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The Bright Future (standard:drama, 1569 words)
Author: ArdvecheAdded: Nov 16 2000Views/Reads: 3897/1597Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young man trapped by the expectations of others in a life he hates finds a way out.
 



The Bright Future 

---------- 

"Think of your future," the stern, familiar admonishment rang in his
ears as he slumped slowly forward; but he no longer cared what it said. 
 As his breathing became harsher and more laboured his mind began to 
drift. 

---------- 

Seated on a stool in his grand-mother's crumbling edifice of a home
before her huge, ancient, black and sepulchral piano - so beloved in 
his early memories.  It is his fifth Christmas and his family stand 
around him.  Waiting.  Coughing nervously, he calls to mind what his 
grandmother has taught him and begins to play, gingerly at first but 
with gathering confidence.  The music he plays is soft and sweet and 
issues forth in stark contrast to the battered engine of its creation.  
Under his skilful fingers the notes take shape and wash gently over his 
audience seeming to hypnotise them, causing rapture to spread slowly 
across their faces like so many dawns.  Heartened, he plays on.  This 
is what it was for.  This is the reason why he has worked for so many 
hours under his grandmother's inexpert tutelage.  Now, though, there is 
nothing more she can teach him. 

To give so much to others was worth anything, this was the first step on
the road to something great.  To a bright future. 

---------- 

"Think of your future," the words echoed hollowly around his brain,
tinged this time with a new desperation.  He slumped further. 

---------- 

Now eight, he is seated before the gaping toothy maw of another black
piano. This one not in the home of his grandmother but in a 
conservatoire hundreds of miles from home. Enrolled by his parents at 
the age of six, with barely time for the notes of his debut concert to 
fade.  They foresee for him a bright future as a pianist, a view echoed 
by all those around him and re-iterated time and again in their 
infrequent letters, which he scans hungrily.  He shares their dream, 
how could he not? 

He plays as his teachers urge him on.  He plays until his fingers and
wrists and heart ache with the effort.  He gives life to the music, he 
gives it all that he has.  He is, for a while, at one with the music, 
he feels the pain, the anguish, the agony in the notes.  He turns the 
black marks on the paper into tender caresses and with the same hands 
vicious wounds, giving voice to a language that by-passes all sensory 
perception and communicates intimately and directly with the soul.  
Forming a kind of intangible synergy with the dark wood, moulding it to 
his will.  His teachers tell him, his parent's letters tell him and now 
he tells himself that what he is doing here, so far from his home, his 
family and his friends, is building a future for himself.  A bright 
future. 

---------- 

"Think of your future," the voice a whine that scraped at his nerves. 
The voice took on a face, a grinning face; his mother.  The face 
swirled and was replaced by another; his father, changing again; his 
grandmother (a mistake, serving only to reinforce his will).  Again and 
again, a dizzying swirl of images, of well meaning faces all bearing 
the same message.  He sank further, his strength draining away. 

---------- 

Seated on a stool, on a stage in a concert hall, a sea of expectant
faces gazing up at him, each one an empty vessel waiting for him to 
fill them; to give yet more of himself. Beneath his shaking, sweating 
hands the keys, fang-like.  They grin up at him, an evil, malevolent 
grin framed by black, wooden lips.  A demon promising riches, fame, 
happiness, success in return for.  In return for what?  He did not yet 
know, but suspicions, half-formed ideas and half-recalled memories were 


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