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I don't belive it.

I can't play piano. Because I can't /hear./

God damn it.

I rolled to the side, pulling my tear sodden face out of my damp pillow. I glanced the window; it was five AM or dusk. I couldn't be sure, because even when it seems odd, time can pass. Not equally, though. In jumps and crawls.

Of course, if I still had my hearing, I would have been able to hear the birds singing.

I yawned and rolled again, landing on the window sill. I flicked the latch and stuck my head out the window, inhaling deeply.

I grabbed a pen, and scrawled a short symphonie on the side of the frame. To remember if my hearing came back. "Not 'if'," I corrected myself very quietly "'When."

Then I slid of the sill and landed so quietly I couldn't hear it. Ugh. No pun intended.

After I dis-entangled myself from the wood, I wrapped my arms around my knees a single cord from a peice echoed through my head. I sat like that, my head tilted back to the sun until the sky began to lighten. It was so calm in the forest that even if I wasn't deaf, I doubted there would be any niose.

I stood up, dusting myself off.

I walked around aimlessly, till I found a waist high river. I stepped in the water; it was realitivly


warm. I trailed my hands over the top.

I noted that I was probably getting deep into the forest, but I had no desire to go back, though I was rather hungry.

So it was quite convient when I tripped my way into a rasberry patch. I dug in, eating with my fingers, until I was full; and my mouth was smeared with red.

And then the fox entered.

It was huge, larger than any fox should be, and clearly injured. It staggered drunkly, blood dripping from a wound in it's leg. If my ear still worked, I suppose I could have heard it approach, because I could see the twigs snapping under it's feet. Still, I shrieked.

It froze, then turned very slowly to face me.

I scrambeled to my feet and dashed away, the brambles and throrns tearing at my exposed arms and ankles, leaves getting tangled in my long hair as I tripped and stumbled my way back to the house. (All the while hearing yelps of pian as it tried to give chase to me.)

I collasped panting on the door step, and laid there untill I felt something pullinng at my hair.

I turned slightly and came face-to-face with a little yelllow duck.

I sat up, pulling it into my lap. "So," I adressed the duck, "Would you like to come live with me and my nutcase sisters?"

It squaked. I took that as yes.


So I hid it in the folds of my nightgown, praying it wouldn't quack.

***

After dipositing Duck in my room, I was ambushed by Dunravens.

They yelled at my soundlessly for a few minutes, till Butler politely tapped one on a shoulder and told them something.

I assumed it was reminding them I couldn't hear.


After climbing back through my window the night before, I was completly out. I thought, 'what the heck?', and let the painful memories flood my mind. In the dream, I could so clearly see the walls of the manor, hear the music flowing through the room. I was reliving my first memory of Daddy in my head. In the deam, I was hiding around the corner of a door, watching Lord Dunraven play the piano, fingers swiftly moving over the keys. The he stiffened, and I ducked behind the door, worrying he'd heard me and I would get a lecture for spying. I was wrong. His slightly worn face, a bit wrinkled from dealing with his many daughters, appeared around the door. "Do you like music, Starla?" It surprised me, that out of all the girls, he remembered /my/ name. I nodded timidly, for Lord Dunraven scared me. "Here, then," He lifted me up.


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