Apples and Muses


When Jupiter Sighs Collection – Apples & Muses – Fantasy


Ver Sacrum Books - When Jupiter Sighs by Bethalynne BajemaThe sun is whispering. This is a soft sound like the rumbling of a hungry stomach; low and deep. This an authority not to be messed with. I can take a hint, I see the threats very well. Unlike so many others, I’ll never be a sun worshiper, at least not in the normal sense. If I were to offer praise it would be quiet and respectful, politely offered from within the protective walls of my home. I’ll give him a nod and a thanks for all the wonderful things he helps grow and sustenance, but I won’t lose my mind in him.

You see, it’s his vanity that gets the better of him. The other men—Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and even Saturn— wear their beauty like a polished badge. But in the cover of darkness and sight too weak to truly see, those of us here on the good Mother Earth do not notice. It is he, Ra, Roshone, the Sun who is the most demanding celestial body in our heavens. And for this he will allow our adoring glances to no other. What of our appreciation, our praise? What reward do we get for our devotions? Skin that falls to tan leather or cancer that creeps under our covers. He rewards us with pain, as it is in his sadistic nature to do.

And still he whispers.

I cannot see her, but I know his lover is there, washed out in the others harsh light. She sits quietly alone, the woman hidden behind the man’s throne and she listens. She listens to his apologies, his promises of better things to come. These are false tales he’s practiced since god smashed his hands together and brought them into creation. She knows they are empty words, but they are pleasing to the ear. Making the brash man seem more humble, more like the warm creature she loves.

She might still his whispers by telling him she is faithful, for there are no words that she can utter that he would not believe. In all her long, so very long, time in the heavens, never had she truly forsaken him for another. She had humored the flirts and enjoyed the endless gathering of celestial men who had come to swoon and coo over her. Yet in the end, when her time in the night sky came to a close and that bright lover of hers loomed on the horizon, it was always him she thought of. It was always him she wanted to be near. How could she not? The sun’s borrowed light was what made her glow.

I could only sit and laugh softly to myself. The lady night was my teacher, my tutor, a great creature who taught me—through her actions—how to ruffle the feathers of a man. And now she offered one more lesson on the nature of a pleading lover: Give him time to wallow in his needs, give him time to remember that lonely period before he met you. Only then, after the whispers have turned to pleading, did you give him one petal of your flower to fuss over. One frail piece of hope and forgiveness that might be forthcoming.

The whispering stopped and the moon said something softly to him.

Then silence, as the two were content with one another again.

A smile plays at my lips, the silence like a soft melody. Sometimes there is no greater sound than simple silence. Simple nothingness. But soon the silence gives way to the clinking of the keyboard. I’m supposed to be working.

A face stared back at me, mockingly, tempting me to do her justice. With a subtle movement of my hand I offer my middle finger to the figure on the screen. She seems to smile all the harder. Then I feel foolish, looking around the empty room as if the house ghosts would really care if I cursed my own drawing or not. I look back and for a moment Na’chen looks as though she might be sympathetic. But as quickly as it comes is as quickly as it goes and again she is nothing more than a smirking diva on the screen wearing too little clothing and too much mascara.

“What to do, what to do…” I mumble to myself.

Jezebella perks her ears up, wondering if the senseless babble from me is meant as an invitation for her. In the end, though she’d adore the attention, she decides to stay where she’s at. The will to move is beyond her. She lays her head down and falls back into her catnap. If her mistress needs something fuzzy and warm to cuddle, she knows where to find her.

Now the sunbeams were getting in through the slight slits in the blinds. Hazy little beams showing me just how many invisible bits were in my breathing air. One beam is poking through the curtains and pressing against my back. I feel like the cat that can’t quite make it through the sunlit spot on the floor without falling asleep. My lids are growing heavy, my limbs a bit too watery, and my eyes feel like they haven’t closed in days.

