The school teacher stands in front of twentythree children, all sitting behind their desks.
“..and that’s how the town got submerged. The pumping of water under the soil as a substitute for the extracted oil didn’t quite work out”.
A bell rings, the children stand up and run outside the class.
The teacher looks at the only one still in the classroom, who’s slowly walking out.
“Gabrieli! You asked for piano lessons, right?”
The child stops, removes the dark hair flip from his eyes and looks up “yes, mistress Rosselli”.
“Well, Miss Bianchi is only available to meet you now. She’s waiting upstairs in the music room. Now make your move!”
Lawrence runs up the stairs, the sunlight casting shadows through the windows’ iron bars.
He knocks three times on the door, and opens it after a while, since there’s no reply.
An old lady with long grey hair is reading a dossier, sitting at the grand piano.
Lawrence Gabrieli, Born March, 1 2440. Father: Daniele Gabrieli, deceased. Mother: Edith Winter, deceased. Brother: Peter Gabrieli.
The lady notices the presence of the child standing in the middle of the dark, dusty room.
Three large windows on the opposite side are covered by blue drapes.
She taps on the bench twice “Come sit here!”
Lawrence sits down, looks at the old, scratched Bösendorfer, an electronic keyboard inserted where the piano keyboard once was, then looks at the lady. “My father had a real one, a grand Steinway!”
“Oh, so you can already play, can you?” The child nods, looking at the keyboard.
The room door opens, a caretaker in her uniform appears “It’s time for a nap, sweety”.
The lady at the piano nods in agreement “See you tomorrow at the same time”.
Lawrence sits in his bed, looking very disappointed “…but Miss Giulia, I’m not tired!”
The caretaker pushes him down and tucks him in “All children must take their afternoon nap, now be quiet and sleep tight”. She switches off the small wall neon lamp and walks away.
The black hovercar flies over the green hills of Belluno, a factory passing by from time to time.
Edith Winter holds the child in her arms, smiling. Her hair fly in the sun.
“Mom, would one of us two have to die, who would you choose?”
Edith caresses the child dark hair removing the flip from his eyes “I would choose to die myself, Lawrence”. She kisses him and holds him tight.
Celestalis wakes up on the carpet. His neck is aching, his eyes are burning.
He reaches for a flat plastic flask, grabs a small black box and gulps down a painkiller, then two sleeping pills.
Outside of the big window, a dark cypher car crosses a yellow gravtaxi in the neon night.