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Rays of Silence.
“Jasper,” I shouted up the staircase, “Where is my flute? I precisely remember leaving it in your room!” Silence filled the house, for we were alone. Father was at his office, as usual, until eight pm. Jasper and I were often left alone in the house far into the evening hours. Ever since Father got his recent promotion, he hardly has time for us. I like to think of Jasper as my guardian because it seems I spend the most time with him.
“Uh…,” Jasper hesitated. I was anxious. How would I be able to master Mozart’s Flute Concerto in D major without practice? “Well…you see…” He fiddled with his hands, not making eye contact with me. His shoulders were subtly hunched.
“Jasper, where is it?” I demanded once again, unaware the level of my voice was increasing.
“I threw it out,” He shrieked, “By accident!” He quickly added before running back into his room and slamming the door behind him with a loud bang. My jaw dropped in astonishment. How? Why? I was an elephant dashing up the stairs. My only feelings were purely disbelief.
“Well… it somehow ended up in the backpack with the ink blotch. I threw it out because it would not come out in the wash. I was unaware your flute was in it.” He exhaled loudly. “Sorry.” I felt the anger welling up inside me. Fury spread through my veins like a sudden release of Novocain. My anger paralyzed me in place. I could not move.
When I finally collected the pieces of my scattered thoughts, I shouted a phrase that I would regret for the rest of my life.
“I wish music never existed!” I screamed. My heart was heavy and swollen with rage. How something so precious could be handled in such a careless manner certainly angered me.
Unexpectedly, the ground began to shake violently. I assumed it was an earthquake until a pure white ray of light brutally flickered, nearly blinding Jasper and me, throwing us to the floor in response. I attempted to get up on my feet to stand, but without the ability to see and the ground shaking beneath us, it was virtually impossible to remain stable.
After approximately a minute, the shaking ceased. During my last traumatic experience, I realized one becomes more observant to their surroundings immediately after the incident. I looked around the room examining for a significant change. Jasper’s piano was gone, yet it was nowhere in the room! My eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. I quickly ran to the front door to determine fully what had truly gone on in that one strange minute.
When I turned the brass knob of the front door, the Edinburgh city scene looked as it did every day. It appeared that the city was untouched from the violent earthquake. The museum just down the street had not been damaged, nor the apartments directly across the street. As I walked slowly down the marble stoop to begin my search, going nowhere in particular, scrutinizing my surroundings, I realized that something had indeed changed. Chambers Street was, as normal, bustling with pedestrians and cars of all sizes, yet the whole world was silent. Not a sound came through my ears. The silence made me feel awkward, like the wide, endless blue sky came down like a blanket, capturing me, leaving me gasping for air.
I ran down the street, hurrying back to the stoop, confused about this bizarre absence of noise. Could I have possibly done this? Like a party popper, the memory of my fight with Jasper appeared in my head with quite an entrance. I had wished that music never existed. My heart sank with guilt. I sat alone in the everlasting silence on the marble stoop outside of my home, staring into the rich shade of blue of the sky. I wondered if I had permanently damaged the world. At that very moment, the weight of the world truly rested on my shoulders.
There had to be a way to reverse my wish. In a quick second, I hopped up and raced inside to my computer. ‘How to reverse a wish’ I typed into the search engine but quickly erased it, thinking of how brainless it sounded. I decided to simplify it. ‘Reverse a wish’ I typed in and continued with the search. I thoroughly scanned each webpage title until I came across one that stuck out. I hesitantly clicked on it. The Great Stone of Wishes Legend, it read. It was an old English legend. Perhaps it could be true! It was rumored to be located deep within the heather moorland of the North Yorkshire Moors. Command-P, I hit the buttons to print the page. Apparently, the stone would grand any wish it was asked to grant. Perfect, I thought to myself.
I ran through the house in search of Jasper with the Stone of Wishes information printed out on two pieces of paper. I finally found him fiddling with a toy sailboat, sitting on his bed. That gave me a grand idea. The North Sea could easily lead us to the moors! Jasper had his boat license and could sail us to the moors to find the stone! I hastily grabbed a pad of lined paper and a pen and explained as vaguely as I could. We must sail to North Yorkshire Moors to find this. I shoved the paper in his face and pointed to the image of the stone. He nodded, agreeing, after reading the paragraph that mentioned the stone would reverse a wish. I snatched the paper from his hand and scribbled pack your bags.
We both rushed, quickly packing clothes and non-perishable food items into backpacks. It was possible to sail from Edinburgh to the moors before the sun kissed the Earth farewell for the day. Luckily, the docks were not far from home.
Jasper and I ran out the door, lugging out provisions in the backpacks that heavily hung on our backs. In the distance, the tall mountains completed the beautiful vista of the city of Edinburgh. Fluffy, white clouds effortlessly blanketed the tall hills in the distance. We began walking to the docks. I abruptly stopped at a storefront. I dug deep into my mind. The storefront looked so familiar, yet so distant. I suddenly remembered. This abandoned storefront had previously been Scott’s Music Store. I glanced at Jasper, who was waving to me to hurry on.
