Free Write Friday #17: Music/Depth

Free Write Friday is back with another double shot of #ThemeThursdays-- featuring last week's offering, 'Music' and this week's offering of 'Depth.'  Enjoy!


The sound of music brought Chelsea back to consciousness. Opera again. She tried to sit up, but realized that they had strapped her to the gurney again. He was there. He had never mentioned a name, but in her head, she had started to call him Needles. He looked like a corpse, tall and rail thin with sunken cheeks and sallow eyes.

"Oh good," he said. "You're awake."

Chelsea said nothing. She was starting to lose track of the time. Her mind was getting foggy now. Sometimes the lights were on constantly, driving her mad, crackling and sizzling constantly above her head. Sometimes they turned the lights off and she was plunged into inky blackness. She had no idea where she was. She had no idea what day it was or how long she had been there. The last thing she remembered was the door being flung open and his masked goons rushing into grab her and then th eneedle was plunged into her neck and now-

"There's a musicality to violence that I just adore, don't you?"

There was only him.

"Nothing to say my dear?"

She shook her head. Needles sighed. "Very well." He removed a small remote from his pocket and pressed play before setting it down on the instrument tray next to the gurney. An orchestral overture filled the room and then a man's voice began to sing.

"Today's first area," Needles said. "Comes to us courtesy of Hector Berlioz." He unrolled the black bag on the intrument tray and Chelsea flinched, in spite of herself. She knew what was coming. The sick fuck enjoyed this. He got off to this. 

"Do you know what it's called?" Needles asked as the music shifted again. "Vallon Sonore, where they young sailor, Hylas sings of his longing for a homeland he will never see again." He smiled. "Seems appropriate wouldn't you say?"

"Go to hell," she spat as the aria became louder.

Needles said as he took out one and then another bottoe of colored liquid and a syringe. "Wait-" he held up a hand as the aria reached a crescendo and smiled. "Isn't that just perfect?" He looked down at her. "Still nothing to say?" The music began to fade out until it cut off and was replaced with a new aria.

"And now, the overture has ended," he said as he plunged the syringe into the porous lid of the bottle and began to draw liquid into it. "The first act has begun! Verdi's immortal Turandot...  Nessun Dorma."

"You mean Puccini."

"It's Verdi."

"It's Puccini. He wrote La Boheme, which is what Rent was loosely based off of." Chelsea smiled. "It's why I prefer musicals."

"I'm not interested in your commentary," Needles said coldly. "Only what you know." Then he took the remote and turned up the volume, so the sound of the opera filled the room, growing louder and when the area reached a crescendo, he plunged the needle into her and the pain began.


Moving to Venus had seemed like such a good idea three months ago. Floating cities in the sky. Glittering spires at night. Job opportunities galore. Sarah Hoavy had landed herself a fantastic job as Associate Director for Colonial Recruitment with the Malagasy Venusian Authority. It came with a sumptuous apartment in New Toliara. Pre-furnished! With multiple bedrooms and a sonic shower! The view from her balcony was like winning the lottery: a grove of baobab trees soaring up under the dome that gazed out across the skies of Venus.

But that was then, this was-

"We're going to die?"

There were two other people in the escape pod. One was an old man with one eye and a grizzled beard who didn't seem to have a name. Another was one of the ship's officers, a Lt. Donaldson.

Donaldson shrugged. "Probably."

"Probably?" Sarah said. "There's nothing we can do?"

"We;ve done everything we can do," Donaldson replied. "We've sent out distress beacons. New we can just hope that someone finds them and reels us in before we fall too far."

"I can't believe you're all being so calm about this!" Sarah said.

The old man in the corner cakcld. "Earther," he said in an accent she couldn't place. "That's just life on Venus."

They all lapsed into silence as the escape pod continued to fall.

The colonization of Venus was a staggering achievement of human ingenuity. Judicious atmospheric mining over the course of the past two centuries had taken the early colonies from floating metal orbs in the sky to the domed wonders of today. Acid upwellings were bcoming less common, though old American expatriates would still go hunt for them around Thanksgiving, as they claimed there was no better way to cook a turkey.

The various colonial authorities would talk about a full terraforming effort now and again, but their timescale was centuries out- centuries before they could exist on the ground of the planet itself. The atmospheric pressure down there would crush you. Some of the authoritarian cities liked to execute criminals and dissidents that war, 'a short walk followed by a long fall.' The religius fundamentalist colonies would find acid upwellings instead.

You couldn't tell that you were falling though, that was the strange thing. Sarah had to watch the monitor next to  Lt. Donaldson to track their progress towards their unpleasant demise.

"Crushed to death by Venus," Sarah muttered. "Not the way I was planning on going."

The old man cackled again. "Could be worse, Earther. We could hit an acid upwelling on the way down. Then we'll all cook to death."

"Oh thanks for that," Sarah said. "That's very comforting."

Donaldson sighed. "We've got plenty of time you know." He pointed at the red line at the very bottom of the monitor. "Once we hit this, we're toast."

Sarah took a deep breath and settled herself back down in her seat. She closed her eyes and began to meditate as best she could.

Meanwhile, they kept falling.


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