To my right on the wall is the odd shadowbox sculpture of Kilby, my poor silent ejiyn girl. I painted her in metallics and placed her among a dry flower bed, putting a halo of fire behind her head and a pair of peacock feathers for wings behind her shoulder blades. My beautiful surreal butterfly. She closes one black eye to wink at me. She leans forward and points a delicate porcelain hand towards my computer screen. I shake my head, I’m growing much too tired to try and decipher her sign language, but her sharp jabs toward the monitor were becoming more urgent. All the while my eyelids drooped and the engine light in my brain dimmed. She’d just have to forgive me for not understanding the secret languages of inanimate objects that choose to animate themselves.

Kilby gave up on her signals and instead took hold of the frame she sat in. She braced herself for whatever event was about to occur. I should have taken the hint or at least recognized her clues. Falling to the dream at night was calm and sweet. The daydream was another beast all together. Swift and fast, tugging you under by some massive undertow that wouldn’t let up till your body hit the daydream water’s floor.

The room tipped.

Quick and sudden the room shifted its reality and in this reality I was not sitting on the right floor. The room moved forward and my chair rolled. It only came to a stop as it hit my computer desk and became wedged there. I was not quite so still though, and kept moving as the chair stopped. All that loomed before me was the computer screen and it seemed to be getting larger by the moment.

My eyes fell closed. Not that I didn’t want to see where I was going, but the sheer heaviness of my eyelids wouldn’t allow them to remain open any longer. I feel the slight bump as my body hits the monitor screen and then the even stranger sensation as my body passed through it.

I didn’t open my eyes as I fell through the wires. The nastiness of technology and electricity pressing itself against me; it was enough to make me nauseous. Thankfully it didn’t linger for very long. The wires and miscellaneous contraptions I had no names for gave way to air and a fine mist. Through the mist I fell till the ground reached up to greet me.

With a thud. “Ouuww!” was my reaction.

“Nasty trip isn’t it? That’s what you get for sleeping during the day.”

A nymph? One of my celestial men, or perhaps the Queen herself? But no… it was only my muse come to call.

“Hello you. We do have to stop meeting like this.”

He smiles and offers me a hand, which I take. Using the support I haul myself to my feet and dust my clothes off like some indignant cat who’s fallen off a ledge. Upon standing and looking around I can see the landscape is not so appealing. The images seem too bright and lacking in many details; like a bunch of pastels on the TV screen where someone has turned the brightness up. It was wearing on my eyes.

I rub my eyes, blink and do my best to shake off the glare that’s threatening to place itself over my irises like some hazy contact. Then I look towards my friend.

He stood there, swaddled in his blacks, arms behind his back, rocking slightly forward to back as he waited for me to get my bearings. I straightened the logo on my jersey so it lay square across my chest, gave a tug to the bottom of my shorts to still the creeping hems in the rear, and called myself good. I pushed away my afternoon-untidy hair and grinned—absolutely lacking any mystique.

“So what are we up to today?” I ask.

He grins, something in part natural, in another part mischievous. “I’ve been creating music. Well, I will be creating shortly. I’ve been inventing a new machine that makes music. Music that is so strange it will make the eerie moans of my beloved Theremin seem natural. ”

“Can I have a look and listen?”

“Of course.”

He motioned towards a doorway off in the distance. The door sat there neatly in the middle of reality and would lead into unreality. Perhaps if I wasn’t moving among the daydream this would seem rather odd. It was all quite natural though. In this place doors could be found anywhere—even in the middle of one endless expanse to move you to a completely different one.

A strange thing was taking place in this reality we stood in though. A cold wind was blowing and with it came the smell of cinnamon and gasoline. It nipped at my nose to the point of pain. And the brightness was falling away to a type of living blackness. Curiously a moving blackness that was lashing out across the sky like some great artist’s dark paints had toppled over. The liquid color was wiping away the pastels and brilliance. When the thunder rocked the ground beneath my feet, and the lighting cut through the sky, I had the sickening feeling my daydream was falling rapidly to something more sinister.

My companion was undaunted and smiled away as if the dream sun was still glowing brightly. He put his hand to the small of my back to get me to moving. He lead me towards the door. “Come now, shouldn’t keep my little contraption waiting, should we?” but a small note of nervousness was betraying his calm.

