Free Music

Dec. 30th, 2014 03:52 am
joshwriting: (Default)
[personal profile] joshwriting
The following was written from [ profile] museteasers prompt 2433, as part of an offer I made on Jan 17, 2014. This story is for Laura Lynn Walsh.

He hated his job. Not, he supposed, that that made him all that different from the bulk of people, but he really didn’t care about them. Guarding valuables was something he was used to. He’d been a guard for most of his adult life, after all. But the various posts he had held before had been different in a bunch of ways, chief among them that he knew what he was guarding for them! Yeah, the pay was much higher and the hours were both steadier and more reasonable – no guard ever worked longer than a 4 hour shift in a day and no more than 4 days a week or 2 days in a row. But despite that, he felt far more anxious – the bosses ran security drills almost daily to make sure that everybody was on their toes.

And for what? Damned if he knew, but when they hired him they explained that the country depended on his work. The country! Hah! As if the oligarchs had anything to fear.

It was a building, but a building without doors or windows. No way in, no way out. He was assigned one side, walking back and forth along the path, turning at irregular intervals to look back the other way – they weren’t allowed to walk with a rhythm, ever. There were guards on each of the other 3 walls, plus one guard stationed at each corner, so his back was always covered. There were 4 more guards on the roof.
Days passed. Weeks. Months. Years. The monotony was intolerable, but there was no way to break it. All the talk on the radio and television was just as monotonous as work. The people he met were all the same, too. He tried, briefly, to imagine how else it might be, but tossed the notion off as ‘above his pay grade.’

There is only so much that drills can do to relieve the drone of daily edge-of-the-seat anxiety combined with stultifying consistency. To say that the attack caught him off guard would not do the shock justice. There was just no concept that an attack could happen or would happen.

But it happened. Fast.

A loud noise behind him. The corner guard was down. There was a big hole in the wall. A sharp pain in his head. Nothing but pain for a while.

He opened his eyes to see four people fleeing through the hole, each carrying an oddly shaped box of varying size. He tried to bring his gun up, but it wasn’t there, so he tried to stand to go after them, only to stagger and fall dizzy. And they were gone.

Things did not change initially, at least not from his viewpoint. He wasn’t fired, much to his surprise. The building was repaired and the guard increased, but the drills lost some of their urgency. Over the next few weeks though, he began to hear rumors, rumors that made no sense. There were stories of distraction, stories of unplanned sleep, and stories of people just sitting and nodding and smiling.

He’d gone to bed; tomorrow was a work day. He was vaguely aware, as he lay there, that he was having an odd dream prompted by something he was hearing outside his apartment. He sat up with a smile on his face. He started tapping his foot to the rhythm he was hearing.

A rhythm? A rhythm, but not like anything he’d ever heard before. Shrill and metallic, almost hurting his ears, but not quite. And it made him smile, which hurt a bit all by itself.

The next day at work, he found himself trying to recreate the rhythm as he walked. And he smiled to himself.
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