Moments of Silence
by Clark Kent
KAHNDAQ, MARCH 8 —
The first thing I noticed was the quiet. There was enough going on, I thought. There should be some kind of commotion. Some kind of din of daily life. But there wasn’t. No people shouting, no merchants pawning their goods, no children arguing on neighborhood stoops over music players they couldn’t afford in the first place. In fact as I walked those lonely streets, the only noise I could hear was the steadily falling rain. The whole country was in mourning for Isis. Kahndaq’s fallen queen.
I arrived in Kahndaq at 6:30 in the morning, their time. As I stepped off the plane, my first thought was that I’d gotten there earlier than expected. That I’d beaten the sunrise. I’d be able to check into my hotel, grab a coffee and a paper and watch the sun appear over the horizon from the comfort of my own room. I gave up at about nine. If the sun had risen on Kahndaq that day, there was no way to tell. The clouds were just too thick.
The first in the series of eight public ceremonies was to occur that day at noon outside the palace gates. We were informed ahead of time that none of the royal family would be in attendance, a fact most had already assumed from the recent public absence of the only remaining member of the monarchy, the widower king, Black Adam. What their king was up to was anyone’s guess, but there were none among the populace that thought that the attack on his bride would go unanswered for long.
My paper’s credentials granted me a bird’s eye view of the entire event from a palace balcony. There were no umbrellas. There were no heads shielded under jackets from the constant downpour of unrelenting rainfall. No one even took refuge under an awning of any of the nearby storefronts. It was as if the rain was a part of their beloved queen. And they wanted it to touch them.
What words were spoken were few, and my translator refused to interpret them for me. They were too sacred to be bastardized into English. Too important to be used as bullet points on a CNN ticker. Though the crowd was thick with reporters from all over the world, today’s ceremony was for the Kahndaqi people.
Various heads of states took turns speaking, if only to break the silence, interrupt the introspective hush of dread and oncoming uncertainty. In a country literally savaged by Death and Famine, what could they have to hope for now, that their queen has died? They loved their god-king, but what would keep his terrible hand in check now that their angel of peace had been stripped from them?
I looked at the faces of the men and women, soaked by an unknown percentage of rainfall and tears, dead flowers in their hands, their own countryside failing to yield even a remotely appropriate tribute to their first daughter. I would have been more comforted had I detected sorrow or an unbearable grief in those thousands of eyes. But as I glanced from parent, to son, to uncle, it was always the same. Defeat. Each knew it was over. Every citizen at that service knew his life was now at an end.
I returned back to my room at about six. Night was falling, and unbelievably, the skies were turning a darker shade of gray. The second ceremony would be the funeral march tomorrow, where Isis’s body would be escorted through the streets she loved.
As I write this, I’m standing on the balcony of my small room. Still the streets are quiet. I doubt I’m the only one afraid for what will surely take that silence’s place.