“What the hells going on?” but he doesn’t hear me. The wind was blowing so furiously that it ripped the words from my lips the moment they rolled off my tongue. Beyond that the thunder still raged. “But I just got here…” I whisper. It was too soon to have such distractions.

My muse has no time for the growing darkness and quickly ushers me through the door from that moment of dream reality to that place of dream unreality beyond the doorway. What awaits me on the other side of the door is something I find hard to put into words.

My muse tells me he’s created a machine that creates music, but this is no simple musical instrument. This massive thing is a beast of distorted proportions. It is hard for me to get a sense of what I’m looking at and what pieces of the machinery are meant to power its workings and what pieces are the things that make music. It also seems to be moving in a slight and subtle fashion that played tricks on the mind. I wasn’t sure if I was mesmerized or terrified by the thing.

“What in the unholy world have you created my muse?” I whispered.

My muse beams over my reaction and moves towards his creation. There is a strange moment as he moves towards this thing when the nature of predictable movement and perspective are turned over. The illusion is so very brief I can’t be sure I saw it or if I imagined it. In that moment the muse was suddenly bigger than his machine. He towered over it like it was little more than a music box at his feet. Then roles were reversed and he was so tiny as to look as though he were standing next to a monolith.

“What the?” I manage to say before an extreme sensation of vertigo hits me square between the eyes. I wobble this way and that and find myself at the edge of the door, falling to the ground. My fall triggered an avalanche. I couldn’t see the weighty green things as they fell down around me until the rampage stopped. I opened my eyes to see myself buried in green apples, in a volume I’d never seen before—not even at the fruit market.

“Good Lord! I feel like I’m in the damn Yellow Submarine movie! Please tell me I’m not about to turn to stone!”

My muse hurried back to me, trying very hard not to laugh at the pile of artist and apples. I moved my hands with a violent thrust back and forth sending produce flying everywhere.

“Is this suppose to be a statement?”

He chuckled. “Just a little one. No one ever listens anyway.”

He nervously stepped around me and peered through the open doorway. The world on the other side was black and violent sounding as the storm got up a full head of steam. Very gingerly he pushed the open door closed, effectively silencing the storm on the other side. “Actually it’s more of an alarm system for me.” He turned the knob on the door handle to lock it. “There are a few people roaming around these unreal parts that I don’t wish to share my music with. Now, let me introduce you to my wonderful creation.”

My muse offers me his hand and helps me to my feet, then he’s off. His very long legs are taking steps that I can’t keep up with. I’m still not sure that I want to get close to this inorganic beast of a thing. Perhaps the machine sensed this. It was changing from what I had originally seen to something more elaborate but attractive. It was looking more like a museum of classical instruments and pipe organs had been swept up into a tornado and spit back onto the ground. It was less beast and more musical sculpture.

Nervously I followed the path my muse had set off on in front of me. I came around the side of the massive thing and found my muse standing at a grand keyboard. It appeared to be the place to control and play this thing. He gave it a quick look over before moving to a platform that nearby. I joined him there.

At the heart of the platform was a large table with several rolled up scrolls and a ton of wispy pieces of tracing paper carelessly spread out. On each piece of paper there was a small diagram of technical notes. I’m not sure I could have made much sense out of them if they had been set down in proper order. They were most intimidating in this chaotic pattern.

Among the scrolls on the table there was one that had instructions for building me written on the end. Curiosity had me and my muse was busy picking up pieces of tracing paper and setting them here and there. It was like he was trying to put together a puzzle that only he knew what it was meant to look like. I used his distraction to take the old scroll in hand so that I might spy a look.

Carefully I rolled the sides of the scroll outward and watched as a breathtaking series of directions and illustrations were presented. What I saw drawn out there might have been the beast before me, but only in its skeletal form. This baby had had some major alterations from the original piece. I reached out and tugged at my muse’s sleeve to get his attention. “Did you read this?”

He looked up from his puzzle solving, absently glancing at the unrolled scroll. He shrugged his shoulders.

“No, not really.” he confessed. “I did like most people do when following instructions and ignored much of the text and followed the diagrams. Besides, I wasn’t quite sure what the language was.”

