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The Island’s Song
The Island’s Song
“Come on everyone the perfect spot is just up ahead, I know it!” An older teenage boy with messy dark brown hair yells as he fights his way through a bush.
“Shalo, you need to wait up. Everyone is being left behind,” says a pure voice from an even more pure looking girl of the same age. Her long, curly brown hair falls along her long dress, beautifully woven from vibrant grasses and flowers. “Look, now you are tangling yourself up in that bush.”
“Hush Natili. You all are just slow, and I am not stuck. I just… need to… get my drum… loose!” Shalo strains to say as the bush tugs on his shirt and shorts, crafted from large green leaves, and a wooden drum strapped to his back.
“Whatever, I will help you,” Natili offers as she pulls away part of the bush to help.
“Hey wait up, we are coming!” A duet of voices shout as two, nearly identical in looks and fashion, younger teen boys show up. Both boys wear a matching set of shirts, shorts, and caps all crafted from the fresh flora of nature.
“Look Cheko, they are playing in that bush,” says one of them.
“Then we should join them Teko,” says the other. They both push their way into the bush, completely clueless as to what is actually happening.
“Guys no! You are both only making it worse,” cries Natili in disbelief that something this idiotic is actually happening.
The sound of heavy footsteps is heard approaching as another large older teen, with the looks of a grown man with short cut brown hair and wearing a long, worn-out poncho and pants, hurries in the direction of the others. Unaware of the commotion in the bush, he does not slow down. When he does see them he shouts, “There you are… whoa!” The teen trips and falls on all of them, finally pushing a full path through the bush.
“Baruo, get off of us!” Shalo’s muffled pleas come from the bottom of the pile.
“Sorry,” Baruo says with no indication he actually means it. He climbs off the pile then helps everyone else to their feet; leaving Shalo face down into the ground with his drum on top of him.
“How can you act so cool, but always be this clumsy?” Shalo angrily ask as he brushes twigs out of his hair, which weirdly matches the dark brown color of his drum.
“I was trying to keep the twins from messing around,” Baruo starts to explain, “and I just tripped. It is not a big deal.”
Before Shalo can say anything back, Cheko and Teko shout in unison, “We are not twins!”
“I am a year older than Teko,” states Cheko.
“Yeah, Cheko is old,” Teko tags on.
“Everyone stop arguing!” Natili yells at the bickering boys, with a voice too loud to come from such a small girl. It works, though, since they obey her with silence. With her back to the others, all Natili utters is, “look at this,” with a sense of amazement in her voice.
The groups of boys face the direction of Natili’s wonder. They all stare out into a perfectly round clearing with bright green grass bathing in sunlight. What really catches the group’s attention is a large unique tree, directly across the clearing. All the other tress on the island are skinny, and start to curve down near the top due to the weight of the large leaves. This tree, however, is thick and stands tall as if full of power. It is larger and darker, and stands out from all the surrounding shrubbery.
“Do you all see this?” Natili ask without looking away from the scenery before her.
“Yeah,” Shalo replies, “this place is amazing, perfect even.”
“You see this Teko, come on!” Cheko yells as he takes off running across the clearing.
“Yeah, you got it Cheko!” Teko yells back as he does the same.
Baruo steps forward, and places his hand on the drum crafted perfectly to cover Shalo’s back. “Shalo the wood of your drum looks the same as that tree.”
“I know,” Shalo confirms, “but I carved this drum myself from a chuck of wood I found in the woods one day. I guess it could have been a branch or something from this tree.
“Guys, I have never even heard about a place like this existing,” Natili adds in, “actually everything about this clearing is unlike anything I have seen before. It is like this place has been hidden in the woods, completely untouched.”
After another brief moment of these three taking in the scenery, Shalo breaks the silence. “Anyways, those two look like they are enjoying themselves. We should go join them.” The three run out into the clearing following Cheko’s and Teko’s lead.
The five teenagers spend the next few hours happily enjoying themselves in their newfound haven. They race around checking out everything they see. Cheko and Teko climb the magnificent tree watching over them, Shalo wrestles with Baruo trying to playfully overpower him, and Natili stands by laughing at the rest of her friends.
The fun continues until the whole group is exhausted, even though their excitement is still full blown. As the sky darkens from the sun starting to sneak behind the trees, Shalo, Baruo, Natili, Cheko, and Teko lay head to head in a circle on the soft grass relaxing.
