Friday, May 4, 2012

Festival

Let's play a game.

Take a dream, set it to a song, and go.

--

I'll go first:
Flying over field and forest, dancing with [insert a boy's name] in Africa after telling him his clarinet playing is out of place 10/7/11
Song: "Summertime Sadness" by Lana del Ray

Note: I don't remember this dream at all. Time to let my characters do the talking. Contains slight spoilers for the GW story.

--

"May I have this dance?"

Thaddeus scowled, and his clarinet made a sound like a duck. Melusine looked at him sideways, then out on to the dancing floor where Amy was grinning shyly and taking Gunter's proffered hand.

"Certainly," she said, in her usual matter-of-fact voice. But she was blushing, or seemed to be. Thaddeus told himself that it was because in the Lion Country, even nights were hot in the summer.

He forced his eyes away from the two of them, back to his sheet music. The sixteenth notes that greeted him were unwelcome, but better these than the sight of Amy swirling around the dance floor on Gunter's arm. That sight would only make him angry, and Gunter was a friend, Thaddeus didn't want to want to punch him.

They finished one song, and began another, and then another: a lively song that invited twirling and jumping. The drums took an extended solo - Thaddeus thought he could do better - and he could not keep his eyes away.

He also could not deny that Gunter and Amy had been dancing together for three songs in a row, unless they'd switched in the second song. But he didn't think they had. And they were still smiling at each other, still laughing.

By the Fire Wife, she was beautiful when she laughed.

Andreas elbowed him and mouthed, "one measure left". He brought the clarinet back up, and played his part perfect, perfect, perfect. After all, he could do some things right, even though a lot of things he got very wrong.

One last song finished the set. Music started up from the east corner of the field: a brass quartet, with a trombonist who was nowhere near as good as Amy. Thaddeus closed his music folder and tucked it under his arm, then gave his clarinet over to Melusine so he could take the stands back. He didn't look at the dance floor.

In the musician's tent, he put everything right where it was supposed to be. Normally, he'd leave the stands in a cluster right at the entrance, and throw his folder somewhere in the vicinity of his jacket. But tonight he lined everything up, put his clarinet away as soon as Melusine handed it over to him again, and even put his music back in order.

Anything to delay.

"Are you going back out?" asked Andreas. His two cases were open on the table in front of him and, with the briskness of a Goldberg machine, he put his instruments away as chaotically efficient as possible.

Thaddeus pretended to consider it. "No."

Andreas nodded. Melusine looked as though she was about to say something, but Thaddeus was glad when she didn't. The drummer shrugged and said, "I'm going. Got my eye on a girl who I'm eighty percent sure isn't a Gelfionite. I'll tell you how it goes later." He walked out jauntily.

In the silence of the drummer's departure, Thaddeus could feel his friends looking at him. He didn't meet their eyes. It was a hot night, and outside the skillfully laid wards he could hear the drone of mosquitoes. The torches lit the dance floor with their brilliance, but in the musician's tent there was only a small lamp.

After a long pause, Andreas said, "I think I'll go too. For the pastries, though, not the dancing." He clicked the clasp shut on his flute case and left.

Melusine set her case upright and sighed. Thaddeus knew she was going to say something, now. It took her a moment, though, and then she said only, "You'll be all right" before she, too, left him alone.

The tent-flap swung shut, shut out the light and the music. In the dimness, he stood with his hands on the table to either side of his open case. A faint breeze rippled the sides of the tent, and the image of Amy and Gunter dancing together lingered in his mind: their clasped hands. Her smile. He repeated Melusine's words to himself: "You'll be all right."

A moment passed. Then, his hands convulsed, fists before relaxing to claws. The lamp flared up: the flames shot straight through and around the metal lid, then retreated just as quickly leaving only the lamp glowing dull, red, angry.

Thaddeus slammed shut his clarinet case. He took a deep breath, and gave up trying to master himself. In a few long strides, he crossed the tent and threw back the exit away from the dance floor.

The night, he thought, would be kinder.

--

As I finish writing this it is nearly midnight. Certainly this could use some revising.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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