Joy’s instructions: I’d like you to find a song — any song, any genre, anything, just so it’s music — and I want you to listen to that song, as often as you need to. Then, I’d like you to write something inspired by that song. You can do a character sketch, a glimpse into a life — whatever. Again, I’m asking for a minimum of three paragraphs, more if you desire. If you’d like to, you could embed a You Tube video in your piece or a link to the song, so we can hear the “soundtrack” to your work, too. One thing, though — DO NOT claim a character in a song as your own or attribute things to them the original creator did not. That’s a major no-no.
Barb’s note: It would probably be more dramatic to listen to the music while you read this.
The opening strains of the “Moonlight Sonata” announced his arrival in the building. He always put on classical music before he came to see her. He seemed to think that beautiful music made his actions beautiful, scientific, and beyond reproach.
She sat pressed up against the head of the bed, her leg chains straining against her ankles. She pulled up her knees and wrapped her arms around them, rocking unconsciously to the gentle beat of the music. Tears made wet circles on the knees of her jeans.
She was helpless. Drugged and nauseous, her strength drained from repeated cycles of torture and healing. Last week was bad. They had been investigating how quickly she could heal a burn. She’d felt her sanity slipping during the cycles of taking blood, “administering” the burn, taking more blood. She wasn’t sure she’d completely recovered her sanity even though her skin was intact.
They’d figured out early just how hard it really was to kill her. If she could have willed herself dead, last week would have been the time to do it.
Her heart broke yet again, thinking about how she got here. Her lover, the man she’d been with for almost a year, the man who tried hard to be a good man … had been convinced it would be only a few tests, and that “it was in the best interests of our country.” But when he said it, it sounded more like “Our Country.”
She’d tried to tell him it wasn’t going to be “just a few tests.” He trusted his country to do the right thing. The problem was that “his country” wasn’t holding her. Certain superior officers who envisioned super soldiers and battlefield healings were holding her. She hadn’t seen him again once she arrived. She doubted he knew they drugged and chained her. She hoped he didn’t know just how painful the tests were.
The only thing that allowed her to hang onto the shreds of her sanity was the hope that her lover would come and get her. Surely he has tried to visit. Surely he wants to see her. How long has it been? She couldn’t compute the time because too much of it was spent either writhing in agony or in the deep healing state.
She heard the door open and felt her heart pound. She watched for the shoes. That was the first thing she could see when he walked in. She prayed each time the door opened that the shoes would be different. That they would be his shoes, not the too-shiny government shoes her tormentor wore.
She wrapped her arms tighter around her legs as her hopes fell. She did not look up or speak. She no longer spoke to them. It didn’t stop the pain. It didn’t stop the tests. It did, however, anger them, and that was the only thing she could control at this point.
Oh. It’s feeding time. She saw the tubing dangling from a hand.
“Will you cooperate?” he asked.
She was silent.
“I see. It’s your choice.” He called in an orderly.
Let the games begin, she thought.
She fought them. She always fought them. They always won, but she would continue to fight them until she was either rescued or died. She didn’t hold out much hope for the latter.
Another exercise: Launa’s answers for “A game for our characters”