This is a story that I wrote some time ago, and is probably the only one I ever completed. It's very short, and I might continue it, but for now this is all I have. I hope you enjoy it!


It is only the sound of a wooden flute which breaks the silence. Only this and nothing more. And even then, the sound doesn't quite break it. On the contrary, it seems to meld with the silence, mixing with it, intwining the other with itself so tightly there is no possibility that it would let go. It holds even tighter because it is nighttime, 1 o'clock in the morning to be exact, and because of this the silence will not need to be embarrassed of its companion.

For it is no secret that silence is often very lonely, no matter how hard he tries to hide the fact. It is the reason why silence never stays silent for very long. It always breaks, somehow. In this case it is the flute, the small wooden chinese flute, the dizi, who holds to the silence now.

The sound roams across the forest like a large tidal wave and as everyone in the forest hears, a large sense of peace follows. The long alto note floats like a fickle maiden in the sleeping beasts' ears, even more fickle in a sleeping human's. Only in the minds of trees, of plants do the notes stay. For only plants are so patient and understanding.

And old.

But sounds disappear as soon as they come, and soon, the fickle maiden must run back home. Away from her suitors, who she cannot decide from.

As soon as the flute has stopped blowing, silence is released.

All the small creatures hiding in the undergrowth listen for more.

1...2...

And it begins again. Again the sense of peace. Again the fickle maiden. And again, the sense of loss, befuddlement, and longing.

For those are the emotions which follow a fickle maiden's disappearance.

The process repeats, again and again. Ah, the poor creatures and humans, who lie asleep in their beds, with the flute in their heads! That they had to be put through such a paining process, a mental roller-coaster! How they must feel afterwards in their monotonous daily lives, when the flute is silent, and the only thing left is loss, befuddlement, and longing.

Longing...

Longing for what? That is the question. But then again, is it not only natural for humans to long? To want?

But enough of that. A creature's nature is confusing enough, let alone a human's. For a human's, you see, is full of tiny nooks and crannies that were all carved into that brain of theirs. There are so many nooks and crannies that half of them can't even think straight! A tragedy I tell you. No, no. Our account begins elsewhere, not where the sound of the flute ends up at, but where it came from.

A rewind please.

Now, just as the sound of the flute begins to subside, it is summoned back to where it came from. Past the forests and rivers, past the small houses, past dreams of both humans and beasts, which have fled into the sky to dance, past all those things, until it is just at the edge of the city Osaka, in a vacation house. One of those Japanese vacation houses, made out of wood with tranquil wooden balconies and lawns and stone gardens. With long, shadowy corridors and rooms with tatami mats lying on the floor.

And in the case of this house, a young girl.

The pure, yet simple note of longing echoes throughout the clearing. There it is again! And just as it fades away- a new one follows.

It is from this girl the sound is coming from. This girl, tall for her ten years but slim, who stands at the edge of the balcony with the wooden flute in her hands. This girl, with long black hair all coiled, curled, and tied around her head, who is adorned with ribbons of every color, and who is wearing an elegant green Elizabethan dress, which is very out of date, but nonetheless pretty.

This girl, who is listening.

With each blow of her flute, a web of voices echo back. Pictures flicker in front of her eyes, but they are all so small that they look like fireflies. Each flicker is a different color, with a different level of radiance. Some flickers give off a light gray hue. These, the girl caresses in her hands, willing them to turn into lighter colors, more cheerful colors. Yellow, green, sky blue, red, pink, and purple. From each flicker - or picture, if you want - comes a voice, a sound, a dream.

A dream.

"Mother! Mother! Watch out- hurry! Grab my hand, I'll pull you out of there… Mother!", weeps a particularly gray one. This one, the girl nudges softly with her cheek, and soon, as the gray lightens into a light green, the weeps turn into gasps of relief and laughter.

The girl smiles and continues blowing.

Dreams...

A small knock sounds on the door. "Eliza, are you there?" a voice asks.

The girl stops blowing, and listens. It is a nice voice, she thinks. Male and curious. A voice of someone who is still at heart a boy, and who still has dreams full of cars and guns. Though these days he has different dreams, more full of a deathly pallor then not. And she should know, she thought, nodding.

After all, she is the one who looks at these dreams every night.

"Eliza?" the voice asks again.