He might have said what language it wasn’t, for surely there were ten tongues set to print on this one scroll. Here there was the words fait accompli, and there afer ventus. Another word was in Hebrew and then a paragraph that looked like the Gaelic language. It was like so many different hands from all over stopped for but a moment to offer a bit of direction to the original author.

I looked over at my muse. “So you have no name for your invention?” I asked.

He shook his head, his attention still absorbed by his pieces of paper. “No, I haven’t.”

“Do you have any idea who made this design? I mean, aren’t you curious what the original author’s intent for this thing was? Perhaps they had a name for it. Naming it might make it a little less… intimidating.”

This actually drew his attention away from his paper moving. He set his hands to the table top and resting against his outstretched fingers. His eyes slowly moved over the machine before him before coming to rest on the massive keyboard at its heart.

“I’m not sure I have time to be worried about the original inventor’s intent. His naming of this thing would be irrelevant too. Whatever he intended to create it is not sitting here before us now. This is my invention and credit for it is solely given to me.”

“So then, do you have a name for it?” It seemed silly to keep at this one question, but I really felt I needed to know the name of this thing. In all of my dreaming worlds names held great power. Without a proper name it was as though this mysterious invention had the potential of being threatening with no means to protect against it.

Slowly my muse shook his head. “Hadn’t stopped to think of one.” Rather nervously he cast a look back over his shoulder at the locked door. “I was rather more worried about getting it done before being interrupted.”

“I would be tempted to say you should name it for yourself, but to tell you the truth…” my words faltered for a moment. There were a few glaring realities about my muse’s invention. “I don’t think this thing will ever utter a series of notes anyone would want to dance to. Maybe one of your sibling’s names might be very fitting though.”

“And which one would that be?”

I had to smile when I said it. “Polyhymnia. She sang hymns to the gods.” It just seemed like something very fitting given the nature of the beast. This would be the instrument to offer up a melodic sound to the gods. Not the angels or cherubs, demigods or shamans, but the very gods themselves, whose ears could hear infinity.

He laughed softly and nodded “Yes, yes, that might be fitting, but it doesn’t really role off the tongue does it?”

I shrugged. “Neither does bastardized child of a bad one night stand between a megalith and an organ. I think you should take whatever could be considered slightly fitting, or slightly pretty at least when written out.”

He wasn’t listening again and neither did I blame him. I was not so musically inclined, except for the fact I enjoyed to listen to it beyond any other pleasure in the world. I could see his growing fascination and pleasure in this contraption set before him. And because of my love of music I could at least—in part—relate to what he was feeling. Take my sex from me, my faith, hope and religion, but leave me with my ears for hearing the sounds of melody, harmony and rhythm. Even the maddening sample of a bee’s hive set to the drone of Reznor’s pleading.

So, not to allow myself the chance to become more intimidated by this thing, I looked back towards the open scroll sitting on this alter. It really did feel like an alter too. The longer I was in that place the more I felt like I was at the center of a religious spectacle.

I ran my hands over the wrinkled parchment, taking in the water spots and the soft erosion of time in places. There was something simple and beautiful about a sheet of well made paper, especially when it was allowed to age and gain character. It was such a wonderful thing to feel underneath my fingertips.

As I mulled over this idea, my hands worked themselves over the paper till a small gap in a spot by chance opened up to me. In all the areas the paper was written upon in text, someone had painfully separated the very thin top paper layer from the equally thin bottom layer. Small windows were worked into the parchment and upon carefully opening them up I found faint writing. A clear hand writing in old English, with the lightest touch of ink to the paper so it wouldn’t be dark enough to show through. It felt like I’d found the scroll’s heart (or hearts) and that heart gave up its secret.

As I made my discovery my muse had wandered off to the keyboard of the beast. He was looking over the various knobs and buttons. His hands moved over the individual keys but never dipped low enough to touch them. I think perhaps he was just trying to figure out if his new toy was turned on or if there was something more he had to do before he could sit down to it. Then he happened to remember and take notice of a series of keys that were in strange locks over a side panel next to the keyboard. He moved to start turning keys.

