Category: Music of the Heart


Music inside

Music Inside

Arthur listened to the choir sing, wanting to join in – wanting to dance. He did neither. He sat still. His feet were flat and firm against the tiled floor. His hands were folded primly in his lap. His back was straight and his gaze was focused straight ahead. He kept the smile that threatened from his lips. Father would not approve. Music was not for the upper class to make. Dances were staid and proper not full of wild bounces and spins like the groundlings in the audience.

His eyes darted over to his parents, prim and proper as he was. Then the movement of the singers and the crowd distracted him from them. The singers rocked and swayed. They clapped their hands and smiled, looking at each other and not their audience. The groundlings spun, some even sang along. One boy caught his eye and he couldn’t help but respond to the contagious grin with a soft smile of his own.

The boy’s grin widened and he grabbed another boy’s hand, gesturing up to Arthur. The other boy also shot him a smile. Arthur blushed, suddenly embarrassed – uncertain. His eyes went to his father, who was now scowling at him.

“Sorry,” he whispered, casting his gaze down.

**
“Many nights we prayed,” Michael sang, gesturing for Arthur to join in. “C’mon, you know this one, sing with me,” he encouraged. “Many nights we prayed…”

“With no proof anyone could hear, in our hearts a hopeful song, we barely understood,” Elijah continued for him. He took Felicia’s hand as she smiled, ready to join in.

“Now we are not afraid, although we know there’s much to fear,” she sang. She took his hand and held it as she sang, “We were moving mountains long before we knew we could.”

“There can be miracles, when you believe,” they chorused, gathering around him. “Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles, you can achieve? When you believe, somehow you will… You will when you believe.”

“Next verse is all you. Sing, Arthur. You can… it’s the only way for the magic to come out.”

“We need you to sing, Arthur,” Elijah encouraged.

Arthur opened his mouth but no sound came out. He closed his eyes and saw his father’s scowling face. “Open your eyes,” Matilda whispered. “Look at us. Don’t think of anything but the music.”

“In this… time of fear,” Arthur managed, his voice shaking but on pitch. “When prayers so often proved in vain, hope seemed like a summer bird, too swiftly flown away.” All around them a soft green glow began, his voice grew in volume and confidence.

“Yet now I’m standing here,” he continued, gazing over at Michael as the boy echoed him. Allowing himself a small smile, he continued, “with heart so full I can’t explain, seeking faith and speaking words I never thought I’d say.”

Now the entire chorus joined the refrain and Arthur could feel their magic swelling with his. Their light was pushing the darkness away. People around them were beginning to stir. “Sing,” Michael urged them.

“Ashira l’adonai ki gaoh ga-ah,” Felicia sang in her high soft voice. Grinning, she continued, “Ashira l’adonai ki gaoh ga-ah. Mi chamocha baelim adonai.” Matilda grinned and took her hand, joining in as the song continued, “Mi kamocha nedar bakodesh. Nachita v’chas-d’cha am zu ga-alta. Nachita v’chas-d’cha am zu ga-alta. Ashira, ashira, ashira”

Athur began bouncing as they sang and as he and the other boys joined in, repeating the foreign words. Suddenly, he found that he was spinning and dancing with the others. He was, as his father had always warned, losing himself in the music – in the magic – but at the same time he felt so free.

He paused, taking Matilda and Michael by the hand as they sang with the chorus, now growing steadily in numbers “There can be miracles, when you believe. Though hope is frail it’s hard to kill”

Grinning, Elijah echoed, “It’s hard to kill.”

Arthur nodded, smiling broadly back. He looked around seeing his brothers and parents among those beginning to wake from the dreadful slumber. He felt tears start in his eyes as his brothers and mother joined in. “Who knows what miracles you can achieve.”

”You can achieve,” he echoed, nodding at his father. The older man nodded back, joining in as the chorus, now the entire village, continued, “When you believe, somehow you will… Now you will! You will when you believe”

“When you believe!” the men in the chorus echoed.

