A Sad, Sad Symphony

Old Francisc Goyer had been working on his symphony for too long to even remember. It was supposed to be his masterpiece, his magnum opus. At times he was afraid, and with some reason, that he might never finish it.
But that night he had a dream: instruments being played by angels. Such a profound mastery hid beneath their long, white as marble fingers that he began to scribble notes on a piece of paper, his hand trembling under the weight of such a clear and extraordinary vision. Inside his head, the instruments kept playing in a miraculous way that couldn’t be explained, but couldn’t be denied either.
It was real. The music was coming from somewhere far, far away; a muffled concoction of sounds. And Francisc feared to do anything other than write. He was afraid to light a cigarette or even drink a glass of water. The symphony could dissolve into the stifled air of the living room, and all would be lost. Continue reading

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Crossroads

His chest felt heavy, his legs tired. Dead leaves rustled under his feet. Nailed to the sky, the moon’s sardonic smile quivered among a cluster of cold stars. His body just a coffin for his soul, Robert seemed to take every footstep with infinite precaution, as if fearing that the dirt road would swallow his feet.

On each side, pine trees stood tall. Ancient guardians.

“Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of-” he tried to recite, but was interrupted by hounds barking somewhere in the distance. Long, reverberating shivers of sounds that seemed to had spawned from hell itself bashed against his ears. His black skin glistened with sweat; droplets shuddered down from his hairline to his eyebrows, down his temples. The skin of his neck burned, hot. His eyes glimmered in the dark void, hopelessly trying to peer through that endless ocean of fear and agony. He pressed the guitar to his chest, his long arms forming a desperate embrace around the black wood. The sharp smell of lacquer flooded his nose.

Robert was so young. He would have liked to believe that all this was just the terrible lethargy of a nightmare, but it wasn’t because he could smell the fresh and clean scent the trees around him emanated.

 

When he reached the spot where the road that led to Dockery Plantation and the one that led to Clarksdale met, he sighed. A small lamp hung from a wooden street sign, and a bench overlooked both roads. He turned around – a sinuous and dark pathway slowly dissolved into the night.

He stood there for a long time. Then he began to stagger his way toward the bench.

With his guitar resting in his lap, he took a deep breath, the cool air making its way down his throat with a prolonged hiss, and then he began to sing a lullaby, his hands drumming on the guitar. Above, a comet was cutting through the black sky like a knife, its bluish tail shining bright.

His singing was cut short by hounds barking. He gulped. His heart throbbing inside his chest, he rummaged through his mind for a bit of clarity, for a bit of strength, but couldn’t find any. It was as if someone was walking toward him, a vague perception hinted by the shadows that danced on the ground around him. His body froze as he could now clearly hear footsteps, growing stronger and stronger. A gust of wind rattled all the ghosts that resided inside his soul. Twigs fluttered spasmodically and screeched as if possessed by a demon.

“Where are the others?” A deep voice killed the silence and shattered into a million pieces inside his head. Robert closed his eyes. His shoulders shuddered. This was all just a dream.

When he opened them, he saw a puny man sitting beside him on the bench. The man’s eyes were a strange grey, a color he had seen many times before in his nightmare. He wore a black trench coat that came all the way down to his knees.

“Where are the others?” the man repeated, staring intensely back at Robert.

“What others?”

A frown flickered across the man’s pale face. “Others. Like you. There should have been more tonight.”

Robert rubbed the sweat off his eyebrows and forehead.

The man leaned forward and fixed his gaze on Robert’s eyes. Deep wrinkles traversed his forehead. He caressed his chin with his tiny fingers.

“Can you see my soul?” Words struggled to come out of Robert’s mouth.

The man didn’t bother to answer. He pointed toward the guitar. “This is what you want?”

Robert nodded.

The man took the guitar from his shaking hands and placed it on his lap. A lifetime of agony passed between two heartbeats. The man tuned the guitar with care, and then he began to play. His hands were performing such an intricate choreography, making the chords cry underneath his small, white as bone fingers that a tear formed in the corner of Robert’s eye and lingered there for a moment.

As the painful melody sent ripples through the night, the man stared hollowly at the dirt road that stretched toward Clarksdale. A long time passed, with Robert hopelessly rubbing life back into his arms and shoulders.

Then the song stopped. The man glanced at Robert with his ash colored eyes and smiled.

“Thank you,” Robert whispered as the man handed him the guitar back. “How’s this going to…” he muttered, his fingers caressing the chords. A sharp pain pierced through his fingers and travelled upward through every fiber of his body. His soul fell into a deep abyss, and his heart began to boil inside his chest. He felt that he couldn’t breathe, that air couldn’t make its way down to his lungs. He closed his eyes and began to play vividly, his hands shaking in despair. Soon the fire in his body and limps dissolved, and he opened his eyes, his eyes as black as tar – they were void of any light. Empty and cold.

