Tag Archive: Michael

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.

Wild Heart, Child Heart

Michael had often felt like something was missing. He’d woken in the middle of the night for months after the accident with a sense of longing and despair. Now he knew why. Now he knew what had been missing.

He had a sister. Somewhere out there, Hannah was waiting – held captive, to use as a pawn or worse, by Aiello and his men.

He knew why school bored him also; why it always had. He was over a century old. The lessons seemed to be repetitive because they were. He’d learned all they taught in schools over a century ago.

The man who’d been raising him – whom he called uncle – was his father… and in a strange way, his mother. A pang went through him. This too had been missing. He’d felt a connection that went beyond simply the care of being raised by someone. Josiah was his progenitor – the one who had brought him into this world – who’d given him life.

He knew his pain was a dim echo of Josiah’s – of his father’s. His father had lost both of his children on that day five years ago. He turned at the familiar presence and smiled slightly. “Father,” he said. The word held more than a simple greeting. The bond between them was reformed – a healing balm passed between them as Michael acknowledged their true relationship. “Let’s go get Hannah back,” he said.

Josiah nodded once and held out a hand to his son. Michael darted to his side, not quite hugging him, but the light touch was enough. They were truly a family again – only lacking one member.

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.”

“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.

Kevin took a step forward and frowned as he watched the person ahead of him. The younger man said his full name, age and height. Before he even opened his mouth to sing, one of the judges was shaking his head. Had the man already been disqualified?

“I’m sorry, you don’t have the presence we’re looking for in the new band,” the man beside the hooded judge said.

The contestant sighed and walked off the stage dejectedly. “Next,” the youngest judge said in a bright voice.

Kevin swallowed thickly and stepped onto the stage. It was now or never. “Kevin Samuels,” he said. “Age twenty-three, height at five foot seven inches.” He paused and the hooded judge nodded at the others. As he sang, the youngest judge sketched furiously. The only one of the three who seemed to be truly listening was the bespectacled man on the far end.

When he was finished, all three judges wrote down a number on a scorecard and held it up. The hooded judge’s card read 10. The youngest judge held a 9.5. The final judge held a card with a 9 written on it. Beside the number was a sizable scribble, as if something had been scratched out. Beside that was a smaller .5, squeezed in almost as an afterthought. Kevin relaxed. He was moving onto the next round.

“We’re going to live here?” Rye asked in shock. He turned to the manager. The man was joking. The real house the band mates would share was down the road, perhaps in the next town over.

The man looked down at the map then up at the decrepit building and nodded. “This is the place,” he said with forced cheer.

“It’s got a certain character,” Michael said softly as he stepped up the creaking porch stairs. Rye expected the wood to give way under his feet but it held. “When we aren’t writing or rehearsing we can work on fixing up the place. When it’s done it’ll be beautiful.”

“And we’ll be old men,” Gareth muttered. “I’m sleeping downstairs. I don’t want the floor to cave in under me while I’m out for the night.”

“There’s a basement,” Kevin remarked, leading the way into the building.

“We’re going to live here?” Rye repeated as he followed the older boys into the building. He cast a glance at his sister. What, exactly, had they gotten themselves into?

Michael sat with his sketchbook watching the birds flit from tree to tree. He was known by the whole group to be an artist. He drew their caricatures on a regular basis for the videos that went with their songs. He drew images for the stories he heard in other songs.

There was one set of drawings he never showed anyone, however. These pictures, simple sketches, true-to-life and not cartoons, would never be seen by any but himself. They were his retreat, his solace when the world was too stressful.

“Michael? What are you doing?” Rye asked as he stepped out onto the balcony. “It’s very windy. Aren’t you cold?”

Michael tucked his book away and spun. “Yeah, a bit,” he replied as he breezed past the younger man. Rye shrugged and followed him into the building, closing the door behind him.

Michael smiled as he listened to the song and watched the little child has she wandered further down the path on the television screen. The wonder the child felt he could see in her eyes. The song melded with it perfectly.

To her the simple deer trail was a magical place. To her older sister it was just an old path. The nay-sayers in the song warned the singer how all things that glittered weren’t gold. He should give up on his love. He knew better. Their love grew and now they were old together.

He turned off the CD and turned the volume back up on the television, settling back to watch the remake of an old classic.

I Can Help You Cry

“There’s another song with a similar sentiment,” Kevin said. “I can’t take away your pain but I can help you cry or cry with you. I like that song, even if it isn’t something I’d usually listen to.”

Gareth nodded and murmured, “It is a sweet song.”

“I’ve heard a bluegrass cover of it too,” Rye said. He tilted his head and frowned. “It was… too bouncy and the phrasing was a little off, but overall it was pretty good.”

“Bluegrass?” Michael said, shuddering a little. “Please, no thanks.”

“The whole idea of these sessions is to expose us to music we ordinarily wouldn’t listen to, Michael. We listened to your songs,” Rye returned. “Needless to say it wasn’t something I enjoyed but I listened for its musical merits.”

Michael held up his hands in defeat. Rye grinned and scampered off. “What have I gotten myself into?”

“It’s what you get for torturing him with spoken word music,” Leigh replied.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

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From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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tales from the enchanted gardens and shadow hollow


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