Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/8/16

Still, I Have Been Heard
By E.S. Wynn


When I drop into the construct, I embrace an old and familiar paradigm.

The road is the first thing to roll out before me. Unfolding, opening, it blossoms with the rough details of weathered paint and pitted asphalt gone gray with decades of neglect. Resolution sharpens, and I can see the individual grains of ground gravel, the tiny shards of rounded quartz flashing back with dull light. To either side of the road, sticks of dead weeds and reeds and the dry tendrils of papery grass creep out from the unkempt curb, chew up the edges of the asphalt as they try to reclaim what was once nature's. Beyond them, beyond the rusty, loose-hanging twists of barbed wire and posts eaten by insects and age, sprawling fields of procedurally generated, hip-high pasture grass come into focus, start to sway as the animations kick in patch by patch. Overhead, the sky adjusts its hue by degrees, finally settles on a shade of blue that feels right, feels like spring, like the skies over the family ranch on the planet where I was born.

The asphalt feels warm beneath my feet, radiates heat in exactly the way I remember. Reaching out, I adjust the sun, drag it to my left, toward the purples and reds of twilight, set it just above a nest of brooding, blue-black stormclouds. The sky darkens in turn, and as I close my eyes, a single thought brings the familiar rattle and hum of a freight train clattering down the tracks in the distance. I smile, soak in the sounds, the little chitters and whistles of birds, the gusting knots of hovercars soaring over the highway that runs parallel to the train tracks. I soak in the sounds, and when I open my eyes–

When I open my eyes, that is when the music begins to play.

It starts with the low, soul-stirring tones of a single cello. The notes roll through the ground, through my arms, through my heart. A single gesture, automatic, and the voice of a violin rises to meet it. Like old friends, they mingle in song, dance together, chase and weave through the air. I look to the sky as they move, my arms rising, hands and fingers getting caught up in the notes, guiding them, leading them, pulling them like strings. With confident, precise, expansive gestures, I set up patterns for the instruments to follow, and then I set them free, reach out with one hand and call forth the first few key-taps of a piano. Conservative, simple. Those are the parameters I set for the piano, leave it to its own devices. I've worked with the program behind the piano before, know how even, how careful he is with his notes.

Listening to his work, the way it supports the playful flux and flow of the stringed instruments with a minimum of variation of its own makes me smile, moves me. Like an earthbound god, I reach into the sky, reach out around me, spin the sounds of birdsong and the rushing of hoversedans into synthesizer whistles and rattles.

The road moves beneath my feet as I will it to. The world blurs, and within the space of a breath, I find myself at the fenceline, my hair like a river of fire flying out behind me. The blue-purple distances call to me, call a voice from the depths of me that is all heat and brass, loud and resonant. My lungs thunder with air and spirit and pour everything gathered within the vault of my chest into those blue distances, into the construct as a soaring, wordless tapestry of sound. An instrument of emotion I have become, and as I close my eyes against all that is blossoming and brewing and bursting forth from within me, I hear the instruments I have called into being soar beside me, rise and rattle and howl along with my pain, my joy, all that I love and all that I lament. The programs behind the violin and the cello stir me to greater and greater heights, follow me even as the piano breaks
form, follows us into the sky, splits and multiplies and becomes a chorus of chaotic key-tone voices that come together, harmonize, then fly apart again just as quickly.

A storm whips up around us, around our whirlwind of soaring sounds, and then I'm in the sky, in among the clouds, arms wide and welcoming. Drums come with the crack of thunder. Lightning lances through the darkening sky, bridges earth and the swirling clouds above in vein-columns filled with blinding, liquid fire. Like a lens, the roiling heavens open for me, center me in the eye of a storm of pure emotion. Every breath is filled with the songs of vibrating strings, the crash and chaos of a dozen
pianos dueling as often as they harmonize. Tossed on winds which scream and howl past me, I twist and turn in the pummeling bass beat thrown off by the storm, the staccato hammer and flash of thunder and lightning. My voice fills the void above me, becomes a tangible force that bends the clouds to my command, and my eyes go wide with the force of the song flying from my lungs.

I am the air. I am the wind. Even as I ride into the sky, I ride on wings of music, on wings that shake me to my very singing core. My fingers splay against the darkness, and as I shake the last rain of song from my desperate lips, I close my eyes again, hear all of my instruments come together as one to catch me, hold me, carry me as I fall feather-soft from the heavens, completely spent of fire, completely spent of joy and pain.

And as I descend back to the road, the song softens, stretches out and slows to become something smoother, meandering toward a close. My eyes open, and above me, I see the clouds rolling back, boiling away to reveal clear sky again, with only the moon staring back at me, calcium-white, like the pupil of an eye that stretches from horizon to horizon.

My feet settle on the sun-warmed asphalt without sound, and as the last note of the cello chases the final breath of the violin, I turn toward the road, toward the endless road, and toward all of the ears fixed to the feed streaming out toward the galactic east. And as the clapping begins and the construct loses resolution around me, I dip into a long, elegant bow, smile a little with the knowledge that I have entertained, that without speaking– still, I have been heard.


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E.S. Wynn is the author of over fifty books in print. During the last decade, he has worked with hundreds of authors and edited thousands of manuscripts for nearly a dozen different magazines. His stories and articles have been published in dozens of journals, zines and anthologies. He has taught classes in literature, marketing, math, spirituality and guided meditation. Outside of writing, he has worked as a voice-over artist for several different horror and sci-fi podcasts, albums and ebooks.

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