl with an amazing ability; she speaks all languages without ever having been taught. She understands and speaks foreign languages and yet is unaware that she has moved out of her own. A power for good... or evil?
The dinner remained uneaten, sitting exactly where my mother had left it almost two hours earlier. Two hours ago... Was it really only two hours? Only two hours since 'before' had become 'after'?
My father cleared his throat, breaking the silence weighing the room down. Yet he didn't make any attempt to fill the space he had cleared with words. I suppose he was thinking that speech was what had got us into this mess in the first place. Talking. To people. To the wrong people. People I shouldn't be able to speak to in the first place.
"It's stange we never knew," my mother muttered in the end.
"How could we have known?" I asked, "What would have told us? It isn't like I've ever been exposed to-"
"And you wouldn't have noticed even if you had," my father cut in, "Am I right? It all sounds the same to you? Even what comes out of your own mouth?"
I nodded. It was incredible to me, but it was the truth. It was as if I couldn't even trust my own ears. Or maybe it was my own brain. Something off about the wiring there for sure. How else could I be like this, if there wasn't something majorly wrong?
"You're going to miss school tomorrow then."
I glanced at her, wondering how mothers always have that ability to remember the everyday when the world has just cracked in two to reveal an elephant.
"They said they wanted to do some tests, didn't they?" she continued.
"To check if I can read the others as well as everything else, yeah."
I heard a noise and looked up from the staring contest I was having with my shoes for the first time in quite a while. My father had left the room, speaking quickly and angrily under his breath. He was annoyed at my abnormality, annoyed at this particular abnormality. It wouldn't do for an anti-intercultural campaigner to have someone, something, like me for a daughter.
"He'll come around," she told me, somehow managing to sound convincing.
"I don't care if he does or not." My father and I have never really seen eye to eye.
She sighed. "You're just as stubborn as he is, that's the problem you two have."
We sat in silence for a time, though it was lighter than before. Eventually, I was convinced enough that he wasn't going to come barging back in to speak.
"So am I, Alicia."
"I don't know what they want me for."
"Neither do I. But it's best to just go along with it."
"What if I don't agree?"
"It's the government. You'll agree."
"But if I don't?"
"I won't be surprised."