Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Two Friends And Some Wine"Quite simply put, she's a musical prodigy. Much in the same way as are you in the arts." Yirfir sat at Mila's table sipping a glass of chardonnay.
"But my focus has mostly been with visual arts. I've delved in the arcanum musica at times though my intuition seems focused around the visual. Where it overlaps music can be said to be through visual symbol. I don't think that I am your person." Mila replied from the other end of the table.
The colourful hand painted walls of Mila's dining area would speak contradictory to Mila's response. They expressed a repressed enthusiasm that she'd nurtured herself for years unbeknownst and perhaps in spite of herself. It had manifested itself upon her walls. Her decorations and of course her candles. Each one elaborately crafted shone ceremoniously as if in the midst of some ancient ritual or rite.
Yirfir always admired Mila for this, for it made her feel special. As if the extra effort was for her or for her shared company, though tonight they were alone. Barris was off in Shepperton off the Thames helping Sato reorganize his store and generally catching up. Barris being very intuitive to Mila's needs had suggested the trip himself. He knew that Mila was an artist at heart and needed her space and sometimes solitude despite his intense passion for her. Mila needed to replenish herself and seeing as both her and Barris had been living in such close proximity, he'd volunteered to visit with Sato.
Mila had pleaded with him not to go, though he intuitively felt otherwise. He knew that she needed her space on occasion and sometimes a few rooms distance between them was not enough. Sato had been planning an overhaul of his shop. Hoping to bring into the fray some of his most recent hidden treasures. Some manuscripts and crib notes allegedly penned by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. A book of half finished puzzles created by Sir Isaac Newton. A child's toy hand crafted by one of the craftsmen in Emperor Edo's employ during the feudal period of Japan. Sato's treasures were many though his shop often required Barris' sense of organization and relevance to potential purchasers. After all, before meeting Mila, Barris had organized Sato's whole store drawing in a much different clientele than Sato had imagined. It remained a peaceful and hidden treasure in Shepperton, yet it had that feel of underground pop culture so relevant to the youth of the day. Sato had once again required Barris' sense of modernized organization to help him. Barris had happily took advantage of the opportunity both giving Mila her much needed space and Sato his much needed organization. After he'd agreed he was gone through a portal of Mila's conjuring within a week.
Mila had spited him at first, scorning all of the advantages their relationship had brought her. Her intense art work during the day and building her tension into her nightly sexual and passionate release with Barris. A pattern into which she'd fallen that may have affected her art. Her spice as Frank Herbert may have put it. Her very sense of self expression. Yet once he'd gone she'd found herself fantasizing about him but more so, herself. Her life and being. She'd expanded rather than expended herself and she'd realized that Barris had recognized that he may be smothering her by living in such close proximity to her. Her love and passion for him only grew from that point though she promised herself that she'd use every moment in his absence to further herself and her goals within the Sanctum. That was precisely when Yirfir had approached her with this proposition in regard to schooling a new student at the Sanctum. An extremely musically gifted young girl who seemed to possess a natural feel for all music in every element. Learning. Melody. Harmony. Rhythm. Sight reading. Theory. Exercises. Composition. Spontaneous improvisation. It didn't matter what her teachers threw at her, she would overcome it overnight. None could figure her ability and connection and when Yirfir had been presented with this potential student of the Sanctum, she immediately thought of Mila's school of Aetherial Artistry.
Mila had been the first Wytch to perfect the integration of artistry into the weave. Art into magic kind. The essence and flow that had been innate to many Women and Men through the teachings of Lyra, the Sanctum's initial founder. It only seemed natural that such intense expression would find its way into the weave. The only knowledge thereof often remained only because of art itself. The first discovered painting upon hidden caves signalling humankind's presence in ancient Aerth. Language had first manifested itself as art through Sumerian Cuniform. Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Chinese Iconoigraphic Language. It seemed that the symbol of art itself had been the very foundations of language and expression. Music was an extension of this concept and Mila had thus felt it as such.
