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Silent H Takes a Break
Short Story by Carrie Martin

Silent H was fed up of being silent all the time. He was beginning to forget who he was and why he even bothered with the whole alphabet scene at all. With each passing hour, he honestly felt more and more like a ghost.

"Aaargh!" he screamed, ready to snap. "What is the point of sticking around, getting dragged into words, when people can't even hear me?"

Convinced nobody would notice if he disappeared, he decided to take a much-needed holiday. He pulled the suitcase out from under his bed, then booked a last minute flight to the island of Abbadabbadoo.

Wearing his favourite frog-printed khaki shorts and a large sunhat, Silent H waddled happily onto the airplane. And in no time at all, he was laying on a sandy beach under the shade of a palm tree, nibbling bananas and drinking coconut shakes—far away from books and computers and schools. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. At last, he could stop worrying about being silent and simply relax.


Meanwhile, back home, letters and people alike were going out of their minds. Homework was getting messed up, people were getting lost in their cars, and nobody understood each other.

Silent G was the most upset of all because she needed Silent H to sit beside her in words like delight, tight and fright. Without Silent H to make the silent GH sound, Silent G was useless. Silent G did not appreciate being left without a job to do. She didn't like it one bit. So she called an emergency meeting at the town hall.

A large crowd of alphabet letters and people showed up. Not one letter or person smiled in the whole frazzled group. Everybody was fed up it seemed. And everybody began at once to complain.

A girl named Sarah cried, "I can't spell my name anymore."

A boy named Zachary agreed.

Letter W shouted, "I need Silent H to spell words like whale, what and why."

And Letter R shook her head. "People need words like rhinoceros and rhubarb all the time," she said.

"Does anybody know what happened to Silent H?" asked Silent G amid the chaos.

"I have his cell phone number," replied Silent L.

The entire room hushed and waited as Silent G dialed the number.

"Silent H! Where on earth are you?" asked Silent G. "What? The island of Abbadabbadoo?"

The phone line began to crackle. "Silent H?" Then cut out completely. "Silent H?""

Silent H was gone.

Silent G tried Silent H's phone number eight more times, but couldn't get through at all. So at last, she decided to travel to the island of Abbadabbadoo, track down Silent H, and convince him to come home.

By the next morning, she was stepping off an airplane into the hot island air. She checked her luggage into a hotel, then set off across the soft sandy beaches of Abbadabbadoo in search of Silent H.

She passed pirates and parrots, turtles and trinket stalls, chimpanzees and a chameleon, hoopla dancers and hand gliders. She was exhausted, and Silent H was still nowhere to be seen.

Silent G sighed, remembering all the good times she had spent with Silent H. And as the sun dipped behind the ocean and day turned to night, she wandered defeated, back to her hotel.


Silent H sat under the moonlight feeling rather lonely. Relaxing on the beach wasn't as relaxing as he thought it would be. It was boring having nothing to read or write. No children to play with, grocery stores, restaurants, or traffic signs to complete. Being bored made his whole body feel itchy, and the sun had burnt his mid-section.

He sighed, remembering all the good times he had spent with his alphabet friends. Then he wandered defeated, back to his hotel.

When Silent H revolved through the revolving door into the lobby of the grand hotel where he was staying, he heard the sound of cheering and laughing and singing. The noise was coming from behind a red door. A blackboard sat before the door, and scribbled in blue chalk were the words: KARAOKE NIGHT.

The singing was terrible. It was loud and obnoxious (like a drunken sailor) but it made him jiggle and giggle and forget all about his itchiness and burnt mid-section. He took a deep breath and opened the door.

He peered around the crowded room, and got the shock of his life. The terrible singing voice belonged to none other than his alphabet friend, Silent G, who was sitting on a stool, on a stage, singing the blues to a room full of partying people!

Silent G held the microphone tight, closed her eyes, and sang a song with all her heart:

"Since Silent H left me,
I don't know what to do.
I wandered round the beach all day,
And didn't even find his shoe.
I miss so many words!
Dough and daughter and sight...
Freight and fraught and through and thought and...
Caught and ought. This just isn't right!"

Silent H was speechless. He hadn't realized just how many words Silent G needed him for. Maybe there were other letters who needed him too?

He hurtled toward the stage to join Silent G—and then she got the shock of her life.

"'Ello," said Silent H with a mischievous grin.

The two silent letters chuckled and gave each other a quick hug. The crowd clapped and cheered. Then Silent H took the microphone and sang a song with all his heart:

"Thought they didn't need me.
Thought they just didn't care.
Left for Abbadabbadoo...
On a last minute cheap air fare.
Silent G followed me.
Silent G set me straight.
You may not always hear me, but—
You need me to communicate!"

"Hurrah!" shouted the crowd, clapping and cheering even more than before.

Silent H and Silent G took a bow, then jumped down from the stage.

"Let's call it a night," said Silent H, "and in the morning, let's fly home."

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