The Transformation Story Archive Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...

Laura's Voice

by Zhara

The night was black and cold. From time to time a light breeze caused the fire to dance and flare up, sending a cascade of sparks up into the darkness where the gleamed for a moment as a part of the starey firmament.

Laura stood, with her friends, regarding the fire. They were circling, an old druidic custom. First to the left, and then to the right. Dwelling on things of import. Of lost ones, of things one desired, of regrets and hopes. Lost in thought, Laura's legs carried her along as she mused of the incongruity of her friends, modern technophiles, living in the new world recreating the traditions of the old worlds older religions.

Laura's thoughts continued to roam, as her feet stepped surely around the edge of the firepit. She had much to regret, much that was lost. The final word had come to her that afternoon. The doctors smiled, as they assured her that they had gotten every last bit of the cancer that threatened her life.

She had nodded, and then haltingly, asked the one question none of them seemed willing to answer.

"My voice?" she had rasped, "when will it get better?"

The older doctor, more kindly, perhaps than the young oncologist had looked away. After a moment, the oncologist frowned, and not meeting her eye, had answered her.

"It is better. In fact, it's something of a wonder that you speak at all. We were very lucky. We didn't have to touch your vocal cords, but the cancer did quite a bit of damage."

The older doctor's eyes were sad, but he nodded.

"Dr. Jones is correct, I'm afraid. But at least the chemo is over, and your cancer is quite gone. You have your life back."

Laura had nodded, and thanked them. They had thought her unusually sad, for someone who had nearly died.

The cold made Laura shiver, as she stepped, one last time around the fire. "Now think of what you desire most" the leader had said. Laura thought of her singing voice, once as sweet as a larks, as she circled the last time.

"And if you truely desire it, then leap the fire"

Laura paused, for a moment, and then gathered her strength. With a swift spring, powerful for one so slight, and so recently ill, she launched across the flames, feeling the hot air between her legs, and the sparks flitting past her hair.

The night ended, and morning had come. Laura had hiked up to the cliffs overlooking the river. alone, she smiled, as the sun beat down on her face. Although the day was cool, the sun warmed her. This had been her favorite spot. Here, she would stand, and sing. Sing for joy, sing for sadness, sing to return the sweet music of the birds.

Yesterday, after hearing the news her doctors had given her, she had come here, and tried to sing. The hoarse, rough rasping that emerged from her throat had been a sad parody of her dulcet tones.

Standing here, Laura wasn't sure why she had returned. She stood, her face into the breeze, eyes closed, while she listened to the birds. Suddenly, her awareness shattered. All at once, she was in motion, in flight, in tens of places at once. She could see the cliff, and the slight, pale girl standing on it's edge, as from many place as once. And then inspired, she sang.

The sound was sweet and high and pure. A dozen throats in perfect unision. A dozen sweet trills. Floating on the wind, Laura felt her voice soar. her dozen voices joining to make a perfect song without words.

She sang of beauty, of life, of joy and of sadness. Laura sang, and sang, her heart overfull to bursting. She could see, from all her eyes, the tears flowing down her face. Tears of joy, as the birds whose music she had always returned, now returned her music to her.

Hesitantly, Laura let go the song, her sense of self returning to her damp cheeked body. The small flock floated in front of her for a long moment, as they resumed their own, cheerful songs. Then with a flutter of wings, they vanished into the bright sunshine.

Laura watched, as the birds flitted off, somehow knowing, with certainty, that when, as she knew she would, she needed to sing, that the birds would be there to sing for her.

Laura's Voice copyright 1996 by Zhara.

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