All her parents seem to do is argue, and all she wants is an escape. Alum Mundum. Preoccupied, they don't notice the alteration in their daughter after she browses a forum in her bedroom, that comforting place immersed in silence away from the uncertain world of trying to match distorted noises with the right people or machines.
She doesn't always hear them arguing. The volume setting on her hearing aids can thankfully be switched off as well as on. Even with the absence of sound clouded expressions, staccato movements are enough to gauge the mood. Mugs of tea obscure mouths; wine glasses share partially-transparent secrets; they talk behind their hands. And their finger gestures are not part of the sign language she was taught. Something has to change. But words queue up in her throat and get lost in the limbo between thought and voice.
She finds everything in the local pound shop - green, brown, blue and gold paints. Tin foil cardboard and PVA glue. The bakery on the high street provides the egg boxes, and before long they line the walls and ceiling, held in place by the stapler she liberated from school.
Rolling landscapes surround her, framed by a castle and ivory towers, under a star filled sky. Pixie dust dots her white duvet, and regal gold pimps the furniture.
When they finally notice her absence, it's been three days, the phone calls from school illuminating their ignorance. The door opens and she looks up, still in a haze and can see their arguing stop upon entering her bedroom. Open mouths expose shiraz-stained tongues suspended like stomped-out leather shoe soles.
Now they see the same thing, all three of them a mute delegation amongst the rolling landscapes in her silent world of fairy tales.