Three small pipes had been surgically attached to him, chimes that dangled from the underside of his chin, just above his throat. They had assimilated themselves quickly into Igor’s organic system; his skin grafting itself loosely around the hollowed out metal, veins twisting their spidery fingers out from his throat. They were as much a part of him now as his arms or legs, as much as his fingers. To rip them out would tear a raw, gaping strip from Igor’s carotid artery. He would bleed to death in seconds


Igor’s large shoulders rolled and swayed heavily as he lumbered through the early twilight. His pipes swung with him, reverberated their sweet, sad song around the hard granite walls of the monastery garden. At first the pipes had sounded identical, but in time Igor had learnt to discern their distinctive chimes. The two lager pipes sung a low, sad song. The smallest was high-pitched, innocent and pure. The pipe thin, like a tiny, helpless neck. As he walked Igor’s huge hands flinched involuntarily.


The room had been white on all sides, its blinding brightness amplified by the glare of a thousand lights angled directly towards Igor. He was naked; the skin of his back and arms, buttocks and legs chilled by the cold press of the metal table. Leather straps bit angrily into his wrists and ankles. Another strapped his forehead to the table, prohibiting any movement. The last kept his midriff tightly secured. When the surgeon had entered he had administered no anaesthetic.


Igor continued to walk, lost in his thoughts. A small door mouse scurried out of the undergrowth and onto the path in front of him. It nibbled hurriedly at something at Igor’s feet for a second or two, then froze rigid at the sight of Igor’s huge frame. Slowly and carefully Igor knelt down. He extended his thick arms and, softly and ever so gently, scooped up the trembling mouse in his gigantic paws. With the same smooth grace and care Igor placed the mouse in the undergrowth on the other side of the path. The mouse stared at him incredulously for a second, then scampered off, deep into the safeness of the bushes. Igor raised himself to his feet, and continued towards the chapel. 


Such a slip of a knife, paper thin, nothing to it. It was much smaller than the knife he had carried. But its bite had been cold, deep and unwavering. Igor had been given an old rubber bit to clamp his jaw upon, but it had fallen from his mouth not long in. No one had bothered to replace it. A tributary of saliva dribbled from the corners of his mouth, and Igor, who had never let slip a cry of pain in his whole life, screamed and whimpered like a dying fox until he passed out. When he woke up he was in the monastery, three pipes protruding from his neck


Igor walk the few, steep steps to the large wooden door of the chapel, and pushed it open.
“Ah, Brother Romanov,” said the small, gentle-faced monk sitting inside. “I was sure it was you, I could hear your approach.”
“Good morning Brother Vassily,” Igor replied, “I hope I find you well.”
“Thank you Brother, I always find great solitude in these small hours. But, tell me, how go your prayers?”
“Very well. I ask for forgiveness for my sins every day,” said Igor.
“Then I’m sure you will receive it,” replied the small monk and smiled warmly at Igor.”
“Thank you Brother Vassily,” said Igor. He bowed courteously to his fellow monk and slid himself carefully upon the large wooden bench in front of the chapel organ. Igor stretched out his long, thick fingers, layed them softly on the old ivory keys and began to play.     









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Tim Waltho

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