No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked

Michelle Zhu | Art by Joy Song

“Peace is not to wicked men. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.“

When the night comes to a bloom, the crickets sing and the owls hum. It’s a quiet sort of instrumental backdrop with farm animals and tractor motors listening quietly. The buckwheat sways and the corn stretches their arms.

She pulls the cloth closer to her forehead, the sweat droplets soaked into the emerald-colored bandana. The crescents under her eyes work away at her vision, drooping curtains slowly closing the show. It’s an orchestra that plays in the back of her head, noise growing and burning her temples.

The hot air dances its way into her lungs, pointe shoes pressuring every rib.

She tends away at the crops, slashing the fields away with a rather large sickle. A hallway with the night air as its roof opens, wheat softly falling to the ground. The gloves on her hands almost slip off as she harvests the crops carelessly.

When Mizuki finishes allocating a walking area through the fields, she approaches the small house that stands next to the tractors. Quietly, careful not to break any of the floorboards, slips into the small window around back.

The conductor lays in his bed with grace. Without his long robes he is almost unrecognizable. Mizuki hauls half her body over the window, straddling the frame.

On the other side of the house, a silent black and white film of the younger conductor plays. He snips away at orchestra strings, violins and cellos going out of tune. Mizuki can clearly hear his laugh when he tugs at the instrumental strings.

The black and white film plays on a loop.

The conductor’s hands are stained with the purple of Mizuki’s bandaids. The color has dulled from the last time they met, but it burns in the back of her head. He may have forgotten, but she has not.

With a quick movement of her wrist, the music in the back of her head comes to a halt. She swings her leg back over the window, and with the crickets silent, Mizuki retraces her steps. The hallway slowly closes, the wheat drooping back over to cover the temporary part.

Mizuki is tired.