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The Eclectic Pen - The Sound

By: John S.  
Date Submitted: 6/8/2011
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 649

  Benji sat and polished his harp. From the deft way he handled the instrument and the tenderness with which he held it, as if it was his child, it was evident he was a master. He lay down the rag and slid his hand over the wood feeling the grain of the willow tree that the harp was carved from running under his fingers. The promise to leave off playing was forgotten as Benji began tentatively plucking strings. The first light note filled his dingy room with a melodious sound and soon his entire apartment was thrumming along with each note that Benji struck.

The first tune he played was melancholy and Benji's harp sent forth deep chords which set all the loose pens dancing wildly across the papers he had arbitrarily strewn across his room. As the last notes faded Benji switched to a erratic tune that was notorious for its difficulty. Every two notes he would have to swiftly change the hand with which he was playing; each hand carried it's own song. It was a bamboozling display of skill but Benji was unperturbed. He smiled in ecstasy as his hands danced in complex patterns across the strings. After each hand had delivered its song he slowed the melody to a calm and contemplative strum. Slowly and subtlety the sound emanating from the harp began to build. His fingers, which were just a moment before lazily plucking away, were now racing across the strings with frenzied speed. The air fairly shivered with the strength of the music so that if anyone were present to have heard it they would have covered their ears and ran from the room screaming. As Benji reached his final and peak crescendo a strange and unearthly music exploded all around him. He was stunned into stillness and silence.

Each time he would attempt to reassert his melody the omnipotent music would produce notes of complete discord. These discordant notes overwhelmed Benji so that he was forced to mingle his own music with that of the stranger, for that was the only way to be heard. In retaliation Benji tried to coerce the unknown player into a tune of his own choosing; but when he strayed too far their music clashed once more. Benji grit his teeth as he heard his notes snuffed out by the force of the strangers. Regrouping, Benji again attempted to follow the tune; but the tempo was increasing, the tune was growing ephemeral, and soon Benji found that he was unable to follow the dizzying music. Even his practiced hands could not duplicate the speed and sudden changes of the song. The notes seemed to ascended from underground pits, rumbling with the voices of the stones. They dropped from the heavens with angelic pitch. Benji was smitten, but yet he still fought against it. He played his harp loudly and as discordantly as he could muster; but the strangers chords were strong, the pitch cutting, and Benji sensed he could not resist much longer.

Cracks formed in the walls of Benji's apartment as he strove against this alien sound. They railed at each other with animal ferocity until Benji's finger began to burn. As Benji slowed his music to cope with the pain so did the stranger. The shift was sudden but Benji took note of it and, spurned on by the strangers apparent exhaustion, drew himself up to continue. As he touched his fingers to the strings of his harp they snapped in the face of the elemental fury which suddenly raged through his apartment. Such anger and sorrow! Such madness! Windows were blown out of their frames and shattered even as they fell. This lyrical conniption coalesced without warning and ended just as abruptly. Benji could almost tangibly feel the quiet rushing in to fill what remained of his room. He sat there and nursed his bleeding hand.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by John S.

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Comments 1 to 2 of 2
Silvercat - - 6/20/2011 4:36 AM ET
Fascinating tidbit, John - more! (Please and thank-you) ;)
Silvercat - - 6/20/2011 4:38 AM ET
Fascinating tidbit, John. More! (Please and thank you!)
Comments 1 to 2 of 2