Satori and the Key

I have often used art as inspiration to write stories. Whether it’s a picture of an abandoned warehouse or a character design that warrants exploration or a battle that needs to be expounded on, I’ve often looked to visual mediums for ideas.

Then, while I write, I often have headphones plugged in to drown out the surrounding world and to keep people – usually co-workers – from bothering me while I work. The music tends to be without lyrics. If I were listening to lyrics, those words tend to get jumbled up with the ones in my mind that I’m attempting to put on paper. Instrumentals, however, flow sweetly, encouraging without undercutting. It keeps my mind focused without loading a bunch of extra shit on.

Something I haven’t done before, though, is writing for music. Alongside it. I stumbled across a writing prompt last night that said, “Write the final scene in a story set to this song.” I have never used the rhythm or melody of a song as a score to the things I’ve written. It’s an interesting thing, to create that partnership, to have a soundtrack to the words you’re reading and the pictures you’re visualizing in your mind.

I wanted to try it. The song in question is The Aviators by Helen Jane Long. I wanted to give the story an animated film feel to it. So here we go.


A trickling sound roused Satori from what felt like a deep sleep. She was on her back, laying on a firm substance, but she wasn’t uncomfortable. Her eyes moved behind heavy lids for several seconds before she opened them.

She was in a cavern. The memory of it gradually came back to her, but she recalled the interior being dark and bare. Terror had filled her as she struggled to escape Moko and dread coursed through her veins once she realized the cave had been a dead end.

But that was all. Those were the only things she remembered before waking up.

Now the cavern was bright, every wall and most of the ground covered in ice blue crystals. She lay on a mossy bank next to a clear pool. A thin shaft of light shone through a hole in the rocky ceiling and a stream of water tumbled down into the natural lake. Like snow, tiny amethyst lights drifted lazily down around her, fading as they hit the surface of anything.

Where Moko had stood, arms stretching upwards with a sword clenched tightly in his hands, there was only a tower of crystal the color of lilacs. Satori cautiously climbed to her feet and approached it. There was no resemblance to the man who once stood there, but when she pressed her fingers to the center she swore a faint orange glow radiated outwards.

She cast one more glance around and then made for the exit. It all felt so surreal, that the last few days could end in such a manner. Had it been real? Had she imagined it? The crystal cave was too fantastic to have gone undiscovered for so long otherwise, right?

The path wound out to one of the three cliffsides overlooking her village. The sun was still climbing as morning yawned, casting rubies and citrines over Fairweather Harbor in the distance. The windmills were churning slowly. Smoke was already billowing from the chimney of Old Han’s restaurant.

Satori cast a glance back at the mouth of the cavern. She fished around in her pocket and came out with a boring, slightly bent, little brass key. The key that started it all. She kissed it and then thrust it back into her pocket. With careful steps, she started descending the bluff towards her village.

If she hurried, and if her mother forgave her absence, she may just make it down in time for a late brunch.