Missiles & Melodies

by Mazz
At a time prior to civilization, a lone man sat in the woods. A pleasant whistling sound of sorts had taken the man’s attention. It reminded him of a bird's song, often heard nesting in trees which offered the ripest fruit. Anticipating plentiful treats, he sought the sound's source. Audible only during the passing of an inconsistent breeze, the sound changed as the wind slightly picked up in intensity, as if reacting to being recognized. As a result, attention drew to a nearby hollow branch, likely torn free by a wild-ling. The lone man’s eyes lit up, and he marveled at the connection just made in his mind.

"The song of the birds can be replicated with a simple stick." He conjectured, "In times of despair and depression, I longed for a power as such. I have been around many branches with holes varying in size, and I have heard what the breeze can do. After fashioning a stick to my liking, I will emulate the wind with my breath. I can create relaxing, soothing sounds at my own discretion. I will no longer depend on the whims of the wind!”

The man held his hands up in joy, signaling to all the significance of his findings. After spending some time in trial and error, he soon was able to fabricate the first musical instrument. History tells us this lone man became known as Tune.

Within the same woods, on the same day, perhaps the same time, sat a different lone man at a different location. He too had taken notice of the wind and the association with a hollow limb. Its nature was such that cacophony emanated whenever the wind arrived.

He thought, “That awful noise, it keeps me awake at night. I can use my fist to impede the wind’s progress, but my hands grow weary!” The man had been suffering from an infection and received the harsh noise with greater irritation than normal. In a moment of ingenuity, he took a stone and shoved it into the hollow of the branch. The wind slightly bustled on, but silence remained. A sigh of relief escaped the man’s chapped lips, rolling over his parched, swollen tongue. The illness had clogged the man’s sinuses, and mucus build up forced him to breath through his mouth. A round, shiny apple beckoned from a tree top. He imagined sweet juice rushing past his lips, nourishing and softening his hard, cracked throat. He looked up at the fruit again, fantasizing.

“Forbidden fruit!,” The man cried, “You feign life, but all you offer is death. Far sturdier branches than those that surround you have collapsed due to my weight! To fall from such a height would be my undoing. Relief is so close, yet so far.”

The thought increased the pressure in his nasal cavities. He kept his gaze on the apple, reluctant to end the fantasy, and blew his nose in an attempt for relief. A glob of mucus rocketed out with shocking velocity, and an idea struck in his mind as sudden as lightning. The same ingenuity that sparked in his eyes before were now ablaze. He picked up the branch, flipping to the side opposite of the stone. Bringing it to his lips, he blew with all his might. The rock dislodged, racing to embed itself in the soft ground. The result pleased the man.

"I will fashion the branch to fire rocks that will knock down the forbidden fruit!” The man boasted. Tinkering about, the man decided it was far more effective to craft small projectiles with sharp points. After countless hours of whittling and designs, the tool had successfully skewered the apple he so eagerly sought. The darts buzzed through the air, a seemingly invisible punch, tearing his prey from its towering home. The time and effort spent made the reward that much sweeter. It was at this point the first blow gun came into existence. “I will no longer hunger!” The man roared, victorious. He no longer went without a name, and from this point became known as Dart.

Tune, during this time, mastered the art of creating song. He soon realized the intoxicating effect his instrument had on inhabitants of the forest. Wild beasts, alert with furious intent burning in their eyes, melted upon hearing Tune’s song, oblivious to their surroundings.

“I could not be happier using my instrument to bring joy to all of nature." Tune thought to himself, "Alas, I am a part of nature and must devote time and resources to survival. It is only fair I take compensation, for I bring euphoria where misery is the norm.” Tune began helping himself to any food gathered by those mesmerized with his song. He could be found foraging in areas typically guarded by dangerous animals, feasting next to bears or dining in the presence of wolves. Tune had grown accustomed to eating the best the forest had to offer. The sight of a delicious fruit caught Tune's eye, out of reach, high up in a tree. Tune, able to render dangerous beasts into harmless critters, could produce no song that could coax the tree into giving up its treasure. It angered Tune. He spent a great deal of time staring at the fruit in contemplation, when suddenly it vanished. A triumphant yell pierced through the forest, startling Tune. He quickly hid out of caution. Dart sauntered out of the bushes and snatched up his trophy. He began snacking noisily, savoring the sensation of syrupy sweetness.

“How was that accomplished? Who is this?” Tune wondered. He had not seen anyone like himself before, and Dart’s blowgun greatly fascinated him. “This man’s tool seems to be constructed from the same materials as my instrument yet so very different in design and function!” Tune watched Dart for some time, desire burning stronger each time Dart snagged a piece of fruit. An internal struggle went on inside Tune’s mind.

“I have become self-aware. I was able to recognize my environment as separate from myself. I was able to change it as I saw fit. Can this being truly be my equal? He has a tool that seems to be a product of his own doing, and it serves an intended purpose. If he is my peer, my intuition dictates that I must offer him the same respect I would give myself. To take the gun from this man would be as if he had taken my musical instrument. If the same feelings can be invoked in his mind as they would in mine, I cannot steal his tool.” Tune rested his chin on his hands, desperately seeking a way to sate his desire while staying inline with his conscience.

“Oh, but the fruit seems so delicious." Tune's eyes darted side to side, as if seeking an answer. "I must be sure he is like me. If he is not, I can take the gun in good standing.” The ease at which Tune was able to get what he wished, through the power of his music, had given him a dangerous trait: expecting reward from that which he did create nor properly earn. After hours spent watching Dart, all evidence supported he was indeed Tune’s equal.