I read and he tinkered away. For a short while the only thing to be heard was the sound of keys clicking and paper rattling. I barely noticed as a slight hum began to come off of the musical monolith. I’m too engrossed in putting the message written in the hidden scroll windows together. When enlightenment came to me it struck my muse with as equal a force. An answer and an answer, only they should have canceled one another out. Somewhere beyond the locked closed door the roar of thunder could be heard.

“I don’t think you should play that thing….” I say in a very small voice, but even if I had been yelling it was already too late.

The composer found his own muse and instinct carried him the rest of the way. He hit a final knob and pushed and pulled a strange brass device that sent soft vibrations of the machine into a far more massive vibration of sound and movement. When he put his fingers to the keys something beyond notes came out.

I stumbled backwards, away from it, trying to regain my balance enough to reach for the scroll and take hold of it. The rumbling of the musical engine knocked the table right off its feet. It toppled over and sent the pieces of tracing paper into the air. All around me it was snowing little diagrams and doodles. I couldn’t see through this paper shower to where the scroll had fallen to.

The scroll had been carried away by the vibrations rattling the ground. The apples too were moving. The apples looked like a little green army of round, featureless soldiers storming towards me. The scroll slipped beneath them as they marched on and I lost sight of it. I had to rush into the mist of bouncing sea of green and fling apples in every direction to make enough of a clear path to get the scroll. As quickly as I removed an apple another one bounced into its place, this caused my actions to become more frenzied.

The movement of the ground was increasing in violence: Like the vibrations of the beast was sending its poison into the very earth below, infecting it like a virus. I fell to my knees and crawled, getting bruised by the produce that bounced off me everywhere. I’m not sure what was written on the scroll would be able to help turn things around, it just seemed like a good idea to not lose it. Finally I felt it beneath the apples and was able to rescue it from the green hoard.

As I looked over my shoulder I was struck with the horrific realization that all of this fuss had come from just a few keys pressed to make one chord. The look on my muse’s face was near maniacal now and I knew he was about to get to the act of playing in earnest. He stretched out his arms and brought his hands together to crack his knuckles. Then his fingers moved to the keys and the real concert began.

Dust flew from the beast’s pipes and sockets as a silvery smoke jumped from the tight chords as the organ keys fell against them. It took a little rumbling to get all the construction dust off of the musical monolith, but once all the dust and clutter was shaken off that thing truly came alive.

I lay back on the ground, clutching the scroll to my chest and simply tried to ride out the composer’s developing song. It was like being on one of those hotel beds, where I’d offered it a quarter and now it was buzzing and bumping around for me. Yet this was no soft humming bed and the ride it was giving was doing nothing short of scaring the living hell out of me. Were this not a place in the unreality, the reality of what was going on in that place would have shaken me to death or at the very least caused me to wet my pants.

And that idea allowed me a moment to laugh. With my laugh came consequences.

The machine snatched the sound from my lips and pulled it into itself. It turned it over, pounded it, caressed it, spinning it till it was twisted into a note. That note shot out through one of the shorter pipes and sank back towards the ground to fall over me. With it I became the laugh; light and happy. It felt good. I relaxed and opened my ears.

This strange invention of my muse’s was so much more than a monstrosity meant to make noise. Perhaps the twist was in thinking the original design was meant to be anything actually musical in nature. What had those hidden words said?

They read: As I realize in design my revelation I know it not meant a thing for the experience of man. Even as I cannot destroy that which I have drawn out, I can’t bear the idea of it being truly crafted. When temptation saw me setting aside my apprehension to move to build, the Eumenides came within the storm and warned me away. Now I can only hide away this warning within my designs. Do not build this. Do not let it see the world .

Hefty words. What would those original designs for this machine have built? And how had that original design been warped into an unsettling second type of life by my muse’s changes? What effect would this dreamscape have on it? And what would it do to the dreaming? Would what was born here slowly find its way beyond my muse’s secret little place of unreality?

I don’t know if I would be given a chance to answer those questions. A deeper revelation was being offered to anyone listening. It was twisted up in the unearthly song the beast was now singing through its mechanical works.

