Time for Bizz's grand debut on Fictionpress! Budumdumdumdum, drumrolll! Laser cannons, fire!

(to clear up any confusion- no, the first chapter is not about her past or anyone's past for that matter; the main character is hallucinating, sort of. Pay attention, it's important!)

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A Cappella

I- Fanfare

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Many, many ages ago, a girl walking the dark streets of a town she'd never heard of had a sore ear from her tormenting Master. All she'd ever wanted was a voice that people could actually hear; after voicing her opinion, a great lash came up in the clouds of the weather. After being struck so ruthlessly, the young one decided that she wished for a voice that she could hear as well, and fervently disliked being abused in such an insulting manner. She didn't believe she was running away because she hadn't felt that place from before had even been her home at all; she'd just drifted there like a solo milkweed seed that had been rebellious enough to break from the rest of the head. It'd always been the other way around when the wind blew and the only one left was in actuality the renegade fluff that decided to remain on the head. It would, of course, eventually meet its end after a starving bird or some roaming insect needed a quick snack.

What was solo? It was being alone. The girl never thought she was alone. Maybe a cappella- without accompaniment- but never completely alone. The whole world could move to her own rhythm and speak its own rhyme. The magnificent meaning of it all sprouted forth in a gargantuan beanstalk that the singer decided to climb on her own. She did a lot of things on her own, albeit she was never alone. She climbed higher and higher until the clouds were visible and then soon below her, except the beanstalk ceased there in a gargantuan leaf that held her weight when she rested on it. Boredom conquered her joints and took the best of her curiosity, so she jumped… into a cloud. A fluffy, cottony, cumulus cloud.

She was lying on the cloud so gently and heard beautiful music so sweetly that she started to cry and suddenly a firefly was next to her- a rather large one, at that. It was wearing a tuxedo and fancy, ornate boots, and the insect was about her size. It spoke in a strange, buzzing tone: "Why, hello there." The girl obviously surmised that it'd been male.

"Hi?" The girl blinked in the startling realization that this had been the first time she had heard her voice in anything other than vocal exercises for the past five years- or maybe it was seven?

"You seem to be having fun trespassing in my home, little one. Are you well?" The lightning bug was calm and rather polite; he was rubbing his legs together sincerely as if he'd been a cricket, and his bioluminescence had really been the only light, for the dark of night had taken over long ago.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean…" She paused- it'd just been so weird, talking like this!- and promptly continued, "… it, I was just passing by. If you'd like me to leave, I can…"

"Oh, no, little one! There is no need if you require somewhere to sleep for tonight, if that is satisfactory? I will provide anything you find to your wanting."

"If you have to…" What was the world coming to, the girl wondered? She'd ventured many catastrophes, and never before had she met any kind of talking anything other than humans and maybe a cat she'd found once at the side of the road.

"Would you like some tea, maybe? I can prepare some. What are you found of? Green? Chamomile? Peach? Lemon? Roasted chicory?"

"Anything is fine. Thank you, kind firefly."

"You are very welcome, little one. Please, call me Vale. I will have our tea ready in a tiny minute."

The girl smiled as the very formal lightning bug bowed; he then made his way through a thick curtain of cloud and vanished. She had been so interested in this creature, now. Peaches were falling from the sky, too, out of great cloudy trees- the befuddled female singer caught one so accurately in her hand and boldly yet voraciously bit into it. The sweet juices of it permeated throughout her entire soul, and she was content.

Moments later Vale returned with sweet, piping hot green tea in two small cups that looked similar to the heads of tulips; red tulips, to be exact. The girl was delighted, and more fruit fell from the sky. She sipped from her tulip-glass, and the taste was exquisite. "Thank you, mister Vale Firefly. I was unaware that your kind could talk, if even vocalize at all."

"Oh, it's quite normal over here, don't you know? Well, you can find any cloud here that fits your fancy, and then you can sleep."

"Mm, you are so nice…"

The bug bowed very formally as always and made his way back through the cloud curtain of his vaporous home. The singer decided to rest on the cumulus cloud she'd been on this whole time, for the others seemed too thin, as if they would break under her weight and she would fall…

She didn't know clouds were this comfortable, either… She'd watch others pass by wistfully in her semi-conscious state. They were wispy and long, bulky and gray, some shaped like dragons and vague triangles and circles and squares. It was so beautiful; never had she experienced this, ever! The most gloomy and dreary of cloudy days could be the best and most meaningful adventures you could ever come to know. And this is what she had concluded, too, as her eyelids felt heavy as bricks and she was pulled deeper into tranquil slumber up top in the sky.

