Frieday, M 5, D 23, 427 AP
I was a pale man standing in front of dark people. They had wide, dark eyes. I was desperate, but they did not understand. I became dark, and the people became pale. I don’t know if I was a man or a woman, if I was angry or sad. The mind of past self was screaming in frustrated desperation until even my ghost presence couldn’t breathe.
What was I fighting? What was I afraid of?
This faded, and I was on a stage overlooking hundreds of people. I’ve never seen a stage like this. I felt calm and happy. Finally, ghost self could breathe. I was playing the cello. That awkward, glorious instrument. A most beautiful song. My insides quivered with every laugh and sigh and whisper and of my cello’s voice. I had a wedding band on my left ring finger. I could feel myself smiling. It wasn’t a solo, but there was no music in front of me. Five other celloists played beside me. Our cellos knew the song by heart.
I will find this song.
(Continue) Frieday, M 5, D 23, 427 AP
Allan doesn’t understand why it took them so long to accept him into the Institution. He is happier than before and doesn’t ignore me anymore.
Shepherd Jaques took me to visit him at the Institution one day where I met Chief Williams, the man who decided that Allan’s science-art project was enough to prove his worth to the scientific development of “keeping humanity alive.”
It still makes me sick to think about.
Chief Williams asked me how my brother managed to do, to pull off something like “Song of Glass,” and I explained that each of the bulbs were a different size and shape so they made different sounds when they exploded. Thousands of them, all to make a four-minute song. How? Heat. He heated them up. Some at the same time to make harmony.
“A breathtaking masterpiece.”
“Allan told me he was relieved it was over, so then he would be free for a little while to pursue what he wanted.”
The light left Chief Williams’s eyes a little.
He was probably thinking what everyone else thought – what else could Allan possible want? In a family of musicians, what was there other than music?
All Allan has ever wanted was to work at the Institution, but he had too much musical potential.
Writing my thoughts has helped me somewhat bridge my relationship with music, so I’m going to write this here. (I didn’t in earlier pages because I was afraid Allan would read it.)
Allan stopped acting like my brother when he began work at the Institution. I thought it would be better, that he would be able to talk to me and not be so frustrated and tired all the time from working on his “masterpiece.” But it’s worse.
He tells me when I am being a disappointment. He forces me to practice. He grounds me. He slapped me for talking back a week before seeing Shepherd Jaques. I was so angry that I cried. I tried to play my violin, but all it wanted to do was screech in fury until the strings on my bow snapped in half.
I don’t understand what is happening.
Allan put his arm around my shoulder and smiled in Chief Williams’s face when he rounded the corner. The smile on the old man’s face broadened, and I realized that his prior smile had been the fake, polite kind.
“Well, well, the genius and his doppelganger.”
“We do look alike, don’t we?” Allan squeezed my shoulder.
Chief Williams’s face turned grave, and the pit in my stomach widened – a pit I hadn’t even realized was there.
“You shouldn’t have told him, Allan.”
If either of us said anything about our discovery of the Gilgamesh Project, we would become permanent residents at the Institution.
“That is, until we’re reborn,” I mumbled. The old men’s faces grew grave, and Allan pinched me.
“If, Young Master Avery. If you’re reborn.”
“Jaques is right. Once we find the cure for this second disease, the human race can continue without us.” Chief Williams turned his gaze to Allan. “You were sworn to secrecy, young scientist. If it happens again, your research privileges will be revoked.”
Allan’s blue eyes sparkled. “What are secrets between brothers.”
The way he said brothers – I don’t understand, and Allan won’t tell me. He only smiles.
Chief Williams sighed then turned to me.”And you, Young Avery. You are sworn to secrecy as well, or your new home and music hall will become the Institution. So keep those lips sealed, and focus on your violin.”
Satureday, M 5, D 24, 427 AP
They’ve decided to make us permanent residents at the Institution.
I don’t know what happened, if Allan said something, or if one of the Institution Monitors lied on us, but I woke up to the sound of everything being moved. Monitors were there to take me to the Institution. Allan wasn’t home. I haven’t gotten a chance to see him yet.
Shepherd Jaques wouldn’t hear any of my excuses about missing classes or concerts. They already figured out that I didn’t have any friends – besides Richard and Maria – and my tutors would be given the standard excuse of being withdrawn to a different area of Alexandria. I don’t think they would have done this if I still had standard classes at the Academy. If only I could be a year younger, pre-Academy graduation age.
Shepherd Jaques still meets with me because I still need to be “fixed.” I can still write music and play in here. There are plenty of Inscapes (people who “aren’t” being held against their will within the Institution for knowing too much) who do such and are often some of the most creative, brightest artists of Alexandria.
I’m standing inside of a very high building that overlooks a city, a city much larger and very different looking than Alexandria. There’s a lady beside me. She’s older than me, current me, not the me in my dreams. She’s probably the same age as the person in this dream.
