My fist exploded across lips and teeth, ruining all, and sent their owner soaring into a wall. You see, I was designed to be a monster among men, with strength second to none; and even without my family, I am capable of imparting that dark lesson that is always destroyed in the learning. Although this fact doesn’t stop my family from testing my mettle, from time to time, and I’m always glad to entertain them; so my family stood back and watched as the wolf and I came together, in a tempest of fists and knives.
I rather admired this killer, following me as he had—into a city far deadlier than his quarry, and stalking me through the halls of a nightmare-haunted hospital. I almost thanked him for joining me, but my name was blazing across his murder-list, and he would only stop after my death or his own. Unfortunately for him, my death wasn’t a feat he could manage—not even in a city where dreams have the preternatural tendency to come true.
I caught the killer by his forearms, and squeezed. His ulna and radius bones snapped like dry twigs, and his knives fell from his vanquished hands. The wolf was unfazed, however, thrusting his heavily booted foot squarely into my face; but my body has been chiseled from unfiltered purpose, and blows from even the greatest beast would not immediately prevail against it. Suddenly the wolf escaped my grip, wrapped his shattered arms around my midsection, and in a display of exhilarating desperation and strength—lifted me into the air and smashed us both through a nearby window. Cool wind, bottomless night, weightless blood and glass catching moonlight, the raging wolf: gifts, all. Our long descent ended violently atop a large rooftop. Glass and blood rained down around us—the fallout from a beautiful dream. I rose to my feet. The poor wolf, unfortunately, would never rise again; the sight cut me deeper than the wolf’s knives ever did, and finally…I stopped laughing.
The din of battle fled into the darkness, and I recovered the remaining names I had inherited from the dead hunter’s murder-list. Then I looked into the night: it was thinly pierced by the tiny, amber lights of distant and glowing windows (What power or device illuminated the rooms behind those windows, I couldn’t say), which gently shone like stars made from the calm of autumn; and the moon, while visible, seemed restrained by the city’s darkness, for only the dimmest light drifted down to the world below. As I took in these exquisite sights, the wind grappled with my coat and snatched at my hair and beard. I took a deep breath, and wondered if I was inhaling air or darkness.
There was a nearby, and slightly elevated, rooftop within range of a spirited leap, and so I climbed into the night. While I managed an impressive height by means of scaling rooftops, I had reached the apex of my ascent, having run out of roofs close enough to leap to. My destination was at least visible at this point: the rooftop of a distant and nearly collapsed apartment high-rise. Travelling the open streets would be too risky an alternative, so I decided to find another way across to the next building.
After I quietly laid my shoulder into it, the rooftop door opened with a small “pop.” The little noise began fliting down the narrow stairwell, and would have gained the hallways below had it not been for my expanding silence. I arrived upon the landing and moved beyond the stairwell door, entering the hallway of the 12th floor. The passage was utterly silent and dark, so I crept along like a careful spider, plucking at the shadows and silence, testing the way ahead. suddenly the sound of a cracking whip exploded into the hallway. A few seconds later a pulsating amber light made its way into the darkness of the corridor, emerging from an open doorway that was several apartments away from me.
I could detect something advancing beneath the silence, displacing shadows as it moved. Sidestepping into the apartment next to me, I disappeared into the null of forgotten places. Music, of some sort, began to melt out of the air, blowing softly across the hallway and into my hiding place. The lights in the hall turned on and dimmed to the weakest orange glimmer, followed by the lights inside the apartment I was occupying. I was too eager to see what would come next, and with my silence wrapped so securely around me, I decided to take the most comfortable seat in the room, and wait for whatever was to happen.
The music became almost tangible, forming a kind of transparent membrane that settled across the room, invading everything. Then the light itself blended into the mysterious composition, as the wax and wane of the tender illumination transitioned into floating, glowing notes. Immediately after, the cadence of my breathing merged into the developing harmony, and then the movement of my very thoughts dissolved into nothing more than an accompanying rhythm. I was being absorbed into the music.
I tried to think past the horde of deadly sounds, but every new thought became simply a note within the growing storm of voracious melodies. My only hope was silence. I could feel the hungry music trying to master and devour it, but my silence was unyielding. That space of contest became the focus of my attention. I listened as never I had before, to the silent song only I could hear. The devouring sounds suddenly vanished from the room, moving past me down the hall, still eating away at the world by means of the most beautiful music.
With the nightmare music gone, I slipped from the room and reentered the hallway. When I passed the apartment where the unearthly music seemed to have come from, I took to the deepest shadows and minded my every movement, but I couldn’t resist peering as far into the room as I could. The apartment was filled with rusted musical instruments; they were suspended from the walls by large hooks, and were strung with glistening webs of what seemed to be saliva. Sitting in the middle of the room was a man dressed in the loose-fitting and dusty apparel of an orchestra conductor, and in his right hand, instead of a conductor’s baton, was what appeared to be a lion tamer’s whip. He was apparently sound asleep, and bore the signature and advanced features of a man afflicted with the infamous sleeping sickness: his eyes were completely sealed shut, so much so that there was no distinguishing the fact that eyes had ever occupied the unbroken expanse of smooth skin that now lied placid and pale above his cheeks. He made no movements, but only occasionally whimpered a muted cry in his sleep, yet the pathetic sound seemed to come from an impossible distance that was buried somewhere deep within the man, as if someone was crying out from the yawning depths of the blackest pit.
To hear the songs of the Sleeping Maestro follow the below link (Track is an original composition created by Maeltopia Studios):