Chapter Books

Timmy hears things that no one else hears. Is he going crazy or is there something out there? If something is out there why doesn't anyone else hear it?

All work herein is Copyrighted and may not be distributed or published without the prior consent of the author. Copyright 2006, 2007. Kim Bentz. All rights reserved.

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Kim Bentz, Writer and Photographer, living in Viriginia (Washington, D.C. metro area). Graduate of Colorado Springs Christian School, Student at American Military University. Government contractor by day. 

Kim lives with her husband of 30+ years, nearly 2000 books, a great collection of jazz records, and thousands of photographs taken all over.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chapter Twenty-Six

Timmy stared out the second-story window at the Lister school, formally known as “The Strohman School of Universal Music”. Two weeks had passed, then three, then four. Timmy had made no progress in his training. He had heard the instructors talking about it, but the words registered less than the buzzing of the fly on his windowsill. He barely ate, barely slept, spending his hours with his eyes and ears taking in the world outside the window and struggling to get the notes on a page.

He registered their worry as a musical tension. It was the leitmotiv that led to the discovery of what was that behind the door? It built upon each other and grew day by day. Even that was not enough to break through. Timmy had not spoken a word since leaving home, but he was docile as he was led to the grand living room and sat on the wide sofa facing the fireplace. The professor, Walter and the other teacher-counselors gathered around him and began to hum. A woman entered the room to the accompanying tinkle of dozens of tiny silver bells sewn to the edges of her cuffs, the hem of her skirt and the lively embroidered shawl she wore around her shoulders. She was followed by two tall thin men, whose similar features announced them as father and son. The young man broke into a grin which proclaimed him as the son of the woman.

Timmy was captivated by them because they seemed to vibrate a three-part harmony that made his skin tingle and that was the first glimmer of awareness of others that had penetrated since leaving home.

Soon the teacher-counselors were shoring up the music by singing aloud wordlessly. The sound swept through Timmy, piercing the cloud of musical themes that had taken over his mind and dragging him into full consciousness of his surroundings. He blinked three times in rapid succession as he looked at the faces of everyone surrounding him.

The woman reached out her hands and clasped Timmy’s in hers. Bells tinkled cheerfully as she moved. “I am Magda.”

The others continued to sing as she spoke.

“Hello, Madga. I’m Timmy. N-nice to meet you.” His voice sounded strange in his own ears. He hadn’t spoken in the month he had been at the school.

“Timmy, this is very important. You have to fight the music. Do you understand?”

“No.” Timmy raised eyes to hers that were full of overwhelming thoughts, grand emotions, depths of sorrow and heights of joy that he should not have known at this stage of life.

“Let me explain…” she paused. “Can you pay close attention to me now?”

“Yes.” Timmy’s thoughts were clearer than they had been in a long time.

“Do you hear the song they are singing?” In a theatrical gesture she indicated the others in the room, bells tinkling.

“This is your song they are singing, Timmy. If you listen you should hear that.”

Placing a hand on Timmy’s forehead like a benediction, she slowly wiped her hand down his face, closing his eyes gently with her fingers. “Listen. Listen to the music. Hear your own song.” Her voice was soothing. She began to hum.

Timmy listened to the song. His song? He could pick out the various voices. Walter. Magda. The pale, freckle-faced man with the curly red hair and others. Only he and the professor remained silent. The professor’s expression was filled with rapture and concern.

Timmy listened to the music in puzzlement. His song? He had a song of his very own? He listened to the music. It was a song of summer days, of uncertainty, of simple joys. In it he heard themes that made him remember how much he loved his mom and dad. He listened to the red-haired man and thought of his brother, Eric, and began to miss him. Next to him sat a somber dark-haired woman who sang one note, rich and steady, until she was forced to breathe. Following her breath she repeated the note without wavering.

Timmy jumped up. “That’s it! That’s the first note I heard.”

Magda put her hand on his arm. “But do you hear the rest? Do you, Timmy? That note is only a small part of who you are.” Her eyes stared intently into his own. “You must never forget who you are and who the people are who love you or…” her voice dropped to a hoarse whisper, “you will be lost.”

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sorry about the hiatus...

I've been working through some stuff, figuring out some plot problems and basically listening to where Timmy is going next. I will be posting very very soon, in fact the next chapter is nearly complete. My goal (though it is probably a bad idea to put this in print) is to have this story completed by the end of February.

I expect that this will only be the first in a series of stories about Timmy...when this is done you'll have to let me know if you want more!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Chapter Twenty-Five

Mrs. Tucker burst into tears. The professor stopped smiling and Mr. Tucker pulled her head to his chest and wrapped his arms around her.

With a grim smile he said, “You’re going to have to do better than this.”

“Valter?” the professor turned to him sounding uncertain for the first time. “Vould you explain please?”

“Ahem.” Walter cleared his throat nervously. “Mrs. Tucker. Mr. Tucker. Can we sit down?” Without waiting for an answer, he pulled out a chair from the table and sat. The professor and the Tuckers followed suit.

“Being a Lister is dangerous, but since he is one already, the only thing we can do about the danger is to train him. We cannot do this without your cooperation. We have a small school and one-on-one training…” He hesitated, cleared his throat, then took a different tack.

“He is likely having a lot of trouble in school, given the amount of distractability I have already witnessed.” He waited.

Mrs. Tucker hung her head. “The school did talk about putting him in special ed or putting him on medication.” Her voice was quiet, and when she lifted her face to look him in the eye tears glistened. “How can you help him?”

Walter leaned forward and clasped her right hand in both of his. “I know what he’s going through, and I went through the training myself. It’s hard when you are so overwhelmed by the music that you can’t play, can’t study, can’t talk to your family. You can barely eat or dress yourself, and school is a nightmare. You can hardly think your own thoughts anymore.” His voice grew intense and his eyes bored into hers. “If he is to have any kind of life he needs to be trained. Untrained Listers wind up in mental hospitals or they succumb to illness like Timmy nearly did.” He released her hands, leaned back, glanced at the professor and then continued.

“We would like to take him to our school. We have only four students at the moment, and the training is extensive. What we do…what was done for me is to train Listers to be able to shut out the music like you would tune out the ticking of a clock or the hum of the refrigerator. That’s simplistic, but imagine you had to hear each and every tick of every clock, or really hear the hum of the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the furnace, the hum of the lights, or any of the dozens of electronics most people have running in their homes.”

“It would drive me crazy,” she said.

“It does that to some people. Most of us can learn to be more normal, but the wonderful thing is that each Lister seems to have a particular specialty…music that they hear more clearly than the rest of us, and because of that we have areas where we can recognize problems as they develop and sometimes avert crises.”

“What’s Timmy’s specialty?” Mr. Tucker sounded confused.

“We don’t know yet, but over the years Listers have been able to aid the earth in cleaning up environmental disasters like acid rain and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We have been able to slightly alter the course of asteroids to do less damage to the planet, help forests recover after fires, and some are healers.”

“More importantly, we hear the beauty of the universe, and this helps us to write beautiful music which lifts the souls, to paint or sculpt art that feeds the spirit or teach others to appreciate the glories of Creation.” Walter’s face almost glowed as he spoke.

“This is a great gift, and if properly trained, can provide great joy to your son.”

The Tuckers looked at each other. It appeared that an entire conversation was had with flickers of the eyelid, a raised brown, a brief, almost imperceptible nod and a slight head tilt, in the way that some couples have of communication. In mere moments they turned to Walter and the professor. “Tell us how this will happen.” Mrs. Tucker’s voice was resigned and unhappy.