Note: I apologize for the length; I didn't realize it would take three posts until I'd already posted the first two. This and a few other of my
stories can be found at the link to my website in my signature though, if you might be further interested.
Armageddon in C# Minor
"No! No, no, no, no, no!" The piano echoed his frustration, belching out misspoken chords to punctuate his outburst and yelling silently in pain
as he slammed the lid shut. Isaac glared hatefully at the instrument, breathing in ragged gasps, his lips twisting his otherwise handsome face with a
snarl. The pages of the composition he was working on fluttered to the carpet.
"I almost had it! Christ!" He struggled to keep from abusing the instrument further, and stormed off as he found himself loosing that battle.
Within moments, he returned from the hallway bathroom, his face still dripping with cooling water from its once-again human countenance. He took a
deep breath, gathered up the sheets of scribbled notes and rests from the floor, and took his seat again. Gently, almost kindly he raised the lid
that covered the keys, and started playing again a few measures before where he'd left off. He hummed along softly as the music floated from his
His fingers came to their previous stopping point, and choked once more. He started again from a measure before the last notes he'd written, and
again his fingers died as the unfinished melody hung in the air.
Isaac pulled his hands from the keys of the upright and stared intently, almost pleadingly at the black and white bars he had devoted his life to.
" Half from the force of his scream, half from the blind swinging of his arm, his composition went flying throughout the room. His
short outburst exhausted his rage, leaving a hollow despair in its wake. He hung his head and cried silently into his hands. Absorbed in his lost
creativity, he didn't notice Karen until she placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Not going well dear?" she asked kindly. He laughed bitterly.
"Even 'not going well' would be alright. It's not going at all
. I can't even get the wrong
notes out anymore."
"You've been working for hours Isaac; why don't you call it a night and get some rest?" Her voice was soothing, but it didn't kill his
frustrated despondency completely. She rubbed his back gently as he stared at the ncient Baldwin upright, like a petulant child at the door of a
friend who had to go home early. Finally, he sighed wearily.
"You're right. I'm sorry. I'll be there in a moment." She brushed a kiss on the top of his head and walked out of his studio without a word.
Isaac watched her walk into the hall, and his gaze drifted back to the piano, no longer petulant, but longing, sorrowful, as though the piano were the
fresh grave of a recently departed friend. He thought for a moment about trying to get the next measure written, then resigned himself to bed for the
He found Karen already asleep when he entered, smiling placidly at whatever dreams graced her night. He quietly slipped under the covers and turned
out the light. Within moments, in spite of his frustration, Isaac was asleep.
In his dream, he stood alone on a grassy hill as sunset turned to twilight. Isaac could see the lights of a nameless city below him, which seemed to
twinkle and shimmer like the countless stars that were slowly appearing above. He had no idea where he was, but that seemed unimportant as he watched
the sky near the horizon change from orange to violet. Through the corner of his eye, he saw a small hairline streak across the velvet of night, and
glanced over in time to see a shooting star fade away. Isaac smiled with a near child-like wonderment and closed his eyes. "I wish I--
The sounds of laughter cut off his words. The sight of family members, most long since dead, smiling and staring expectantly at him greeted his
confusion as he opened his eyes. He looked around in astonishment; he was sitting at the kitchen table in the house he grew up in, the candles on a
large store-bought cake in front of him welcoming Isaac to his eighth year of childhood. Uncle Casey was patting him on the shoulder, still years
away from his unsuccessful fight with lung cancer. His mom was sitting across from him without a trace of the dementia that she was dealing with
during Isaac's waking hours.
Not one to question a dream, Isaac smiled widely, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. He blew his hardest, wanting to get all of the candles on
his first try this year, and started his wish again. "I wish I could--
A sudden drop in temperature froze the words in his mind, and he opened his eyes again. There was smoke, and at first his mind tried to convince
itself that it was only the smoke from the birthday candles. It was much too thick to be the remnants of the flames from cheap wax birthday candles,
and viscous, like an oil floating through the air. As he watched, it shifted, coalescing into a vague outline. He looked around to see where the
smoke was coming from, and was only momentarily surprised to see a small gold oil lamp as the source. Before he could think further about it, the
outline in the smoke solidified, and he stood face to face with a rather non-descript looking man, probably closer to forty than twenty. Isaac looked
at him with confusion; he was dressed in a tee shirt and jeans and staring right back at Isaac, obviously unimpressed.
"Who are you?" Isaac asked.
"I'm a genie, Einstein. Didn't you see the lamp? The smoke? The obvious theme in this little fantasy you've created for your slumbering
pleasure? C'mon, you're a bright guy; I'm sure you could piece it together."
"But I though genies were supposed to be..."
"What? Arabic? Big, strong upper body, sandwiched between a turban and a smoke trail? A few centuries ago, and in the Middle East, sure. Not
today though. Besides, that's a racist stereotype, and if you keep it up I'll contact the ACLU."
"The ACLU handles genies?" The genie threw his hands up in melodramatic frustration and glared at Isaac with mock indignation.
"And why not? Aren't we entitled to the same respect as anyone else? If you prick us, do we not say 'Ow, dammit, that hurt'?" The genie waved
off Isaac's look of confused curiosity. "Anyways, on to business. I'm sure you know how this works--three wishes, no more, most anything you
want. You have one wish left, what can I--"
"Wait, one left? I haven't made any wishes."
"No, you didn't finish
any wishes. Sorry, I can't help you there; take that up with your subconscious for cutting you off. So, one wish;
what's your desire my glorious
master?" The sarcasm was lost on Isaac as he contemplated his final wish.
"I want to make music again," he said after a few moments of deliberation. The genie looked at him in astonishment.
"That's all? Pfft, you can do that already. Your little tantrum tonight was more musical than any of the garbage on the radio. For God's sake
man, you could have anything! Riches, fame, women." The genie punctuated the last word with a wink and a nudge with an elbow. "I'm sure you can
do better than that. Why do you want to make music? What do you hope to achieve with it?"
Isaac though hard for a bit before he responded.
"I want to change the world with my music. I want it to be special, to...well, change the world." The genie considered this for a moment with a
mischievous gleam in his eye.
"I think I can manage that. Is that your wish?"
"Yes. I wish to write music that will change the world."
"Your wish is my command, master. Now, if you'll excuse me, House
is on right now and I don't want to miss any more of it."
"Wait, that's it?"
"What did you expect? Some flashy neon lights and show girls?"
"Well, how do I know it happened?" The genie gave him another mischievous grin.
"Oh, you'll know." The genie paused, considering his statement. "Well, maybe you won't. You couldn't figure out who I was, so you can't be
too bright after all. Anyways, it doesn't matter. It's done, we're done, and I think Dr. House just berated one of his lackeys again, so I'm
off." The genie faded before Isaac could say anything further, leaving him alone with the smoke and the lamp. Slowly, those faded to nothing as
well, leaving Isaac alone in the darkness of a dreamless sleep for the rest of the night.
[edit on 10/10/2006 by MCory1]
[edit on 10/10/2006 by MCory1]