Today’s post is a piece of flash fiction inspired by this piece of abstract art. For more terrific public domain abstract art, check out The Public Domain. Enjoy!
“They’ve broken the sky, now there’s no going back.” Balzac said, reaching towards the cacophony of color and light that arched overhead. The sky seethed in billowing masses of reds and deep purples. Sparks of lightning, like brilliant stars, dotted the heavens, filling the boiling clouds with flashing light.
Sabine pulled the rough woolen blanket tighter around her, so that nothing below the curve of her neck could be seen. “I’m scared, I never imagined it would happen this soon.” she said, her voice soft compared to the thundering above.
Balzac lowered himself down next to her with a grimace, he wasn’t as young as he used to be and after the day’s journey he ached all over. A cold breeze pulled at his hair, teasing the silver strands into his face. “There is no need for fear now.” He patted her shoulder. “If only they had listened sooner, they should have heeded my warning. This wouldn’t have happened.”
“It isn’t your fault, you never intended your studies to lead to this. Your’s was a search for truth, for understanding of our world. If anything your discovery should have been used to heal the rift in the sky, not to tear it further.” She opened the blanket and beckoned him to join her inside. “It is beautiful, isn’t it?’
“Of course it’s beautiful, even in its death throes it manages to put on a show. I imagine it won’t be much longer before the transition is complete, then all this will fade to nothing. Dark grey clouds will blanket the earth so thick that the sun’s light will no longer pierce through.” He pulled the blanket around them both and shut it tight, closing out the chill. Inside her warmth was welcome. The cold would only grow more bitter as time passed.
There on the crest of the southern ridge they sat, below lay a city in ruins, their city. But Balzac knew, he had predicted that it all would happen. The diplomatic disputes, the wars, the destruction, and finally, the breaking – he had seen it all when he discovered the secret to the music of the sky.
To him the world and everything in it was organized in numbers and frequencies, harmonics and resonances. To discover how it all worked he immersed himself in his lab, measuring the vibrations of the heavens and then engineering exact matches. The university provided the funds and equipment as long as he published his findings. Perhaps that was his first mistake, but then there was not other way to get the money. Tools for studying celestial vibrations didn’t come cheap either.
“Balzac?” Sabine asked, “Are you certain that there is no way to repair the damage? Could the vibrations be neutralized?”
“No, I’m certain. I would have to discover the exact frequencies and patterns they used, which is impossible as both change as soon as they meet the harmonics that exist above. Although now I’m not sure if I would want to. The effort, if it were possible, would take years of precise applications, maybe even decades. By then there would be no society to save, civilization would have returned to a primal state, that is if anyone managed to stay alive for that long.”
Sabine curled in tighter to him, hugging her knees to her chest. He wrapped an arm around her and breathed in her scent, she smelled of sweat and floral shampoo. Having her here with him here at the beginning of the end felt right. The thought of facing this catastrophe alone made his stomach twist.
“It’s final then, you plan to carry out your orders?” To his surprise she had tears on her face.
He wiped away her tear with a thumb. “Yes. I’d rather it end this way than watching countless millions suffer. It’s clean. . . ” he sighed, “it’s humane.”
“And what about us? We’ve been together for so long, seen so much. Should that all be lost?”
“No Sabine, we won’t be lost, we will be changed, transformed into the very harmonics and vibrations that I’ve studied for so long. There is a place for us in the heavens among all of our family and friends.”
“I wish I had your faith. For now I must rely on yours, it is enough. You were always the strong one. Do it. Do it, before I lose my nerve.”
Balzac pulled the activator from his pocket and the silver key from its chain around his neck. He slipped the key into its slot and turned it, opening the cover. After he entered the complex arming code the device chimed to life. When he discovered how to break the sky, he had also discovered the frequencies that would annihilate the life from earth.
Together they pushed the button. From deep within the bowels of the earth it started, a deep thrumming rhythm unlike any they had heard, it sent a chill that started at the back of his neck then shot down his limbs. The sound thrilled him, electrified him. From a distance higher tones flowed in undulating patterns all across the land and sky counterpointing the music from below. Tears of joy bathed Balzac’s face.
It was the music of the death of earth, and it was beautiful.