The Musician


An excerpt from an unfinished/abandoned story:


I made a mistake about him.


The musician doesn’t want to live. In fact, he wants to die. But I wasn’t wrong in knowing I’d be free if I stayed close to him.


“Do you have someplace to go?” I ask him as the line of workers disappear.


He nods, then looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “Do you?”


I shake my head, but he says nothing. Machine gun fire rips through the air. My heart thuds against my ribs, my adrenaline soars. Mattress feathers cascade through the open apartment windows like a fresh snow. Someone screams.


“They’re still emptying this section,” I say, eyes darting for a place to hide.

I half expect him to run toward the gunfire, to give himself up, but there’s still some survival instinct left in him. He runs like mad toward an alleyway. I’m on his heels.


“Go away!” he hisses over his shoulder.

“I don’t want to die today,” I call, running harder.

He skids to a stop as we near a pile of furniture thrown from the evacuated apartments. He dives in, covering himself with tattered clothing and blankets. I slide in behind him, a baby pram hides me from view. The wheels are cracked, the casing rusted. A quilted baby blanket lays over the side, a blanket that once warmed an infant.

Where is that child now?

“I wish you’d leave me alone,” his dark eyes bore into mine as he rakes a hand through his sweaty hair.

I don’t like him. I gave him too much credit in my imaginings. I ignore his comment and stare past him instead. An SS officer marches past, his gun wedged in a woman’s back. Her long black hair lays in tangles over her shoulders. More people pass by, caught just when they thought they were free from the roundups. The train whistle screeches. The SS push their victims faster and harder.

Our breathing is loud in my ears. Suppose they can hear our desperate gulps for air? I cover my mouth until they pass. The musician is running his hands over his face.

“They’d want you to live. Your family, I mean,”  I whisper.

He lifts his head, throwing a vicious glare at me. He looks as if he’s about to say something, then changes his mind and simply shakes his head.

The musician and I are different, I can clearly see that. He doesn’t have anyone or anything to live for.

I do.


He pushes himself out of the blankets and stands up, wiping his face with the back of his hand before dashing down the alley, as if the devil was on his heels.

I swallow, watching him.

I realize the deadly truth in that single thought.
_____


-Emily

2 comments

  1. Wow. Just ... whoa. I feel like I need the rest of this story now.

    Ahh, you need to post flash fiction like this more, Gi! I miss your writing! :)

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