Octavia E Butler's "Speech Sounds" (short story, post-apocalypse survival, free): What if people could no longer speak or read?
Story summary.An unspecified "illness" swept through the world, killing many, & seriously paralyzing others. Paralysis not only of body, but of intellect too - some lost ability to speak, some lost ability to read or comprehend, ...
This is the story of a woman who, having lost everyone she loved, is looking
for some kind of companionship in this mad world.
Fact sheet.First published: Asimov's, Mid-December 1983.
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Winner of Hugo Award 1984 in short story category.