Saturday, September 21, 2013

Prompt: I didn’t know you played! Part 2

The beat grew louder. Footsteps marching. No one in the courtyard moved as two rows of soldiers marched in, their ears covered in heavy cuffs.

The leader stopped in front of Sarenca, who continued to play without hesitation or interruption. He watched without expression for a long moment. He put his hands over his ear cuffs, but did not pull them away to allow the sound into his hearing.

And still Sarenca played. The leader lifted his heavy black boot and brought it down on the yeberen’s side. It shattered under the force of his blow, wooden shards exploding around them.

And still Sarenca played. The music sounded sweet and pure as ever, even with the jagged edges of the instrument pricking her fingers, leaving drops of blood on the softly glowing wood. None of the crowd moved.

The soldier stomped the yeberen again, closer to Sarenca’s hands. She did not flinch, did not hesitate. The soldier stared in disbelief. He drew back and stomped the wood again. Impossibly, unbelievably, Sarenca still played.

Looking back to his troops for support, the soldier hesitated, then turned back and stomped directly on Sarenca’s hands, breaking bones under his heels and crushing the rest of the yeberen into splinters.

Sarenca’s broken fingers scrabbled on the ground, and every touch of a splinter yielded the same impossibly beautiful sounds. The soldier knelt before her and leaned down, sweeping the shards of the yeberen away.

Sarenca froze, then bowed low before the soldier who had appeared as immediately as the yeberen had done hours before. Tears filled her eyes and flowed freely down her face, but not for the pain in her hands. She didn’t yet feel them.

Every person in the crowd also cried, mourning the loss of the yeberen’s sweet sound.

The soldier rested his hand on Sarena’s shoulder for a moment. He might have arrested her. He might have pitied her. He might have envied her. None would know. He rose and led the soldiers from the courtyard, their staccato beat all the remained of the music that played.

Sarenca rested her forehead on the ground, unaware of the crowd growing once more restless around her. The old woman stepped forward and emptied her purse on the ground in front of Sarenca. “Thank you,” she whispered, in a voice thick with tears. “Thank you.”

She moved away, and another person stepped close, leaving all he had in his pockets and his whispered heartfelt thanks. And another. And another. Until the courtyard was empty, save for Sarenca, with her broken hands and her pile of money and trinkets.

What use her hands? She would never play a yeberen again. They were outlawed for good reason.

What use money? Well, perhaps…
Sarenca carefully, painfully, swept the money into her wide skirts and gathered it up. Standing, pausing with every painful movement of her hands, she slowly made her way home.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
~50 minutes

September word count:

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