It had first begun with the first human birth or at the very least the birth of the human species. That moment when the little body of a new born child became aware of the beating of its Mother's heart. That in itself was the very essence of rhythm itself. The steady thump, thump, thump... A rhythm that would be with us for the rest of our lives. The very rhythm that none could fight left they fight the very essence of their own body themselves.
Then came the chant of the voice. Perhaps it was that originating from either the Mother herself or the Father had he chosen to stick around for the birth and rearing of his own children. Perhaps what itself had defined the concept of a Husband and Father. One who'd provided the Male chromosomes who would stick around for the rearing of their own children into maturity. Perhaps a stigmatic blow to those who'd abandon their own offspring, leaving their mate to fend for themselves and to birth his children. Perhaps the very definition of a man. One who stays with the mate with which they Father children until the maturity of their mutual children. Whose heart and melody would such a child behold? What supposed man would bear the stigma of their own etching and then abandonment of life in such a way? Their own offspring? Music held more information than most would acknowledge and far beyond what most would comprehend. It spoke to us in ways that only few could understand.
Mila could decipher its language much the same as she could direct her own artistic energy into the weave to become what others would call magic. And that was why Yirfir sought Mila to instruct this prodigy student of the Sanctum. Mila had been the originator of aetherial artistry, a school of magic based around the very arts themselves. It was a part of Mila's very namesake for her Japanese Mother and her Austrian Father named her accordingly. She was first the Japanese noun of Mai, meaning everything, wide and varied. She was of the Austrian/Germanic term leich meaning frail and fragile. Mai leich. Mila. Her name literally meant everything delicate, perhaps much like the arts themselves. If anyone in the Sanctum was suited to guide this prodigy through the rough into maturity as a master of the weave, it was certainly in this case Mila.
"Suppose that I did not accept your student. Hypothetically speaking of course. Where would that put her?" asked Mila who rocked her glass of wine delicately in circles perhaps trying to wet the rim without a spill.
"Jasmer and I have already struggled with this choice. He claim that he sensed a darkness in her that might make her more worthy of the Order Of The Night Wytch. We discussed the matter with Thara and she would have none of it. Her argument being that if she was a musical Wytch that she needed to express. That would defy the very essence of a Night Wytch, which is most often stealth and silence despite Shaela's sometimes outgoing behavior." Yirfir's eyes were distant as she sipped her wine once again recalling her discussion with Jasmer on the matter.
"That doesn't answer my question." Mila responded craning her head to one side.
"The truth is that if we don't find a suitable instructor, that she may be forced to become what we call one of the unnamed. They are students whose talents don't fall within the structure of the Sanctum. We do our best to find everyone their place, but sometimes some do fall through. In such situations the worst case scenario is that they get recruited by the Power Lords to work for the forces of Lorr. Their talents become weapons against us and all because of the bureaucracy we've built around instruction itself. Jasmer and I have struggled to reform this aspect of the Sanctum, but there is much resistance. People are often slow to accept change. That makes moving boulders like moving mountains and that is certainly the case here. This girl needs your guidance Mila regardless of her affinity for the darkness, light or the tween. Much like yourself, we cannot risk losing her to Lorr, though it is a shame that we've lost any in such a way. So my request is more a call to you out of desperation though it really makes sense." Yirfir poured back her glass and the fine nectar hit the back of her throat tickling it all the way to her innards.
Mila got up and poured them each another glass then returned to her own seat at the other end of her table.
"Well then I guess that really leaves me no choice then does it? I'll have to open up my music books and study a bit, though it has been years since I've studied music." Mila smiled somewhat indecisively.
"Excellent! I'm so glad that you are going to do this. You'll really like her Mila. I mean I saw so much of you in her already. Like when we first recruited you. Do you remember that?" Yirfir asked Mila, a smile creeping up the side of her face.