The other man stood on the street a few feet away from him, with his hands tucked in his pockets. “What’s your name?” he asked and grinned, revealing yellow, crooked teeth. His grey eyes shone bright.

A faint breeze quivered around their bodies. The two dirt roads that collided underneath their feet glowed in the shy light of the lamp. A weak heartbeat tried to keep an empty body alive.

And the black man said, “Robert, sir. Robert Johnson.”

***

This short story is a part of The Writer. Find out more here.

Love at first sight

He enters the waiting room, sees all the other patients eagerly waiting to be called into the doctor’s office. They all nod in that peculiar manner; they are here because of necessity, rather than choice. He sits on the only available chair and takes out his cell phone. It’s so warm inside that he has to struggle not to yawn.

But then he looks up and sees her.

It’s always such a shock to see someone beautiful in places you wouldn’t expect to see anything of importance. Continue reading

Strangers

Some say life resembles a highway. We travel so fast because we don’t want to live in the here and now, because we feel that the future is going to be better than we can imagine. We travel on a highway that’s slowly sinking under the horizon, with no maps, trying to get to a place we can’t be sure exists. On each side of this road, there are trees and endless fields – a barren wasteland melting under the sun or shivering beneath a silvery moon. We don’t have time to stop, we don’t have time to think.

At 100 miles per hour, you’re entire being collapses into a reflex.

The only way we can realize what’s going on is for us to crash into others. A painful process, in which there’s a lot of damage to be made, but a necessary one nonetheless. Continue reading

Unbreakable

Once upon a time there was magic in this world. A little bit resided in each and everyone of us. Powerful mages taught those who were willing. People lived in harmony with the elements of nature, paid tribute to the gods.

My father told me that even a commoner could talk to the statues in the temples.

But a few hundred years ago one of the mages decided to conquer the world. And he did. He spent his years waging one war after another, until there were no more wars to fight. No enemies left.

He was old and sick and knew time was working against him. But his wife had been incapable of offering him an heir. His advisors urged him to find another woman, yet he did not take kindly to breaking his sacred vows.

Instead, he prayed. He prayed to all the gods, but none would listen. He called all the mages in the land, but no one could help him.

He needed an heir.

He had no more time.

He used what was left of his magic, built a child out of clay, breathed fire into him to give him life. But it wasn’t enough.

What if the child got sick and perished at a young age? What if someone decided to put poison in his food? He had plenty of enemies, his son would also. So he took it upon himself to make a deal with Death itself. He took it upon himself to cast spells against disease, against pain, against wounds.

What if this child of his would have his heart broken? What if they hurt him with spiteful words? What if all that was dark and gloom in this world would break him beyond repair?

So he cast spells against suffering, against anguish, despair. He used magic to cast out anger and hatred.

He did all he could.

He did all this because he needed an heir.

He did all these things, and then there was no more magic in the world.

Que sera, sera

It is said that when God glued the stars to the heavens, He already knew man would be His ultimate creation. To be created in His image. So God chose to write man’s fate in the stars. All that would happen, all the forces that would build or crush man’s dreams, all the moments of doubt, joy, or sorrow. All the tears, of all kinds. Everything, written in the stars. Everything, to be guarded by the most beautiful of angels.Que sera, sera.

Whatever will be, will be. What’s meant to happen, will happen. Whether we want to or not.

The strange coincidences that shape the course of our lives are drawn against the night sky. You can almost decipher everything in the coldest and darkest nights. You can almost see your future, glued against the dark silence.
Whatever will be, will be.

And no man can ever do anything about it.
The planets align themselves.

The Universe serves you. Or does anything in its powers to crush you.

What is meant to happen, will happen.
Every single thing happens for a reason.
There’s no chaos, only order. One we don’t understand; one we sometimes don’t even desire. One that we despise.

But eventually we’ll see all that is written in the stars, and we’ll understand.

And, yet, it is also said that after He made man, in His image, God wasn’t pleased. Something was missing. His Adam seemed to be empty on the inside.
And then God, in His infinite wisdom and power, gave man the freedom of choice.

Adam was allowed to be the master of his fate, the creator of his destiny.

Whatever will be, will be.

Or maybe not.

You and I through a thousand lives…

Here we are, holding hands at the edge of forever. Here we are, in the emptiness between stars. Here we are, waiting for another life.
Soulmates never die.

You know the legend the Ancient Greeks had about humans? That they once had four legs and four arms and heads with two faces? That Zeus, afraid of them being too powerful, decided to split them in half, damned them to spend a lifetime in search of their missing halves?

No, not a lifetime, but a thousand lifetimes…

Continue reading