The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Powers of Belief
by Marge Simon
In the tunnel under the Great River, Mikal runs for his life.
“There is no escape. Protestors will be shot. Repair to the nearest exit to be counted.” The voice from the wall speakers is flat and impersonal. Twenty minutes ago, a shot hit him between his shoulders, knocking him to the ground. Only a moment to regain his senses, and he’s up and running again, his violin case bumping against his back.
He is needed, only that fact drives him on. When he gets to the other shore, he will find his family and friends. With his music, he will bring their people together, to unite against the enemy. Even to heal the wounded, for his sister swore his talent had such power and he’d grown to believe it. Townsfolk laughingly called him Mikal the Magnificent. But they were always kind to him.
The tunnel proves much longer than he’d thought. When his legs refuse to move another step, he continues in a crawl. Suddenly, a waft of sweet fresh air, the opening at last! He rises and steps shakily out into a pile of rubble. Glancing upward, he sees the heavens, breathes in the crisp cool air. Distant flames glow along the horizon. Quickly he unbuckles the case and opens it, already thinking of the melody he will play first. It must be urgent, high and penetrating. Surely it will be heard for miles, such is the silence. But something is very wrong. He gasps, sitting back on his heels. Before him is a mass of splintered wood and strings. The shot had found a mark after all. There would be no heroics, no convoking notes.
Despite the fires, it’s very still. No sign of a living soul; the eradication the enemy had threatened was complete. All this way he’d come, carrying a parcel of useless wood and believing he could make a difference. He slumped over the crushed remains in the case and wept. Finally, he slept. A soft wind stirred his hair. “You made a difference to us, Mikal. We believe in you.” It was his sister’s voice coming from a very long way off. When he woke, he felt much better. He told himself he was still needed, so he would survive. First, he must get a new violin somewhere. Surely if he walked far enough, he would find one. Yes, that’s what he must do.
And the night wind rose to soothe him. And the distant fires burned on.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The Demeter Diaries
‘The Demeter Diaries’ is a record of love and longing and the inevitable horror that arises between the minds of Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula as they court one another in waking dreams. The dialogue, written in both poetry and prose, imagines a psychic connection that develops between the two even before Dracula arrives in England. As Dracula makes his way from Transylvania to Whitby on the doomed ship Demeter, the two would-be lovers transmit their thoughts across the waves and lands that separate them, alternately wooing and terrifying one another with the idea of love eternal and all the dark delicacies necessary to ensure it. Front cover art by Wendy Saber Core, interior illustrations by Luke Spooner.