"How could I forget! It was one of the worst torrential rainfalls in ages. I'd been in the big city bringing the gallery my latest collection and there you were in the middle of this weather. Not a drop of rain hit you. Not even one. I was drenched to the bone and there you were oblivious of it altogether. When we spoke I thought that you were with the gallery! That by some weird twist of fate nature's effects ignored you! How could I turn down your invitation to study at your special school from such an enigmatic instructor as yourself?" Mila chuckled as she thought back to that time.
"Well truth be said, you couldn't. Much the same as Lima." Yirfir responded sipping her glass.
"I'm sorry, who?" Mila asked.
"Lima. The girl that you're going to be instructing." Yirfir advised her.
"How is that spelled may I ask?" Mila queried Yirfir.
"Hmmmm. I believe it is L * I * M * A *. Lima." Yirfir responded.
"You mean that this girl has the exact same letters in her first name as I do?" Mila asked completely stunned by the blatant coincidence.
"I never thought of it but yes. I suppose that she does." Yirfir chuckled at Mila's observation.
"Don't you find that a little bit... coincidental?" Mila asked just a little bit shaken.
"That depends upon how you view this coincidence. I mean it might be a sign. Jasmer and I already discussed this too you know." Yirfir assured her.
"What haven't you discussed?" Mila asked Yirfir somewhat eased and more playfully.
"We haven't discussed the matter of why Barris always seems to show up in his under shorts in nearly every adventure we've had. I mean the rest of us when we're whisked away to appear in some distance place, show up more or less clothed, and yet Barris always appears in his gauchies." Yirfir's pitch grew and they both burst out laughing.
"It does seem a bit odd. Doesn't it? Maybe that Chance fellow has something to do with it no doubt?" Mila responded after she'd caught her breath.
There was a moment of well timed silence as they both realize that their talk had come to an end as had their night.
"I must take my leave and make my way back to the Sanctum. I promised Jasmer that this would take no more than an hour. I'm already two hours overdue. Thank you so much for the hospitality Mila. You are such a good hostess as always." Yirfir stood up from her place at Mila's dining table.
"It was my pleasure. I love having the company. It's been a little bit strange living in an empty house with Barris gone temporarily." Mila replied getting to her feet assessing the clean up.
"One more pressing matter. You do realize that because Lima is an uninitiated prospect to the Sanctum that there will be no display of the weave from you or others while she is present, unless in defense of her or yourself. As far as developing her abilities with the weave, as a teacher you are required to guide her towards her own discovery thereof and not to influence her. You'll also have to choose where you'd like to teach and evaluate her readiness for your school of Aetherial Artistry. I was thinking..." Yirfir explained the matter until Mila interrupted.
"Why not here? I mean I've got just about everything I need for the task." Mila asked enthusiastically.
"That's a relief. I was hoping that you'd offer. You're going to need a piano, violin and a cello. The Sanctum is willing to provide you with these items from our vault if you'd like, or if you choose you can weave them into existence yourself. The choice is yours." Yirfir offered.
"From the vault? You mean the Sanctum has a collection of musical instruments too?" Mila asked a little bit surprised by the possibility.
"Yes. We started keeping them in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Power Lords about six or seven centuries ago here on the Prime Plane. The Power Lords were notorious for manipulating the leaders of human kind, steering them into wars and conflict all in the name of the Power Lords' interests. Many of these items were long at risk of theft or destruction. We decided that they were too important to the Aerth's history to lose to meaningless conflict so we started storing them. Of course being held in the Sanctum and the Mid Space, they have not aged a day. Some of the instruments have a bit of a history as well." Yirfir advised Mila.
"Well now you've got my interest. I'd love to put such instruments to good use. I'll accept your kind offer." Mila said excitedly.
"I will arrange to have them sent to you tomorrow around the noon hour. As far as care and tuning is concerned, the rest is up to you." Yirfir confirmed the delivery with Mila who accepted graciously.
A moment later Yirfir was gone, disappearing into a portal of her casting and Mila was once again alone.
"I guess I had better get this cleaned up and make space for my new guests in the study." Mila said thinking aloud.