I look different. My pale hair has darkened, and I wear strange, brown colored clothes. The lady smiles at me. She’s very pretty, I think. There’s a fluttering in this past self, and the sound of the wind and my past self’s heart collide to create a sequence of chaotic notes that I can’t make sense of.
It’s music. I know it is. My past self is trying to arrange notes but can’t because of all the emotions stirring inside of him. Confusion. Awe. Happiness. Anxiety. Anger.
I think I was in love.
(Continue) Satureday, M 5, D 24, 427 AP
Something is wrong with Allan, more wrong than usual. He’s angry, but his face is pale and not red. When he saw me, he screamed at some of the Monitors until nearly passing out. They had to carry him to our new space.
I sat in a chair over in the corner farthest from the windows while he threw things – glass ornaments and miniature jade statues – going back and forth between yelling and muttering in Italian. I don’t know Italian very well because I’ve only studied the basic Romance languages and Revised English.
He finally broke down sobbing, whispering over and over “Mi dispiache. Mi dispiache tanto.”
Watching him makes it harder to breathe. I close my eyes and try to block out his heaving.
When he calms down, I will ask him why he is sorry. He shouldn’t be sorry about me. I don’t mind living here.
Satureday, M 5, D 25, 427 AP
I’m a boy who, I think, is a younger version of current me, though I have no recollection of this ever happening, because the child looks just like me, only ten years younger. Blond hair with my birthmark near my neck. I wasn’t wearing a shirt but wore a very outdated style of trousers that seemed to be in good condition. I was happy.
Someone chased me, also laughing, making playful growling noises. We were outside on the green grass.
The chaser called out, “You’s better stop runnin’ lil’ buggah.” More baby language that makes current me want to laugh.
Baby me replied, “Nay! Gets me!” I looked behind me, and the fellow chasing me looked something like Allan. The glance only lasted a second, but I couldn’t shake the image of what could be a fifty-year-old Allan bent over crawling after me, laughing, with grayish hair and a beard.
Back to today:
Real Allan has changed.
I meet Shepherd Jaques in his space since he also lives at the Institution. His face was pale the entire length of our meeting. He made me some bumble tea.
“How’s your brother?”
What a stupid question.
“He’s never been better,” I replied.
Shepherd Jaques looked down. I could see his spirit drooping, and I felt a little bad because he’s just an old man. Probably would’ve been handsome a while back.
Then he said something that made my insides unravel.
“Allan discovered some things that he was never meant to know.”
And then the old man expected me to talk about my dreams and my music after dropping that on me.
Later today (it’s too much effort to put the full date more than once):
Maria has apparently been trying to talk to Allan, but he refuses. I would normally call him an idiot, then he would lecture me, then I would roll my eyes, then he would tackle me, then we would fight until either we were both laughing or the other stomped off. But something is wrong with my brother.
Maria gave me a slip of paper. Her eyes were puffy and red, and my heart stooped. I feel sick. She’s knows something is wrong just like I do, but what can we do?
Her slip of paper had a poem. I didn’t look at it at first, but I could tell by the spacing of the short lines. When I gave it to Allan, he didn’t glance at it before throwing it away. So I took it and unfolded it. (I copied it here.)
He walks in darkness, in the night
Of clouds and shadows void of light.
Yet all that’s best of dark and bright
Can soon be glimpsed within his eyes
Thus mellowed to those swollen skies
Which giddy, mindless day denies.
Somber, soft, his gaze doth express
Upon a wise yet smiling face
Till flitting joy seems much the less
Compared to wisdom’s sad embrace.
In stormy eyes, I must confess
How pure, how grand, their dwelling-place.
And on his hands, and cheek, and brow,
Such wondrous calm and eloquent.
To a bear a burden none can know,
I do declare my strength is spent
In hiding when my heart does glow
In love for storms and innocence
“Allan, you need to read this.”
“I will not.”
I watched him, leaned over his notebook scribbling frantically. His blue-gray eyes didn’t blink for nearly two minutes. They were wide and glassy, like steam on a mirror. I look almost identical to Allan, with pale hair and stormy blue eyes and a grave expression. I wonder if a girl would ever write me a poem. It sounds so familiar. Probably the most beautiful poem I’ve ever read.
“Allan, I think she wrote it for you.”
“Then I must never read it,” he muttered.
“Then I must never read it!” He threw his quill down and glared at me, his shoulders heaving. I nearly fell backwards. Heart jumped to my throat. Allan’s glassy eyes dimmed as his face contorted. “I’m sorry,” he whimpered. “I – I…” He left, covering his face with his arm.
I tried to read his journal, but Allan’s handwriting is messy enough, let alone being in a language I don’t know. But I know it’s not good. He has the same sentences written over and over again. Especially, Perché io sono vivo?
Over and over and over again.
I will look up the meaning later.
I am dreading having my dream. I don’t know why.
(Photo: Marcus Castro)
Part 1 to this long project can be found here.