I do not know when I was born. Whether it was at the same time as Amanda or some point after that, it does not matter as I have been with her more years to bother counting.
I have always been a part of Amanda’s life, hovering at her shoulder or humming in her ear. I love to watch that peculiar flare spark behind her eyes whenever she catches a hint of my song. I do not know if she can sense that I am always there, or if she wonders who plays the music for her soul.
Sometimes, I sneak up on her when she least expects it, to coo a soft whisper in her ear or serenade a melody. I largely like to sing at night, crooning to the stars above and weaving soft lullabies to fill her mind in sleep. My voice comes more smoothly in the dark, swirling farther beyond my imagining and transfiguring into sounds that would be alien in sunlight; you could say I get carried away with myself. Amanda doesn’t always remember my night-time melodies. She often forgets them by the time the sun tentatively tilts her head upwards and slides into the day.
We both began small. Her hands with their little chubby fingers had been so difficult to guide, clumsy even. What came from them would be a deranged heap of lines that I would have first aroused in her as the image of a palace. But whilst doubt had crashed down on her in uncertain waves when our work was presented, my tolling lilt always floated above this as a comfort, carrying her fantasies away.
Amanda was earnest, and her ears grew sharper as she aged, along with her hand. At my sound, she would instantly grab hold of anything I sang and draw her pen across a page in a flourish of trills in hopes of capturing my voice. In a way, we both matured. My melodies became more complex and Amanda became more adept at transcribing them. I was like a river, the source, and Amanda was the waterfall through which my harmonies cascaded down through the ink of her pen.
While we worked, alas, a shadow would howl at our backs, clawing at our minds. I would do my best and sing ever louder over its wretched barks but at times its talons would curl over my mouth and bring Amanda to a halt. Our coursing connection severed. There were many battles akin to this, studious attacks to fight through this enemy. It was difficult, and my throat was wrung hoarse more than once, but we always recovered, in the end. Amanda and I, forever pushing forth until we had finished our symphonies.
Our lives were intertwined, laced around one another until we had become the same thread.
Soon, it came time to turn our face to the world. We were only a foot away from our music reaching near a thousand other hearts when a metal-bound vehicle of flame careened into our life. I felt Amanda unravel away from me.
More had been scarred than her body after the collision. The funeral of blank faces in that grey strangled morning was foggy to my eyes and I found it difficult to see without a congregation of images choking me, all black with outlines in red. They hacked at my voice, fracturing it, and I found it difficult to breathe. My sound had been altered beyond recognition and I knew it could never be undone.
Amanda listened little to me after that. Whenever I neared she would turn away. I feared she was scared of my new voice, of how it had changed. Looking at her now, sitting at our old desk, the wood unchanged to the hands that shook upon it; I realise she can feel nothing when my words now seem to scrape over concrete to her ear.
Her eyes were fixed to the ghost in the window in front of her, glass mirrored in glass. I hang forgotten like a forsaken coat that has been torn without ever any hope of being mended. The distance between us is stark and ice creeps colder around me every hour, freezing me in an abandoned time. Even now I feel myself glazing over, shards spiked at my throat, preventing my song.
Amanda. However did this happen?
Amanda. Don’t let me go.
At the edges and in the corners of the room, I see the shadows slip and slither closer to her chair; there are more of them now. For so many years we had fought them, and I know I can’t let them claim her now.
My movement is slow, and sluggish, and shaky. I feel the tarmac road biting into me as I pull myself forwards through the room curtained in night. Looking up, I see that comet of flaming barreling towards me once again and I let out a cry, a screech of metal. Ahead, I see Amanda’s head shift at the sound.
She can hear me. Deep down, a new strength uncoils inside me.
Eventually, through tortuous agony, I stretch out a hand to place on her shoulder. She is shaking, shuddering with my breath. There is nothing I can say for the words would hurt too much. Instead, I open my mouth and a song cautiously rolls forward.
It is a melody unlike any other I have ever sung. The sound is bent with the rings of metal, whirling around us in a rush of silver fused heat. It turns to a scream of pain, a forte of fire, unfurling till it feels that it might scrape the heavens above and drill into hell below. Shrieks resound as a chorus to my voice and I am unsure if they come from the shadows or myself. The song struck terror within me, but also awe.
Silence is a patient friend who waits quietly for my mouth to close. I am nothing more than a husk at the conclusion of my crescendo.
In her mirroring window, I see a spark. A drop trails down Amanda’s cheek and others soon follow its course. That hand, that I had guided all my life, rose and traced a familiar line across the desk to take hold of a pen. The tool seemed heavy, an ancient relic.
I heard Amanda take a cumbersome intake of breath and set the pen to paper. She began to write, pain coming as her ink.