Dreams Like NothingTwo weeks had passed since her dinner and drinks with Yirfir. Mila been exhausted having spent an obsessive twenty seven hours around the clock working on a particular painting. She'd finally late the next evening succumbed to exhaustion and crawled into her bed. Mila was not used to sleeping alone since Barris had taken up beside her. Since that time she'd also become unfamiliar with his absence of embrace. He was part of the way around the world. In an apartment above a shop in Shepperton just off the Thames and perhaps no further than a stone throw or two from Nelony's flat, though that was of no consequence for the purposes of this story.
Nelony had recently left for a trip on a luxury cruise that she'd won thanks to her seemingly fortunate participation in a monthly draw in which she'd partaken.
Sato's shop no more than five blocks from Nelony's flat had existed as such without their mutual knowledge until one particular eve in August, proving to Nelony that the world indeed was a small one after all.
Alivale had felt like a distant Ontario dream. The township of which no one had ever heard. The Witch's escape as it had been called. A cry from West View which had long been replaced by the cities of the lake. Lost to water and wind alike. Lost in the city of Burlington from close to which it had spawned in ages past.
Mila's dreams were not about cities of the past nor present. Nor were they about art. Love. Neither gone nor never held.
Mila had scolded Yirfir in her dreams for she was solely responsible for bringing this disaster into her life. They'd argued to the point of breathlessness before one of them resorted to the weave itself. Yirfir had woven an expulsion of being and cast it solely upon Mila. Mila struggled in her sleep as the tendrils of magic and maelstrom dug into her musculature. Like voracious roots seeking to find the source of Mila's very soul and rip it from time and space alike.
"Tamper not with forces you fail to fully understand lest your end come swiftly." Yirfir's visage was replaced by that of a tall hoof cloven demon of horns and claws appearing much as the kind of rendering you'd find to frighten the masses into a belief of some sort to thwart this behemoth.
Mila found herself held fast in the grip of terror that this thing might be real. A demon as espoused and explained by many zealots and the dogma of a thousand men. She struggled between her religiously rooted fears and rationalism until she had finally managed to peel her eyes open with her hands.
She woke up in the dark and a fine mist of sweat and tears. She'd not had nightmares of that kind for ages. She thought back to her youth only to recall that she'd cast off the last of them in her early twenties. She'd managed to find peace and solace in her artwork. Her paintings mostly for they would take her away from the desperation of her young heart and mind.
She lay in bed so moved by her experience that she rose from the covers and went down stairs and drew herself a cup of water from the tap. She proceeded into the study to confront the painting of Suzannia and Margaret from her favourite comfy chair.
"This wasn't your doing was it?" Mila asked aloud waiting for them to appear.
She was greeted only with silence and the grin of their faces from Mila's painting. Mila eyed them suspiciously and then withdrew, deciding that they were not behind her unimaginable terror. She looked over to the tiny grand piano admiring its curvature and shape. Perhaps much the same way that a man would admire the curves of a woman's body from a safe distance. There was no sexuality in her admiration but perhaps a small amount of sensuality. Perhaps intended as the very spark of music itself.
She walked over to the black lacquered beast and towards the front keyboard taking a seat on the bench. She had not touched it since it had arrived and this was her first encounter with the instrument. She admired the elaborately carved borders on its hard wood canopy. An artisan had also carved inscription after inscription across the flats of its outer housing. Perhaps drawn from a dialect of Latin, Greek or even Phoenician as all three languages at one time had a vocabulary of twenty two letters, eventually becoming one of the modern alphabets that we all know and love with the addition of four more to make twenty six. Mila made a mental note to herself to thank Yirfir for such a lovely instrument with which to work with this student. By that moment she had forgotten about her dream and the demon altogether.
