Friday, June 3, 2011

"It's amazing what a little harmony'll do."

The sounds were not mere sounds.  I don't have words to explain.  Maybe no one does.  The sounds touched a part of me I'd long forgotten.  The sounds made me think of Aguella.  Of home.  Of the stars and the sun and the clouds and of all the beauty, sadness, joy, and laughter I'd ever known.

Menno/Father finished playing and the creatures in the audience emitted honking vocalizations that seemed especially harsh in contrast with the sounds of Menno's instrument.

"Your turn," Menno said.

I placed my lips as I'd seen him do, and my hands as he had done.  And I made sounds.  But not the sounds he had made.  Mine were harsh and grating and contemptible in my own ears.

And yet, I could hear, even there, even in my own incoherence, the seed of something.  Something.

The audience favored me with stony silence.

"That's game."  Menno laughed.

"What is this game, Father?"

"These creatures are called the Unemites.  They are not space-faring.  I happened to draw a Skrit Na freighter into my web--useless species, the Skrit Na--and aboard their ship they had a Unemite captive."

"The game, Father.  What is it called?"

"They call it music."

"I can never hope to win," I said.  "I beg you, Father: Release me.  I don't want to play it again."

He refused.  Of course I knew he would.  And I knew this about Father:  His one weakness was his cruelty.  I could use that.  He would force me to play this game a thousand times.

* * *

The hundredth game.  But the ten thousandth time I had played it in my mind, all alone.  The instrument, the adge, as the Unemites called it, had scarcely been out of my thoughts.

The adge had become a part of me.  It was inside me, in my brain, and even if Father ended the game, he could never take the adge from me, never take music from me, never.  I owned it.  I had become it.  And now, this game, the hundredth, I would show him.

--K.A. Applegate, The Ellimist Chronicles, pp. 124-125, 126

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