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Ellen is a freelance writer living in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and two demonic cats who wreak havoc and hell (the cats, not the husband).

He walked quietly among the leaves, every sense organ available to him at full alert and extending out in all directions. Despite his deafness, he always had a 360-degree sweep of what was going on around him. This was pure instinct for him and had been since he was born.
As he continued making his way along a barely discernible path, he could smell the rich earth scent around him and a faint odor of rotting vegetation. Textures of things--stones, moisture, warmth, sticks--whatever he touched as he moved, stood out in sharp relief. The temperatures, surfaces, sights, and smells of his environment were each distinct, yet all worked together to make one harmonious, sensory whole. Unhearing, he read his world's messages with hair-trigger sharpness and clarity.
He was almost there, then stopped dead in his tracks. There were vibrations coming from something far off in the distance; he could feel them through the ground getting closer. He quickly moved behind a tall rock and waited.
His senses had not failed him. Concealed by the rock and brush, he saw a man moving in his direction, carrying something big and black. He dropped it no more than ten feet from where he hid and watched. Whatever it was, was heavy. The jolt of force that reached him through the ground created tremors that made the very hair on his body stand up and shiver. He remained crouched as quietly as the stone that concealed him.
He longed for the comfort of being home. He would have to wait until he was sure it was safe to move again.
Unable to hear or speak, and by his very nature, he had lived most of his life isolated from others, never to enjoy the boon of a long-term romantic relationship, nor even the camaraderie shared between friends.
He had sexual relations when he needed to, always with his own deaf and dumb kind, whom he'd meet on the web. When the time came, and live contact was made, intentions and desires were signaled through motions and gestures on both sides, but for him there was no love or affection in the act. It was merely a satisfying of his male biologic imperatives.
The man finally went back the way he'd come, so he started moving towards home again.
Living the isolated existence that he did, he spent most of his time on his own web site, which was the one place he always felt comfortable.
He had earlier set up the site with meticulous care, and since then, it had nourished him in the way nothing else could or ever would.
He made it safely back to the area where he lived, and as always, within moments of arriving there, was back on the web, resting, waiting, watching.
A few hours later, John tapped a ruler hard against the glass of the huge terrarium and laughed. "Look at how he ran off; I scared the hell out of him."
"Knock it off, will you."
"I thought you said they were deaf. He heard me all right."
"Of course he's deaf, ya dork. He doesn't have ears. He picked up the vibrations when you hit the glass."
"Wait, There he is! He's looking right at me now, Can he see me?"
"Sure he can. There's nothing wrong with his eyes."
"Not to dis your hobby, bro, but this really gives me the creeps."
"Why? Spiders are cool!"
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Author Comments

I thought the subject of a deaf mute might make for an interesting story, so began to write one. I got the first two paragraphs down and then stopped, because at that time, I had no idea what the story would really end up being about or even what genre it would be in. I set it aside for the time being and later went outdoors. There was this beautiful spider's web outside with the sun hitting it in such a spectacular way that you could not but help to see it shimmering there. I had an epiphany then, because I thought I remembered something about spiders being deaf, I researched it, and the rest of the story was born.

- Ellen B. Denton
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