Unfinished Symphony, page 10
"NO" Abaddon cried as he felt pain and fear twist through his body a thousand times. Slicing.
Memories, visions. Every joy, every sorrow opened up wounds on his heart as he felt, truly felt, all the pain he had caused, all the misery.
Abaddon’s hands reached up to his face. He covered his eyes but still the visions forced their way into his mind and there he sat forced to endure the pain and suffering which he had inflicted.
Robin arrived at the base of the well. Arms began to sprout from his side as he looked up the well. He paused. He couldn't leave her. Thinking of the times they had shared together, their adventures, He wouldn't leave his friend no matter what she said. Turning and changing he raced down the passageway. Leaping obstacles his steps kept time with his beating heart as he hoped he wasn't too late. He had no plan, he just knew he couldn't leave her. If Polly could be so brave so could he.
The door appeared ahead and he felt the pull on his muscles as he changed shape, turning back into the small Pooka. Teeth and claws would do little against this devil.
Robin steeled himself and charged towards the open door. He pushed through the heavy weight of the darkness, so black it was purple, wind assaulted him and tried to push him back. The wind ceased buffering him and he emerged into a room bathed in soft blue light.
On his knees ahead of him was the tall man, his hands held over his eyes.
Robin raised his hands in a boxer’s stance but the man paid him no attention. Careful as he edged around him. Visions flashed and Robin felt the pain. Unable to take any more he turned from the tall man and there she was. Polly.
Watching as visions, memories bathed her in their beauty. The laughter and the happiness she brought. Reflections of her life twisting and turning, spiralling into infinity. Every moment a tear drop of joy. Robin watched the visions of her mother, of her father, of her family.
Cradling her small child, Polly. Her tiny angel. Full of hope and dreams. Her husband's hand on her shoulder, his tender kiss on her cheek. Then, the shadow, the worry, the fear. Her husband’s concern as sadness crept into her song and into their lives, a sadness he couldn't prevent, a sadness he couldn't fix.
The visions changed. Flashing images of their moments of joy, of happiness but always, the melancholic drone. Corrupting her song and making her blind to the love of those around her. Her final moments.
A solitary teardrop left Polly's eye, tracing a path down her pale cheek. All around her colours swirled and changed into the likeness of her mother. A hand reached out from maelstrom of colour and collected the tiny jewel from Polly's cheek.
Her mother wept. Not out of sadness but joy. She was finally free. Her unfinished symphony more beautiful for the love she had left behind. The love for her husband and the love for her daughter. A love that could now be cherished.
The colours faded as the small Pooka knelt down next to Polly. He placed his arm around Polly’s shoulder. Turning to face him she smiled and Robin helped her to her feet then led her from the room.
“Wait” Polly said as she turned and re-entered the room of reflection. She walked over to where Abaddon sat staring into the abyss of his own devilment. Polly took his hands and he turned to face her, tears streaming down his face.
“Sorry” he mouthed over and over.
“Its okay” Polly said “they are all safe now. All of them. Look.”
Colours swirled all around and above them, their forgiveness playing out as a beautiful melody. Polly guided him to the floor, he looked up at her and smiled. Abaddon closed his eyes and his final breath left his body. He was know nothing more fearful than an old bag of bones wrapped in aged leathery skin. Polly removed her jacket and lay it over the prone figure, reaching down she removed her bobble and covered Abaddon’s face. She joined Robin at the door and together they left Abaddon and the room of remembrance.
The journey back was a silent affair, they barely spoke, muttering only a few words as they figured out how to get back up the well. The little Pooka couldn’t carry Polly, he went ahead and then, with Polly balanced precociously inside the bucket, he pulled her up using the old rope. Robin carried her over the rushing water and Polly looked down, searching for Archie. Rats clambered up the steep sides of the ravine but the old man couldn’t be seen anywhere.
Together they passed over the bridge and Polly looked down and gazed at Robin, she reached down and held his hand.
“It’s okay Miss Polly, he died a good death, doing his duty. There is no finer way for a Pooka to go. So, no sadness now, you hear. How about one last ride?”
Without waiting for her to answer he began the transformation. Polly climbed onto his back, together they raced down through the caves. The wind tousled her hair and sent it out behind her like a shawl. Lifting her head from his back she relished the moment. Felt life swirling around her. Racing on through the deepest, darkest cave she laughed. She had never felt more alive and she started to sing. A song her father would sing, a song of happiness and a song of hope. A song that filled the depths of the earth.
The large creature pulled up and Polly jumped over his back. The creature changed and laughing threw his arms around Polly. They danced through the small crevice and came out at the back of the waterfall. Polly delighted in the cool feel of the water as it sprayed up and around her.
“I’ll get in first and hold the boat steady for you” Polly said climbing into the small boat. She held her hand out it bobbed up and down.