Her hands found their way to the keyboard and she began playing delicately. She was by no means a pianist though she had studied for a short time in school. During the time she'd learned to read music amply enough to communicate with other musicians about musical ideas. Instead she'd ended up favouring the violin and cello. It wasn't until her special schooling at the Sanctum that she actually explored music through one of their instructors. Rumour had it that he'd been a mentor to some of history's notable composers and performers before retiring to the safety of the Mid-Space and the Sanctum. It was from that point that Mila had a chance to explore her musical side, which she would later integrate into her overall curriculum for her own Order of Aetherial Artistry.
Her background in music and theory was solid and well founded, though she'd understood that the best qualities a teacher of music could have would be to help unify a student with their own innate heart and soul for the love of music. To be able to put a student in touch with their own innate passion for music for it was universal. It consisted of three major components which aligned themselves with an aspect of the being of every person alive. Rhythm. The meter, pronunciation and pacing of a musical piece. Harmony. The combination of a multitude of voices to build tension and produce resolve. Melody. The story teller whose dialog gave context to the Rhythm and Harmony. The direction of the piece and most certainly the narrator thereof.
All of music consisted of these three ideas regardless of whether they followed the foundation of the equal temperament scale, of which most if not all Western musical instrumentation and composition is based or any other scaling possible that involves the frequency and harmonics of sound. There were a variety of different temperaments possible. For instance in the East, a form of tuning known as quarter scaling is common. Whereby the distance in frequency between notes was not a half tone as is common in equal temperament scaling, but by a distance of quarter tone scaling, giving rise to new harmonic variation and complexity. Often inviting in the sense that the unfamiliar can become exciting and new. It has the potential to invigorate a vastly explored medium and perhaps is what often binds us through our differences and tastes in music.
Mila first played an A note in her right hand. She followed that with a low F for bass in the left hand. She topped her right hand with C and E, both natural forming a relaxing Major seventh chord whose pronounced harmony gave her rest and resolve despite her nightmare. She built tension once again by shifting the A in her right hand up to a B flat, which suspended the third of the original chord giving rise to drama. She further built it much the same way that she may have built sexual tension with Barris during one of their romantic evenings together by progressing to a B flat Minor Seventh chord, resolving the earlier tension of the suspended fourth of F Major Seventh to a the Four Minor Seventh of the F Major Ionian Mode. B flat Minor was not native to the key of F, so it sounded alien to the initial feel, while at some primal source it was still somehow related. Connected. She did much of this not by technically thinking about it like a calculator but instead with her intuition and perhaps her heart. The rules of music did her well in this situation, but of course as any serious musician knows, in order to break the rules you have to know them.
From this point she could have followed common pattern and thinking, perhaps progressing to the obvious chording of C Major, which would have brought her to the Five of F, a common resolution point in music but instead she chose to elevate it in a different direction, perhaps still following the rules of the circle of fifths and instead moving to E flat Major from where she'd drop to D minor (which naturally occurred in the key of F) and then eventually to C Major, putting herself back into position to arrive harmoniously from whence she'd ventured to F Major Seventh. After sustaining the chord for a time beyond measure, she felt at peace and stumbled up the stairs and back into bed. Perhaps it had been predictable enough to allow her the comfort of familiarity while introducing some not so common progressing of the harmony, which to her represented the courage to try something just a little different. Not much, but yet something.
Student ArrivalMila had spent the remaining day prepping the other instruments for Lima's arrival. Over the prior week she'd put together a curriculum for Lima's study which was designed to evaluate her present abilities as an instrumentalist while exposing her ability to empathize with a variety of different composers, for empathy was one of the key aspects of developing the weave of Aetherial Artistry. Mila's own school of magic did not rely on the works and compositions of other artists but rather explored their essence for they each had a flavour, tone and potential of their own. This was key to their expression as magic and developing one's own ability to elicit as such.
Most of the focus Mila had intended would be on theory and with the piano in order to establish a good foundation, especially in terms of harmony and percussion. The Cello and the Violin would help establish Lima's sense of melody and her expression of the internal lyric. That was how Mila had planned her evaluation of Lima and from the outcome Mila would then customize the rest of the course according to Lima's own path. Though Lima would make these choices without being aware that choices were being made at all.
