… healing sounds …

Healing sounds at the hub

Round and round … the cyclic drone underlying the melodic scale reverberated in Kala’s bones, re-rearranging the cells in her body. The sound of the reed organ embraced her like a cradle, made her feel held, warm, secure. The melody climbed upwards. There it was again, the wonder, the curiosity, a desire – the impulse to stretch her limbs and reach out towards a colour, almost touching it, then, with the tune circling around that pitch, the slowing down to uncertainty, with only a longing left. From a faraway place an echo sounded as if in response, people she could not see called out to her. She was restless with anticipation of a discovery, anxious too, of its beauty. The sounds kept flowing through her, or she flowed through the sounds, and the cycle repeated. Y-image posterized Or was it a spiral lifting her to the light she desired, and equally dreaded?

From an immeasurable distance she heard him shout, ‘Run, Kala, run, run … survive. Promise me to free the forbidden words.’ A band of men dressed in black were tearing her away from Liam, towards a thicket. Others rounded her up, sneering, ‘We’ll help her to free the forbidden.’ They dragged her along to the river and tossed her into the reed, like a puppet. A hand muffled her screams. She bit the hand, scratched the man’s arms and tried to pull her knee up, to kick him in the groin. He spat at her, hit her hard across the face, over and over, calling her names, laughing. Four other men wrenched her arms and legs apart and then she was crushed, and all went dark … a faint voice, a woman’s voice, reassuringly familiar, ‘I’m your mother …’

‘No!’ Kala screamed. Her eyes snapped open. A gentle hand folded over hers, reached out to brush her brows. Kala blinked, trying to understand what she was seeing. Were these her own eyes looking back at her?  Was this her mob of unruly amber curls? An ideal vision of her, mocking – strong, spirited, more substantial, more beautiful, more …

‘Hi Kala, welcome, I’m Mirre,’ your sister.

Oruba reduced the volume of the musical scale on his reed organ and let the last chord slowly fade until the tune lingered on in silence. He nodded to Mirre and left for the next room, where Zap looked up from his absorbing work. He had explored every minute feature of Kala’s lovely face, had re-composed its bone-structure from every angle. He had depicted his new love in imagined action, dancing in a meadow, drinking from a fountain, stepping from a doorway, all in the sincere belief that he could bring her back into the present that way. Oruba bent over Zap’s shoulder to look at his latest creation – Kala, her eyes open, verdant as spring. ‘Good timing,’ he said, ‘she’s come round.’

Zap jumped from his chair and hugged Oruba. ‘Can I see her?’

*     *     *

This is an excerpt from chapter 19 of Shapers (sequel to Cabal of Mirrors.) I post a snippet on my blog for a change, since visitors tend to not look at my excerpt page, where I used to rotate writings from my novels.

Kala did not know her mother, who has now been murdered, nor that she is a Shaper, people of a scientific, mystical community, admired and feared. They live in underground hubs, generously funded by the super controlled society of Rhonda, under one condition, that they keep out of politics.

The main protagonist in Shapers is not Kala but Mesa, the re-embodiment of Ana from Cabal of Mirrors. In this sequel Mesa returns from the future to collect a darkness lost. I’ll introduce her some other time. For my Beta readers, Zap, in the excerpt above, is the re-embodiment of Little Snake.

Feedback is welcome. And questions, of course.

*     *     *

The image was taken by my son, Yeshen. I only gave it a photoshop treatment.


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10 responses to “… healing sounds …

  1. Fascinating stuff and very evocative writing, from the dreamlike to real fear and then to Joy. excellent


  2. “Round and round … the cyclic drone underlying the melodic scale reverberated in Kala’s bones, re-rearranging the cells in her body. ” I can definitely relate to that. I can feel my body reacting to sounds and music. When I hear atonal music (Berg, Berio, Cage, Adams, etc.) I feel as though my body is at odds with itself, as though all my atoms are disconcerted and flying in different directions. On the other hand, Bach (just to give an example) brings me harmony.


    • Bach’s 🙂 and so many other compositions. I play intuitive harmonies on the reed organ at times, when bad things happen in the world, or sad news arrive and my feelings are in turmoil. It’s amazing how sound affects us so deeply, can shake things up and also heal and bring order to our world.


  3. Beautifully written and very 3 dimensional. 😀


  4. I love this style of highly imaged writing. The girl coming round out of a terrifying dream is very well done. I wish I’d known who the other characters were, like Liam. One thing puzzled me. Is her mother’s voice part of her dream/nightmare? You say she never knew her so if the voice is familiar it must be somebody else’s. Lots of intriguing points here.


  5. Thanks for reading, Jane. Yes, it’s the question I’d ask, and it challenges my impatience to get both novels, ‘Cabal of Mirrors’ and ‘Shaper’ out there. I’m presently waiting for a draft contract from a small publisher.

    The setting is 2450, Rhonda’s society is breaking apart. The scene is a follow-up from earlier events of a student uprising in a park, where Liam and Kala had been instrumental. Lady Cien (an undercover Shaper) and Lady Mevis escaped abduction by a fellow Governor that night and race to the park where they find the body of Liam (Mevis’s son) mourned over by fellow students. Shortly, Kala is found, raped and unconscious. She had been given up for adoption by Cien to grow up as Rhondean but had weekly sleep inductions by her, about Shaper lore, which is why Kala remembers the voice … ‘ I’m your mother, Kala. I’m the voice from your dreams. We’ll meet soon. Please heal. I love you dearly.’

    Earlier scenes are too deeply dramatic for an excerpt.


  6. Alethea Eason

    What a fascinating world, Ashen. So imagistic and complex. I love the idea of the sleep inductions to enable her to learn the culture of her heritage and connectingvt her mother that way.


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