Sunday, February 19, 2006

Beginning revision of the first chapter of another book I'm working on.

Chapter One:

THE WELCOMING COMMITTEE

The music roared, tearing through the room like a creature on fire. It shook the floor and pounded against the walls. Wailing tones tore at the curtains, exposing the plexiglass windows. Furniture was overturned by waves of pure sonic energy, while a lashing beat shattered a cheap vase on the floor.
Ihi Israfil watched the rampaging music nonplussed. From his chair in the center of the maelstrom, he watched . . . and listened.
From his seat in an egg-shaped chair, he could see the music tearing through his room, a glassy, fluid tiger, snarling and mindless. He could see through it, as if it were no more than a ripple of hot air, prowling with enraged spasms through the room, bouncing off the walls. Then the music changed, the beat picked up, sending an odd twist through the colorless tiger. Ihi watched with dead eyes as the tiger became a jumble of twisted limbs, taloned and hooved, that writhed on the floor as the melody became a jumbled mash of tortured shrieks and disjointed notes.
It was a wolf, snarling a stream of guttural bass notes.
It was a stallion, pounding and screaming.
It was a hyena, laughing hysterically to madness.
It was a lion, roaring.
It was a great fish.
It was a centipede.
It was a jackal.
Then, with one final guitar wail, the music faded, the chimerical horror becoming a ball of spikes, a writhing snake, and finally a thin ribbon. The glass-like note circled Ihi’s head once before fading into the air around it.
Ihi stared forward, nothing in his face revealing that he was even aware of the room around him. Ihi was an orpheomancer, gifted with the ability to see and shape sound. But his eyes saw nothing. He stared blankly ahead, his hair covering one blue eye as D-streamer behind him clicked, switching tracks.
There was the next song. So different from its savage predecessor, it was soft, sweet and pure. It was the mournful whisper of a wooden flute, simple, and poignant. Threads of the music rushed past Ihi’s head, coalescing in front of him. They coalesced, colorless and see-through, the shape of a girl. A teenager, the same age as Ihi, she stood there, born of music. The music grew in complexity, her face defining itself—large, almond-shaped eyes, strait, long hair, and a smile . . . a smile that coaxed a reaction from the silent watcher. Slowly, ever so slowly, Ihi rose from his chair, and with a roar, smashed his fist into the D-streamer.
The fragile electronics yielded to even Ihi’s slight frame, and the music died, the plasma-display sputtering once before going dull and dead. An observer might have seen the sardonic twist to Ihi’s lip, or the minute glisten to his eye before he whipped around, marching to the exposed window. Sickly-yellow light was pouring through in the wake of the recent rainstorm. Sulfur levels in the atmosphere tinted the clouds, sky, and rain with a dirty-yellow wash. The desiccated glow poured across Ihi’s face, outlining the sharp features, the orange eyes, and the once-more expressionless face.
“Computer,” he said at last, “entertain me.”
“Invalid command,” replied the computer. “Entertainment databases exhausted by user. You have made it clear which categories are unsuitable and ‘boring.’ Said programs have been purged from the systems. The two prior routines were the only remaining ones within the database.”

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