I came to find soon after that this monster was more than a music maker. I was right on only one account —there would be no dancing to it because the person listening would not be able to dance. The sheer thrill of it would crumple them into a tiny ball; falling into the fetal position like falling back into the womb. It might be the soft hum of a mother’s voice speaking to the unborn babe, it might have been the lullaby of a ghost singing to the grandchild it never met. It might have been the sound of sex a person had always fantasized about but never felt. It might actually suck the soul out of a person through their ears, manipulate it the way it did my laugh and thrust it back into the body to become a living piece of music.

And then I realized…
Too much, it was way too much to stand.

It was at all moments all things… the most beautiful of classical compositions and yet the angriest of screams set to chords. The thunder high above carrying the beat of a small child’s voice as she sang a nursery rhythm. All intertwining to create something that made the body’s emotions react. Only they were trying to express all emotions, all at once, and it threatened to overload my delicate and oh so fragile human nerves.

What a way to fall to ruin though. Maybe upon my demise it would suck me in and push me back out into the world as something that could be heard rather than seen. I liked the very idea of it. So I didn’t fight it, but let my system relax and enjoy of it what I could before all sensory response in my dream body shut-down.

I looked back at the muse and his invention, seeing them both through a haze. There was something not quite solid growing between us. It seemed to me I was looking at a moving picture, as if it was composing a scene to accompany the sound. This scene looked like a child adorned in gauze and silks, sitting in a blanket of feathers and pearls. She was playing with a small glass doll, whose painted face was somewhat cruel though painted elegantly. She was humming a melancholy tune that I heard over top of the machine’s roar. I could see beyond her, through her, to the creator at his canvas. His arms moving wildly as he strived to keep up with his own sprawling musical creation. For a moment it reminded me of a scene from my beloved Phantom of the Opera. The lovelorn Phantom sat at his organ madly creating his compositions the sweet Christine would later sing to.

This got me to softly laughing again. Thinking of the real muse down in his basement studio, like the Phantom in his netherworld home beneath the opera house. I’ll have to remember to mail him a phantom mask when I wake up I say aloud and this got me to laughing even harder, till I thought I would curl up in pain. The machine sucked up my laughter and my words and spit them back at me. They moved through the hazy scene. I watched the opaque girl with her doll as her eyes followed my breath to the great beast. She changed her tune somewhat to mimic my unintentional addition to the music.

Then the ground really rocked. For a moment I thought my words had wreaked more havoc than this poor world could stomach. But it wasn’t my actions causing the stir but the pulling of the sky above. Like it had suddenly became liquid and some giant hand had been thrust into it, swirling the waters (and reality) with a slight motion. Even worse, bits of the sky above were being picked at, pulled back, torn like the unwrapping of a gift. There was something on the other side and right at this moment it was trying to pry its way in.

This gave me a good slap of clarity, a moment of clear thought to tune out the music and get to my feet. It was rough going but I haphazardly crossed the shaking ground between me and the composer’s bench. I stopped only once, as the hazy scene of the girl comes up to greet me. There is a brief hesitation before I pushed myself through it. It might have been my imagination, but I could swear that precious thing let out a small complaint as I pushed through her transparent world within this world. It bites at her for a moment before she goes back to her humming, this time a little more somber for the intimate intrusion.

The apples are still rolling everywhere underfoot. I think to myself that I will never again in my life touch a Granny Smith.

The patch of earth below the machine itself seemed to be ten times more unstable than anywhere else. I bounced this way and that way as I tried to maintain my balance and continue forward. Finally I get a hold of the back of my muse’s bench, hauling myself up to sit next to him; afraid I might topple over otherwise.

“You have to stop playing!” I shout, but he’s hopelessly deeper into the melody than I had become. It must have been countless times more potent to sit at this throne and be the deliverer of such blessed noise, but he needed to know the ultimate outcome of that noise.

I grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him around to face me. There is one moment, as my eyes lock with his, that I have a flash of sudden fear, or maybe—to be perfectly honest—jealousy. His eyes were washed over in a swirling pattern of colors and emotions I am not equipped to describe. Like he was filled head to toe with the very things I felt there on the ground. It was all passing through him to be sucked in and pushed out, tediously and precisely. This thing was leaving its notes, meter and words imprinted on his very tendons and muscles. It was frightening and at the same time an alluring thought.

