Music Without Sound

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was an assignment for a Writing class at BYU. I procrastinated and ended up kind of scrambling, but I think it turned out fairly well.

Submitted: December 06, 2008

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Submitted: December 06, 2008

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He sat still and silent with eyes closed and mind open. It was dark. It was quiet. He could feel the slight layering of dust on his fingertips. He could smell the old but rich varnish that was saturated into the wood. He could see beauty in his mind that encompassed his thoughts and were the key to his inspiration. But it was dark. It was quiet. It was always quiet.
His fingers began to move, connected to his hands which flowed to and fro with unexpected ease. The vibrations tingled and resonated with his thoughts, and the colorful movements in his mind slowly became more vivid. A multitude of emotions welled up inside his soul and he could feel the wet and welcome tears slip slowly down his weathered cheeks. Beethoven opened his eyes and smiled.
It had been a few years since he had first confessed to his friends his worry of becoming deaf. The mere thought of it had nearly torn his life apart, for the life he had was the only life he knew. The next year he had written a famous text that finally put his thoughts into written form. It discussed the unfairness of life, and the disgust that he felt at the thought of losing his hearing. Fate was cruel, and Beethoven mentioned in his text that a life without his hearing was a life not worth living. But his love of music made him carry on. Rather than give up and commit suicide, Beethoven immersed himself in composition and ultimately into some of his greatest works, an occurrence that the world would one day be very grateful for.
And sitting on the rickety piano bench, Beethoven began to play again, for the first time in two years. His extensive knowledge of music and theory made it possible for him to compose, but his ears would not allow him to hear. This symphony, No.6, was his delve into portraying nature. Beethoven frequently left Vienna to work in rural locales, which allowed him to get away from the bustle and masses and into a more relaxed and natural place. It was heaven to him, and where he wrote his best. This "Pastoral Symphony" contained some of his most beautiful writing, and Beethoven knew that his audiences would be amazed.
Beethoven continued to play on his black grand piano. Again his mind was lit up with the colors of music. He tried to picture the looks on people’s faces when they heard his music, his thoughts, and his feelings.
And that’s when he felt shards of glass fly into his face, his third-story window now shattered to pieces. Beethoven instinctively reached up to shield his eyes, but he stopped when he felt cold steel against his neck. There was an arm across his shoulder and a hand gripping the knife, an arm and hand that were completely covered by a black shirt and glove. A note on a small piece of paper was thrust into his face. Are you Ludwig van Beethoven? Ludwig grabbed one of the pencils off of the piano and with his shaking hand, wrote YES. Immediately, the knife was lowered and Beethoven was pulled up to his feet to face his assailant.
The man was clothed all in black, with black slipper-like shoes, pants with a black fabric belt, a shirt and tunic, and a black mask that showed only his dark eyes through its small opening. Ludwig sighed. It wasn't the first time that he had been attacked by a ninja. These secret protectors from the future held Beethoven in high regard, but rarely showed it as they frequented him with their violent visits. The ninja reached down and then pulled up a large white sign with black letters. Will you fight? P.S Sorry about the window. Beethoven sighed again. It was an expensive window. But replaceable. He nodded. The ninja flipped the sign over. 7:30 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. Slashing Pandas. And Master Shon-hu says to bring his tunic that you borrowed. He wants it back. You've had it for like three months. Beethoven nodded again, and with that, the mysterious ninja leaped through the open window into the street.
Beethoven walked slowly over to the wall nearest his beloved piano, where there was a oil painting of his father, Johann. He tilted it slightly to the left and the wall slid open to reveal a small passageway leading into the dark. He stepped in and followed it until he came to a small room filled with things that were black. Beethoven smiled as he surveyed the room. It had been a long time. Too long.
The two ninjas ran side by side down the unoccupied cobblestone street, their matching black headbands flailing in the cold air. Rufio and Ludwig had been friends ever since Rufio had been accepted into the Ninja League, and they were almost evenly matched in skill and speed. Ludwig made sure Rufio was watching and ran three steps sideways on the side wall of a store, then tucked into a flip and roll that landed him back on his feet and running again. Rufio chuckled and did the same on the opposite wall. They often competed with each other out of sport, and it was a game that kept them both in prime condition. Ludwig and Rufio continued to show off their moves until they finally reached the Theater an der Wien. Ludwig had strong sentimental ties with the Theater, as it was where most of his musical pieces premiered, and where he had scheduled the debut of the Pastoral Symphony for the next day. The Theater was lit on the outside, but the inside looked vacant and dark, with the exception of a single candle in a small second-story window. Ludwig looked at Rufio and nodded, and then together they began to climb the massive Theater. Moving silently with the grace of petite jungle cats, they scaled the arched building and then entered through the partially open window. Rufio gave a low whistle once they were inside, which was returned by another whistle from the dark. Rufio shut the window and extinguished the candle by karate-chopping the flaming wick with his hand. The room turned pitch black, and Ludwig and Rufio joined their fellow ninjas in the dark.
Master Shon-hu's voice pierced the black as he explained the situation. There were seven ninjas in all, a full League that was capable of any task put before it. Rufio's fingers moved quickly as he acted as an interpreter for Ludwig. His text messaging skills were unsurpassed, and Ludwig read carefully on the small cell phone screen. mstr shon-hu says slashing pandas were here earlier and they'll brb. we g2g stop them cuz they r trying to sabotage your concert tmorrow. like they could make it any worse. lol. jk jk jk. lets go. Ludwig punched Rufio in the arm, then they both got up and followed the other ninjas through the door to the main hallway. They creeped along until they came to the main door, then the seven ninjas dispersed and evenly spaced themselves around the top landing of the Theater. It was time to fight. It was time to defend that which was good. Ludwig smiled.