”You will when you believe,” Michael sang and Arthur joined him, softly singing, “You will believe.”

“We did it,” he whispered. “We won.”

“You did it,” Michael corrected. “Only with you could we have done this, Arthur… only with your voice and magic.”

His father walked over, shaking his head in wonder. “I’m sorry, Arthur. I let my fear of the magic hold you back. If you wish, you can attend the school.”

“Father?” Arthur whispered. He spun back and looked over his friends smiling face. “Father! I do! I wish very much. Thank you with all my heart.” Then for the first time in his life, he laughed and hugged the older man. Such joy was bubbling up in his heart that he couldn’t contain it. Giggling softly, he spun away over the soft earth, hardly noticing that everyplace his feet touched, tiny flowers sprang up.

Her panties were pink. He saw as she spun away to vent after losing her placing in line. She would have to go to the end of the line; which might lose her the contest, if all the places were filled. Smiling gently he caught her eye and waved her ahead of him. He wouldn’t mind standing behind such a beautiful girl for the rest of the day.

The watched and listened as the contestants ahead of them were chosen or rejected. He saw the grim smile of satisfaction as the girl who’d taken her place was asked to leave after only three steps of her tap dance. Then it was the girl’s turn to get angry. They watched in shock as she began screaming at the judges.

After she was removed, the contest continued, though it was a little difficult to focus. Rye smiled as the thought occurred to him that the girl may not have won but she was certainly a showstopper.

“I wonder how badly people mishear the lyrics of our songs,” Rye murmured as he sat listening to his mp3 player.

Kevin looked up from the book he was reading and shrugged. “Mishearing lyrics has to do with a lot of things. It can be anything from a relaxed speech pattern, an accent, unusual cadence or rhythm, even instrumentation. We tend to annunciate pretty clearly so most of our fans can get what we’re saying.”

Rye smiled and nodded. “That’s good to know,” he replied.

“Why the sudden interest?” Kevin wondered.

Rye stood and handed Kevin his mp3 player as he asked, “He’s not saying… anything about his mom, right?”

Kevin listened for a moment before he grinned and shook his head. “It’s the song title,” he replied.

Rye looked around the room at the four men, three of whom would be judging him. He smiled at them, as he’d been taught then stepped forward. They might like him. They might think that he was too similar to his sister. He had no control over that. All he could do was his best. The rest was in the hands of fate.

Mikyla was nervous, there was no doubt about that. Still she smiled and faced her audience of four confidently. After the initial introduction, she began singing. Her older cousin sat quietly sketching. The strange bespectacled man was smiling, but he seemed to smile at everyone. The final judge was inscrutable in his hooded cloak. His spokesman scowled thoughtfully throughout the performance.

As she finished the song, Mikyla beamed at each of the judges. She wasn’t terribly surprised when Michael shook his head and said, “She’s my cousin, so I can’t say whether she’s in or not. That wouldn’t be fair.”

“She’s in as far as I’m concerned,” the hooded judge said softly. “Maybe my spokesman can cast a third vote. He knows musical skill when he hears it.”

“She seems skilled enough,” the man said. “I say we give her a chance. As long as Michael doesn’t cast any deciding votes, it should be fine.”

“I agree,” the bespectacled judge said. “Perhaps we could get a different judge for the next round?”

“That sounds like a plan,” Michael said softly. “I’m just here to say whether I could draw the artwork that would go with the videos and album covers.”

Rye smiled as Kevin startled at the start of a song that he’d suspected was familiar to him. “This is an awesome version,” he whispered. “They did really good picking songs that were modern and making them sound period.”

“I don’t care with the critics say,” Rye murmured. “This is one of the best musicals that come around recently.”

“It appeals to the teller of tales in you,” Michael added.

“You too,” Kevin said, pointing at the younger boy’s open notebook.

Michael shrugged. “It’s a good story and a good question.”

“We live for today,” Rye said with a certainty. “Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is a question mark. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”

“I’ve always liked that saying,” Kevin murmured as he settled back to watch how the show played out.