My unwelcome intrusion pulled him from his daze. The colors pass and in their place his green eyes once again are looking back at me. He blinked for a moment, disoriented.

“What do you want? Don’t you like it?” he asked.

“Oh yes!” I shout over the din “I like it. I like it too much! My body’s gonna rattle apart out of liking it. You need to stop though! I found out what these plans are for!”

I set the plans down on the small shelf meant to hold sheet music. For one scary moment he looks as those he’s going to look upon the scroll like a sheet of music and attempt to play what is written there. It was easy to presume that would only double the trouble.

“Look at these translations beneath the others…” I flip back the small paper windows and point to the soft writing “The Eumenides were right! This is wrong! We shouldn’t be using this. It shouldn’t exist. It’s going to tear everything apart! You’re killing the dreamscape! It can’t keep up with this thing.”

He shook his head violently. “How can you say that?! This is beautiful. It’s not something that’s wrong. Listen to it.”

“I’d love to listen to it but…” and that but is the last thing I could get out as the sky is ripped from above us and the world below disappears into nothingness. At that moment I feel like nothing more important than a hamster in a box and a small child has come to play with me.

Then the instrument is fading from beneath us. Being taken away to a place we cannot go or at least a place our bodies can’t live in so long as their is breath in our lungs and energy going through our sleeping brains. The bench below becomes smoke and ash and there we’re left to stand as everything continues to fade into something that’s not white, or light, but a brilliant void ten times more vast than any words can express.

Exhilaration falls to fear, and the memory of what just happened—the music, the thunder, the girl and her doll—become vapor. Not even solid enough to be retained as a memory. And worse…. there’s somebody, or somebody’s in the vastness. I’d care not to say aloud who, or what, they were.

I couldn’t force myself to take a breath or move in any way. And though the butterflies often found my tummy in many situations, their former incarnations had woken up inside this time. A host of caterpillars moved up and down my spine. Little feet scurrying and furry bodies rubbing against my sensitive spinal nerves. The goose flesh came to my arms as a chill crept up my back. I watched in horror as the sky before me split open and spit forth something even more black than the black sky around it. This was not blackness, but nothingness, ten times denser than the void we stood in.

Three bodies were pressing forward in this dense nothingness. Around them was a flurry of pulled feathers and blood red sand. This was not a nightmare. This was the type of vision and sensation that one woke to a fractured soul from. It was terrifying and just a little bit absurd at the same time. This was only meant to be a little dream about a music box.

I whisper “I don’t mean to be too familiar, but can I hold you hand?”

And my muse replies even softer “I was just going to ask you the same.”

A moment later the blood circulation is cut off in our fingers as our grips are nothing short of holding on for dear life. Holding onto the last thing in this netherworld that truly is real and solid.

Finally our new guests begin their introductions and I can feel the blood coming from my ears as the sound of their voices is too great to bear…

The jarring sound of my phone brings me back. It was still sitting next to my keyboard. Still somewhat in my haze I answer it and immediately warm to the low female voice on the other end. The Fabulous Miss Blase calling to keep me up to date on her latest conquest. I am grateful for that familiar voice, but still I politely beg her to let me call her back when I’m less dazed.

My computer wallpaper has given up its view so the screen-saver can take over. On my screen a softly humming organic machine like train of art moves up and down. This is a not so pleasant image courtesy of H.G. Giger. I tip my mouse to make it go away. I close my media player as well. I didn’t need music right now. More than anything I wanted good and simple silence.

My eyes scan the computer screen. A number of cyber souls had crept up to say hello. A man interested in my art… a relative trying to draw a little green backed blood from me… a timer telling me I had been still on-line forty sum minutes, did I wish to remain on-line? I had less than ten minutes to respond.

No, I really did think it was about a good time to sign off, drop out, throw some ice on my head and curse my vivid imagination. But at the last moment another small window pops up and a familiar muse says “I see you.” To which I laugh.

I hammer the keys. “Do you have a moment? I’ve got a story for you.”

For Terpsichore… my muse.


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