“Well, I say it is about time to do what we originally came here to do,” Shalo says as he pops up into a sitting position, and pulls his drum into his lap.
Simultaneously the rest of group’s smiles grow into larger excited expressions. Baruo pulls out a simple conch shell, which fits perfectly in his large hand, from a pocket in his poncho shirt. Cheko pulls out two instruments from a satchel hanging by his side; a long wooden flute belonging to himself, and a five pipe pan flute which he hands over to Teko. Natili does not have an instrument, instead she gently slides her hand down her throat to indicate she is warming up to sing.
Without any cues, this group of young musicians begin playing beautiful music to their hearts’ content, but against the beliefs of their island village’s culture.
On this secluded island music is worshipped above all else. However, music is only allowed to be played for worship, and nothing else. Any form of secular music played is absolutely forbidden, as to avoid any disrespect towards the island. This is a rule that has never been known to be broken, so the actual punishment has been forgotten.
This is the sole reason why this group of teenagers has snuck away from their village in order to find a perfect place to play the music they wanted. They do not do this to intentionally break the forbidden rule. Instead, it is because if the punishment has been lost, then maybe it is time to include a way for the village to play music for fun and enjoyment. That is why this clearing is the perfect spot to practice before proving their point to the rest of their village, even if not everyone will be happy about changing their customs.
Even though this is only the first time playing together in a setting like this, they are all flawlessly in sync with each other. They play together so well, the island itself seems to want to play along with them as the rhythm of Shalo’s drum brings a beat. The power Baruo’s conch shell lay down the harmony, the support of Cheko’s and Teko’s flutes fill in the inner voices, and the purity of Natili’s voice sings a beautiful wordless melody.
With the mysterious, yet majestic, tree standing audience, they play long into the night. They do not realize when they fall asleep, along with the rest of the island, and for the first time ever there is total silence throughout the island.
“Shalo! Shalo! Shalo!” two similar voices holler at the sleeping teenager while he cuddles with his drum.
“You two stop that. I know he is a heavy sleeper, but Baruo is worse. Go wake him up,” says a cute playful voice, followed by an even more adorable giggle. “Okay Shalo, are you awake now? The twins found out something amazing.”
“We are not twins, whoa!” a duet shouts from the background.
Shalo sits up a little to see Natili kneeling next to him, and Baruo shoving Cheko’s and Teko’s faces away. “Yeah I am awake, so what is it they found?” he ask while in the middle of yawning the sleep out of his voice.
“Well, you two go ahead and show them,” Natili commands the brothers with a sly smirk of anticipation.
“You got it,” they reply together as instruments cover their own huge grins. A peppy duet emits from instruments, but this is not the only thing happening. With every breath blown through their instruments, the air around the group starts to stir a little. Every note from Cheko’s flute pushes the air back and forth, while the notes coming from Teko’s pan flute lifts the air. With this barely describable phenomenon, the air dances to the music, bringing both Shalo and Baruo to their feet as if the air itself is picking them up.
“That is not all,” Natili whispers to Shalo as she leans in towards him with her smirk growing. She starts humming along to the music, and seems to almost hover over to be in between the brothers. When she fully starts singing it does not seem to have any additional effect to the air. Instead, all the grass ripples like small waves and the giant leaves of the tree overhead sway around as if the branches are moving them along with her singing.
The music stops, and so does all the strange things happening in the clearing.
“What…was that?” Baruo stutters in complete shock. He frantically looks all around himself for his conch shell, and finds it in the same pocket he always keeps it in. He blows into his instrument to play a progression of notes, but is confused when it appears nothing special happens. “Hmm, never mind,” he sighs in disappointment.
“Wait, Baruo look down,” Shalo tells him.
Baruo looks down to see his feet in a shallow puddle of water. This sudden appearance startles him enough to cause him to fall on his butt, and splash the rest of the group.
Laughter immediately erupts from everyone. Natili is the first to recover. “Do you realize what this is?” she ask specifically of Shalo and Baruo, who are both back to their puzzling expressions.
“Our music makes magic!” Cheko shouts without giving Shalo or Baruo a chance to answer.
“Yeah, magic music!” Teko chimes in as well.
“You two, we already talked about this,” Natili lightly nags, “but they are right. I am not sure how it is possible, but whenever we play music magical things happen. The twins control the air…”
“We are not twins!” shout the brothers.
