He showed up on time, as expected. 10:30, and not a second later.
Christ on a bike, the entire camp (
You couldn't see his face through his mat of hair. I'm not sure if it's actually brown or if weeks of being stuck in the forest with us just turned it that colour.
"Where's Nick?" it's the same question on everybody's mind, Suze's just the one that says it. She's brave, you know. Brave but protective and that makes her reckless.
"The same place you are all in when the song of the leaves engulfs you whole~" He laughs. "Subject Susan, did you really expect a straight answer?"
You can practically see steam pouring from her ears.
"He will be returned. Unharmed."
She clenches and unclenches her fists. "Tell me when, you blonde basta -"
"Suze, that's enough." That's me. That's me telling Suze to back off. A fight here wouldn't do us any good, especially if they had Nick - especially if Suze was the one doing the fighting.
She glares at me and I know I'm not going to hear the end of it. But the Collector? He sighs. It's... melodious?
"Aha, good to see that even I have allies in this madhouse."
"Hardly." Still looking at Suze, I reply in a heartbeat. "But we're not here to fight. We discussed this. Or did you forget about our little arrangement, Mr. Collector?"
"It seems that you lot are all talk and no action~! A shame, a shame..."
He grins. you can't see his eyes.
"Lead the way."
Suze says something to me before I leave. I'm not sure, but it ended with '... you idiot,' and I was guessing I was going to get to hear it many times over when I got back.
I set foot in the forest, the Collector behind me. Every last pair of eyes followed us until we were too far out of view.
No, I couldn't stop my fingers from trembling but yes, we did manage to hold conversation for however long it took us to get to our destination. Little things. How long we'd been playing, other instruments (he plays classical guitar as well, much to my complete lack of surprise.) and, of course, the subject of today's . . . adventure: Sonata Pathétique.
It didn't take us long to reach the boudoir grand he had set up in the woods. What took me well over two hours on my own the other day was maybe a hundred feet away from camp today. I was convinced that if I looked back I would see camp poking through the trees, but all I saw was a thick net of branches and leaves. This forest is a maze.
My shaking was hardly under control by the time we had sat down. I could only catch glimpses of his facial features under that hood and mask of hair. His eyes are, from what I can tell, a grayish blue and his hair looks to have one time been a light blonde.
What followed was . . . difficult to describe. Have you ever sat down with a blank piece of paper or instrument and utterly lost yourself in the feeling of raw creativity? Become a slave to those notes or lines on the page, letting it move your body, no, your soul?
That's what it was like.
Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique is a heart-breakingly gorgeous and it was almost an honor to play with someone with talent as opposed to just skill as a result of years slaving over ivories.
Oh, and Mr. Collector?
It's a shame you never got proper training. There are things only years of lessons and professional teachers can teach you that no amount of personal talent can account for.
And don't think this means I'll do this again anytime soon.
Just because we had one good run doesn't mean we trust you.
Or will ever trust you.