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He used to be a musician. At least, that's what he thinks. The brief flashes of memory, black and white keys and the tick ticking of a-what's the word? Small, skinny thing that sat on the...
never mind, he'll remember later. Delicious little snippets of violins and sweet scores that will occasionally hit him like a lightning strike, consuming and so beautiful it makes his one good idea water. Crescendo, baritone, a flurry of sounds, wavering flutes and roaring drums-wait, did you blow the drum? Which one had the sticks? Never mind, he'll remember later.
He knows he gets things muddled, he knows...
It's difficult to think of anything that was before he was bitten. At least clearly.
Metronome! That was the word, tick tick tickity tick. It would sit with him back when his fingers were all there and whole and could dance across the singing keys. His fingers are rotten now, all of hims rotten and peeling or bloodied and broken, but he still goes on. Shuffles on, shambles on, moseys on. Moseys? Oh, he's in a state. He looks down to check if he's found his shoes yet, he's sure he's been looking for them. His legs are like twigs-twigs? sticks, drumsticks! bash bash BOOM!-so skinny and bone dry, the right ankles twisted right round but he doesn't feel it.
The place he's staying in is a dump, quite literally. Towering heaps of waste rise into the cloudy sky, the floor is soft and black and spongy-bin-bags! he remembered!-and glass is everywhere and winks at him when the suns out enough. Oh and the smell! But that may just be his company...
He is not alone, there are others. They groan and whine and bustle about him, "hungry" they say, "hungry". Hungry, hungry, hungry. is that all they think? He believes he may be a bit too mouldy to feel something like contempt, but when everyone's being like this it brings him close. But tickity tick tick, hungers like a metronome here. Always there by your side, making itself noticed in the background, tickity tick.
No no no, he doesn't like that. He thinks of music,golden discs clashing, pianngg dung dunggg guitar strings. Something singing, women singing, did he know her before? what's her name?
What's his name?
More importantly, what's the name of the box he keeps seeing, the big shiny one on legs that held the singing keys and made his fingers fast moving and whole?
He'll remember later.
He wishes he hadn't got bitten, he wishes no one did. Before this there was...well before this he could make music, not just think it, and that makes before better. He tries to sigh then remembers he's not breathing. Drat.
Maybe he could-
Piano! that's it! That's what his name was. or was it the...no, he's absolutely certain that was his name. Piano, Piano, maybe Piano could-maybe he could make music now. But there's nothing in this place that has music, he's sure because he's been looking in the waste for his shoes and he may not know much else but he knows what an instrument is and he hasn't seen one. Tick, tickity tick. Someone shuffles into him and whines into his decayed ear, "hungry". Oh why all the groaning all of the time? Of all the noises to make with your mouth, he thinks, and then-
He really thinks, and he remembers.
Mouths can hum, they can sing like the black and white keys.
His tongue is a foreign thing at first; heavy in his unhinged jaw and fat, dry and blistered from the lack of drinking. Suck, suck at saliva and push, push up through the lungs and the throat and...
Not very rhythmic at first, a kind of strangled whine that rises in pitch and then fades into silence. No, silence is worse than ticking hunger, it's bigger than a metronome. it's a whole symphony of pain because Piano knows deep down where his heart lies tattered and still, that silence should be filled with noisy notes and life. Well, someone used to say, 'try again again if at first you don't'-what wait that's not right. It's, 'again try if succeed...'
He'll remember later.
But for now he needs to just start with one note, one note that can't go unsaid like all the others. Push the noise up and down and around and before he knows it, his mouth is singing.
And it's glorious.
Like...invisible orchestras in the air, guttural instruments and birds beofre they all flew away. He clutches his bony chest and sings louder, higher, and the vague tune of his voice soars through the dump, taller than the waste and stronger than the smell. He thinks he might try words, because songs have words, he knows! He thinks of all the words he can remember and wraps them in his music and let's them go, between grimy teeth and stuttering lips. "concert" says the song, "concert bite sad hungry alone violin Bach Beatles drum dance dead now why tune play shoes", and then his name over and over. "Piano piano piano, Piano Piano Piano".
The others have stopped to listen he thinks, because they don't say hungry anymore and they're staring. Motionless, but for the slight swaying on their feet. Like they hear the music too.
Maybe they do.
He falters for a moment but the others erupt into wild noise of protest until his song starts again. Was this what it was like before? Did he makes music for people? Did they sway and stamp their feet in delight like these do?
From where his strange audience has formed a ring around him,they start to clap. It's not really in time and the vigorous movement costs some of them their limbs, but he appreciates it all the same.
The song is not the best, not like the ones he remembers, but at least it's there and it's quite something for someone who's supposed to be dead.
Piano thinks he can find his salvation in that.
The metronome, for now, falls silent.