Take up something just to take up time
I would have been around seven when we found it. Charlie would have been twelve, or maybe thirteen. We were always off on adventures, especially during the summer months.
It's funny though, when we walked into that old church. You could feel how long it had been abandoned for. Decades, absolute decades. And we slowly made our way around it that one July morning, taking in the light through the long-since shattered stained glass, the first sets of eyes to do so in so long.
And what would god have thought? Would He have minded that we were non-believers, and yet we - two young brothers - wanted to be here, to see His house. To take it in for the crumbled relic that it was? I'd like to think that He would have taken some pleasure from that.
Cain and Abel returning to the house of The Father, so many years after everyone else had fled the roost. Ha!
But what we found there that day. It was something neither of us ever forgot.
The organ was dead. Pipes probably blocked up with dust, or something. The pews were rotten and fragile to the touch. A few Bibles had survived the years, but most of the pages were too thin to turn without tearing them.
We found a few items which we could quickly slip into our pockets for examination in the future; glasses, coins. We even found a wallet with quite a bit of money in it - old money of course, couldn't be spent - and a photograph of a baby. I always remember that baby looking concerned, right to the camera. As if it had something much more important to be doing than posing.
But it was the piano we found, at the back, near the main doors.
That was the real find of the day.
Covered in filth and leaves, and the white keys had faded to the color of stained dentures. We opened the lid, and a thin layer of dust covered the strings, almost giving it some kind of skin.
Charlie pressed down a key.
The dust within the piano's body moved. Particles taking flight, reaching out into existence again. But it was totally silent.
We both hit more keys, using both hands, but still silence. Not even the wheezing of the old strings shifting within its belly, just nothing. A silence that you could feel in your throat, a silence that watched you, daring you to break it.
But we couldn't.
There was just no sound.
A void where sound should be - even the weak, choking sound of that piano.
We both stood at the piano and looked out at the rows of pews.
We both though it, but didn't voice it until afterwards, but what if there were notes coming from the piano, but that we couldn't hear them?
And what if there was a congregation sitting there, watching us play, but we couldn't see them?
They had been waiting so long for us to come.
The old order, the ones who had built the church, had moved on long ago.
Now this congregation was here instead, sitting, waiting for us to one day come, and say the name of their god with our fingers.
We kept hitting the keys, hearing only our own breath as we raced our hands over them.
But for all we knew, our congregation were singing along, opening their mouths and silently singing to their Creator.
Their timeworn eyes facing the crumbled roof and drying beneath the rays of the sun.