This story is by Ben Anderson and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I can see it all so clearly. There he is, sitting upright at his piano, the polished wood gleaming in the stage lit room. His fingers dance majestically upon the ivory keys. He is playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata; a song that has been listened to by many, but never like this. He and his music have become one. Slowly, our vision pans away to reveal only an audience of empty chairs. There is no need for people to be here. This is but one small part of his grand masterpiece, the main event is outside. Outside, the scene is not one of tranquillity and perfection but utter chaos. One would expect to hear cries of anguish, explosions, death. Instead, the violent scene is accompanied only by the beautiful music, created by its masterful musician. The sky is black with smoke, the ground littered with ash, debris, and human corpses. Our attention turns to the living. Those that have the courage are fighting amongst each other, it is unclear to us as to why. Those who seek survival are hiding within anything that can shelter them from the outside chaos. Though it matters not what they do, for the world is ending, and he has caused it. This is his masterpiece, and he is enjoying it. Slowly, ever so slowly, our vision fades to black. It is the perfect scene.
– There is a knock at the door. –
“You’ve been in there for a while. Is everything okay?”
I recognise the voice.
I’ve lost track of time.
The room is steamy now, the hot running water from the shower comforts me in my naked awkwardness. I’ve done it. This is my masterpiece. I think about how it will shock the world as they read it for the first time. Or watch it. Yes, this could be a movie, that’s how I have imagined it, right? I can still hear the music in my head. As I race through more ideas, images pop into my head, each masterfully painted landscapes. I have been planning this story for a while now, but this time I think I’ve finally got it. At last, she will be so proud of me. I can only hope. It has been too long since I did something meaningful with my life. The shower has reinvigorated my imagination and strengthened my confidence. It is time I became who I am meant to be. I think I am ready to get out of the shower now. I’ve been in here god knows how long, and I shouldn’t make her have to knock again. I shut the water off.
– I am awoken by a blast of cold are against my bare skin-
The inspiration I felt leaves me and is replaced by something else.
I recognise the feeling.
I’ve lost track of time.
I can see the world so clearly, once again. I am standing, cold, and naked in the shower, stuck in an endless routine of procrastination. My story is one that has been lived a thousand times by many others. I am not special. I have no masterpiece. My dreams and I may never become one. I wish that I could write my story for an audience to cherish, but there is no hope. There is no music in my head, only voices, my voice, telling me “You’re not ready”, “You should do a little more research first”, or even just “Sleep on it, then think about starting.” Maybe I am right. Part of me wants to listen, maybe hide away from the thoughts that have caused me such chaos, but part of me also desires to stand up and fight it, I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter, whichever path I choose to take, I can only imagine it will lead to regret. I sigh to myself. The steam has cleared, and whatever warmth I once had has completely vanished now. I quickly dry myself and slip into some clothes I had prepared, desperate for some heat to re-enter my body. It’s clear to me. I am not ready, not yet. I would know if I was, right? Maybe I will do some research tonight, think about it some more before bed. One day I will be ready to write my masterpiece … My perfect scene … and when I do, I will enjoy every second of it. I turn for the door.
“I best get along with the rest of my day then.”