SILENCE, An Essay by Keith Wong

I like to share the below essay with all. I wrote this essay for my school examination and was selected as one of the best. The essay was published in 2009 School Magazine.

Hope you enjoy it.


Dark clouds were rolling in as I gazed at the long, black box. The heavy air pressure matched the solemn atmosphere perfectly. All around me, I could hear the silent chatter of people as quiet as mice trying to control their curious voices. However, I couldn’t be bothered by their petty discussions. Soon, the day broke into a gentle drizzle that rained down across the clearing. The undertaker quickened his pace and threw the dirt back in the hole that now contained Taylor’s lifeless body. I remained motionless, rooted to the spot I stood and continued to look into the marble cross, unaware of the cold drops of rain on my face. As the guests quickly turned for shelter, a black umbrella was raised to shade me from the light drizzle. I turned my head slightly to look at my companion.

Amelia. Taylor’s assistant. A worried look carved onto her pale face. I merely nod my head and followed silently. The time for mourning is now over. Much needed to be done. With the unexpected departure of my only comrade-in-arms, I now faced the challenges alone. However, I will continue to push on to complete our research. I remembered the day we met well. Two young, ambitious scientists, sharing the same dream. A dream that could benefit all mankind. A dream to discover the impossible. A dream to reverse the aging process.

Unlike now, on the day we met, the sun proudly cast it’s bright rays throwing light to all in view. Radiant flowers bloomed in the campus flowerbeds with the smell of freshly cut grass. A wonderful day indeed! With the pile of work as high as a mountain, we decided to work together on our assignments to reduce our burden. We became the best of friends in no time at all. Taylor was always full of life. His ability to cheer people up never ceased to amaze me. At times he ca be rash and hot-blooded. However, his passion and dedication towards his sky high ambitions more than made up for it.

A few months after graduation, he started on his project. He offered me a chance to work with him as he needed some assistance. His research intrigued me and I wasn’t employed yet. As a result, we began our research together. The first few months were uneventful with false leads and dead ends. Other scientists called our efforts futile. Some even went as far as to call us morons and imbeciles. Hurtful as these insults may be, they never dampen Taylor’s spirits. Often, I gain inspiration and motivation from his refusal to give up. Not long after, our efforts finally started to bear fruit. Our first breakthrough in three years of research.

One of our lab rats showed signs of improvement. It managed to outlive its other companions and maintain a youthful appearance. Taylor was ecstatic. He planned to test this serum on humans and appealed to use death row convicts as human experiments. The government, however, did not share his enthusiasm and rejected his request. Being reckless, he injected himself with the serum without consulting anyone.

When I got wind of his actions, I was horrified and became hysteric. He assured me everything will be alright and told me not to worry. For the first few months, everything went well. Taylor appeared younger and youthful. He encouraged me to take the serum as well but I declined in fear of it’s unknown side effects. He lived that way, young, healthy and strong for a good two years enjoying his youth every moment. Unfortunately, after that, the tables turned and Taylor took a turn for the worst.

His health began to deteriorate at an extremely rapid. He was struck by multiple illnesses, one after another. All of his organs were failing him. Taylor is dying. The doctors were unable to make head or tail of his condition. They got even more baffled when the innards of a young twenty-year-old resembled that of an elderly. The moment I got word of his ill health, I rushed to his side immediately. I got to his death bed in the nick of time. Unable to move or speak, he took his last breath moments after my arrival. An untimely death for a genius such as himself ; the end of a talented science prodigy.

The abrupt halt of the car ended my reminiscence. I got down the car in a daze and headed into the laboratory. The stench of death stung my nose for moments as I searched for the source. The now lifeless body of the original lab rat, laid in it’s cage rotting at a faster rate before my very eyes. With the research that followed, I formed a conclusion : the serum has an opposite effect on the internal organs, causing the organs to age twice as fast in order to maintain the external body’s youth and energy.

I decided it wasn’t worth it to continue the research. Not without my partner or the sacrifices one had to make for temporary youth. Perhaps it was meant to be that way. Man is not supposed to mess with the ways of mother nature.

I sunk lower in my chair. As the realization dawned unto me piece by piece, I lifted my head and gazed towards the heavens. But it was too late. Taylor was gone for good. As I came into realization, there was only silence…


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