"She's not going to answer until you stop calling her that." Another voice comes. A commanding voice. Casual but refined. A cross between alto and tenor. Male.

"And I don't blame her," a third one adds. This one was female. High soprano. A dainty rabbit with sharp claws and teeth. A feline snarl. "Such an absurd nickname."

"We should be blaming you for this." And a fourth one. Also female. Accusing and ridiculing at the same time. The mistress of a circus... or a masterful mother. "You, for dressing her up in that dress. It's only because of that that this idiot has gone like this."

"But that dress is so pretty," the rabbit voice pleads. Her claws and teeth were now hidden behind softy, fluffy fur. "Unlike that name."

The commanding voice breaks in. "It's no one's fault other then the idiot's. Her name's Tomoe. Yes? Aragaki Tomoe."

"Ok, ok." The boy voice sighs. "Tomoe, are you there? Please open the door."

The girl does not move. Slowly, she turns again to the flickers, the voices, the sounds. She moves the flute to her mouth.

And blows again.

"What is she doing?" the boy voice asks, a note of confusion sounding through. "I'm calling her right, aren't I?"

"She's watching the dreams." the mother voice says, rebuking the boy. "Don't bother her."

"But it's been 5 hours already," the Rabbit voice says with a hint of curiosity. "Doesn't she ever go to sleep?"

The girl sees the commanding voice think. "Who knows?" it says. "When I found her she slept during the day, and only for a few hours. I guess you could call her nocturnal." It pauses again. The other voices stayed quiet. After a while or two, it starts again. "Nighttime is her play time. The dreams her playthings, her own entertainment."

The boy voice chuckles. "So she sees them as only playthings, eh? So she doesn't understand the real meaning behind them?"

"I wouldn't say that," the commanding voice replies.

"Oh?" A playful note, but mean and teasing. The making of a challenge, a bet.

The girl does not pay attention. All of that she has given to the fireflies, the flickers, the sounds. She blows the flute again and again, never stopping long for breath. It is always the same note, a low, soulful A.

The mother voice speaks, "Either way, she's finally come down to dinner tonight, so I'd say that she's definitely feeling a bit more comfortable, at least. So please keep yourselves under control and don't spoil it."

Seriously, the boy voice replies, "I'd think that you'd trust us enough now to know that we wouldn't do that." He says, but at that last word he chuckles.

The mother voice laughs dryly and says, "I don't trust you. It's just like you to take advantage of her muteness."

The rabbit voice wavers. "Ugh, don't remind me. What kind of uncle chops off their own niece's tongue?"

"A drunk one," the commanding voice states.

"But she has a gift which people would kill for," the boy voice says. "To look at dreams. Muteness for a power like that… it's not a bad trade."

"Then you wouldn't mind if I cut off your tongue? I'm sure your wonderful spirituality will surge at that sacrifice," the mother threatens. There is a sound of distaste, but the boy voice says no more.

"She must've looked at ours once." The rabbit murmurs in wonder. "Do you think she'd tell me what mine was, if I asked her?"

Outside, the girl's eyes search among all the flickers. They clamber around her, begging for her attention. Like small children, she thinks. But then again, all dreams were children, in a sense. Just like how all humans were children, the flickers they made were children as well. Even the thick, seeping nightmares and the loud, flashy prophecies. All of them wanted to be seen, heard, and touched until you felt smothered.

The girl plays with them for a while. Some jump into her ear, so that she could hear what was happening. Some squeeze into her eyes. Some dance along her arms and fly about. With each continuing blow of the flute, more and more come. And more and more play.

Even so, she soon grows tired. Never mind all these dreams, there is only one dream she wants to see tonight.

And so, she blows again.

It is an ear shattering wail, this one. No more soulful notes of tenors and altos. Now she plays the clean soprano, if this could be called soprano. For this note wavers, it wavers so, between the low and the high, and it seems more like a cry then any note of music.

The rabbit shrieks in alarm. "What's happening?" it says.

"I've heard this sound before," the commander says, surprised and in awe. "She's calling."

And indeed she is. The longing cry explodes, rather like a bomb. It explodes outwards, across the city, across the forest, across the rivers, across. The Flickers dispel in an unorderly fashion, and they fly away, back to where they came from. They know that the cry is searching. It is searching for a dream and they are not it.

