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Showcasing creative writing by university students around the world.

Published Sunday, May 25th, 2014

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The Unheard Voice

The murky water cascades around my lifeless body. I am surrounded by the debris of the river and the remains of my childhood. I will swirl in the abyss of this nightmare forever. I will watch you silently from my watery grave. You will remember me. I am etched on the mind of every man who dared not pay the piper. You may have heard this story but you have not heard my story. This is how I died. . .
 
 
The date was Friday, 13th April, 1284. My small town of Hamelin had been infested with a sea of black vermin, and today the legendary Pied Piper was coming to help. The townsfolk all gathered near the old stone well, waiting anxiously to catch a glimpse of the mysterious man. He was tall, with piercing sea-blue eyes. Onyx hair flowed down to his broad shoulders and framed his strong chiselled features perfectly. He reminded me of the brave knights my grandmother used to tell me about. The Piper slowly turned around and grinned at the gathering, waving his mahogany pipe. Everyone cheered in excitement: he was going to be our saviour. The ‘three wise men’ of the town – our councilmen – greeted him with firm handshakes and, each in turn, welcomed him. The councilmen turned to face the hysterical crowd and in gravelly voices announced:
 
“Behold the famous Pied Piper! He has travelled a great distance to be here today, and I hope everyone will treat him with courtesy and respect.”
 
“This kind man has agreed to help lure the vermin away from our humble town so that we may live without filth and disease.”
 
“Thanks to him we will no longer have to live in fear, only peace. We will have clean water and better lives. Now go my friends, and let this man do his work.”
 
The congregation roared and dispersed, gossiping to themselves about our new idol. We had all heard the rumours of course; his ability to control animals is what made him famous. Many wondered how he did it – was it white magic? Or just a well learned skill?
 
What fools we all were to not see the devil that lay beneath. By afternoon, word had spread that the task was complete. The Piper had lured the dirty rats out of our town and put them into an eternal sleep in the Weser River. My teacher, Miss Gunter, spoke of him all day. She kept repeating how nice a man he was and wondering if he had a wife. She must have wanted to make friends. The classroom buzzed with happiness as my friends and I drew pictures and acted out scenes of the Piper saving our town. I remember wanting to be exactly like him. I ran around telling everyone that when I grow up, I was going to be the Pied Piper. Little did I know that it was to be my last day in Hamelin.
 
I skipped home singing my favourite nursery rhyme – Ringel, Ringel, Rosen. I could smell warm apple pie as I passed the window of my house. My mother had made it for us in celebration of today. We were all so excited. It was growing dark outside as my mother finished preparing the grand feast. I entered the kitchen to find it waiting on the large oak table. My father and older brother were already seated, waiting to tuck into a giant piece of ham placed in the centre. It was the most delicious meal I had ever had! My mother had even made my favourite drink – apple juice. I felt so special and loved. (What I would give to go back to that moment!) When I had finished everything on my plate, my parents kissed me goodnight and sent me upstairs to bed. That was my family’s final farewell.
 
When the night was at its blackest, I was awoken by a hauntingly beautiful lullaby. Against my will, I rose from my bed, put on my shoes and walked down the stairs. I wandered through dim-lit streets, following the enchanting song. I thought it might have been a fairy wanting my help.
 
I suddenly found myself at the cold stone well, and I became afraid. I was surrounded by all of the town’s children, each looking just as scared as I was. I tried to search for my friends, to find out what was going on, but I couldn’t move my head. I couldn’t speak. I was conscious, but my body was frozen. Seated, on the well’s edge, was the Pied Piper. His eyes darted in every direction, glaring at each child that was to be added to his collection. Without warning, we all started to move towards the mysterious woods nearby. You could hear the heartbeat of every child intertwine with the tender melody our captor played. We were headed north, further than I had ever been allowed to go. We were headed in the direction of the Weser River.
 
It soon felt like we had been walking for hours. My small feet oozed from blisters, leaving my shoes with a crimson stain, as we approached our destination. I could hear the water rush over the rocks, getting louder and louder until we were at the bank of the river. This is where we were forced to stop. The Piper gazed at the army of children that were in his power. You could see the anger and madness that lay behind his sea-blue eyes. I will never forget those eyes. He started to laugh. That horrible screech will forever echo in my mind. He ran up and down the line of children, playing with their hair and clothes, hissing the following:
 
 
Don’t be scared my little friends,
It won’t be long until the end,
Your town must learn that they will pay
For abusing my help in this hideous way!
You all must learn to pay the Piper
Or be struck down by this sinful sniper.
 
 
As soon as the final word left his lips, our feet automatically marched us towards the deepest part of the river. One by one, we were plunged into it. I could feel the water rising higher and higher up my body, until I was fully submerged. The moon shone through the murky liquid as I struggled to remain afloat. I could feel the water enter my lungs and push out every last bit of air I had left. I could taste the dirt as it flowed into my mouth and grazed my tongue. I could hear my friends crying, gasping, wailing for their mothers and fathers. It was no use. There was nothing except the faint hum of our deathly lullaby as the water devoured us.
 
The townsfolk found our bodies the following day, all mangled and bruised as they bobbed up and down in the silent river. Nobody screamed or cried or pulled us from the water. They all stared at us in silence. The eldest of the councilmen slowly approached the bank of the river and signalled the men to rescue as many bodies as they could. He steadily examined each child’s face as they were dragged onto the bank. He found the one he was looking for – his granddaughter. Her glassy eyes glared into his soul as he fell to the ground in horror.
 
“What have we done?” he whispered to himself, holding his head in his hands, “What have we done to you?”
 
He rose, looked towards the townsfolk and called forth the remaining members of the council. The two men stood on either side of him as he spoke to the community.
 
“This is our fault! This is our fault! We all knew that we could not afford to pay the Pi . . . this monster. Yet, we all agreed that we would have to trick him into doing this. None of us stopped to think of the consequences. This is our price. Our children are dead. Our future has been taken from us. May God have mercy on our souls.”
 
After that day, no one went to the river. The town remained childless and ever so silent. No one spoke of the event again. It became a myth, a fairy tale that other towns spread to warn their children to be good. Fools. No one knows that I am still here. Still sitting on the bed of the river. Still playing with the remaining children as we wait for the day when they will rescue us. They will come for us. You will come for us.

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