Welcome to Day 4 of the Third Annual A to Z Challenge!

My theme my 26 fiction posts will revolve around something musical – it could be anything, as long as it's musically-related… maybe a song title, an artist/band, musical terminology, musical instruments, words relating to sound/rhythm/movement/dance etc.

MUSICAL ASSOCIATION/CONNECTION. DJEMBE DRUMS – are rope-tuned, skin-covered African drums played with bare hands.


They heard the distant drums… the rich, vibrant heartbeat of the village…

His mother shook him.

He sat upright, half-asleep.

The chilly night air crept through the broken pane.

“Did you hear that? Get up! Quickly!”

“Hear what?” He rubbed his eye, pulled the threadbare blanket over his bony ten-year-old frame.  

“They’re coming! Did you hear the drums? There’s something going on outside!”

He shuddered.

The drums…

His mother unlocked the door, stepped outside.

It was dangerous but she was a courageous woman.

“Where is the candle?” his sister enquired.

“Don’t be stupid! Leave the candle! They will see that there are people inside and kill us all!”

His mother returned. “We have to leave! Now!”  

“Look at this,” his sister wielded a long thin stick back and forth, “I will poke the first one who tries to attack me…”

As it turned out – the evening was uneventful…

The djembe drums… stirred something deep inside…

The djembe drums… they always elicited the questions – had there really been a threat of attack that night? Was it the local gangsters playing a prank on them?

The djembe drums… dredged up a memory… one of a panic-stricken ten-year-old-boy…

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  1. Elise Fallson on April 4, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I love Djembe drums!! I have a small one at home and for a while I really wanted to learn how to play. I still do actually, but finding someone to teach me when you live in the French sticks is a bit tricky. Nice post!

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      I've never learned tp play them, either… so that makes two of us… though I'm more likely to find a tutor… 🙂

  2. Damyanti on April 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I like the drumbeat of tension in this.

    Look forward to your challenge run…
    –Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Thanks Damy 🙂

  3. nutschell on April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Mish! I love your theme for the A-Z. And Djembe drums certainly are dramatic!
    Great A-Z post!

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      They certainly have a dramatic quality… but they're awesome!

  4. Simon Kewin on April 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    You know, it's a strange thing – I heard this word for the first time only yesterday. And here it is. Love it when that happens!

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Strange and amazing too! What are the odds of such a thing happening? Coincidence? Or something greater?

  5. Rekha on April 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Wow, there was tension, suspense and emotions in this. Wonderful piece and I do love the sound of the drums whenever I happen on a performance on telivision or the net.

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks Rek, glad you liked the piece.

  6. Murees Dupé on April 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    This was wonderfully written. I wanted to find out what was going to happen to them. Was the Djembe drums really a sign of soemthing bad or not? Wow, you are really a wonderful writer.  I am just mentioning it in case you didn't know it already. Best of luck with the rest of the challenge.  Great theme by thte way. 

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks for the wonderful comment, Murees. I'm trying my best to hone my skills in fiction writing – that's why I took this approach to the challenge.

  7. Ruth on April 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I didn't know they were called djembe drums.

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      Yes, that's what they're called… and it's pronounced "jem-bay"… 🙂

  8. Jamie Gibbs on April 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Very nice; I like how the sounds sitr up the emotions in them. To be fair, if I suddenly heard those drums I'd probably get out of there pretty sharpish

    <b>Jamie Gibbs
    Fellow A-Z Buddy
    <a href="http://www.mithrilwisdom.com">Mithril Wisdom</a></b>

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      Quite often, drums can be used to stir the emotions… signify some unknown threat/dangers…  as a false alarm…

  9. Jessica Marcarelli on April 5, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Nice!  I like the feel of the drums the story holds.
    I just wrote a fiction piece, as well, for A to Z.  There's a lot of fun in whipping something up like that.
    A to Z Blogger & SF/Fantasy Writer @ <a href="http://jessicamarcarelli.blogspot.com/">Visions of Other Worlds</a>

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      It's definitely fun… but also a little frightening, never knowing how the piece will be received…?

  10. Beth on April 5, 2012 at 3:08 am

    I have never heard of these drums before. I love your theme for us in the A-Z

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      … we learn something new everyday:) Thanks Beth.

  11. Julie on April 5, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I also never heard of these drums before, but they added a lot of suspense to your story!

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      … and we never stop learning 🙂 Thanks Julie.

  12. Sarah Pearson on April 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

    A lovely, evocative piece. 

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you Sarah.

  13. J.L. Campbell on April 5, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Intriguing. When bad things happen, I guess we associate the things around at the time with bad things forever after.

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Absolutely… the things around at the time, adopt a negative connotation.

  14. Rebecca Bradley on April 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    You can absolutely imagine that kind of sound evoking fear in this situation. Great post!

    • michelle on April 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Yes, the sound of drums can signify a joyous occasion, or something ominous… it depends on the context… thanks!

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