The Music Book Stories 1: Swallow the Knife

The sun is at high noon as the precession marches into the courtyard. The day is like many others, however it is very much different. General Francois LeGarde had been hunting down the leader of the Opposition Party for several years now. The party’s foremost and primary skill, up to this point, had been evasion of the law. But Gen. LeGarde was stoic in his mission. This was his white whale; this was his purpose in life. He had always loved the works of Victor Hugo, and he was a real-life Inspector Javert. LeGarde smiled proudly as he passed through the throngs of serfs standing in the courtyard. Many came to pay their respects to a man they considered, in private, a legend. Regardless to the attendees’ intents, LeGarde was a proud man this day.

The captor’s hands were bound behind his back. Ricard Montelle had been running since he was a young child at the foot of his father. Now, he would run no more. In the middle of the night, LeGarde’s guards had come to his vista. They had overpowered his security forces, killing many of his finest men, and friends. However, in the converse, they had killed many of the French soldiers in defense. Guillamo, Ricards younger brother, had managed to escape; once again eluding the fumbling soldiers as they stormed the house. The rest of Ricard’s immediate family had not been so lucky. Slaughtered and bloody on the floor lay his wife and young child; LeGarde ordered no Montelle, family, friend or supporter, spared.

Now Ricard was a captive, walking to the gallows that stood tall and ominous in front of him. It was a hot day, and villagers came out in droves to witness the seeming victory of the French government, as well as the death of the rebellious Opposition Party. Ricard had been their leader, pushing for the people of the country, not the rich. He saw a change in the way of life, one where the poor had equal say as well as freedoms. France loved him, save the uptight ruling class – those with money and power. Life, he preached, was not merely a game for the rich to enjoy. But though the people loved him, they did not dare rise up in public against their king. And so, Ricard advanced towards his fate: the gallows.

Upon the podium, LeGarde insisted on being the one to ring and tighten the noose. He spoke with arrogance and conviction to the fugitive. “I’ve chased you for too long, my friend. I have finally caught up with you, and now you will pay for your treason.”

Ricard, with the last of his vanishing strength, simply spit at the general’s feet.

(00:40) The noose is cinched around Ricard’s neck, and the drummers begin their cadence.

“Do you have any last words before you die today?” asks the General. It is a grandiose performance, one meaning to put a period on the fact that the revolution has been ended.

Ricard, bloody from the wounds sustained by the French soldiers at the order of the king, looks up at LeGarde. Mustering the strength that Ricard Montelle is known for, he calls out in a throaty voice, “Vive la REVOLUTION!” The crowd stands in total silence, and thenâÂ?¦

(00:48) The switch is thrown and the trap door opens beneath his feet. Ricards’s body falls through the stage in the blink of an eye. In only seconds, his body goes limp as the noose snaps his neck.

A young boy turns runs away from the site. He rounds a corner, and enters a building with blacked-out windows. The meeting place is filled with followers of the revolution, members of the outlawed Opposition Party. The room is dark, lit only by the glow of candles, which soon fade to black.

Cut to a few minutes before the execution. Guillamo stands in front of a crowd of people facing the stage in rows. There are other leaders of the revolution who flank him on either side. The room is dark, lit only by the glow of the votive candles everyone holds in front of them. They mourn the impending fate of their previous leader, Ricard Montelle. Guillamo preaches to the crowd. At points, he is joined in his preaching by the others whom surround him:

“So our open wounds will bleed until our banks run dry. Now we have to take this thorn, and tear it from our side. Educated at the fault line; still agree to disagree. You’re connected to the heart, but tonight will set you free. So swallow the knife! Carve the way for your crime. (Ricard is hung; 00:48) Now our hands are tied, the problems lie within. So we pray for night, to start over again.”

The young boy now bursts into the room.

“It is done. Ricard is dead! Ricard is dead!!!”

The room goes black as everyone blows the flame of their votive out. It is a traditional homage to their fallen leader. As by rule, one candle is relit, and that is the new leader of the revolution. Guillamo can suddenly feel the heat emanating from his votive; it feels like a million flames. The people begin to chant:

“Guillamo, s’il vous plait nons aider! S’il vous plait nous mener!”

He places the candle on the mantle in front of his fallen brother’s picture. Again, he addresses the waiting crowd, but now with a fiery dissertation. The vote is recorded into the minutes logbook, Guillamo is official the leader of the Opposition Party.

(01:06)”Even now as I write this down, all predictions disappear. Now our impulses will bite, at the ankles of our fears. So swallow the knife. Carve the way for your pride.”

The energy in the room grows to a large stir. Guillamo, fighting back tears, reaches for his sword. He holds it above his head, as men from the crowd follow suit. His speech escalates to a roar, like a lion. The crowd is fired up, and the people stand, fully committed to the martyr of their leader and the election of the new. The following lines are spoken as the infuriated Guillamo jumps off the stage and walks down the center aisle of the crowd. People begin to file out after he passes their row. The revolution has been born on this night.

Guillamo kicks the door open and leads the crowd around the corner to the courtyard. The lifeless body of Ricard swings gently in the wind. He didn’t suffer; he is at peace. Guillamo focuses his attention on the general, now standing atop the podium. The crowd scatters as the revolutionaries march towards LeGarde and the rest of the soldiers. They shout in unison:

“Now our hands are tied, the problems lie within. So we pray for night, to start over again. Now our hands are tied, the problems lie within. So we pray for night, to start over again!”

The procession stops, and a shouting match ensues. Guillamo challenges General LeGarde. This is the culmination, the crest to the purpose of the revolution.

As the challenging lines are set, LeGarde faces back with a blazing stare. Troops from the French guard line up in fighting stance. The battle is on.

LeGarde: “Words are spoken. Words are broken down!”

Guillamo, turning to face the people: “So lets make this night, be our last mistake.”

LeGarde, to his soldiers: “So lets take the time, to wipe the blood away!!!”

Guillamo turns again towards LeGarde, and with the swinging down and forward of his brother’s prized sword, he leads the people in a charge.

The two lines clash, soldiers and people. The great battle rages on and on. People are dying. Soldiers are dying. Guillamo, making his way towards LeGarde on the podium, is fighting the whole way.

A sword pierces Guillamo’s chest, and he does not see it coming. Suddenly, the man stops. There is a warm liquid seeping through his shirt, and as he looks down at his stomach, the pain and blood radiate from within. But the wound does not seem to affect he who is now much more than a man.

Guillamo looks down, and almost scornfully wraps both hands around the protruding handle. With a quick tug, he pulls the hot metal out of his stomach and continues on towards LeGarde, again fighting the entire way. He shouts to his people:

“Now our hands are tied, the problems lie within. So we pray for night, to start over again. Now our hands are tied, the problems lie within. So we pray for night, to start over again!”

Guillamo is now rising to the top of the podium. The final battle has begun. He must kill the destroyer of his blood; he must stop the leader of the counter-revolution. General LeGarde must die. The two men fight, and so it seems the battles surrounding the two stop. All eyes are focused on the stage, on the epic battle between Guillamo and Francois.

General LeGarde shouts as the two exchange thrusts of their swords:

“Word are spoken;

LeGarde drives his sword deep into Guillamo’s stomach, and into his fresh wound.

words are brokenâÂ?¦. down.”

Guillamo drives his sword into the chest of the General. Both men, in a bloody and dying pretzel, fall to the ground. All around, the people cease their battles, and gaze at the two fallen adversaries.

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