. . . "Wake up!" Her eyes shot open a few minutes later, and the once-calm, midnight-black sky was now tumult and in chaos; the clouds were red and fiery and also dark green; the zephyrs and tickling breezes that had formerly been quite innocuous and stress-relieving were now ferocious gales that ripped through her ears in hostile howls and screams. The very faint yet audible sounds of what resembled a freight train were approaching fast.

"What, a tornado?" The girl thought out loud. Vale shook his head in front of her groggily focusing eyes.

"Listen, I made the Feather Gods angry. I said I loved a human, and now the world is going to explode!" His voice was suddenly coarse and raspy. It wasn't the way it had been before, with its pleasant, humming buzz that gave it the character and the claming effects that it had had before.

Had this encounter been too much? It would be too much as suddenly everyone seemed angry and frustrated, and this young chorister didn't understand. It wasn't day nor the night, but a sudden, twisting, spiraling void that sucked her in with the firefly buzzing and trying to grab at her with his six legs, and nothing would work, nothing would work…

The girl was trapped. She couldn't move, nor speak, nor think. Did the world explode? Her Master's face appeared to the left of her brain. "Did you think you could run, you insolent fool? The powers of Allegretto the Great will show you! May the Pumpkin Gods smite you!" The girl opened her mouth to counter his curse, momentarily forgetting that her voice was not there. She was so scared; she started to grow an elephant's trunk. It sprouted from her nose, forward into a window of opportunity. All she really ardently desired was to go home!

"Wake up!" Her Master boomed, "Just wake up already! Look into the sun, and see its radiance show you the truth!"

Why had everyone been yelling at her to wake up? She didn't comprehend this nonsense! All this girl had been looking for was a voice that could make her travel far, even further than above the clouds! Her mind was playing scenes back in her head for some unfathomable reason, and she remembered the firefly's insignia had been red when before it had been--

The feeling of being suspended in nothingness had abruptly ended, and somehow it was cold, if she could feel it. Facedown in an estimated six or seven inches of snow, the girl eventually struggled her way up out of it and into the face of a ravaging blizzard. She watched in awe a man with long, black hair slowly and yet in a strangely graceful manner trudging through the snow with a sword in hand, and it filled her senses with something very familiar.

Nothing had been impeding his progress. He kept on moving forward, no matter how harsh or blustering the winds were. His sword's blade was, very visibly, composed of shining silver; his whole outfit and aura was a silvery blue, with silver everywhere and the sparkling silvery whiteness of the snow rendered his figure almost invisible.

He was advancing towards her direction, though not directly. His presence was making the very nerves of the young singer melt into her core, and she still lie stunned on her right side in the snow. Vivace, having vivacity and liveliness; this was the word she'd been delving for! It had been like when she watched one of her eldest friends perform his own works on the piano. His fingers danced with such vivacity that her legs shook! She vowed to practice so that she could someday play as well as he.

"Excuse me!" The girl found the strength and the will to shout louder than she had originally anticipated, and somehow the wind carried her voice far off rather than blowing it away and smothering her breath. Did physics even exist here? In this world of clouds and fireflies and snow?

The man's gaze turned to her, and he stopped moving; this surprised the girl considerably enough to make her squeal a little and she quickly scrambled upward into a standing position. "Um, yes, hello! I can't seem to remember my name, but can you remember yours?" She decided to take a chance and approach the man herself, until she had been close enough to make decent conversation. "Do you know what this is? Because I don't seem to."

"Hah, you don't know what you even are, do you?" The man scoffed. "It isn't fair to the others who have spent their whole lives searching, is it? Have you spent your whole life searching for reasons on why you are here and what your purpose is, or do you just sit around and wonder? Pathetic."

The blizzard seemed to worsen at this point, and the girl stood there with nothing else to say and none else to do. She looked down at her own feet, which were for some reason or another completely bare. Her clothes changed from the usual short white dress to a rather long, autumn-colored robe; it was hard to even stand in, let alone walk in snow. Maybe it had just been her weak constitution.

"Hey, now," The man continued, his voice a little less sharp this time, "it isn't too late to admit to yourself what you must do. The whole world searches for reasons, my friend; sometimes you must take the path less traveled, so they say. Put a little color in there."

"If you say so," The girl muttered, her voice broken and nearly an octave lower than it had been before.

