Monday, 13 May 2013

Orphaned Hope




(this image and the word "Orphan" - writing prompts from Write on Edge
The characters are Gaston Leroux's and while I would normally eschew using someone else's characters, the two principals insisted that the prompts fit them perfectly and refused to allow me to apply the prompts to another subject. I am not foolish enough to refuse the polite requests of the Opera Ghost since they rarely remain long as polite requests.)



I should never have allowed myself to become distracted.

It is something that comes too naturally to me I am afraid.   Reality is a vice of pain and tedium; memories and hope alike turn the handle of the vice,  and so I prefer to let my mind wander and play in the celestial heights and infernal depths of imagination.  

I should have been content with demonic dreams.  Angelic aspirations have proven far worse.

Her voice entranced me.   A perfection of tone and a natural ease in its deployment.   I listened from the dusty fringes and glimpsed her and became… distracted.    I abandoned all usual reveries and my thoughts were all for her.  I learned of her life from the gossip of others and from correspondence cunningly removed and then returned.   She was Swedish, orphaned, daughter of a mediocre violinist whom she missed with a longing that pained me.

Only in music have I known longing like that.   As my fingers move over the keys of my spinet my imagination guides them and music flows.  It is a dance of creation and my mind supplies full accompaniment, and I poor wretch that I am simply adore the emerging perfection and long for the revelation of the whole.

Sometimes I deliberately insert a jarring discord.   To remind myself.

I can’t recall the beginning of the deception.   She yearned for an unseen hope.  Whether she first voiced the nonsense about angels or whether it was some twisted inspiration of mine I cannot say.   But I became her Angel of Music and did not dare think ahead to where that nonsense would end.

A thousand times I resolved to end it, to use silence like a surgeon’s knife to cut her free of me, and to cure myself of her.   But I longed for her company, her conversation, the simple joy she showed in knowing me.   A thousand times I resolved to end it.  A thousand and one times I crept back to be near her and greet her with a whispered word.

Last night the music made me reckless.   The dance of creation had soared into celestial grandeur and made me believe the impossible.   She loved me, she loved me, she loved me for my voice and my mind and my great heart.   All else she could overlook, the music told me, and fool that I was I listened to the music.

I greeted her with song and took her hand.   She recoiled and did not know why, but I did.   Angels are perfect and fleshless.   I could fool myself with dreams but she did not have my skill or experience in self-deception.

I calmed her and led her and exhaustion and shock dragged her into slumber in a room, a pretty room I had made for her.

And I played at my spinet and prayed to emptiness that the music could deceive me again.  It did not.    Reality was a rare visitor to my little house but it crept in now uninvited and screamed truth in my ear.    I would end this folly, return her to her life, and then trouble the world no longer with jarring discords.   I would weave words around her as I carried her home, and it would all have been a dream.

I did not hear the door to her room open.

I should never have allowed myself to become distracted.

20 comments:

  1. "Reality is a vice of pain and tedium; memories and hope alike turn the handle of the vice, and so I prefer to let my mind wander and play in the celestial heights and infernal depths of imagination."
    This is what I feel in reality!

    This is an amazing story.
    I too am too easily distracted, I fear.

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    1. Glad it struck a chord with you. :D

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  2. So beautifully crafted as always. LM x

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  3. what impresses me the most with your writing is the depth of thought. Very good work!

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  4. His is great as usual Thomas. You definitely have distinctive writing style.

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  5. Ok. So I read this days ago and have been trying to come up with a comment ever since, so forgive me if what follows is garbled.

    I loved many, many phrases and sections of this, and I thought there was a lovely dreamlike quality as if I was listening to someones internal reaction to music, or to music itself talking, especially because of this line: "A thousand times I resolved to end it, to use silence like a surgeon’s knife to cut her free of me, and to cure myself of her."

    I certainly would have kept reading, even if only to find out what the distraction was even though I have to confess that I have no tangible idea what is actually happening in the story.

    I agree with Sam that you have such a distinctive style, a Gothic quality that I adore and return for and this was of course very much in the vein of that, especially with the choice of the spinet, rather than a piano.

    And I loved this line: Reality was a rare visitor to my little house but it crept in now uninvited and screamed truth in my ear.
    In part because that is actually how I feel most of the time.

    Ok. I'm done rambling and writing the most bizarre comment of all time.

    I found this haunting, lovely and dangerous.

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    1. Thank you - that is a wonderful comment and I love the feedback you've given me, it's a real encouragement to me. I did leave a lot of the actual "plot" unspoken, more or less deliberately as I wanted to focus on the mental state of the narrator (which is not entirely stable, alas, most of the time) but what is being re-told here from a new and internal viewpoint is the prelude to the unmasking scene in Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera" (the novel, and definitely not the 2004 movie abomination). It sounds as though my piece worked to an extent as a standalone, but if you want/need to have the backstory to wrap around it than that information should be the key to unlock the scene. Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

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  6. What a beautiful, haunting story. Reality can be so difficult! No wonder he wanted a distraction.

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    1. Indeed so - thank you so much for the feedback

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  7. Beautiful and tantalizing. It worked as a stand alone for me, but I am familiar with the story and the score from the play kept tugging at a corner of my mind, hope you don't mind that.

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    1. How could I mind? I love the story myself, and the musical version (not the accursed sequel though *spits* ). I'm glad the story worked for you as a standalone too, and I hope you can see how it could represent his turmoil during this scene.

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  8. Ahh, Bravo. You know, I never cared for this story. Not once. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a brilliant job bringing it to the stage, I think, but only in that the story lent itself well to music.

    I like what you did with it. The ghost has a human quality here that I don't think existed before. So, yes, Bravo. Bravo indeed.

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    1. *bows* You're very kind, thank you. I've always liked the story but have occasionally thought that none of the versions, not even the original novel, live up to the story which is a fairly odd thing to think.

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  9. I love the Phantom of the Opera! In fact, I've adored it since I was eight. :) The Phantom is my favourite character, and I love that you wrote it from his point of view. Poor guy. IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!!

    Mime, link-up-blog-hopping from the Notebooksisters

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    1. I'm glad you liked the piece - I've always felt a sympathy for Erik, without turning a blind eye to his murderous insanity :D

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  10. I really enjoyed this look into Erik's mind. It's one of my favorite stories, though I think your comment about the original novel itself not even living up to the story is so astute. Your language and world setting is impeccable; your writing style fits the story perfectly.

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    1. I'm really glad you liked it and thought it fit the character - that was my hope. Writing Erik comes a little too easily which should be alarming I suppose :P

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