“…whatever, and mine seems to control plants. I guess Baruo’s probably controls water.” Natili speculates. “Now we just need to see what your music does, Shalo.”
“Oh yeah!” Shalo exclaims while swinging his drum up to play. Without hesitation he taps out a little groove. When nothing seems to happen right away he continuously plays the groove while slightly increasing the dynamics and tempo more and more. After a few minutes he stops, and frantically asks, “Did it work?”
Blank stares answer Shalo.
“Did it do anything at all?” Shalo reiterates with disappointment completely taking over the tone of his question.
A mumble of questioning doubt spreads through the four observers. Natili is the only one to speak up, “I am not sure; something felt strange.” The others slowly nod in agreement. “Maybe whatever your music does requires something that is not here. Baruo’s did not do much since there is not any water around, so yours could be the same way,” she says trying to be encouraging.
“Yeah, you are probably right,” Shalo says more uplifting.
“Everyone, we should play more,” Cheko blurts out.
“Yeah, we should play more,” Teko agrees. The siblings instantly start playing their instruments before anyone else has a chance to say anything further. As soon as sound leaves their instruments the air starts to dance along to the music.
“Oh!” Baruo exclaims after nearly slipping in his puddle again when he tries to chase after Cheko and Teko. He blows into his conch shell to join them, and the puddle follows behind him. As his playing grows the puddle water starts to rise like a small floating stream. When Baruo harmonizes with the brothers’ music, the stream scatters into the air to create a mist sparking from the sunlight.
While the trio gets lost in the magic of their music, Shalo and Natili watch from the side. Natili gazes in awe until she notices Shalo’s slight look of frustration. “We will figure it out. Do not worry about it too much,” she comforts him, “besides, you can still enjoy playing your music regardless.”
“Yeah, you are right,” Shalo starts to agree, “but…”
Natili interrupts Shalo before he can continue, since she knows what is coming next. “Good, then stop thinking about it, and play music like we originally came here to do anyways.” She grabs him by the wrist before he can say anything else, and drags him off towards the rest of their musical friends.
Shalo is reluctant to play at first, but after one more sharp glance from Natili, he begins. Natili’s melodic voice mixes with the twins’ duet, while Shalo’s drum beat helps Baruo’s accompaniment maintain the groove. The plants dance along to the music as air and water swirls around as well. Instantly the enjoyment of playing with this little band of musicians engulfs Shalo, and all the worries bothering him only seconds ago are lost.
The ensemble continues to play as nature dances along. Unintentionally they wander out of the clearing as each of them become lost in experimenting with what their music can do. As a result, an amazing performance unfolds.
Natili leads this talented ensemble with her beautiful singing voice. Her lyricless singing always captivates the entire village when she sings at ceremonies. Now all the foliage around is also her audience as they dance along to her melody; completely under control of this young lady’s pure voice.
Baruo makes the main harmony by playing out the bass notes to accompany the melody. The stream of water continuously grows into a large pool. It ripples in and out, shrinking and growing like tides of an ocean. As his harmony continues, the water rises and drops as if it is a waterfall flowing just for his playing.
Cheko and Teko fill in the middle voices with their energetic playing of their two types of flutes. The air around them seems to go crazy in order to match the energy the brothers are putting into their music. It gets wild enough to even lift the two off their feet, so they can float and fly around according to how they play together.
Shalo sits, completely focusing on playing his drum. He is unaware the beat from his drum is revolving the music around him. Shalo has, somehow, become the center of attention in the island’s performance.
Cheko and Teko hover around and encircle Shalo, Natili, and Baruo. They all carry on playing separately, but involuntarily end up following Shalo’s drum beat. Natili’s singing prompts the plants, Baruo’s harmony flows the water, Cheko’s tenor pushes the air, Teko’s alto raises the air, and Shalo’s drumming leads the group along by taking control of the island to invigorate them all for their premiere.
Suddenly, a chaos of noise, hardly distinguishable as music, takes over, and the group goes silent.
Cheko and Teko fall out of the air into a bush, and the rest of the group quickly rotates towards the direction of the disturbance.
“What was that?” Cheko whimpers.
“Oww, Cheko!” Teko yells as the two crawl out of the bush to join their friends, who are already slowly making their way in the direction of the noise.
“What was all that noise?” Shalo questions.
