Finding a Clarinet

She uncurls, untangles herself from her hair. She sits up. The red sun is halfway up the sky. She stretches out her arms and soaks in its warmth.

She shakes her head and rises to her feet. Drapes her hair around her shoulders. Takes a step. Looks around the clearing. Turns around. The forest is thick all around her. She takes a step towards the trees. Turns. Takes a step in the opposite direction. A bird whistles and she turns towards it. Takes several steps, but then it is silent and she stops. She bites her lip. Another whistle and she bounds into the forest. Rushes through the bushes. When the silence returns, she could be carved in marble. Her hair as white as her skin.

A bird sings in the bush right beside her and her hand shoots out like lightning, grabs the small body, crunching the bones. She stares at the silent handful of feathers. Her hand slowly lets go and the limp body falls to the ground. More birdsong and she runs towards it.

Her feet bloody, her hair tangled and her leg shaking, she stumbles towards the shill call of a gull. With the next step she leaves the trees behind and steps onto a sandy beach. She collapses, cuts her hand on a shell and winces. She gazes out across the breaking waves. Her eyes moist.

Something red bobs on the waves. She tilts her head and gets up. The box splashes steadily closer. On unsteady legs she walks into the water. She lifts up the box and brings it back on dry ground. Cross-legged she studies it. There is a click, the box springs open and she flings it away. The box lands open on the sand and something like a long black stick with flashing appendages lands beside it. She creeps closer. Pokes the silver appendages. Picks up the thing and shakes the sand from it. It is hollow.

There is something under the box. She tips it and a piece of paper flutters out. On it there is a drawing of a person putting the black and silver thing to his mouth. Beneath that there are straight lines with symbols on. She pins the paper under the black thing.

A strange mechanism is set in the box. Something seems to be trapped in it. She fumbles with it and with a click, music flows out. Lovely floating music. She sways.

Then the music stops, and she frantically pushes everything she can in the box. But nothing happens. She hits it. Bites it. Picks up a stone and smashes it down. With a crunch the mechanism in the box is fractured. She makes several swallowing motions. Hand shaking, she touches the cracked surface.

She picks up the black thing and the paper. Holds it as the drawing does. Nothing happens. She takes a deep breath. As she exhales there is a sound. She stares. She blows into the thing and produces several more sharp sounds. She smiles.

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