Encore: ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 NEW Image Prompt. Join in the fun! #IARTG #ASMSG @pursoot #WritingCommunity

Hi everyone! It’s that time of the week again … Friday fun flash fiction! This week’s picture had my muse flumouxed for a while. Eventually, on Sunday evening, it came up with a sad piece. Without further ado, here’s my take on this prompt …

music-sheet-5117328_1920

 

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

Encore

 

The melodious and skilful playing on the grand piano rouses me from a deep sleep. Groggy, I reach my hand out for the mobile, thinking the sound comes from the wake-up alarm. But the device displays 00:00 and lies quiescent and silent in my palm. The hairs on my neck prickle a warning. My heart races along with the soaring tempo while the surge of adrenaline forces me into complete and alert wakefulness.

Always this French piece. Always at midnight precisely. And, always, I tumble down the stairs only to find the great hall empty. And still, I have to check. I need to make sure. After a month of this, you could be forgiven for assuming I know better. But the only way I can go on is to remember and hope. Otherwise, what’s left?

I stand framed in the doorway, and the hall light casts my shadow before me … impossibly long and slender and nothing like my old and bent body. A chill draft from who-knows-where sets my body a tremble. The grandfather clock tick-tick-ticks the seconds away. At the far side of the great hall, the piano sits at attention, its lid propped up, the stool pulled back, and the sheet music ready. Waiting.

A solitary tear trickles down my left cheek. So, just a dream. Always, the melody exists only in my mind. But why now? My love will never again sit at this magnificent grand or fill this empty mansion with her beauty. Even though I feel the futility in my blood and bones, and the wrung-out chambers of my broken heart, I ease across the parquet floor and stand behind the pianist’s stool. I lift my arms as I always used to do. Tonight, as with every night, my hands find empty air, for her shoulders are not there.

The blue-tinged moonlight pokes a finger through the slightest gap in the heavy drapes and shines on the decades-old sheet music. Yellowed, now, with age and neglect. My grief prevents me from changing one single thing. All is as Rose left it. Ready for the final performance. Though my reflection stands alone in the gilt mirror in front of me, the moon glow casts a shadow. Her shadow. Dainty fingers grasp a rose. A single note sounds and reverberates throughout the hall … high C … the perfect octave for my Rose’s perfect voice.

A sharp pain pierces my chest and sends cold shards lancing into my heart. My breath catches, and I slump onto the stool. A liver-spotted fist fumbles and grips at my breast. The shadows gather around me while the music plays … builds … reaches a crescendo. A single crimson petal drifts downward on unseen currents and comes to rest on the time-worn ivory keys. My eyelids grow heavy and tug my eyes closed.

My love has come for me. After all these years, my Rose and I shall make music again, together beneath the stars. Into this vast night, I go willingly. Behind the veil … eternal melody.

 

 

© Harmony Kent 2020


I’d love to know what you think of this short story … so please don’t be shy and leave me a reply.

Have a great week, everyone!


Image prompt from Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay


The rules:

Please put your entry (or a link to it) in a comment HERE or email it to Sooz at her email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, September 24th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to THIS page would be much appreciated.

UPDATE: The response to the prompts has been just wonderful. As a result, Soooz be sharing all entries received, and her own contribution on her blog AS SHE RECEIVES THEM. Rather than posting all of them only over a few days.

 

Find Sooz at …

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By Email.

 

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Marcia Meara

Awwww, beautiful, Harmony! I love the way the suspense builds as bit by bit the pieces come together, and take you to the perfect ending. GREAT one!! 🙂

Mae Clair

Harmony, I missed this when you originally posted it, but just saw it on Soooz’s blog.
I positively love it! What an outstanding take on the prompt. Beautiful, haunting, sad, lyrical–just WOW!

Soooz

This one moved me to tears, Harmony. I remember the agony my darling mother-in-law went through when her husband of fifty years died unexpectedly. She repeated over and over that it should have been her who passed first as he promised never to leave her alone in a world without him in it. Thanks for writing this one, my friend. I’m still all misty-eyed. I’m just about to share it. ❤

John Howell

A beautiful story, Harmony. I did enjoy the love lost and then found ending. Well done.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

This is lovely, Harmony. So bitter sweet.

Jacquie Biggar

Reunited at long last. Beautiful, Harmony!

Judi Lynn

ooh, I really liked this one! Sentimental and hauntingly beautiful.

Staci Troilo

That was hauntingly beautiful, Harmony. It’ll stick with me for a while.

CS Boyack

That was beautiful and sad. Really enjoyed it.

Yvette M Calleiro

Sadly sweet, Harmony! Great story! 🙂

Joan Hall

A sad but beautiful story, Harmony. My muse has abandoned me the last two weeks for the challenge. Hopefully soon.

Gwen Plano

So hauntingly beautiful, Harmony. I suspect we all travel at times to that in-between world created of past and imagined loves. You’ve captured those moments and made them real in an ever so tender way. ♥

Priscilla Bettis

Oh how romantic, “even in death” as they say. Your flash story brought a tear to my eye.