There’s the Quiet Boy. He doesn’t say a word while his parents do parent things or grown adult things like cook and tell him to do his homework and clean and go to work and take him on trips and host parties and get grumpy and buy him presents.

He goes along with everything as he is told and smiles when the adults look at him because that makes them happy. That’s one thing the Quiet Boy understands very well. People are happy if you are quiet and smiling. The smile was the important bit. If you are quiet and look upset, that makes people upset. They worry over you and get distracted from the important things. But if you are quiet and smile, that tells the people that you are happy. And if he was happy, his people were happy with him. And the Quiet Boy wanted nothing more than that.

The Quiet Boy understood that people don’t like things that draw too much attention. This meant that loud and smiling wasn’t as effective; though it was better than loud and upset. What people like is something they could forget but occasionally remember and look at and see a smile. If he was loud then people would always look at him and his smile wouldn’t be as potent. And he couldn’t allow that. He’d cut his own throat out before he’d lose control over a person’s mood.

And he did. He choked on his blood and tasted hot iron and turned his smile red but he did it. Year by year, slice by slice, the Quiet Boy made sure he could never scream. He could still smile of course. Only now there’s a jagged, curved scar on his neck to serve as its twin.

Ah what a wonderful child. Smile at him once and he’ll smile at you twice.