Wednesday, August 17, 2022

WEP & Human Song

Humans were exhausting. Loud, obnoxious, destructive. The world would be a much better place without them but Liaka’s powers didn’t extend to genocide, even if the species deserved it. She fluttered over the trash scattered on the edge of her pond. Along their roads and everywhere they visited.

Did the species have a single redeeming quality? She hadn’t encountered one yet. Not that she’d encountered an actual human yet, either. The elders forbade it.

But Laika wanted to see them for herself. Wanted to see if the horrors she’d conjured in her imagination were close to their physical forms. Any being who created such destruction must be terrifying.

A shiver ruffled her body and her wings. She corrected her flight automatically and decided that even if these humans were terrifying, she needed a glance. The elders didn’t do anything to stop them. Once she saw them, maybe she could come up with a plan. A way to make them change.

If she could find proof they had no redeeming qualities, the elders could vanquish them. The shudder that shook her this time was more severe. Causing death was forbidden as it should be. While she wanted the humans gone, she didn’t want to be the force behind their destruction.

Could they change? Could they be redeemed? The elders were always trying to eliminate negative behaviours in the young like her. Maybe if she saw the humans, she could find a way to help them eliminate the bad behaviours.

Laika peeked over her shoulder but didn’t see any elders. Or anyone to tattle on her. The sun was high so she flew from the pond and to the edge of the forbidden territory.

The trees thinned and she spotted a human road through the trees. Her limbs trembled, but she flew on, darting from tree to tree and keeping to the shadows.

A sound reached her. A sound she’d never heard. Not a voice. Not an animal or a bird. Not one creature. A pleasant combination of sounds. Some reached high, others reached low. Fast then slow.

A series of sounds repeated and then repeated at a different level. Other sounds mixed in.

Laika settled on a tree branch and closed her eyes to listen. The sounds were beautiful. Like birdsong but different. Human song?

Did humans make song? How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?

Laika’s wings fluttered with the song and tears slipped from her eyes from the beauty. The human song continued, building up and slowing down. Up and down like bird song. But different in a way she couldn’t explain.

When the human song ended, it took Laika a few moments to open her eyes. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and realized she wasn’t alone.

Jokila the elder sat on the tree branch beside her. Smiling.

“I’m sorry I broke the rules. I wanted to see the humans, to find out if they had any redeeming qualities, to find out if we could help them alter their behaviour to stop hurting our world.”

Jokila nodded, her own eyes shimmering with tears. “What do you think now?”

The sounds started again. Laika’s voice was hushed when she spoke. “Is that human song?”

Jokila nodded. “It is. They have many different human songs. This one is my favourite. They call it Moonlight Sonata.”

Moonlight Sonata. Even the name was beautiful. She didn’t know the word sonata but she would never forget it.

Laika nodded at Jokila. “Human song is beautiful. They are not all evil.”

Jokila nodded. “No, they’re not.”

“Can we help them? Do we have a plan?”

“Not yet. But with your help, maybe we will. It is getting late, we must return soon.”

Laika nodded. “After the Moonlight Sonata is finished?”

Jokila smiled and they listened to the human song while Laika worked on her plan.


Tagline: Does the species have any redeeming qualities?


I hope you'll click on the link to check out the other contributions to our challenge. Please join in - we love to have new people!

The above is my odd-ball contribution to the August WEP Challenge Moonlight Sonata.

Life has been a little wacky-busy here and this was not my original thought for the sonata, but it's what flew out of my fingers 😊

I do believe the ability to create music is one of species' most redeeming qualities. Imagination is vital to being human and I love the various ways that imagination can showcase itself.

How about you? Any other music fans out there? Any one else hoping we humans can start fixing the messes we make?


Pat Garcia said...

I hope she does find a way to end the inhumane things that the human race does to each other. What impressed me most was your description and the way you brought in the dialogue. That is excellent.
Shalom aleichem

Debbie D. said...

Music is the greatest redeeming quality of all! ♥ Here's hoping the human race will wake up and see the error of its ways, before it's too late. I love your take on the prompt, Jemi.

J.Q. Rose said...

I love your young flying creature. You portrayed her so well. A well-told story with a wonderful message.

Olga Godim said...

Lovely. I wonder who Laika is and how she looks. Is she a bird? A dragon? A fairy? For some reason, I think she is a female, but I might be wrong. Anyway, I enjoyed the story.

N. R. Williams said...

This is so sweet. I do hope the fairies can help us.


Elephant's Child said...

'How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?'
How indeed. Great take on the prompt - and a question I would dearly love to have an answer for...

