Sharpening Steel

Though it was an everyday occurrence in the household, it never ceased to completely and utterly disturb me. The sound, that harsh horrible echoing sound gave me shivers all the way down my spine and farther still, into my toes. That high pitched, metallic sound distressed me so very greatly that I often tried to find new and inventive ways to block it from my mind. Yet, no matter what I tried I could not seem to ignore the sound.

It was the sound of a knife being scraped against a sharpening steel repeatedly.

Exactly one hundred strokes and then he would turn over the knife and do exactly one hundred more. I knew this well, as I listened to it daily. I hadn't thought of counting, however, until just a few weeks ago.

While in my room, I had been carefully trying to block out the sound by using makeshift ear plugs I had made from bits of clothing. Though I got little clothes, I did have some that I absolutely could not wear and that were too old and worn even to pass down to perhaps Latvia. It was those I used to obstruct the sound from my mind. Even so, they were not great and so I could still hear the now dull noise of the knife against the steel.

As I was lying in my bed, trying my best to sleep I began to count, almost without even thinking about it.

Vienas, du, trys...

As soon as I had reached penkiasdešimt I paused and ended up losing count. Still, the rhythmic sound was very clear, even through my ear plugs. When I heard the small quiet that came after the end of one knife, I let out a sigh of relief. Somewhere in my mind I knew that it would begin again, and yet I waited in hopes that it would not.

Yet, it did. Another knife. Another penkiasdešimt strokes. This time, however, I counted past penkiasdešimt and made it all the way to exactly šimtas. One hundred strokes of a knife against a steel.

The next day, I counted the number of knives. Penkiolika. He sharpened fifteen knives, each with one hundred strokes.

This pattern stayed true for everyday for three years.

I counted every single day and it stayed true.

That was, it stayed true for most days except for… vienas.

One day, during the penkiasdešimt septintas stroke, he stopped. I listened for a few moments, and then I took my ear plugs out, though I had made new ones by this point. Still, even without them obstructing my hearing I could hear nothing but silence in the house.

This fact disturbed me so much more than that high metallic echo could ever even attempt to. I could hear the cautious creaking of the floorboards as the two roomed next to me also crept towards our doors. I carefully opened my door but let out a shriek when I realized that the space outside of my door was occupied.

Cautiously, though more fearfully than cautiously, I slowly looked up to the face of the occupant of the space outside my door. He was already looking at me, straight at me in fact, straight into my fearful green eyes. I stared back at him, though I wished I could have looked away. There seemed to be something different about his deep violet eyes... They did not look as they normally did. They no longer appeared glazed over as they usually did; there was raw emotion present now...

Without a word, I was suddenly being pressed against by a heavy force. That heavy force was, of course, the Russian man. I squealed in both fear and surprise, though I should have been used to the random attacks by now; I had lived with this man for years and years.

But I was wrong with my assumption. After a few moments, I felt no pain. Thinking this odd, I slowly reopened my eyes. I had not been attacked at all. I had been pulled into a tight hug, instead. To this, I did not know how to react. A hug...? From him...? What was I supposed to think?

So I made no move. I waited until he had released me. I looked up quizzically, I searched his face for answers but he gave me none. Instead, all I got was more confusion.

Finally, after a few moments of silence, he spoke.

"I'm sorry."

And this was all he told me before he turned and finished the sharpening of his knives. Even now, I have absolutely no idea why he had stopped so suddenly.

Perhaps I will never know.

What I do know, however, is that after that day, I never once heard a knife be sharpened in that house again.

Authoresses Notes: It bothers me that you can't put a space between paragraphs D8

A-anyway, hola! Or should I say Hallo/Guten Tag/Guten Morgen/Guten Abend? -taking German and loving every minute of it-

As you can see, I haven't been active lately. And I know, people who watch me or know my name are probably like, 'WTF RussLiet?"

I know. I don't know why I wanted to write this, either. I much prefer RussPruss to RussLiet any day. XD

In any case, I don't know how to characterize Liet well. Or at all. Ever. So yeah. This is kind of a piece of crap I'm submitting, in other words. XD