Choice is a difficult concept for many to understand lest they've lost choice altogether. Mila considered this as she performed for herself at the piano. Fingers finding flux for fearless fame from far finished festivities flawlessly. Though it had been many years since she'd played, she managed to recall a piece from Chopin's Polonaises and nearly flawlessly. For any player of music there was always the presence of self criticism, perhaps of the most constructive kind. After all it was the tamer of the ego and the tempo of the soul. As she played there emitted an unfamiliar sound from the door alarm. Mila immediately ceased her personal recital and stood from the piano bench. Her student had arrived.
Mila opened the door and was presented with a girl about her height, though a slight bit heavier at the hips. Her hair was tinted a dark auburn with blonde streaks and hilights, not uncommon for the expression of a young woman having survived puberty having recently graduated to the stage of the young adult. Her eyes were a mix of chestnut brown and deep crimson and ochre spindles the branched to her pupils mysteriously. Her lips were tiny and deep red in colour mostly from the application of makeup she'd chosen. They were not unlike two swirls of strawberry licorice.
The cab driver had brought the last of her bags from the boot, and had placed them just beside Mila's student. He waited patiently and silently for his payment. Lima took a moment to take in the lady she'd heard so much about. Mila, an accomplished artist and some would say a prodigy at that. Mila wore a lavender day dress and had let her hair down despite Barris' current absence. She wore little in the way of makeup, though it was something she'd enjoyed playing with from time to time. Instead she'd focused more on her applied arts and projects while Barris stayed in London with Sato. Mila's smile greeted Lima and she seemed to conceal her delight.
"Uhhh... I'd better get my things and take care of my driver." Lima nervously turned and kneeled going through one of her bags until she withdrew a small pink purse. She pulled and counted several bills from the purse handing them to the driver. The driver fished through his pockets routinely feigning a search for change though he already knew that she'd stop him, and she did. He thanked her and got in his car and drove back to the city two hours away.
"Let me help you get your things to your room. Then I can formally introduce myself and show you around the place you'll be living for the next three weeks." Mila stepped out to onto the veranda picking up two of Lima's bags.
Together they both hauled Lima's luggage up the stairs and to the guest room Mila had already prepared.
"This is where you'll be sleeping for next three weeks. Its cosy, quiet and comfortable. I should know, after all I used to sleep in here after purchasing this house many years ago. The hardwood floors creak on occasion, especially when it rains. Perhaps its the old girl reluctantly showing her age, but she`s still got dignity." Mila looked towards the walls and ceilings of the house simultaneously anthropomorphising her home.
After they'd put Lima's bags into the room Mila had allotted for her, Mila introduced herself.
"I'm Mila Rendebelle,though Mila you can call me Mila although I think that goes without saying these days. I mean, what do you think?" Mila asked her quest.
"These days?" Lima paused thinking about the idea for a moment before continuing.
"I agree. I'll call you Mila if that's alright. I'm Lima. Lima McCrowden but of course you can call me Lima. Pronounced like the city in Peru." Lima smiled awkwardly not very good with introduction much like Mila.
"How old are you?" Mila asked Lima.
"I'm twenty years old. Actually I turned twenty a few weeks ago." Lima told Mila.
"Good. What do you drink?" Mila asked Lima.
"What?" Lima responded a little bit defensively.
"I mean what do you drink? Wine? Beer? Liquor? Scotch?" Mila asked her politely thinking a drink might be the best way to break the proverbial ice.
"Wine will be fine." Lima responded.
"Oh, you're a poet too?" Mila quibbed with her bringing a chuckle forth from Lima.
"Only when I rhyme..." Lima replied still chuckling from Mila's sense of humour.
"Well lets have a few rhymes together shall we?" Mila proposed.
"That sounds like fun." Lima responded.
"You do like the piano I take it?" Mila confirmed with her.