The ninjas waited silently in the shadows, their quiet, controlled breathing hanging heavily in the still air. The feelings and emotions from each of the ninjas combined, creating a buzz of excitement infused with slight layers of fear. And then, all attention snapped to the rear of the theater. From behind the curtain, ten masked figures made their way onto the stage. They were dressed all in white silk, and wore panda masks that each had a red slash across the face. These men were indeed…the Slashing Pandas. Renowned for their terribleness and utter brutality, they conquered their boredom by sabotaging classical music concerts. It was dreadful, but it was reality, and the only ones with the power and sheer courage to stop them were those indomitable seven who belonged to the Ninja League. And those seven watched as the Slashing Pandas began to strap bombs to various items in the Theater. Their goal was obvious – cause as much destruction and pandemonium as possible. Ludwig’s thoughts were filled with sorrow as he imagined the deleterious effects that would most definitely occur if people and things began to explode during his Pastoral Symphony. The critics would be ruthless no doubt, and his music, in the eyes of the general public, would be associated with death. The Pandas had to be stopped, and the time had come.
Through a series of nods and hand signals, the League agreed to act. The seven tenebrous ninjas descended noiselessly to the ground floor of the Theater, aided by black cords previously measured and tied to the railings by the Bobby, the overweight self-proclaimed League Apprentice. The boy didn’t have what it took to be a true tumbling, fighting, leaping ninja, but he could sharpen throwing stars or dry-clean dirty black pants like it was his only calling in life. The cords were, as always, the perfect length, and the ninjas dismounted to the cold wooden floor. The Slashing Pandas were unaware of the impending assailment, as they were busy putting the final touches on the largest bomb, which they had decided to place inside the big black grand piano that had already been moved in for Beethoven’s concert debut. As they crouched maliciously over the piano, Ludwig and his confederates moved into position and then struck with the speed of sixty cheetahs. Two of the ten Slashing Pandas were dead before any of them knew what was happening. The League was efficacious and inexorable, and they quickly neutralized three more of the Pandas. By then, the surviving unpropitious bomb-layers had formed into a defensive formation much more suited for protection against efficacious and inexorable ninjas.
The two groups circled each other and voiced some inappropriate comments. They circled and glared, and glared and sneered, and sneered and then stopped in silence. For out of the shadows of the stage, a loud BEEP had been emitted. It was a beep that came from a large black object. The rival ninjas stared at the piano in horror as a red light began to flash. In the attack and resulting confusion, the bomb had been improperly set and was in the process of thinking about detonating. It took all of four seconds before every ninja was scrambling out the main doors of the Theater and into the street, where they waited for the loud noise and flames that often accompanies a beeping flashing bomb that stops beeping and flashing.
Ludwig looked around at the group of bruised and bleeding ninjas. Master Shon-hu had taken the five surviving Slashing Pandas over to the side of the road and was lecturing them on their use of free time. The rest of the League were shaking their heads and mumbling excuses concerning why no one remembered Sensai Horito’s guest lecture the Tuesday previous about diffusing large bombs. Ludwig caught Rufio looking at him. Rufio was the only one who truly understood Ludwig’s deep appreciation for the Theater, and he too stood in silence knowing the effect that the destruction of the Theater would have on Ludwig and his career. But his eyes widened as Ludwig turned suddenly and began walking defiantly towards the recently abandoned building. Rufio ran and grabbed Ludwig’s shoulder. He looked pleadingly into his eyes, but Ludwig just shook his head and continued walking. He knew what he had to do. Rufio stopped and looked back at the now attentive group of ninjas, then sprinted ahead to follow Ludwig through the doors.
The two friends stood next to the stage and stared at the piano. Rufio pulled out his Blackberry and typed. it could explode at any second. no time to dismantle it. we can still get out. Ludwig read the message, then typed a reply. you’re a pansy. come on. Rufio swallowed and then followed Ludwig as he climbed up onto the stage. The blinking red light and the beeping were faster now, and it was all Rufio could do to keep from running back outside and across the street to his grandmother’s house, where he knew there would be no bombs, no malevolent ninja gangs, and probably warm pecan pie sitting on top of the oven. Rufio began to cry as Ludwig approached the ominous piano. He thought of his friends and family, his favorite foods, and his dreams of becoming a railroad conductor. Life was too short for regrets, and if he could he would have gone back and done it all differently. But there was no turning back now, and as Rufio wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes, he watched as Ludwig reached into the open piano, moved his arm around, and then pulled it out. The red light went out, and the beeping stopped. Ludwig turned towards Rufio and tossed something through the air. Rufio caught it with his black-gloved hand. He opened his fingers and saw a AA battery. He looked up at Ludwig in surprise. Ludwig shook his head disappointedly and grabbed Rufio’s Blackberry. maybe you should stop getting on facebook during our guest lectures. Rufio laughed, and they strolled out of the Theater doors and into the welcoming sunlight.
He sat still and silent with eyes closed and mind open. It was dark. It was quiet. He could feel the slight layering of dust on his fingertips from underneath the arm rest. He could smell the old but rich varnish that was saturated into the stair railings. He could see beauty in his mind that encompassed his thoughts and told the story of his inspiration. But it was dark. It was quiet. It was always quiet.
Ludwig van Beethoven opened his eyes and saw a theater full of people clapping and smiling. Their faces were filled with joy and amazement at what they had just heard. The conductor and the orchestra were bowing and beaming, for they had accomplished their task and played perfectly. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony sunk deep into the hearts of all who heard it, and the emotions of the crowd mingled and mixed in the air until the Theater an der Wien vibrated with elation and the beauty that only music can create. Beethoven closed his eyes and sighed contentedly. It was quiet. It was always quiet.


© Copyright 2017 Cody Bringham. All rights reserved.

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