“Miss Polly I am afraid this is as far as I can go. The world outside is no longer a place for my people. You must face the world on your own now.”
“But I just thought that… will I ever see you again?”
“Miss Polly you knows all you have to do is listen. The gentle breeze that whispers, the bubbling brook that laughs. The rain that drums and thrums. Just listen to your song and turn to your heart.” He placed his hand on the side of the boat and Polly covered it with her hands. He pushed the boat away from the bank and raised his hand in a wave.
The boat caught the current and drifted towards the waterfall, Polly reached down for the umbrella and opened it out above her head. When she looked back towards the shore, on either side of the small Pooka stood Archie and Abaddon. All three raised their hands.
“Thank you” mouthed Abaddon as the water fell on top and around her, an opaque curtain that clouded her view as she emerged into the sunlight of a warm mid-summers day.
Deep in thought and bone tired, Polly passed through the forest and came upon the old graveyard. The rusted metal gates still stood open between the two faded stone columns. Small flowers poked through at the base of the pillars, reaching down she picked them from the ground and raising them to her nose she drank deep of their intoxicating bouquet.
Polly made a small bunch in her hand, and then reached into her pocket. She looped the hair bobble around the bunch of flowers and walked towards the entrance. As she stepped across the threshold she realised she had been holding her breath, she let it out in a shaky gasp and looked around.
The sun cascaded down, warming the old headstones. All around her wildflowers burst forth, birds sang as flashes of colour darted in and out of the trees. The graveyard was not what she expected, it wasn’t grim or lonely.
Polly walked further down the worn path, passing row after row of gravestones. Some small and some large. Graves that were so ornate, so decorative, that they looked like magnificent works of art. Others so plain that they seemed all the more beautiful for their simplicity.
Polly’s father had told her about her mother’s grave, hoping she would one day accompany him. She knew the whereabouts and headed towards the old oak tree standing like a solemn sentinel.
Polly placed the small bunch of flowers onto the grave and ran her fingers over the words. The sadness touched her, it was a gentle touch, and she looked around at the beauty around her. A small insect, a cicada, landed on the grave. She h
The village was now a hive of activity, people coming and going, women and men attending their chores. Friendly arguments over the price of fish, the sound of battle coming from the village green. Polly stopped to watch as the team from the next village took the stumps, their white uniforms reflecting the sun. The bowler charged towards the wickets and catapulted the ball towards the batsman. The batsman stepped forward striking the ball, a loud crack as cork struck willow and then silence as it sailed through the air. The fielder ran taking the ball in his outstretched arm to the cries of “HOWZAT?” The umpire signalling him out.
Her father. He must be worried sick.
“Mr Postlethwait” she called to the postman “what day is it?”
“It’s a Saturday Polly and most likely will be till Sunday rolls along” he answered, puzzlement etched on his face.
“Thank you” she called already running. She had been missing a whole week, that can’t be right. “What date?”
“The 12th June. Polly are you okay”
“Fine.” It was the same day she entered the underworld. The same day she had left the gypsy camp with Archie. Her father wouldn’t even know she had been away.
The farm soon came into view and Polly slowed to a walk. Passing the animal pens she ran her hands through their coats as they came over to greet her. One of the cows shook her head and set her bell jingling and her father head popped up from behind the old tractor he was attempting to fix.
“Hello” he called “hope you were good at Elizabeth’s?” his teeth white and glowing in a face covered in motor oil.
Polly broke into a run and threw herself into his arms, sending them both sprawling in the mud.
“Pol what’s wrong?” he asked sitting up and looking at her with a frown. “Are you okay?”
“Dad, I’m fine. It’s just, I love you.”
“I love you too Pol. You do know that don’t you?”
“Yes, I do now. Come on I’m starving, can we make some lunch?”
“Sure, there is some cheese in the fridge and a fresh loaf was delivered this morning, terribly nice fella that Mr Jones. I’m just going to finish up here and …”
“No dad, I want us to make lunch together.”
“Oh, okay” he stood and dropped his spanner to the floor “to be honest Pol I haven’t got the foggiest what I’m supposed to be doing anyway” He reached for a rag and wiped his hands and his face and then he took his daughters hand in his.
“Dad I’m going to make us an omelette”
“An omelette you say. Very nice.”
“That’s if the hens have managed to lay any eggs yet.”
They walked to the kitchen hand in hand and Polly began to sing. Her father smiled as he looked down at his daughter. The smile, like an avalanche turned first into a chuckle and then into a laugh. Soon he was singing and his base tone complimented his daughters beautiful voice. Why had he only just noticed what a wonderful voice she had? His thoughts turned to his acoustic guitar. I must dig that old thing out he thought, see if I can tune it up again. Maybe teach Polly to play.
Singing, they entered the kitchen together. Singing, they made lunch together and from that day on, whenever they were together, the music never stopped.