I continued sprinting but I stopped once again. The usual Tuesday and Thursday market was busy with consumers, yet the ever so popular musicians that sat on the exterior of the close-knit cube of stands were gone. The small woman who played the piccolo was no longer fluently twiddling her fingers to make her very own beautiful music. Jasper pulled my arm and shot me an unhappy glance. I rolled my eyes and continued.
We finally reached the docks after what seemed to be fifteen minutes after leaving the house. Father’s sailboat sat peacefully in the distance, rocking gently, synchronized with the current. The white covering of the boat was quite contrary ornate, blue sky of the pleasant Edinburgh afternoon. Jasper kindly helped me into the boat. He entered the coordinates of our approximate destination into the radar while I clutched tightly to a map of the sea. A long four hours of silence lay ahead of us until we would reach the moors. Jasper started up the engine and we were off. The strong, salty sea wind harshly stroked my ears and sent my hair flowing in every direction. The waves violently chopped at the surface of the mysterious underworld that lurked beneath the white salty foam.
When looking straight ahead, the sea seemed endless. The shades of blue in the sky and water naturally complimented each other. Suddenly, the boat began to vibrate. We turned around to a colossal, white ship. The captain on the very top motioned for us to get out of the way. I pushed Jasper to the steering wheel and he veered us to safety. I sighed, relieved. I was not one who enjoyed the adrenaline of the atmosphere during near death situations.
The sun had adjusted its position about forty-five degrees from the time we left Edinburgh to the time we reached the moors. The rainbow of flowers sent a fragrant mix of scents swirling wildly into my nose upon each inhalation. The wind circled around me, tickling my ears. Would the wind have made a pleasant whistle if I could, indeed, hear it? Together we docked the boat on a sandy, beach area and leaped out, once again lugging our heavy backpacks. We wandered the moor, taking in the breathtaking views. Even the rocks sparkled in the sunlight. I grabbed a handful and shoved them into the left pocket of my pale denim jeans.
Without warning, we were pushed to the ground by an unidentified force. I wondered what sound we would have made when we landed on the tall, soft grass. We turned around to see a tiny brunette man standing in such a pose that implied he needed an explanation for our presence. I search through my pastel pink backpack for my pen and paper, for he would not be able to hear us speak, thus denying us the ability to have a conversation. I wrote down our whole story and passed the pad of paper to the strange man. He told his name was Knox. He pointed to the small hill in the distance that was located in the center of the grand meadow visa. The cottage on the crest of the hill was his.
Knox kindly offered to help us find the stone. He knew more about it than Jasper and me. We scanned the moor for a long hour until Jasper spotted a subtle indigo twinkle deep within a patch of tall, yellow-green grass. We rushed over to the spot Jasper believed he saw the twinkle. We dug as far as possible with our bare hands until we came across an indigo stone that glistened in the sunlight. Jasper handed me the picturesque stone.
I held the stone carefully in my arms, pacing, pondering of the right wish to bring back the entirety of sound. I could wish for music to return, but that might not bring back the entirety of sound. I needed every sound back, for the world would not be complete.
At last, I came up with my wish. This wish would certainly save the world. I would simply wish to reverse everything I wished for today. It was foolproof because the only wish I had wished for today was the wish that got rid of sound. I clutched the stone tightly, closing my eyes, taking in the situation. My watched my imagination paint a picture in my brain as I imagined what would happen after my next wish.
“I wish to reverse everything I have wished for today!” I shouted, though I was sure no one could hear me. The same blinding light once again blinded us, throwing the three of us to the ground. I finally heard the wind whistling through my ears. I grinned from ear to ear. One never realizes how much they take for granted until it is taken away from them.
“Jasper!” I shouted in excitement, while I pulled him up to his feet.
“Betha, you did it! You saved us!” He exclaimed, bewildered at the fact that I had truly saved the world. I turned to Knox.
“Hello. Sorry we were unable to introduce ourselves thoroughly! I am Betha Finley and this is my brother, Jasper Finley.” Jasper and I both shook Knox’s hand.
“It is very nice to meet you!” Knox bellowed in a hearty Scottish accent.
“Very sorry, Knox, but we must be on our way. We must return home to cook dinner!” I chuckled and raced Jasper back to the boat. I turned back to see Knox waving to us. Together we climbed into the boat and took off into the deep darkness of the North Sea.
The chiming of the crashing waves on our journey home sounded like music to my ears. It was at that moment that I realized why the entire world had gone silent. Everything makes music! The whole world sings its own song every waking minute. The birds chirp with an accent that layers the wind rustling through the tall grasses of the moor. The crashing waves send a pulse that defines the pure tone of the rich, full sound of the boat horns blowing in a syncopated rhythm, sending their noises running at the speed of sound across the waters of the North Sea. The church bells even have their own descant line above the rhythm of the honking taxis of Chambers Street. Every sound in the world has its place and contributes to the never-ending concerto of life.
My whole experience had reminded me of a time when Mother used to tell me quotes at random that she had heard throughout her lifetime. She had mentioned a quote said by Ronald Reagan that had always stuck with me. “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.” The absence of sound that I had caused today was simply a mass rest in the song. I had started the music once again and I was proud.