“It sounded awful,” Natili adds with a worrying voice.
“That is the direction of the village,” Baruo utters.
When another sudden explosion of noise, and a bright flash of light, surprise the group again, their fears worsen. Shalo, Baruo, and Natili take off sprinting, and Cheko and Teko follow close behind. Without another word they concentrate on getting back to their village as soon as possible to see what is wrong.
As the hurrying group approaches closer to their village, they hear a mix of noises growing. When they emerge from the woods, what they see shocks them even more than what they hear.
The glow they saw from a distance are flames scattered along the grass and a couple huts. Other huts have scars as if struck by lightning, but the scars also run along the ground, which is unusual. The most damage is from what looks like slashes everywhere; some have cut down an entire hut. This damage is beyond comprehension for the teenagers, since this is unlike anything they have ever witnessed.
“What happened here?” Shalo gasps in disbelief.
“The noise is coming from over there,” Baruo points out towards the center of the village.
“Come on everyone we need to see what is going on,” Shalo announces.
Everyone nods except Natili. She is completely paralyzed as she stares, speechless, out at the carnage.
“Natili…,” Shalo softly starts to urge.
Another burst of unpleasant sound erupts, and the light coming from the village center intensifies. Shalo, Cheko, and Teko jump from being startled, while Baruo falls over. Natili remains unfazed, and only continues to stare off.
Regaining his cool, Baruo stands back up and hollers, “Come on!” to take the lead.
“Come on Teko,” complies Cheko.
“Yeah Cheko,” follows Teko, as the brothers get serious.
Shalo does not say anything. He gives Natili another look, then turns to join the other three.
The village center is in chaos when the four arrive. The fire light is blinding, and all the noise is near deafening. Things become clearer when Shalo realizes the chaos of what he sees is matching exactly with the chaos he hears.
What appears to be a bolt of lightning, strikes in the middle of the group. Shalo quickly yells, “Baruo play your conch shell!”
Without hesitation Baruo blows a strong note through his conch shell. The tide from the neighboring beach is pulled all the way up to the village; covering the ground and dousing the flames.
Standing directly across from them, at the entrance to the village's main hall, is a middle-aged man with an old tall instrument made from part of a hollow long with vines pulled along it as strings. A few paces in front and on either side of him are two younger women. The woman to his left has an instrument of the structure as him, but small enough to hold herself. The woman to his right holds an instrument carved from a single branch with a small piece added to blow into. Of these three, the right woman disturbs them the most, because of her crazy gaze and jitteriness.
“Hmm, so the troublemaker shows up. Hello Shalo,” the man announces with a wide smirk, “I should have known you would of course be taking advantage of this miracle the island has bestowed upon us.”
“Sulan, what are you doing? You are a member of the village council, so why are you doing this?” Shalo questions in shock.
“You are asking me why; you know why. You were the one that came to the council wanting to change the ways of the village and play music your own way.” Sulan’s smirk grows, “now the island has obliged, and given music power. With my cello’s fire, Bidit’s lute’s lightning, and Nuel’s oboe’s slicing wind we have taken control. I assume you and your friends want in on it also?”
“No!” Baruo loudly grunts.
Shalo places his hand on Baruo’s shoulder to calm him. “It is true I wanted to play music my way, all of us did. That is why we got together to make good music to inspire the village to grow, but this is just madness. The village will be completely destroyed and no one will be left to even enjoy music,” he explains to Sulan.
“Music is meant to be enjoyed by everyone and the island,” Cheko adds on as he comes up to stand next to Shalo.
“Yeah, music is for fun,” Teko also adds, staying close by his brother’s side.
“Madness? I will show you madness!” Nuel screams wildly.
“Hold on Nuel,” Sulan’s smirk is gone now. “Do you not believe we are enjoying ourselves? I am having plenty of fun, but as for music being for everyone, I do not agree. Only the ones who can really control the power of this music, need music. That is why everyone else has fled from fear of our power,” he snarls in a cold rough voice.
In one motion Sulan pulls out a bow and rubs it across his cello. There is an instant increase in heat, and then flames spurt out from where the bow makes contact with the strings. Without hesitating the two women join in. Bidit rapidly strums her lute, and her hair starts to rise as little sparks come from her fingertips. Nuel continuously blows quick sharp notes through her oboe, and more slashes start to appear in her clothes and the ground around her.
