Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the FANTASY and/or SCI FI Genre (10/16/14)
TITLE: Killing the music
By Ellen Carr
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I was just ten when they came. The Monotoids appeared from nowhere. They looked like humans but they were not. They were cold, unfeeling beings. It was written on their faces, in their blank stares.
Wily and strong, they easily took control of our town, setting themselves up in the Town Hall. Ours was the first, but soon they controlled the whole country.
For a while life went on a usual. I still went to school and to my music lessons. Then the Resolutions began. They were posted outside the Town Halls, broadcast on the radio and proclaimed in the newspapers.
Resolution One forbade radio and television networks from broadcasting music. Talk could continue, as long as the Monotoids controlled what was said. More Resolutions followed almost daily, but most terrible of all was Resolution Fifteen. It forbade all public playing of music and singing of songs. There was to be no singing in schools or churches, no concerts, no music played in shopping malls.
I guess a few people were pleased - the kill-joys who complain all the time about noisy music. But for me and my family it was a disaster. Music was in our blood; Dad played the saxophone, Mum played piano and my two brothers and I all learned instruments. Dad was in the municipal band and. Mum sang with the Terringdale Choristers. My brothers were in the school orchestra . We were devastated. I can tell you, tears were shed in our house when Resolution Fifteen was posted.
People got around the Resolution by gathering in homes to play music and sing together. We turned our get-togethers into parties. And when the church group met it became a time of praise. It was a happy time in the midst of the gloom that blanketed our country.
But the Monotoids were not finished yet. They wanted to purge music from our lives altogether. Maybe they realised its power. So they banned all singing and playing of music, even in private.
Stony-faced Monotoid Stewards went from house to house installing listening devices and confiscating musical instruments and records. I hid my recorder in my bed, but they found it. They even found some records my brother hid in a plastic bag in the toilet. They stripped our home of its laughter and melody. What a terrible day!
That was when despair set in. How could we live without music, the very expression of our souls? How could we not sing? How could we stop ourselves humming a tune or whistling? No-one felt safe in their own home. It was like a clamp around our hearts.
A quiet settled on us all, and so things went on. In some ways we lived our lives much as ever We ate, played and read. We went to church and listened to sermons, and prayed. The music was still in our heads but it was dying.
Now, I'm seventy and the sound of music is a distant memory. We don't even talk of it any more. My children and grandchildren know no other way. Our land is filled with words and sounds but never music. I guess we have adapted.
But, now, Stefan, my grandson, dashes in, waving a piece of paper.
“Grandpa, Morgan gave me this. He said you'd understand it. What's it about?”
I grab my glasses to read it. My heart misses a beat.
“Where did Morgan get this, lad?”
“They're being passed around by people on bikes. Read it and pass it on, they say, but never let the Monotoids get hold of it. What's a song, Grandpa?”
I hide the paper under a cushion and motion for Stefan to sit next to me.
“Long ago we used to sing songs and play music. The Monotoids forbade it so it gradually died out. Whoever is organising this event is running a huge risk. But, lad, I'll be going! How I long to hear some music again! Some brave person must have secretly kept their music going all these years.”
“This is a brilliant idea - a book fair where everyone who gives the password gets a secret listening device. And we can listen to singing as we browse the books. Brilliant!”
“Grandpa, I want to come too. I want to hear singing too.”
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