Paddy Crewe

My Name is Yip


The following text is reproduced with permission from Paddy Crewe‘s debut novel, My Name is Yip, an original, voice-driven story of courage, friendship and adventure through the wonders and horrors of the American frontier. To order a copy, visit Penguin Random House.

Silent Roars & Silent Howls

One week after my birth I was yet to produce a single noise. Dr Whit Parrick might have thought it curious I did not cry on my gushing arrival if he had not become so endeared to the belief I was set to perish. And so when my breath did continue to come in Thin & Stubborn threads he had assumed my silence was no more than the lasting effects of my arduous passage into this Earthly Sphere. He told my Mama it was only natural I should need my peace & quiet, she should not worry I would turn out a healthy little fellow if she give me the chance.
……So my Mama did what he said. She watched & waited. Indeed she thought me one of God’s messengers, a wingless little emissary sent to bring down to her the white serenity of the clouds. In them quiet hours she could not help but imagine me in her store, handling her precious ledger & welcoming in her patrons. She would not have to want for nothing as I carried on her hard work & did polish the name of Tolroy to a High & Mighty shine.
But soon them imaginings was to be brung to ruin, you will soon see my affliction was about to announce itself.
……Them October nights was darkening quick & my Mama did not like to leave me laid in shadow. Perhaps she was like me with my own childs, I have stared at them in darkness & they do lie so still & breathe so quiet it is too easy to imagine a tragedy has befelled them, their little hearts stopped & their eyes stared blank at the ceiling. Once in the light they look so very peaceable, you can see the trickle of their thoughts in their curling fingers, in the wet & bubbling little purse of their mouths.
……That October the air was still mild, not yet bit by winter’s coming & my Mama was carrying a lit tallow through the parlor. She wished to place one on the sill above where I lay wrapped in my crib. She looked down at me as she did so & seen my lips curled & reaching out, I thought myself suckling blissful in my careless dreams, not knowing I was soon to be woke & a Shock of Light sluiced down on a dark little Seed of Truth.
……As my Mama had walked across the room she had not seen the flame was bent in the draught & not 1 but 3 pearls of hot wax was rolled along its length. They hanged there like pale & guilty men on the scaffold & so as she leant above me admiring my sleeping face, wondering at the dreams behind the flicker of my eyelids, only then was it she seen them 3 drops fall & land on my left cheek.
……For a moment I did not move. My Mama’s eyes was wide & shimmering, she did not rush to wipe them 3 drops clear, something held her very still & as my eyes opened she could see them beads of wax was settled on my skin like boils once lanced & now risen into scars. She thought I must be the bravest boy in all the world & reached to pick me up when my face begun to crumple & tears come coursing down my cheeks. She watched then as my mouth did twist into all them shapes from which a roar or howl is bound to fly from.
……But nothing come.
……They was Silent Roars & Silent Howls.
……My Mama could not take her eyes from me. She staggered back & fled the store with the tallow now extinguished in her hand & she left them 3 drops of wax to harden further on my cheek.

Paddy Crewe was born in Middlesborough. He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London. My Name is Yip is his first novel.

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