From pure instinctive reflexes Baruo, Cheko, and Teko blow hard into their own instruments. In an instant a wave of water rises and pushes forward, with help from gusts of air, and smashes into a racing ball of fire and lightning. Sound collides to create a boom which reflects the collision of these musicians’ musical powers. Nuel’s wind slices through Baruo’s wave, but support from Cheko’s and Teko’s air gusts help stop Sulan’s and Bidit’s fire lightning ball.
The scene clears, and Sulan is once again smirking bigger than before. “That was exciting,” he cheers, “but Shalo, I did not hear your drum. Do not tell me you cannot use your music’s power.”
“I will show you my music’s power!” Shalo shouts back.
“Shalo do not try. He is just baiting you,” Baruo warns.
Shalo ignores Baruo, and pulls his drum in front of him. He hits out a powerful beat, but after only a few seconds he hears chuckling.
“Oh this is a fun surprise,” Sulan’s voice is full of sarcastic amusement. “I bet you want the power so bad,” there is another chuckle then his expression gets cold again, “but now you are useless. Even those who ended up running away could still play music with at least a little power. Get rid of him; all of them” he commands Bidit and Nuel with a disgusting tone.
“Yes, finally!” Nuel screams.
Bidit nods, and the two get their instruments ready.
“Stop!” cries a loud, yet soft, melodic voice. The grass around everyone sways, and the taller grass looks like it is whipping at the air. All nearby trees turn towards the top of main hall to face Natili wrapped in vines from the tree next to the building to support her.
Sulan, Bidit, and Nuel spin around in their spots to look up at Natili. “Well, it is the chief’s daughter. I would not have guessed the little good girl, star of the village, would be a part of this,” Sulan says to divert his slight confusion.
“Stop,” Natili whimpers again. “You are destroying everything; this is not what the island wants. If you fight anymore it will only get worse.” She sounds like she is on the verge of tears.
Without warning there is a loud screech. It only takes a second to happen, but Shalo sees it all clearly. Before Natili even finishes talking, Nuel is getting her oboe ready. With a wicked smile spread across her face, Nuel blows as hard as she can, and sends an awful screech and sharp blade of wind at Natili. The winds slash apart the vines supporting Natili, and there is a splash of red before she falls from the top of the main hall into a cushion of grass below.
“NOOOO!!” Shalo roars. Out of pure fury he pounds his drum harder than he ever has before. The ground starts shaking furiously, knocking everyone except Shalo off their feet, and then splits open in a straight line to the main hall. Shalo sprints over to Natili.
“Get him,” Sulan grunts while getting back on his feet.
Before anyone else can move, Baruo blows his conch shell to splash the three and draw their attention towards himself. “Get Natili out of here. We can handle them!” he shouts to Shalo while tucking his head down to hide his watering eyes.
“Yeah!” Cheko and Teko shout as well, without hiding the tears coming from their eyes.
Shalo does not say anything back to his friends, he just gives a nod of understanding. He gently picks up Natili, who is unconscious with a line of blood running all the way from under her chin diagonally down to her hip, and runs for the tree line.
“I… I will not let you get away,” Sulan stutters from his anger getting the better of him. He prepares his cello to attack Shalo with the fire from his music.
Before the bow can even make contact with a string, Baruo plays another note on his conch shell to send out a torrent of water to prevent Sulan from attacking Shalo. “I said I am going to stop you. I am not going to let you hurt anyone else,” Baruo’s voice is unstable, yet full of confidence.
“Fine! Take him out first,” Sulan orders Bidit and Nuel.
This time Cheko and Teko hurry to use their instruments’ power to keep Bidit and Nuel from playing. “We got your back Baruo,” Cheko says with his eyes locked on Bidit.
“Yeah, we will help too,” Teko adds while facing Nuel.
There is a moment no one says anything, they only stare each other down. In a flash everyone plays at once, creating an explosion, and separating them into three one-on-one battles.
Baruo and Sulan are not moved from their spots. Cheko and Bidit are pushed towards the beach from Cheko’s flute’s power. Teko intercepts Nuel near the tree line, and stops her from pursuing Shalo and Natili. Each pair can see each other, but are too far away to be of any help to one another.
“Looks like all of you have been separated,” Sulan points out, “do you really think each of you can take on any of us on your own?”
“The twins can handle themselves,” Baruo while focusing on Sulan, “and I just need to stop you.”
