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OnceThe Piper was once a man. He knows that much. He knows that at one point, he too was normal. He knows it, but he cannot remember it. As he walks through the town of Hamelin, he sees emotions in the eyes of those who stare at him, but he can no longer name them. He does not know how to read the people. Here and there he sees something that could be terror, something that could be awe, something that could be anything. He does not care to decipher the faces. He does not care to remember that he was once a man as well. The Piper's fingers dance lightly across the pipe that rests delicately against his lips, transforming mere air into music and power. No, the music has come between the Piper and the world. He likes it better this way. So he shuts his eyes to the world, and plays on, blocking out the haunting faces that line the streets of Hamelin.The boy made the Piper remember only too well that he was once a man. The Piper knows this. He knows that at one point, he could have found huma
BereftIt starts with pain.As I lie awake in bed, I can feel it. I feel the cramping of my muscles, the sting that reminds me that I worked my legs too hard. I feel the awkward stiffness of them, their rigidness skewing the sheets into a tent at my knees. I feel the unpleasant tingling, the pricking that worsens day by day as my legs die. I feel the harsh rawness of my underarms and sides, the blisters on my hands caused by my iron-tight grip on my wooden crutches – little more than two sticks. I feel the burning shame of being different, disabled, crippled.The village hates me. They shun me, ignore me except for their constantly criticizing eyes. So I hide away from them, fleeing as far as my useless legs will carry me.And that is how I ended up in the hay barn by the river. The straw can be made into a chair that conforms to me, contours to my stiff angles, something that wood is never able to do. Their eyes can't find me here.Only the rats.The town of Hamelin is infested with rats. Th