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From “Trill,” my current horrific (I hate to say horror, because I’m not sure that’s what it really is) story in progress:

After a few weeks, watching the twins play, I switched instruments. I carried the crimson case down to the garden, unwrapped the pale pinkish flute from its black velvet. This one longer, more intricate than the other, the long hollow bone inlaid at one end with a dark braid around its surface. Through the years, my mouth and hands have worn the bone smooth, small indents where my fingers dance over the holes, a softness where my lips settle to breathe.

The boy was the first to come, intrigued, his lips curling. He was too young to understand, I think, what happened to his mouth when he smiled, and so he smiled freely. At his sister, at a garden spider that he poked with a stick, at the sound of pebbles falling from his hand to the ground. While he approached, she sat, swinging her legs over the low wall, watching me without pretense, the patterns of leaves and sunlight spreading along her skin. From so far away, the mole was nearly impossible to see and her beauty was marred only by that perfection. I wanted her closer, to see her as she truly was. She was getting closer every day.

I could have acknowledged one or the other, but I merely kept playing, fingers dancing as my lips moved along the pale instrument, the material sheened and softened by years of playing, smooth as skin.

In the shy way that boys have, he circled far away, a moth unsure of the light, fluttering around as though flowers interested him, big rocks, the inn wall that edged against the courtyard. I kept playing, eyes mostly closed although I parted the lids enough to watch him. Coming ever closer, until finally, he was standing before me, kicking at a stone.

I played some more, no longer matching the bird songs, but taking them higher, slower. A lullaby and a morning song. Sleep and be awaked. I watched my fingers move over the instrument, not that I needed to as long as I’ve been playing but children spook easily, like doe or rabbits. You must let them approach while they think you’re unaware.

His curiosity unable to stay hidden, he looked at me full-on. I watched the split of his lip open and close as he spoke.

“How do you make that sound?”

Not ceasing playing, I merely lifted the instrument higher, showed the places where my mouth moved along it. The tone changed, upbeat tempo, a danceable trill. Even the girl’s feet stopped their ragged swinging against the wall, began to beat in time.

“I could teach you,” I said, as the music died away. “Come tonight and I’ll teach you.”


Kiss kiss bang bang, s.


PS — Fantastically creepy picture from this artist.