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This page last viewed: 2017-06-22 and has been viewed 2278 times
Warnings: Implied torture
Summary: Murdock POV. Response to the "Fear is a Four-Letter Word" Challenge on the A-Team Storyboard.
This was the challenge:
"Write a short scene where a character is afraid of something. Show that character's thoughts and actions about that fear. We've seen fear of flying and fear of nightmares in many stories, and you're free to go that direction if you like. However, this doesn't necessarily have to be a rational
fear or one that is life threatening or even angsty. . . for instance, the fear of being late, the fear of spiders, a fear of Billy getting doghair in the van."
Thanks Pam, for the challenge, and HM, for the spiffy and appropriate quote!
I can't remember how long we'd been there when it happened. A few weeks? Months? It felt like a lifetime.
Face'd been through a rough couple of days. The box, then some "questioning" - he was a real mess by the time he got back to us. When things got like that, sometimes he would ask me to sing for him. Show tunes, lullabies, rock and roll. Anything, he said, so he could remember the world outside of here. I'd sing whatever came to mind, and sometimes we'd talk about where we'd been when we'd heard that song for the first time, what we'd been doing. It would take us away for a while, and going away was always good.
Except that day, when I opened my mouth – nothing.
It was like some switch to the musical part of my brain had been flipped off, and I was bumping around in a dark, unfamiliar room. It wasn't like I didn't remember the words, or had forgotten the tune to particular song.
I couldn't remember what music sounded like. Period.
It scared the shit out of me.
How could I forget music? It was my escape from this hellhole. Whenever it got to be too much during the long, cold, nights, during the interrogations, even in the box (when I had the strength for it), I would sing. Or, just listen to the music in my head. The Stones. Cole Porter. Jerry Lee Lewis. Bob Dylan. Sinatra. Anyone. Everyone.
I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to remember what any of it
sounded like, but it was all gone.
I started to feel my panic build. If I could forget how to sing, what else would I forget? How to talk? The VC would never believe that. They'd just put more effort into trying to make me do something I couldn't.
And if I forgot how to talk, then what? Would I forget how to think? I already felt like I did that every now and then, `specially after extended visits with my curious VC buddies. But what it if happened for good? What good would I be to Hannibal, and BA, much less Face?
Stop it! I thought. If you keep up like this, you'll start to act out again, and they'll notice you. And you know what happens when they notice you….
I started to hyperventilate. The lack of oxygen made me to see spots. Maybe I was going blind, too, I thought. That would be just perfect. Then I'd have nothing left. May as well kill myself. Unless the VC did it first, which they probably would, because you can't even pretend to try to get information out of a blind, mute, idiot.
Just then, Lin walked by.
He strolled casually past our cage, on his way to General Chao's hut. He had a basket slung over his left shoulder, and using it to mask what he was doing with his right hand, he carefully slipped a rag-wrapped hunk of bread through the bars as he passed by. Hannibal, who'd been sitting a few feet away, scooted over and took the bread, hiding it inside what was left of his shirt. He'd distribute it later, after dark, to the sickest guys. The rest of us would have rotting fruit, ancient rice, or whatever else the guards decided was unfit for them to eat.
As Lin continued on his way, I heard something strange. I stared at him, trying to figure out what the noise was. Lin winked and kept on walking, the sound drifting behind him like the smoke from one of those cigars
It took a moment for realization to sink in.
Music. Lin was singing "Old Chisholm Trail."
I started to hum, just a little. Like testing the water on a cool summer morning before jumping into the lake.
It felt good.
Then the lyrics started coming back to me. I remembered this song. I could sing this.
And it was like the switch in my head had been flipped back
on. In an instant, all the music came
back to me in a rush that almost left me breathless. I was so happy, I nearly cried.
But instead, I started, quietly, to sing to Face.
I don't remember what song it was, and it didn't matter to
either of us. His eyes began to close
into natural sleep, and we were both smiling now, just a little, warmed in the
comfort of the song.
"There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music." -
George Eliot (1819-80), [Mary Ann Evans] British writer
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