|The Bright Future (standard:drama, 1569 words)|
|Author: Ardveche||Added: Nov 16 2000||Views/Reads: 5067/2424||Story 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 Click here to read the rest of this story (107 more lines)
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