Uptown Mosaic Magazine


Music Box

October 11, 2012 by Christopher Hinsley in Fiction

“They say that just beyond your sight, where the nocturne mist settles against the cooling earth, is a city…” She said through cracked lips. “They say that if you walk deep into the fog at night, you might find them dancing and singing, but only if you can hear them…” She closed her eyes and listened. Silence surrounded them. Beautiful silence.

“They say that when you find them, they will play for you the most alluring
music…” Between her ashen hands sat a small, worn box. The paint long ago lost its beauty, now just sits as a shadow against the bleaching wood. “They say that only a few people have ever heard their music, and only a few ever will…” With quivering, skeletal hands, she raised the box; just enough to find the small crank key hiding underneath the indented bottom. Click-click-click. Click-click-click. Click-click-click. Click-click-click.

“She rested the exhausted mechanism back on the table and pealed the lid open, against the protests of the rusted hinges. Two broken feet stood on a platform of copper and gold, two small ballet flats in paled rose. As they spiraled, the worn gears moved and sang the only song they knew into the still bedroom. “They say that this is their song, but I don’t want to believe them… This cannot be their song…” He stared into the deep recesses of her eyes, watching them glow against the darkness. “This song… This is my song…” She closed her eyes again
and listened to the slow melody play. “They would never let me hear their song…”

“He watched her breathe. He watched how each time her chest rose, her eyes tightened in the pain. “Just listen to it…” She said. “Just… listen…” And he did. He closed his eyes and listened. Each note tiptoed through his ears, gracefully moving around him as not to disturb the harmony they brought. “Can you hear it? This cannot be their music…”

He kept listening to that gentle air, feeling the wind caressing his skin in tune with each pluck. He let the sounds wash over him and trickle down his flesh as rain would a window, sliding until it reached the bottom where it pooled and collected every other drop. “I hear it…” He said in a hushed tone. “I hear them…” A smile, small and content, stretched his lips as he bathed in the music. “Can you hear them?”

“Silence. Beautiful silence.

“They sat and listened to the silence. The whole world slept while they waited for the music. One… Two… Three… Four… They listened. One… Two… Three… Four… They heard.

“Though the gears finished their piece long ago, the song still played on in his heart. The air seemed to take on the melody and played it against the cool around them. “Grandma… Do you hear them?” Mute words on deaf ears.

“He opened his eyes to the night world of his grandmother’s bedroom. She lay in her bed, calm, still, almost sleeping. She smiled and stared at the ceiling. “I do…”


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