“When we cease talking to each other the place is empty and the ceiling tall, infinite, like the overseeing vertical abyss of a cathedral. When we choose to communicate, their world expands within itself. It becomes denser.”
“Is that to say that this inner world fills up with our general, social thoughts?”
“You want to twist my words and make it sound way more complicated than it is. I know I’m not walking out of here any time soon. But here it is in simple terms.
“They know us. They feed on us. All they need to survive is to fill their time with our time. Even the formal and boring. Bank statements, court summons, all the way to the most private lines of our conversations. Love letters. Most of them are gone now. But we still send postcards. And there’s something hidden in the collage of hard cardboard and casual genteelness. Something they only can comprehend.
And when we’re silent and everything is empty… their world is cold and hollow.”
“So this zoo of other people’s thoughts lives inside your head, would you say?”
“Inside my head… my ass. What’s the point?”
“Mr. Granger, for how long have you been a postman now?”
“And it hasn’t occurred to you that the things you see and the things you think you see may have something to do with what we call a work-related illness?”
“Just because they live in postboxes? I see. And you, in your turn, haven’t thought that the reason why it was I and not somebody else who discovered them might have something to do with the fact that they live and feed on our mail? They showed themselves to some of my colleagues, I can tell you that. But they, unlike me, were wise enough to keep quiet over it.”
“How come not everyone sees them?”
“I explained. They’re small and the boxes are dark. No matter how square a box looks, they all have secret compartments that only these creatures can access. There they sit while the mail is being picked up. Then they burrow through and start building their mazes and castles from what drops through the slit. Once they’ve surrounded themselves with stories and addresses, they sit and read. Quietly.”
“They know when the mail is being picked up. But sometimes they become so absorbed in their own fanciful imaginations that they forget to sound the alarm for retreat. They’re good at hanging on to letters though. Very rarely they fall off onto the ground. That’s sudden death, by the bye.”
“And what then?”
“What then? That’s how they spread to other mailboxes. And form colonies.”
“Right, ok, I think we’ve heard enough. What are these creatures called you said?”
“They’re silent. They don’t speak of names or anything else. They read too many names not to be fed up with them. Town names, house names, bank names, lovers’ names. They are the ones of silence.”
The nurse entered.
“A letter for you, sir.”
“Let him have it. What does it say?”
“Not much. The writing is minuscule. Hold on… It says just Don’t worry, you’re forgiven. No one will believe you.”
“Who’s it from?”
“Well, you wouldn’t believe me.”