Rye stared out over the balcony and sighed softly. He was hardly into adulthood and had already had bad experiences with something he knew was a mark of adulthood. He had strong feelings for Mikyla and a part of him wanted to act on those feelings. However, whenever things began to get heated between them, he would end up pulling away.

“What’s wrong?” came her soft voice from the bed.

“Nothing, I guess,” he replied, coming back to bed. “I’m just… scared.”

“It’s alright,” she said, gently kissing his cheek. “We can take this as slowly as you need to. I’m not in any hurry.”

“I like these words better,” Rye murmured as they listened to the song. “They seem happier.”

“Dancing as opposed to dying,” Kevin added. “Yeah, the version in the video is happier than the lyrics written on the page. That band obviously changed the lyrics to suit their needs.”

“Or the transcriptionist misheard the lyrics,” Leigh murmured.

“If the transcriptionist was deaf, that explanation might make sense,” Gareth said with a smirk. “Let’s sing their version, instead of the one written here.”

“I agree,” Hector said. “I actually considered this song for you before I found the written lyrics.”

Micheal grinned and held up his artpad. It was already full of images that matched the lyrics of the song. “I love ballads,” he said from behind the paper.

Michael sat up and looked around. The room was still dark. It was nighttime. He slipped out of his bed and padded to the door, curious about what had woken him in the stillness of the night.

Then he heard it. Softly and insistently, someone was calling his name. “Hello,” he called back quietly, not wanting to waken anyone. He rounded the corner and found himself at the door to the gardens. Again someone called his name. Following the sound he opened the door and crept out into the garden.

The grass was cool and damp on his bare feet. “Hello,” he called, bolder now that he was outside and not as likely to waken anyone inside the building.

“Michael, come here,” a voice called from within the nearby forest. Michael followed the call and found a strange sight. There, just inside the forest, was a flower of enormous proportions. Within the flower was a woman – at least from the waist up. Her waist seemed to blend into the flower. “Come to me,” she said.

Micheal shook his head and spun on his heel. As slowly and quietly as he had come into the forest, he exited fast and loud. He slammed the door as he re-entered the house. Panting, he leaned on the door. He was shaking with the fright of what he had encountered. It wasn’t just seeing a plant woman – it was the fact that she had called him by name.

Rye smiled as he listened to the important lord of state. He was attentive and sweet, everything that someone of his personality type was expected to be. Kevin knew as he watched the boy that the friendly face he was showing to the outside world was covering the terrified jumble of emotions that he held in check.

He’d read the younger agent’s file. The boy had been in the house when his parents were killed, hiding in a safe room with his sister. His first mission by himself had proven disastrous and nearly lethal. His second mission, when the agency had consented to partnering him with his sister, had been nearly as disastrous. Kevin knew first-hand of another terrifying encounter the boy had had with a group of street thugs.

Despite the smile on his face, Rye was not nearly at ease with this group of strangers as he appeared. Kevin couldn’t imagine how he’d handle spending the night in the unfamiliar place.

When You’re Alone in Your Bed

Late that night, Rye sat up staring around the room. Part of him wanted to go to his sister’s room. Part of him wanted to go to one of the other boys’ rooms. Part of him was too scared to walk across the dark space of his own room.

Tears came to his eyes. He felt very much alone. He couldn’t say, even to himself, why he was so frightened. However, there was no way he could sleep alone in the strange room.

He startled when his door opened. A shadowy figure filled the doorway and Rye swallowed a whimper. “Rye, it’s me,” a familiar voice said.

“Kevin?” Rye whispered back.

“Hey, kid, having trouble sleeping?” the older boy asked. Kevin sat down on the foot of his bed and Rye nodded slightly. “Want me to stay for a little while?”

“Just until I’m asleep?” Rye replied.

“No problem,” came the easy reply. Rye smiled and lay down on the bed. With the familiar presence of Kevin, he could finally begin to relax. Sleep soon overtook him.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

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From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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