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Jemi,

I enjoyed our take on this prompt. While reading, I thought Laika was a bird. But then, others mentioned fairies which would make more sense. What is she?

L.G. Keltner said...

Music truly does show some of the best qualities humans embody. We may be quite flawed and can cause great destruction, we're capable of creating such beauty too. Great take on the prompt!

Jemi Fraser said...

Pat - thank you! I love dialogue :)

Debbie - Music has such power! I hope we wake up as well

JQ - Thanks so much - it was a fun write!

Olga - I imagined her as female as well - but never did decide on her form :)

NR - me. too! We need help!

Sue - I would as well - we need some help!

Michael - I can't say I ever quite decided :)

Laura - thanks! We can create such beauty!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We do. Just look for those with hope, faith, and love. And a song in their heart!

Shannon Lawrence said...

One thing about fantasy and sci-fi is that it often illuminates the good in humans along with the bad. This made me think of Starman and Fifth Element, where the jaded viewer is reminded of the beauty and good around them. Great world building in so few words.

Denise Covey said...

Love this Jemi. Light and deep at the same time. I was impressed with the same line that impressed Sue: 'How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?' How indeedy!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved the question you raised in this story and how you incorporated the theme. It's very creative.

Damyanti Biswas said...

What a wondeful message! The name "Laika" reminded me of the space dog. I enjoyed reading this story :)

Michelle Wallace said...

A lovely interpretation of the prompt, Jemi.
"How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?" THIS.
Will we ever find the answer to this question?
Maybe... maybe not.
Hopefully, one day.

Lenny Lee said...

Hi Jemi,

Love this story. You said so much in so few words. The characters and dialog are great. So, is their hope for a species who is destructive and at the same time able to create beautiful music? Maybe it’s all about music. “Music hath charms to sooth the savage beast.” …William Congreve I’d like to hear Liaka’s plan.

Christopher Scott Author said...

To quote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "Music is the universal language of mankind," and your take on the theme captures that notion superbly. Well done Jemi.

Nilanjana Bose said...

'How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?' Bingo! with this one line. Humans are indeed the only species that have imagination and can create art and music. I hope Laika finds a way to prune the nastiness of the species while keeping the infinite capacity for good we also possess. Either we correct our messes ourselves or have it done by someone else, maybe not so gently. Brilliant take on the prompt!

Jemi Fraser said...

Alex - those are the best people!

Shannon - thank you! It's good to get that outside perspective!

Denise - I wish we could fix it so it's all about the beauty!

Natalie - thanks so much!

Damyanti - I've always liked Laika's name too :)

Michelle - I hope we can solve it one day!!

Lenny - I hope Liaka can figure it out for us!!

Christopher - thank you - music is full of power!

Nila - thank you! We do need to figure it all out!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jemi - lovely way to bring out our redeeming ways of life ... so much to remember ... gloriously told. Positivity and kindness while we listen to these glorious sounds ... thank you - Hilary

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Jemi. I liked how you incorporated the prompt with a unique plot. Music, in fact, all arts, creativity could well be our redeeming qualities.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Beautiful post. I agree with your sentiments at the end. Sometimes, when I'm listening to a concert, I think, if more people spent time immersed in music the world would be a much nicer place.

I participated for the first time in the WEP challenge. Excellent and inspiring prompt.

Mary at Play off the Page

Jemi Fraser said...

Hilary - music does bring out the very best in us!!

Sonia - I agree. Art, music, dance, writing, sculpture - all of it is humans at our best!

Mary - I'm so glad you joined us!! I loved the beauty and healing vibe of your piece - just lovely!

Nick Wilford said...

Very perceptive take on the prompt, highlighting the paradoxes in humanity. Kind of makes me wonder what aliens would make of us - they'd probably be baffled. Great job!

cleemckenzie said...

Thank heavens humans have at least one quality to recommend they get help. Great job, Jemi. Thanks for the interesting take on this month's WEP.

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost (Not Charlotte) said...

As a collective, humans are pretty much irredeemable. We are the most destructive species and the only species that displays deliberate cruelty and sadism for entertainment. This is why we have to consider each individual person because there are those of us who try to be something better. Sometimes it's hard to keep going knowing the awful things people do to each other and the world.

Jemi Fraser said...

Nick - I think we would baffle them too!

Lee - thanks! We are a complicated bunch

OOwl - I wish all humans were aspiring to be better and to do better!

Jamie said...

Art and culture are definitely where our redemption lives. That's our true humanity and love being fed.

Jemi Fraser said...

Jamie - totally agree!

Bernadette said...

I wonder what her plan is. 🤔

Jemi Fraser said...

Bernadette - I hope she can help us figure it out!!