{Denise gracefully hosts Six Sentence Stories, where writers unleash their magic under one simple rule: in no more or no less than 6 sentences.
This week’s prompt word is : VAULT }


My favourite time of the night …when all sounds of the city mute themselves, as they obey the raised hand of an invisible conductor, holding all instruments silent, before the first notes of a Concerto Grosso are unleashed.

 I can read undistracted now, I thought as my hand caresses the fine covers of my books; first editions or not, all crafted with love and written with an unwavering embrace of life, they all have their place in my heart and at my library…yet my soul yearns for something else, something burrowed deep inside.

One pull of “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by William Blake followed by a precise push of “Μετά τα Φυσικά by Aristotle and the mechanism is set in motion filling the air with a low octave glissando, opening the secret door to my vault room.

“If you die before you die, you will not die when you die” is carved at the inside of the heavy door, surrounded by ornaments that defy any attempt to decipher the technique used to create them… so many times I have passed through this threshold, never has a hint of a smile failed to form – as I am the living embodiment of that inscription.

My eyes move from one artifact to the next, each at its own glass case, with its own light over it, telling its own story, a story I witnessed; from the ring, Emperor Theodosius II gifted me for helping him when he fell from his horse that spring day of 450 AD while hunting at the outskirts of Constantinople, to the 1960 Ω Slimline watch prophetically engraved, with the hands stopped at 12.30 (mine is the original, Jackie gave a copy to the Museum in Biel).

Sangue mi chiama as I pick up the violin from Cremona, the one varnished with the blood of the legendary violin maker’s deceased wife…the things we do for love…only a bariolage* can help my soul to find some semblance of peace, an appoggiatura** to aeons of desolation.


* Bariolage is a French word for a bowing technique that involves rapid changing of strings, often between open strings and “stopped” strings—that is, strings with the fingers down. The effect, which produces a rapid flurry of notes, is used in a great variety of music, from Bach to bluegrass fiddle and beyond.

** Appoggiatura, (from Italian appoggiare, “to lean”), in music, an ornamental note of long or short duration that temporarily displaces, and subsequently resolves into a main note.



Spira / Nick © December 2022


About Spira

A Renaissance human. Part healer, part B/W photographer, part artist, part sigh of a writer, part explorer of guitar & piano landscapes, always in love with music..."Music is the fabric that clothes our lives" as Denise Farley once wrote. All done with the dedication, intensity & passion of an imperfect speck of cosmic debris.

37 responses »

  1. This was like drinking vintage port, Nick, and regretting that there wasn’t more as you make the last drops linger on your tongue before the taste fades. Entering into the world of this tragic yet not so tragic immortal is an epicurean’s dream come true: to have your cake and eat it too. He reminds me of the replicant in Blade Runner, Roy Batty, whose experiences span the universe and who has the capacity to enjoy them all. But Roy’s “time” ran out too soon. Or too late, depending on your perspective. Not so for our hero connoisseur. The music complemented the story so beautifully, I had to read it a second time while it played!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dora! Thank you!!
      To be honest, this week started not in the best way possible – so, there was no Six in sight; but a little sparrow gave me a nudge to embrace life despite that.
      You absorbed all the nuances…indeed, a not so tragic hero.
      Movies…there are several that influenced the story and above all, music!
      No surprise then for you when I say that I wrote this story with that music playing on repeat😊
      (Your vintage port sentence…one of the best compliments I have received.!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I like your double edged take; immortal or time-traveller!
      You opened a door to all kind of possibilities.

      The artifacts…the ring is the only imaginary. The JFK watch exists, although I doubt it stopped at the exact time of his assassination.
      And the violin is 121 years old, gifted to me by a very dear person.

      Thank you, Margaret🌼

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another excellent six from from the “Vaults of Spira”. The narrator does sound as if he is an immortal being having witnessed so much history. I could almost hear a voice such as Richard Burton’s reading this aloud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vaults of Spira sounds like a place beyond the cold plains of Hoth!🙂
      Richard Burton is such a good choice; heard him a few times doing the narration of various projects.
      Thank you, FT.
      May you continue to be as creative and full of fantastic designs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your love of books and music comes shining through. Oh to live forever and sit at the table of the great artists, musicians and writers, and that which is still to come. I am happy at this time of year to content myself with the Hallelujah Chorus and a bottle of Baileys Irish Crème.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your insight is spot on, Len.
      Ever since I was a child books and music were my passions; my dad often tried to motivate me to engage in other activities than bury myself ecstatic at libraries and later on, music stores…but I was a full blown nerd!😁
      In a way, I still am; the only difference with my school years being that now no one dares to say it to my bearded face 🤣
      Imagine having the ability to bend the strings of time and visit those masters of their art…only to find out that some of them were complete douchebags 😆
      I find your music and spirit choice quite excellent! I often listen to plainchant and a host of early Gregorian chants and liturgies.
      Thank you, Len.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, Nick, Nick Nick!