"I love it, for what little I know." Lima followed Mila down from her room and down the stairs.
"Little? Yirfir told me that you've been playing Chopin recently?" Mila asked.
"Well yes, I do warm up on Chopin and Schuman." Lima responded.
"Clara?" Mila confirmed.
"Yes, of course. What other Schuman is there when it comes to the piano?" Lima did not hesitate.
"Oh I do so love you already. A girl after my own heart." Mila replied well on her way to getting acquainted with her student."
They rounded the corner and headed towards Mila's dining room and towards her bar.
"Do you prefer red or white? This is not a trick question mind you, there's no hidden code to my Wine collection." Mila confirmed.
"White please." Lima responded.
"Sparkling or not?" Mila asked her.
Lima thought for a moment and then replied.
"I think that sparkling would be nice!" Lima smiled.
"Yes of course. Nothing like a little bit of little bubbly." Mila replied.
Mila poured them each a glass then raised her and spoke.
"Here's to a voyage of self discovery and a musical education. May I be a worthy teacher." Mila clinked glasses with that of Lima.
"...and I a worthy student..." Lima returned the gesture and they both drank to education, exploration and expression.
They stayed in the kitchen where they spoke for a moment.
"So do you live here alone?" Lima asked.
"No. My beloved Barris lives here with me too, though he's away in London right now with a friend. I've spent the last month alone here and that was enough of a vacation for me. You arrived just in time it would seem. What about you if you don't mind me asking?" Mila sipped from her wine.
"Me? Oh, uhh I live with my Aunt. My parents are separated and both mostly dysfunctional or recovering from their brand of dysfunctionality. I mean we're all dysfunctional in one way or another. Some of us are better at coping than others." Lima answered.
"How's life with your Aunt. Is she the one who encouraged you to pursue music?" Mila asked pondering poor Lima's life.
"Oh its great! She's really adorable though I started pursuing music much earlier. As a means of escape from my parents' bickering and arguments. It really put me at peace in the worst of times so I stuck with it, mostly self taught until I opted for a music class at Junior High School. From there I studied every year at school until I graduated from high school. By that time my parents had divorced and I'd been invited to live with my Aunt. I continued my practice at home mostly on a violin though from time to time I'll visit a community center where I have access to a large Upright Piano." Lima briefly explained her life's path to Mila.
"Being here, there won't be any kind of pressures, other than I'll expect you to keep your living space tidy and to respect my house and property. Other than that you can wake up and go to bed as you see fit. We'll work your curriculum around that, but something about you tells me that you're more disciplined than you appear. Don't worry, I won't hold it against you." Mila responded.
"Well during school I was very much on time for every class and always had my homework done. A model student in many ways because it helped me to escape from some of the situations at home. During the summer holidays I tended to stay up late at night and sleep in the morning. That's when I found out that I'm really a night person who also likes to be up early." Lima happily replied as Mila poured her another glass.
"You too? I like early mornings too, but only if I'm seeing them after a long night." Mila admitted honestly.
"I stay up late, maybe around two or three. I go to bed and then I'm up again at eight or nine with energy to last the day." Lima smiled again thanking Mila for the fresh drink.
"Well met. I hope that you'll enjoy your time here at least as much as I'm enjoying your company." Mila toasted once again clinking Lima's glass.
"Let me give you a tour." Mila suggested.
"Please, do." Lima followed Mila.
Mila led Lima through her home making her at least a little bit familiar with the three floors. The upstairs, the main floor and the basement.
Mila had taken over most of the rooms with her artwork and currently had two studios in the house from which to work on painting, sculpting and whatever she'd hoped to pursue in her media of self expression. Her upstairs studio was for her painting mostly. Often it was the haven she'd lock herself within when obsessed with a vision or idea. Barris being the loving fellow that he was had come to understand her, and only interrupted her with food or drink, making sure that she remained nourished such times. He'd work on projects around the house, improving their residence in some way or if the weather and season was right, he'd go out and harvest apples from orchard. On occasion when he so felt inspired, he'd pursue his hand at poetry, only revealing any such works to Mila when he felt that he'd perfected them for her eyes. She'd appreciated the fact that he'd volunteered to visit Sato, perhaps to give her some space for a time so she could grow in ways their proximity to each other would not allow.
