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Lord of the Mountain: Prologue

Lord of the Mountain: Prologue

For a long time I thought it was a dream.

A melody curled through the night, like a white ribbon on black. The tune was sad, but somehow I found it comforting. It was familiar, but I didn’t know why. I followed it in my mind the way you’d follow a path, wondering where it led. Before I got there, I always woke up.

But the melody stayed. I hummed it in my head. I held it close. I hid it, like a secret. It had to be a secret, because Daddy hated music and would not allow it in his church or in our house. He said music was a sin, an abomination, a stain on God’s robe.

Then one night, when Daddy was gone, I woke up and the melody didn’t stop. There were words.

Lord of the Mountain
Father on high
Bend down and bless me
Please won’t you try

I tiptoed into the kitchen. Mama was making cornbread. As she baked, she sang. I gasped to hear music in our house. Mama whirled around, shock twisting her face. At the time I thought the shock was about me, but now I think it was about her—how the melody had bubbled up inside without her thinking about it, then overflowed like water in a basin.

The song was real. It wasn’t a dream. I had heard it, that night and the nights before when the song had floated by and found a place in my heart.

Now, watching the look of horror on Mama’s face, I knew the song was important. It was dangerous. It had to be covered up and tamped down. I tried to ask about it, but she shushed me and told me never to speak of it again.

Mama’s song was the key to everything, though I didn’t know it then. It shaped my family. It lived in our house. It soothed us, then gripped us. I longed to know more about it, and that longing led me out the door, through the town, over the rails, and into the mountains.

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