“Ha! Do you think we are just playing some childish game?” There is no humor in Sulan’s voice; it is more spiteful now. “Sure those two brothers can be a handful together, but they may as well be confused babies when they are apart. Also, from what I recall you are nothing but a clumsy oaf.”
Baruo does not let any of this bother him. He just stays silent, not diverting his attention away from Sulan.
The lack of a response infuriates Sulan. From a strong stroke of his bow on his cello, erupts a wall of flames towards Baruo.
Baruo matches this with a wave of water from his conch shell; their clash begins.
Cheko watches Bidit silently watching him. “Aww, I did not mean to push us both so far out here,” he mummers to himself, “especially since I am pretty sure it is not good to have lightning near a huge source of water.”
As if Bidit heard Cheko’s mummers, she plays a chord on her lute, and sends a small strike up lightning at him, forcing him closer to the water.
“Whoa! Did you not just hear me?” Cheko jokingly questions.
Bidit is not amused.
“Do you talk?” Cheko now ask seriously.
“Hmm okay, then I am going over to my brother,” Cheko tells her in a monotone voice. “I am the older brother, so I always have to push and drag Teko along with me everywhere in order watch over him.”
There is another quick chord and strike of lightning from Bidit, but Cheko is prepared for it. He plays a few quick notes on his flute to have the air push him in the opposite direction of the water.
“Make up your mind. What are we going to do?” Cheko’s expression now matches Bidit’s, and his monotone voice continues as their match is stuck in an indecisive standstill.
Over by the tree line Teko has Nuel’s full attention. “Yeah, that is some sharp wind. Too bad you cannot catch me with it,” he teases while dodging her barrage of slicing wind.
“Stay still, and I will!” Nuel yells in frustration.
“Nope,” Teko replies playfully. He is just barely avoiding, but he does not want Nuel to know how much he is really struggling. She is not giving him any time to counterattack. For now he weaves in and out of trees as leaves and branches are being sliced into the air, and he looks for an opportunity to play his pan flute.
“I am going to get you!” Nuel repeatedly screams in between the rapid and ferocious notes she screeches through her oboe.
The amount of debris being thrown into the air from the trees increases, and for a second Teko thinks he loses sight of Nuel. This gives him the idea to quickly blow through his pan flute to create a shroud of leaves that hides him. This gives him enough time to be able to play once more and have the air lift him up over Nuel to get behind her.
Nuel is confused as to where Teko disappears to, which angers her even more. “Where are you!?”
“You know I may be the younger brother,” Teko’s tone is still playful, yet what he says is serious, “but I am always there to support Cheko. Without me he gets all serious and boring, so I need to be there to lift his spirit up.” Teko does not sound like his usual childish self.
Nuel whips around yelling, “do not mess with me!”
Teko plays his pan flute again to raise another veil of leaves. His smile grows since he now knows how to mess with Nuel’s nerves, and take advantage of this opportunity.
Water and fire continue to collide as Baruo’s and Sulan’s showdown carries on. “It looks like your friends are struggling as much as you. How long are you going to stay on the defense?” Sulan antagonizes Baruo.
“Do not worry about it,” Baruo says, staying cool as to keep from worrying himself. He notices Cheko and Teko have been inching their way back, so now he is just buying time until they get the perfect chance to be able to finish this together.
“Oh I am not worried at all, but I am growing tired of this fooling around. It is time to finish this now.” Sulan puts full force into his playing, and the fire from his music becomes overwhelming.
Baruo is barely able to surround himself in enough water to protect against the flames. He gets knocked on his back in a puddle. Without standing up he brings his conch shell to his mouth.
Sulan chuckles, “What are you doing? Can you not decide between giving up and desperately struggling on?”
Baruo does not reply. The moment he has been waiting for has come. It only takes a matter of minutes for everything to unfold once he blows his conch shell.
The moment Bidit starts to send out a bolt of lightning, a wave of water crashes into her and her lightning. Cheko watches the wave carry her back towards the village center. He can also see Teko burying Nuel under a pile of leaves. “Teko!” he shouts.
Teko looks over to see Cheko about to play his flute. “Yeah, got it Cheko!” he shouts back. He plays his pan flute enough to launch himself into the air as Nuel gets pulled out of the leaves and towards the village center as well.
