The Symphony of Delusion

by Daniel Gretson

The door to the small prop-plane shut, sealing off the noise of airplanes outside. In the eerie silence that followed, the man heard the pilots complete the pre-flight checks, soon muffled by the propellers starting up outside.

The man realised how close he was to them, how fast they were going, that if a single screw came loose from them, it could fly off into the wing, or, heaven forbid, into the cabin. He shuddered while the flight announcements were made, barely audible over the nose of the propellers.

As the announcements ended, the plane jolted into life, creeping along the runway to a spot only a few metres away. The man was still wondering why they had stopped when the plane started again, moving with a new vigour. He could see out of the cockpit window, looking out onto the runway.

Suddenly, the plane gathered speed and took off, soaring into the air. The man swore he could hear an orchestra playing: "Drrrrinng, dun. Drrrrrrinnng, dun."

After a few minutes, the man could still hear the "music", playing only slightly faster now. He convinced himself that it was only the vibration of his eardrums, just from the effect of being too close to the propellers.

Soon, the "orchestra" inside the man's head introduced a new member: a violinist. The violin sounded scratchy, as though its strings were at breaking point, and was drowned out by the sound of drums in the background.

The man felt uneasy. This didn't sound right, it WASN'T right. The violinist was getting more aggressive now, trying to play famed songs on the half-broken instrument. He was becoming more erratic, tearing into the strings of the violin, all while the plane dropped slightly. The man scratched at his face, convinced the sound would go.

The man pulled out a notepad, starting work on a puzzle he had brought to solve on the trip. It was Albert Einstein's famous riddle, the one where the solver had to find out which house owner on a block owned a fish. He had been working on it beforehand, but was now distracted by the music.

The main orchestra started up again, sticking to the same section. The man clutched at his ears, trying to silence the noise. He tried to go to sleep, thinking of his family back home. He succeeded, images of his family comforting him. The man rested. The battle of the noise had been won.

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