"What is she calling for?" the mother asks.

"A dream," the commander says.

After one cry, is another, and after the another is another another. Sweat begins to show on her forehead, and the girl's grip on the flute tightens.

Why was the dream not coming? Why was the voice not echoing back?

"Argh! She's still blowing!" the rabbit growls. "Make her stop, someone."

"We can't," the boy says, gritting his teeth. "Unless you want to knock down the door and stop her yourself."

After the twentieth blow, the girl stops. She drops herself down onto the balcony, her chest heaving for air. The act is made even harder because of the dress, and hence she tears it off, leaving herself in a small nightgown. She stares at the flute, demanding an answer. Where was the dream? Where was the voice? It was such a lovely dream, with the hot summer sky, and blooming flowers. With the old country house, painted blue and white, standing next to a dusty road. With the old man painting next to the window sill, and all the small porcelain dolls sitting in a row. Why did it not come?

The answer comes soon enough. It has happened before after all. Dreams disappearing and never coming again. She knows.

But that does not mean she likes it.

On the other side of the door, the rabbit sighs with relief. "She's finally stopped."

"So the dream has come?" the mother asks.

"Maybe it did," the commander tiredly says. "But there's another possibility. It's happened before."

The boy voice perks up. "What do you mean?"

The commander sighs. "You asked if the girl knew the real meaning behind those lights. Now you'll know."

"What-"

"Listen."

And outside, out on that cold balcony, the girl faced the inevitable. For she did know the meaning behind her playmates, who danced to her flute every night. However her understanding of it was much different from others. 'Dream' was not a word in her vocabulary. She knew them as lights, as flickers.

Nevertheless, she knew.

Flickers were made in a person's heart, the person's mind. They are the person. They are what the person sees, though the person might not know it. Flickers are the things hidden in the brightest and darkest corners of a person's heart. That is what they are.

If a flicker is gone, then the person is gone.

The girl tries to deny it, but she knows she cannot. The man was old, beyond his time. Almost past the ninety mark. He had dreamed of it, she knew, of growing old to a hundred. He had dreamed of being able to move easily again, to paint like he had before, to live in the house he had lived in for most of his life with his daughter, niece and nephew. But despite all his dreams, he had been truly content.

The flute speaks the truth.

His voice is not answering.

And underneath that dark sky, 1'o clock in the morning as it is, the flute lays silent, discarded to the side where the girl threw it in her fit of sorrow.

Underneath that dark sky, a girl cries. She doesn't bother to soften her wails. Instead, she lets them out, bawling like the small child she is. Or what others thought she was. After all, a person with such naive and fantastical thoughts must be a child. Or were they wrong? Perhaps, in seeing dreams like she did every night, in seeing people's hopes and thoughts in such an open light, and then in the end, seeing them disappear, she wasn't a child.

Perhaps, she was the most grown up of all.

The girl's cries spiral up in the sky, twisting into every niche, corner, and crack they can find. They are often disturbed by hiccups, whimpers and sniffles, but they are the truest sound in the world. Inside the house, the owner of the boy voice shows a rueful smile to the commander and nods his head in understanding. In turn the commander smiles sadly; he knows better then anyone how many times the girl has cried. The mother has long ago gone down to fix a cup of hot tea for the girl, and her presence is sorely missed by the rabbit who feels somewhat melancholy after hearing the cries. She silently excuses herself to bed. What a strange exhaustion she feels now. So strange that she falls to sleep the moment she touches the blanket.

And there the rabbit dreams herself, though she might not remember the dream she had. It runs off with a dark magenta glow and flies off to the sky, until it hears the sound of a flute.

For the girl has begun playing again. The same notes of a tenor and an alto. She plays with red eyes and hiccups still in her chest, but she is playing. After all, it is her job to play.

Her job to play.


As I said, it's quite short, and I know there are many things left unanswered and vague, but that was the way I wanted to show it. Vague. I might write some more later and explain all the untied ends and so forth, but for now this is all that's left in the story. I shall beg you now and sound like a broken robot in the process, "Please review! Please Review! Please Review! Please Review!" I love reviews, even if it's just a one line review, and the more feedback I get, then the more likely it'll be that I'll continue this.

Thank you!