The trio of friends play their instruments together once more to smash their three foes together. Bidit’s lightning is still charged in the water, so when they smash together along with Baruo’s, Cheko’s, and Teko’s combination of musical power, there is a small explosion.
When the explosion clears Baruo, Cheko, and Teko stand over a pile of unconscious bodies containing Sulan, Bidit, and Nuel. Their destruction finally stopped.
The woods grow dim as the sun is lost through the leaves of the trees. Shalo pays no attention to this as he carries Natili. He has no idea where any of the other villagers that could help Natili fled to, so all he can do is get her as far away from danger as he can. Now he runs with no destination, and no idea of what he should do next.
Shalo pushes himself as hard as possible to keep running. Right when he is about to fall over from exhaustion, he runs into the clearing and collapse to his knees in front of the mighty tree standing watch. “We are back here again,” he says out of breath before realizing Natili has turned pale and stopped breathing.
“No, no, no,” Shalo stammers. He gently shakes her, hoping to wake her, but there is no response. He listens for a heartbeat, and hears nothing. Covered in Natili’s blood, completely exhausted, and running out of hope Shalo cries while cradling Natili’s body.
Taken over by grief Shalo does not want to give up. He brings his drum out, ignoring the crack running down it, and begins playing softly. He plays louder and louder wwishing for this to wake Natili up. “Please, please wake up,” he begs. He is now wailing as loud as he can again, and the ground starts rumbling.
Not thinking clearly anymore Shalo faces the looming tree and yells out of desperation as he continues to play. “Save her! I can feel your power, so just please save her! Please save her,” he sobs. He does not let up on playing, even with his drum on the verge of falling apart, along with his mental stability.
A melody grows in Shalo’s ears. He looks to Natili, but it is not coming from her. It seems to just be there, not coming from anywhere. He has heard Natili sing this melody many times, so there is no mistaking it. He tries to calm down, and plays along with the melody as if Natili is the one singing it.
Not long after Baruo, Cheko, and Teko run into the clearing after following the sounds of Shalo’s drumming and the melody. They see Natili laying in front of Shalo, but none of them approach or say anything. They all feel an understanding that they need to join the playing, and so they do.
No words are spoken. The only thing heard is the beautiful music being played by these young musicians to this mysterious melody. The air stirs, a small stream flows around, and the ground is full of energy as they continue to play nonstop into dusk. When night fully takes over, the island falls completely silent once again.
The bright sunlight wakes Shalo up. He is sitting up against a tree facing the village. This change of scenery does not confuse him as much as the sight of a healed Natili, sleeping in his lap, overwhelms him with relief.
“We thought you two could use more sleep,” Baruo appears in front of Shalo.
“Shalo! Natili!” Cheko and Teko shout as they jump out from behind the tree.
This wakes Natili up now. She yawns, looks up at Shalo, realizes where she is laying, and immediately tries to hide her blushing face.
Shalo is so happy to see the color back in Natili’s face, but now his mind is full of questions. “How did we get back here?”
“I do not know,” Baruo answers, “and that clearing is gone. The twins and I went searching for it already, but it is as if it never existed.”
“We are not twins," the brothers remark.
“Whatever, this is not the time.” Baruo continues, “Also, our music is not magic anymore, and the village is mostly destroyed.”
Shalo looks at his drum, and it is also severely damaged. He stands up and helps Natili to her feet. “I think I can repair my drum at least.” He notices Natili rubbing her throat, and sees a faint scar going down it. “Do you…,” he does not need to finish his question.
“Yes,” Natili answers presumptuously. “Somehow, I remember everything that happened to me, but I do not know how I was healed.”
“Sulan, Bidit, and Nuel have been restrained,” Baruo chimes in, “nothing like this has ever happened before, so the chief is trying to figure out their punishment.” There is a pause, and then Baruo ask, “Do you think this is a sign we should not try to play as we want?”
“I do not know, maybe,” Shalo wonders. There is another pause, “or maybe there is just another way we need to do it.”
Everyone’s faces light up. After everything they just went through, they all still believe music should be played with more pleasure, for the growth of the village and the island.
“Come on everyone, we will figure it out,” Shalo says positively.
“Yeah!” cheers a chorus of voices as they all head back to their village.
Lost deep in the woods of a secluded island there is a mysterious tree unlike any other. It stands waiting, waiting for the time it will once again hear The Island’s Song.