    How I loved this euphonious recitative to books, music to my eyes, as I watched the words do a graceful paso doble across the page.

    Oh, Nick, you are very much not the sigh of writers; you are the life breath!

    Enchanting! Dance away, caro mio! 🎶 🎻

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo, Nick!
    I love the opening sentence, its use of musical metaphor.
    Intense, beautifully crafted Six, I find myself totally immersed in the scene laid out for us, rich in detail – mine, easily the hands that “caresses the fine covers of my books”. I don’t know that you could have written this in anything but 1st person pov.
    What begat what? Your choice of musical accompaniment is perfect for enhancing the mood of this piece. Music first or words? (I believe I know the answer)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someone once said to me that intense could be my middle name…I guess she was right, can’t help being anything but.

      Pov…a subject, Denise, we discussed at the last episode of Two Guys and a Girlie.
      Yes, I seem to opt for first person often; maybe because in my driftwood head that voicing matches best what you have, in the past accurately, pointed out as my ambience:.that of a film noir.
      It is interesting though something I noticed from the comments of our fellow Sixarians:
      the perception that the protagonist is male.
      I even went back reading my story to see if I had, at any sentence, a hint of physical description/identity; couldn’t find any.
      (for example I can easily see/hear Eva Green at this role.)

      What begets what, eh?
      Ain’t that the billion $ question!
      Ok, let us go into it. I believe your bet is music…and it is often true.
      This time though…it was words first…words that a little sparrow told me earlier that day…to embrace life with gusto.
      Now…the musical accompaniment, with others of similar structure, did play as I was writing; and eventually offered the title…which is the bowing technique that creates the sound I love so!

      Thank you, Denise…not only for your insights but for hosting graciously the Six Sentence Stories and creating the hospitable environment that allows us to write our SSS and interact.

      See you on Sunday, 2.30pm EST😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. very cool Six.

    (the Comments above reflect on your effort this week in ways and manner so more eloquently elucidated than I, at least of late* can assay: (euphonious recitative [Nancy] or [Doug’s] “….epistolary and mystical and a musical education to boot”)

    For my contribution, (and an off-hand allusion to the whole Café metaphor) this week’s ‘hop has shown the range of styles of both stories and authors.

    (kinda thinking about all of us sitting in the Café, you in tails after a cab ride from symphony hall and me after playing a set at some crosstown bar… we all decompress in that funny, silent camaraderie of veterans returning from the active battle lines of each or our personal wars…)
    what an excellent metaphor

    *lol the venue of my Sixes surely have more cigarette butts and flash fights over the affections of random women than at your (at least this week) concert hall

    Liked by 2 people

    • What an excellent metaphor indeed master Weaver! Indeed!
      Real people “returning from the active battle lines of each of their personal wars” sitting in a virtual SSC&B, breathing life to their fictional protagonists, in the virtual blogosphere…does it get any better? (apart from actually manifesting the Cafè…trust me, I am just one winning lottery ticket away from doing that)

      Thank you, Clark.
      See you on Sunday 2.30 p.m

      […and the biased lens of perceptions…do tell, as we are sitting next to each other with our Girlie, who would the audience pick returning from a concert hall and who from a cigarette butts-flash-fight-crosstown bar? 😉)

      Liked by 1 person

      • There surely can be no other answer than: you, when that one thing you said would never be welcomed again taps your left shoulder and me, despite all efforts to shovel enough soil and dirt to muffle the intolerable ache, somewhere beneath the ground.
        …tux ‘n tails ain’t nothin but a thing if the audience is too enraptured to put down their brewskies, just as elbow-frayed jackets and comfortable jeans will cause hearts to flutter in a crystal-chandeliered lobby any ole time.

        Liked by 2 people

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