After the tour Mila and Lima settled down in the living room which was just across the hall from where she'd placed the piano. They'd broken the ice and were chatting about their life in school, their old flames and the more zany and humorous moments of their past.
"...by that time Barris had somehow managed to lock himself outside. I was still in town shopping by that time. I'd taken one of my paintings to a local gallery and art dealer and was on my way to the grocer. It'd taken me forty five minutes in the grocers. So on my way back to the house, I drove up Trentwood Drive and low and behold, there's Barris walking on the road towards town, in his nothing more than his gauchies with a newspaper in hand. He flagged me down upon seeing me and of course I picked him up. His first words to me were: please don't tell Sato about this. I couldn't help myself but to laugh uncontrollably for hours after that." Mila finished her story for Lima and they both laughed for a time thanks to the humour but mostly the wine.
"So who is your favourite composer?" Lima asked Mila out of curiosity.
"That's a good question. I don't really have one favourite composer. Depends on my mood I guess. Tchaikovsky. Mozart. Beethoven. Bach. Chopin. Holst. Rachmaninoff. As far as classical is concerned. Fleetwood Mac. Simon and Garfunkel. Janis Joplin. Heart. Alannah Myles. Metric. Lady Gaga. As far as pop is concerned. My tastes are varied. What about you? What music do you feel the most?" Mila asked Lima responding to her question.
"I really like Rachmaninoff. Chopin too. Holst. Schuman as I mentioned before. I don't really listen to pop music. It just doesn't click with me though I really like Katy Perry. Nickie Minaj. The Ting Tings. Lady Gaga. Taylor Swift. Arianna Grande. Bjorke. Oh, and Radiohead." Lima trailed off as Mila spoke.
"Oh certainly. It really sounds like pop music is just not your thing though I can't quite figure our how the last two fit in." Mila said sarcastically.
"This is going to sound kind of strange, but sometimes I hear voices. In my head. They tell me what not to play. They say if I play certain songs, I'm going to hell..." Lima's voice underlined the sudden silence that had taken them both.
"What? You mean these voices don't like the music you play?" Mila asked.
"No. Its like they don't want me to play certain pieces of music at all. Something about them I guess. The musical pieces I mean. These voices... they tell me that bad things will happen if I don't listen to them. That he will come." Lima's gaze drifted downwards to her own lap.
"Who? Who will come?" Mila inquired urgently.
"...The devil." Lima answered as she began to cry.
Music To Sooth The BeastMila had managed to calm Lima enough to continue their talk and decided to turn on some music. She was about to put on one of Lima's selections when she paused realizing she should first ask if it would be alright with Lima.
"I'm going to put some music on. Would on of your selections be alright?" Mila asked her carefully.
"Alright. I've never heard the voice when I've listened to any of those performers. I'd love to hear some music." Lima answered.
Mila quickly concocted a playlist with a combination of Lima's favourite artists. A moment later her stereo came to life and warming up Lima's mood. Mila returned to her place on the sofa beside Lima.
"Tell me Lima. Do you mean that these voices say that the actual devil will come if you play certain pieces?" Mila asked.
"I'm not comfortable talking about this. I mean... yes. That's what they mean. The voices." Lima replied sipping on her fresh glass of wine.
"You sound like you are already quite familiar with music theory. Perhaps together we can figure out what it is about the music that they feel will bring the devil?" Mila proposed to Lima.
"I've tried to figure this out myself. I couldn't. I tried everything. The key. The time signature. The composer. The era. Everything! The voices would still trouble me when I tried to play certain pieces!" Lima protested.
I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is: http://www.shhhhdigital.com
to be continued...
Brian Joseph Johns