COMPOSER

Good day. So, amongst other projects I am currently working on some short stories. Hopefully I’ll get some illustrations to accompany them all and make up a little series, but for now here is story one and a really quick little sketch.

COMPOSER

A quick sketch of Adammus' COMPOSER machine

When Adammus became a man he had a plan; he was going to make a machine that made music. He left home for the hills and in an abandoned castle tower he took refuge. The windows rattled and shook in winter gales, but he worked obliviously by candlelight. He brought with him a sousaphone and a piccolo, timpani and a cello, and for years he constructed a great machine. So great, it would fill the whole castle. He would feed in a punched card and wind a great handle. Cogs would turn and creak, pistons and springs bang open and closed, and out would come a sheet of music.

At least that was the plan, but it took years to make it work. Cogs jammed, springs popped out, the paper chewed. Adammus had a beard as long as his patience by the time he got his machine working. He called it COMPOSER. When it spat out its first sheet of music he jumped and whooped for joy. He grabbed it and ran to his instruments, eager to play. He played it, first on the sousaphone, then on the piccolo, then the timpani, and finally the cello. He was amazed at what his machine had made, but he feared it wasn’t yet perfect. He didn’t want to go back to the rest of the world down below his tower until his machine, COMPOSER, and its composition were perfect.

He set about changing the punch card, he cranked the handle, he eagerly checked the music: not yet, he tried again, his beard grew.

And so the days and years went by, he never gave up, his enthusiasm burning as strongly as the very first day. But still his beard grew, his eyes went grey, his grip on the crank weakened, his back bowed, his teeth grew crooked. Still he persevered, but as time went on he grew less and less satisfied with his work. Maybe his creativity faded, maybe he couldn’t crank COMPOSER fast enough, or maybe he lost sight of his goal.

Then in the final year, the winter bit deep. The old castle tower was encased in snow and ice, and the cold penetrated Adammus’ body. He knew he was too old to stay on; he would have to leave. Though not through his own choice, it was time for the work of COMPOSER to face the music.

He wanted to take his best work with him. He hunted through the mounds and mounds of rejected print outs from COMPOSER. He was searching for one that he thought he liked slightly more than the rest, although he couldn’t really remember. It was from at least 20 years ago… And now he could not find it. He was shaking from the cold, running out of time. At the bottom of the piles he found the first ever composition, scrunched where he had ripped it from COMPOSER in his early enthusiasm. He held it and looked carefully at it. He smiled. He liked it. It would do. He stuffed it in his pocket with his cold hands and set about gathering the rest of his things.

And so Adammus defied all odds; defied nature, defied the snow, defied his age and he made it down the mountain from the tower which he had called home for 80 years. On his back he carried his sousaphone, his piccolo, his timpani and his cello. It took him two days, but he made it to the town in the valley. Word quickly spread through the town… Who was this snow encrusted, bearded, old man making his way down from the mountains? He tramped through the snow to the town square and there he set down his instruments. He loudly declared to the gathered crowd to bring him their best sousaphone, piccolo, timpani and cello players. The bemused crowd did as the wise-looking old man asked.

And so the four chosen musicians were brought to the square. He presented them his sheet of music and asked them to play, and for the next ten minutes not a soul in the town stirred or spoke. They stood listening, rapt, to the magical, unique, mysterious melodies. And when it ended, the stunned silence gave way to rapturous applause! The cheering grew in a crescendo, and Adammus could not believe it – he was overwhelmed with relief, content and gladness. As the cold finally took hold of him, his final breath was carried to the sky with the celebrations.

When the applause finally died down, the musicians looked around for the wise old man who gave them this magical music. Did he have any more compositions? They found Adammus at peace, lying in the snow. The square fell into silence: a silence of sorrow and respect, but also of puzzle and wonder. Who was this man, where had he come from? For none of them was old enough to remember him before he left. What would have happened had he shared his ideas with them earlier? What made him hide away? The townsfolk would never know, but they cherished Adammus and COMPOSER’s composition, and they played it again and again.

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