“What a strange feeling. On one hand I am joyous to know that there is another out there who has the same special qualities as I. On the other hand, I thought myself unique to this world, and had a sense of pride in it." Tune reflected, with inner conflict apparent in his eyes. "I will provide a test. If he passes, he shall win my respect. I do not experience the incapacitating effects of my music, so that must be a quality intrinsic to anyone with my condition. He will remain in control if he is on my level.” Tune began to saturate the air with magnificent melodies.

Dart, startled at the sudden change, questioned out loud, “What is that I hear? It is more precious than the song of any bird!” The complex vibrations felt in Dart’s eardrum overwhelmed him with new emotions. The song invoked feelings which translated deep into his psyche. Sounds associated with forgotten memories permeated his mind, the kind of memories where the end to all problems lay in a mother's embrace. Tune, desperate to view this man as inferior, deduced that Dart’s behavior proved him subhuman. Music was like a feather tickling one’s foot - a degree of unfamiliarity brought upon by another creature was necessary for the effect to work. Tune had never had anyone play for him, and would have likely suppressed the fact to obtain the dart gun.

Tune,stated, “He behaved no different than any beast upon hearing my music. My superiority is proven, he lacks the mental capacity to maintain the presence of one’s mind. My actions are justified.”

While Dart was under the music’s spell, Tune stole all of his belongings, including the darts and the gun. Tune was in delight, firing missiles carelessly. “I never before have been so satisfied." He fired a dart just to see how far it went, paying no attention as their number dwindled. "Everything I see, I have the ability to take.” Tune wastefully used the last dart on low hanging fruit, for he had now grown lazy. Recognizing his mistake, Tune groaned,“I now see my folly. I am out of ammo. I did not account for an unlimited supply of projectiles. Dart is sure to craft more, and I shall simply take them at my will.” It did not occur to Tune to learn the craft from watching Dart.

Dart, on the other hand, had learned a great deal from his experience.

“Survival drives all living things." Dart thought to himself, "but the motivation behind this robbery was not to survive, but desirous greed. The malefactor of this bestial act bestowed upon me is not of my kind. My enemy lacks altruism, lacks empathy. A cat, playing with a mouse before feeding, does not have the capacity to understand how the mouse feels. The act is simply to hone its predatory skills and refine reflexes, not sadistic pleasure derived from torture. The nature of this villain must be that of a beast. A peer of my caliber would have realized the time and effort it took into the dart gun’s construction. A worthy brother would have sought out the method to create a gun of his own. No, surely the thief, in spite of being clever, cannot be my equal. He has taught me the power and danger of pleasure. I will not become vulnerable again. A sense of moderation, of balance, must be maintained. Pain tells us we are alive, alerts us from death, but too much pain is a life not worth living. Pleasure tells us the reason to live, but too much pleasure causes us to forget death. That criminal has had his fill from the work of others for too long. He has spent far too much time seeped in pleasure. He has forgotten pain. He has forgotten death, posing the greatest danger to life." Dart stared off among the treetops in contemplation, furrowing his brow while considering the ramifications of his intent. After some time passed, he finally spoke, “The bandit is somehow able to amplify the song of the birds with some device. If an implement of such beauty has the capacity for a hideous crime, so must my fruit snatcher.” Dart remained solemn in his behavior, despite coming to a horrid conclusion. He began his plan of peril. Legend tells us that a gathering of close-by roses, witnessing Dart's decision, declared their intent to grow thorns. Those who remained bare were picked.

Tune watched, hidden, as Dart set upon creating a new set of tools. If Tune possessed the intent to learn, he would have noticed some tools were created hastily, forgoing expert craftsmanship for the sake of speed. Dart was creating instruments that only appeared to have function, the concept of bait. Dart abandoned his decoy weapons. Tune, impatient to get back to fruit snatching, quickly scrambled over to the cache rather than wait to incapacitate Dart upon his return. Reaching down to pick up Dart’s gun, stabbing pain erupted in his neck. A quick hand to the spot of flared pain brought back deep red blood. Tune had never felt anything like this. He collapsed.

"What is happening!?" Tune’s mind raced. “It must be the creature with the fruit snatcher! But he was subhuman! How could he have anticipated my coming?” Tune’s eyes widened as Dart approached. The confirmation of his mistake was more painful than feeling his life drain away. Tune choked in remorse, “A man! He could self-reason!” Tune could see that they were truly peers. Tune cried, “How arrogant to think myself as superior despite all evidence pointing to the fact we were equals. Does he have tears in his eyes? He knows and is sorrowful of my dying. What a travesty!”

Dart watched with sadness. Tune's eyes, considered by Dart at one point to belong to that of a savage thief, seemed to be full of child like innocence. Life quickly left those eyes, and in that instant, Dart saw regret, he saw himself.

“We are so alike, but somehow so different." Dart tearfully realized, "My enemy used these differences to make a mistake, to think I was less than a man. In return, I failed to realize my own fallibility. I am no better than my opponent. Here we are both victims and perpetrators of a crime. Despite our misdeeds, we remain on common ground. I am filled with great apprehension as to the future of my kind, for I have witnessed true horror, positive purposes transformed into corrupt maladies. My adversary and I both started off with good intentions, a sense of purity in our hearts and actions. All the good in the world was nothing to prevent evil causing ruin.”

Dart decided that Tune’s death and the events that transpired would not be in vain. If this story could be passed down to the next generation, perhaps some semblance of order could be established, deviating from chaos. Dart gathered what were now weapons, and began the rest of his life. Using Tune’s musical instrument, he was able to find and woo a wife, who bore him a son. The tools were impressed upon the son, and the lessons learned through the tribulations of his father were never forgotten. The seed of civilization was planted.
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Manahill Naik

Manahill Naik

July 15, 2015 - 13:01 even tho i dint read the entire thing... i know its really nice..keep up..:)

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