It was a marching tune, and so the man marched. His feet kept perfect time. His arms swayed tightly to the rhythm. Sweat was beginning to break out on his brow but kept up the proper pace. After all it was a marching tune.
He wanted to stop but knew he couldn’t. Not until the music stopped. That was how it went when the marching tune was played. That meant it was time to march. And so he did. He wanted to stop. Sweat dripped down his face.
He moved forward. He followed the beat. That was what was down and he did not know how to escape from this expectation. He kept marching even though he did not know why the march began. His footsteps remained steady, as they should, and the proper time was maintained, also as it should be. He wanted to stop.
The tune continued. He marched. His sweat was pouring down. It mingled with tears. Still he marched. Why couldn’t he stop? He kept time. He marched. The tune continued. The tune controlled him.
He wanted to yell for a halt, but he could not speak while marching. It wasn’t done. He wanted to stop himself, but the marching tune continued and so he could not stop. He progress was as steady as the tune that drove him.
He approached the ledge and continued to march. The sweat and the tears continued to fall even as his right foot stepped over the edge. Down he went. His left foot continued the rhythm, searching for ground that was no longer present. His right foot went forward in time with the distant music.
Only when the sound was too far to be heard could he scream. His voice was a sharp blast that was suddenly silenced.
At the top of the cliff the marching tune drifted to a halt. The bard put down his instrument.
“I gave you the chance to apologize. You should have listened,” was all he said to the empty night air.