The man sighed, and then raised his sword at the sky. "See those clouds up there? The clouds that may seem to give us our dark days now? Well, a time very much long before this, when we were born and the Stars themselves were giving us our names, we never looked at the clouds that way. We were smarter then, in a sense: we saw the clouds for who and what they really were. We didn't judge them based on how they looked from down here, for instead we were always sleeping and living above them. They gave us our support at that one time, and because of them we saw the light of the sun at day and the beauty and comfort of the Stars at night. Now we are but ignorant human beings living down here- we don't give thanks to what created us, but instead look down at them now in scorn. We take things for granted; we take advantage of things. We steal the real beauty from the world." The man lost his voice for a minute, pausing and pondering all that he said, and looked away. "We never just stop and take a moment… to apologize and admit our sins. Instead, we always try to hide them…"

The girl, both dumbfounded and befuddled, stared at the man whose outline was now fading. His silver sheen was dulling, and yet he was smiling at the girl, and he held out his hand. "I see… you understand. No one ever does… so can you come with me?"

"Where.. are we going?" The girl asked in a rasped and almost desperate tone. The man chuckled.

"Why, we are going… to find our names." And it was then that the girl took the man's hand, and she swirled into the nothingness once more as her own outline began to dissolve, however she for once wasn't scared but instead very elated. So elated, in fact, that she started to sing, and so did he…

The music came together as a mélange of knowledge; a medley of wisdom; a mixture of true enlightment, comprehension, and understanding of all that had been around it since the beginning of time; a symphony that rang through the world many times and never once came to an interval or halt whatsoever. The trees bowed as the girl who was once nothing, now everything, ambled across the forest of the world with the strange man who had once been lost and forlorn in the snow…

And yet, in an office, people weren't agreeing with this logic. In fact, the people looked at themselves and sighed- they weren't happy with the truth. They wanted stories. They wanted stories that had that twist to them, and it didn't care if they were complete fallacies; nope, they didn't want black and white. They wanted… color.

A homeless dog, malnourished and filthy, slowly stalked up the counter of the office. A small, gray man behind the back of a large chair was informed of this happening. "What would you like to do, Boss? Would you like to hewlp him now or not?" This 'boss' had been treated as if he were the head of some sort of mafia syndicate. The man sighed and spun his chair around to face his underling.

"Look: I write newspapers; I don't make rainbows, undastand? Wake up, you worthless toad."

"Wake up…"

"Damn it, wake up!"

"Hello?"

"W… ke… p…"

--

"Hey, I think she's really finally waking up this time!" A rather loud and irritating voice shouted, much too close to the ear for the sick girl's tastes. "Rise and shine, sleepyhead!"

Everything that had once been black now came into view. The Infirmary was a rather large place, with around fifty other sick beds that lie unoccupied; ten others had been holding within them other singers that had fallen victim to the strange severe fever plaguing choristers and other musicians across the Land. Although there had been no fatalities as of yet, it had still been a growing cause of concern for many and though a quarantine had been in effect, there had still been those who decided to just traipse in and visit their friends regardless of the rules.

Meli Ihv groaned and threw her bedsheets over her head. Though the attention had been just a tad bit nice, why didn't they know that she hadn't wished for company at this time? If she was going to be deathly ill, then hell, she wanted to be deathly ill in peace. "Ugh, leave me alone." She'd taken a glance at the gifts lying on the side desk next to her and had afterwards felt slightly guilty about her attitude, but why couldn't she voice how she'd really felt? She hadn't been ready to be awake yet, and that was that. Her dreams had ended much too soon.

"Is it true? Meli's finally come to?" Another voice chimed in, though less obnoxious than the one before. A boy about Meli's age, Tersin Chalis, had already been pulling a chair to the disoriented girl's bedside and had been getting ready to ask some questions, to Meli's dismay. Maya Wertin, Meli's best friend, had gotten there first.

"We heard you singing in your sleep. Were you dreaming?" Maya asked. Her face was freckled and her smile had always been so warm. In response to the question, Meli sat up and shrugged slightly.

"I think I did, but I cannot remember half of it. It was weird, though, because everything kept changing scenes so rapidly…" Admittedly, however, Meli hadn't really been trying her best to sum up the huge recollection of dreams she'd had in her few days of an almost comatose sleep. All she'd really fervidly desired had been to sleep some more, but at least her fever finally broke. The strange hallucinations were starting to unnerve her quite slightly; she never really had them quite often, especially with singing to accompany it…

"Hey, by the way," Tersin started, "You've got a message from the High Composer. Would you like it now, or…"

"Later," Meli breathed, falling back into the Infirmary's bed again, "Please." The rest of her company had been sorely disappointed, eventually dispersing back into their respective dorms. The day waned as did Meli's consciousness as she once again drifted back into the fantastical world of slumber.

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