“The Midnight Melody”
As my airborne body travelled through the narrow tunnel of the atmosphere surrounding menacing clouds, I felt weightless. I was filled with a jolting sensation in the pit of my stomach as gravity violently accelerated me towards the ground… I was falling.
Appearing timid against the contrasting might of the deep blue sky, I was hurled through the air in an unforgiving fall as the actual depth of the plunge started to register in my head. Everything was a chaotic blur. Air whooshed past my ears in a deafening frenzy and it was all I could hear. Minutes went by and I was still falling. The sense of imminent death hit me full force. I surrendered myself to the plummet entirely and focused solely on the sound of the air rushing by.
But just this time, there was another sound accompanying it. As my senses were muddled by the sensation of the sheer drop, I could not identify the source of the sound. It was meek and distorted but all the more pleasant to my ears in those last minutes. So twisting my body around in mid-air I turned my head up to the sky and closing my eyes, I concentrated on the sound alone tuning out everything else. It gently floated on the clouds and travelled towards me in a soft murmur.
It was then that I realized the source of the sound in my mind─ it was coming from a string instrument. It had a stark resemblance to the melody emanated by my own guitar, one that I played often. The thought latched itself onto my subconscious and as I became surer of the source of the tune, I felt myself slowly slip into consciousness.
The sound kept sharpening and becoming more distinct as I transitioned from the dream into reality. Who could be playing it? The thought lingered on my mind and the melody still echoed in my ears until I was completely awake. With a jerk I opened my eyes and with a rush of adrenaline pumping through my system from the dream, I searched about me in the darkness of my bedroom. Slightly disoriented from the vivid images still burning in my head I let my eyes adjust to the nighttime bleakness of the room, pausing a moment to get my bearings. I looked in the general direction of my guitar, on the other side of the room beside my desk. It was as sound asleep as the rest of the things in the room were, its timber features highlighted by the faint moonlight streaming in from the open window above the desk littered with piles of paper. The curtains blew with a cool breeze the open window brought in and a stray leaf of paper floated towards the ground with it.
With a slight shiver I hauled myself up and stood against the edge of my bed. Moving in to the close the window, I picked up the paper and placed it back on the desk. I glanced once again at the instrument seated silently under the muted, silver glow of the moon. There was a slight depression formed where the guitar had left its impression in the carpet. A thin layer of dust was settled on the wooden surface of the guitar from sitting beneath the open window every day. It was resting exactly as I had left it earlier that week, and there was nothing to hint of anybody else’s presence in the room. As I was turning away from the window, my eyes fell on the desk clock by the lamp. It was a little past midnight. Dismissing my confusion as part of that dream, I decided to return to sleep. About half an hour later, I then again heard the soft melody of the guitar. It was strikingly distinctive this time, having a rich timbre to it and seeming to originate from somewhere close by. I woke up to look at the guitar again but it was still nobody in my room. Further baffled by the mysterious melody, I tried in vain to provide myself with a few hours of sleep as yet again, another half hour later, I was woken up by that very same elusive melody. Beads of perspiration dotted my forehead now; I was breathless and barely able to keep my eyelids open due to the deprivation of sleep. I was restless.
Finally making a decision to end my agitation, I stood up, grabbed the guitar by the head from its resting place by the desk and slept with it lying beside me, my arm wrapped securely around its cold, stiff surface. After that I was able to go through my sleep undisturbed: my guitar was gripped tightly in my arm and the shards of that dream did not creep into the crevices of my mind again. Everything appeared terribly still afterwards─ like the lull after the storm.
ut there was yet a strange feeling tugging at the walls of my mind, I could not shake the intuition building deep inside my stomach that something was amiss. I lay there with my eyes closed, contemplating, trying to identify the cause behind that ominous instinct.
Is it my subconscious playing nasty tricks on my mind again?
But little did I know that it was far from the reality. I lied there in the folds of the sheets extremely still, pondering long and hard, unhurriedly going by each event of the night in my head: the eerie dream, the mysterious melody, the breeze blowing in by the open window, the stray leaf of paper, my glancing at the clock, closing the window, returning to sleep… And as I clicked that last piece of the puzzle together, I realized to my horror that my dreadful instinct was true. A chill enveloped my spine in its vise as I had the revelation. Just then I became aware of the undulating breeze blowing in from the other side of the room. It caressed my arm that was holding onto the guitar in pure pulsating fear. A creak resounded through the confines of the room and my blood ran cold. The thought that flooded my mind next was most petrifying.
Could…could the window have been opened? ─For I distinctly remembered having closed it.