Lee was there. Walking through the dead halls and broken doors, in his pressed uniform. They'd left him behind. Everyone else had been taken out, to play. Lee continued his march. They would be back soon. Syncope would always have a place for his percussion. Above him, the announcers added their steps to the beat. Lee looked up, keeping in step, to see what the tune would be today.
Hello students. This is Principle Wehrner. Mitchell decided that it was high time to take a step back in responsibility, and that he's going to groove to another beat. That's okay. We will grow onwards. Like the spire of the Eiffel tower, we will inspire many people to create the parachute so that they may safely live with the stars. Nobody will be excluded from further activity. We've brought everyone here to be together. Have a good year.
The rest of the school didn't seem to mind. Some of them had kept acting like nothing had changed, walking like scarecrows in a dead field. Some just sat there, watching people go by. Lee didn't care to ask them what they were looking at. He remembered walking down the hall, seeing the old faces singing. When their voices gave out they whistled, and when the lips went out they beat the drums.
STUDENTS! Maybe you have noticed the new schedule system. We've divided everyone into the six populations, and given them each their own position in the school. I know this radical restructuring seems to have come from nowhere, but trust us, it's been a long time coming. Please stand with me for the pledge of symphonic allegiance, and sing your hearts out with style.
Syncope was here. Lee could feel it in his sinews, twanging them like a banjo. From the band equipment came its force, and its glory. Before he could go on to think of eleven new wonderful things to say about the matter, Lee clenched his fists. Legs turned to run, but only at an awkward stance. The vibrations in his sinews grappled him by the lapels, and pushed him forward like a windup clock.
Students, we are sad to report that we've had to let some staff and students go. Although they were bravely carrying on in their duties, in the end there is room for only so many in the orchestra of life. Please, listen in silence as we commemorate those who have gone to another place. They hear of anything we say. All of us now, hearing the the panting, running crowds. The bells, and the blackboards. The song.
Lee stopped playing. Cold, pains were in him. Oh god… it hurts. The things clawed into his back from his arms, twisting up to his head. This isn't harmony. He tried to take a step, but fell, sprawling his limbs akimbo as he slammed into the ground. Where was his place in the symphony?
It was punishment. An arm stretched out, grabbing for purchase. He needed to get out. Playing was all he needed to do. Cindy and all the others would be waiting for him there, to play with. Panting, he clutched his chest. An icy bubble welled in his chest, and pressing against him. He couldn't breathe, think oh god where is this all going how do no please have to remember now
A rising crescendo was there. Faint at first, but growing. Weakly, he pursed his lips and croaked out a whistle. The crescendo grew. Oh the beauty, the grace. Let it take him, bring him back to his note.
Lee closed his eyes, and slept.
"Hey, find any more?"
"One. Guy who looked like he'd been in the band. Found him in the upstairs hall, having some kinda fit."
"Put him in the, uh… third room, I think. Some agent's should be giving Class A's and droppin' 'em later."
"Can I get a hand? These kids are kinda heavy"
Students are reminded that only band members are permitted off school premises. Any violaters will deal with their own consequences. Their actions have only damned themselves.
Lee woke up on his back, facing up to someplace in the dark. With a throbbing heart, he swiveled his head back and forth, trying to hear it. There was only a low buzzing, sounding like a lean, hungry mosquito. No melody, no tune. Taking a step, his leg nearly buckled beneath him. Clutching his leg to keep from falling over, he didn't feel the suit. Just thin, bare cloth.
Uniform gone, instrument gone. Music gone. Lee tried to step again, sluggishly stumbling. Why did they send him? These things happened, before there was a reason for them not to, so it should be over. The buzzing grew louder. Lee had to get back. Home. School was home. Lee struggled, the pounding slithering up from the heart, through the throat, and to his head. They were doing the music, and he had to be there now.
someone said something.
they said to forget
Lee shook his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. Syn… how did the tune go? What did they sing?
they never sang, Lee. You forgot. It's so easy to forget, isn't it?
The ringing grew louder, and they stopped talking to him. Louder, and whiter.
We won't forget you