Once there was a girl with a most amazing voice. When she was a child, she would hum to herself in her family’s garden and instantly flowers would bloom around her. She would soothe lullabies to her younger brother at night and he would sleep the most peaceful sleeps, dreaming the most wonderful dreams. Yes, her voice had the power to create such beauty in the world. Yet that same voice could cause great harm. When she was little the girl angrily scolded her brother because he took one of her toys without asking and when she did her brother fell to the floor like he had been struck with a hard stick. Once when she skinned her knee after tripping over her shoelace she let out a loud wail of pain and a pair of birds dropped dead from their perch nearby. Such was the wonderful and terrible power of the girl and her voice.
The influence of her voice was undeniable and it became more potent with age. She matured into a young lady and brought her voice to audiences in bars and cafes. When she purred her love songs, men would propose marriage to their partners and complete strangers would fall hopelessly infatuate with one another. She attained great fame and recognition for her amazing gift. She sold out stadiums to thousands of people eager to watch her perform miracles. One never quite knew what to expect when she sang: a sudden downpour of rain during a solemn number, or a flare of northern lights during a soaring aria, or sometimes the stage lights – and indeed, all the street lights for blocks around – would intensify to the point they would explode. The people all loved her and considered her a treasure.
Sadly, her gift also kept her alone. Her sole companion and best friend remained her younger brother, who barely left her side. He always reminded her of the great power she possessed and how important it was to keep it under control. Once she fell in love and the young man of her fancy wanted nothing more but to love her back. However, one night they had a disagreement which rose to an argument and as she angered her voice rose in volume and ferocity. With every vicious syllable she uttered the young man reeled back as though punched in the chest. Before she could control herself he had sustained such punishment he needed to spend a night in the hospital. She resigned to a life without romance and focused instead on her craft.
She became adept at shaping the influence of her amazing voice. She spent hours singing by the seashore, making the waves rise and subside to varying heights depending not only on her volume and pitch but her intention as well. She could light fires, shape and feed the flames, even control the path of the sparks. The girl even mastered weather patterns when she applied the right amount of intensity and intention.
The state of the world was deteriorating. War was declared in a far off country. The government approached the girl to help in the conflict. She told them she would sing for the troops to boost their morale, because she wanted to help. She performed for the volunteers and many were so moved that they were inspired – only, to lay down their arms and go home instead of fighting in the war at all.
A group of men in dark suits visited the girl after her performance and told her they had a plan. It was a very sinister plan they had in mind. They wanted to use the girl and her voice as a weapon against the enemy. They knew the power she possessed, and they ordered her to help them win the war. The girl refused, and the men in dark suits put her into a dark car and drove her to a secret place far underground. There, they kept her locked in a soundproof room until she agreed to help them. She became a prisoner. In her loneliness and sorrow she often pitched into fits of sorrowful cries.
Little did she know, for she had no way of knowing, that each time she gave into these fits terrible catastrophes occurred. A flood rose up in the east. A typhoon blew into the west. Elsewhere, a terrible earth quake shook. The people wondered why the weather was acting so strange. Some blamed it on pollution. Some said they were signs of a coming doomsday. Others claimed that an angry God was punishing them for their ignorance. The people also wondered where the girl with the amazing voice had gone. They missed her sweet sound, and in such times of distress and peril they missed her miracles. But she was nowhere to be found, and the war continued as did the terrible weather.
After months of imprisonment, the men in the dark suits knew the girl would rather let herself die than give in to them. She had told them so. She told them she would never use her gift to hurt a soul. They left her alone, and she hoped they would at last let her go free. Then they returned for her. She was brought to a room with a long window spanning the far wall. There were many guards with guns in the room with many more in the neighbouring room on the other side of the glass. The men in dark suits sat her in a chair facing the window. A minute later, a door in the next room opened and two men walked in with her younger brother. She whimpered with joy and her brother felt a flow of warmth inside him. It did not last. The man on his side drew a pistol and pointed it at the brother’s head.
With dawning horror the girl knew what she had to do to save her brother’s life, but she couldn’t. She wept and wept as a massing storm raged outside. The men in the dark suits demanded again and again, forcing her to look at the guns and the guards and her poor, terrified brother. She wailed and cried and the storm outside grew into a most terrible hurricane. The man in charge of all the rest finally lost his patience with the girl’s stubbornness and gave a motion to the men in the other room. The guard took the pistol away from the brother’s head, lowered it, pulled the trigger and put a bullet in the brother’s knee.
The girl froze, began to tremble all over, and felt a terrible bubble of hot rage forming inside. It rose from down, deep in her gut up to her throat. She looked through wet eyes at her brother who through his agony and sadness peered back at her and without sign or utterance they agreed on what was inescapably going to occur next, what had to happen to save them all and to end it all. The girl breathed deeply, expanding her diaphragm more with each breath. She prepared herself. She drew in a deep inhalation, the deepest of her life and focused all of her darkest intentions…
After the explosion, there was nothing left of the facility but an enormous crater a mile wide. The storm subsided. The war ended. The world went quiet. The clouds of dust from the explosion have covered our planet, and the sun has never shone so dimly. It still remains quiet and dim. People still miss the girl with the amazing voice and many believe she will come back some day and her voice will sound, and bring sunshine once again to the surface of our bleak world.
Is that really true, Dad?
Yes, I believe it is. In fact, many say that every new child born on this planet has a bit of that girl’s amazing gift.
You mean I could have it too?
Do you doubt it? Whenever I walk home from a long day working in the mill and I come up over that hill there and I see the house and you see me and come running up to me calling my name… well, the sound of your voice just makes my heart feel light as a feather and full to bursting. The sound of your voice brings sunshine into my world. That is an amazing gift.
Did you hear that, Mom? I have an amazing gift!
I heard, sweetie. And it’s true. Now that’s enough stories for tonight, get ready for bed.
– The end. –