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Phạm's Etude

Posted on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 @ 7:22pm by Lieutenant Commander Chlamydia Addams

Mission: Unity Week
Location: The Addams House

On that evening, as the holographic sun neared the landscaped horizon, were you to take a walk through the Queen Anne Villas, you would see a group of children playing squareball in the street, an older woman weeding her garden by hand, a young couple strolling hand-in-hand and talking about nothing in particular. These sights might fill you with warmth, and perhaps, if you were the introspective type, with gratitude for the United Federation of Planets and its ideals of equality and siblinghood.

As you reached the end of the street, however, that feeling might cool. The house which stood there was subtly different, in a state of untended decay. The lot was larger, and the fence... the fence was not the white picket some of the other houses affected, but black metal that had begun to rust in the early-morning rain the landscapers programmed. Behind the fence, a hedge grew to waist height, and had not been trimmed in far too long: branches, bare of leaves, reached out past the fence, as if attempting to grasp passers-by. Were those tiny hands predatory or pleading for assistance?

A tree, dead and bare of leaves, stood in the yard behind the hedge. Now, in the gloaming, its branches were filled with a murder of crows, mantling and preening their blackly iridescent wings. Strangely, creepily, they were silent, even as they turned their beady black eyes to watch passers-by hurry along the cobblestone street beyond the fence.

If you were not hurrying to pass the house, the fence, the hedge, the crows, you might have heard music. A violin... no; a viola. It played a mournful tune of minor chords. Behind the lead, a piano... no; a harpsichord. The harpsichord mostly acted as rhythm, all the notes played on the left end of the keyboard. Even a child could play the line with one hand.

If you were an aficionado of Terran classical music, you might recognize the piece as Phạm's etude, composed in the twenty-third century of that world's current era, during the composer's mauve period, while she mourned the death of her grandmother. It was sad and evoked feelings of loss; a sort of cherry-blossom feel as on the third day of viewing, when the petals come loose and drift down from the trees at three meters per second.

If you stood there long enough, you might notice a light come on in one of the upstairs windows, and then another. And as the piece finished, there would be silence until the crows suddenly erupted in caws, followed a moment later by their explosion from the dead tree in a whir of wings, their passage over your head into the dark woods at your back. And then, you would notice that the sun had set, and you stood in a pool of darkness far from the nearest street lamp. And then, dear reader, you would almost certainly hurry on your way.


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Comments (2)

By Jade Lantz on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 @ 4:47am

What fabulous mood setting!

By Colonel Horatio Drake on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 @ 9:43am