Word Bytes is a montly flash fiction column. All these stories include an LGBT prsence, but it is rarely the focus. Rather than write pieces that focus on LGBT issues, I want it to be quietly in the background as a small detail of reality. Where it should be.
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The bow gently rocked across strings, forming a minor key. My arm gently flowed in graceful motion. Angles changed and shifted. The bow never stopped its gliding descent against the string. The first notes of the requiem I played resonated from my soul.
I pressured the chords just a little more, building the melody up a soft slope. Notes echoed through the empty hall. Soft echos were the only answer through the silence.
The volume dropped. Only a faint ghost of sound vibrated around me as I tenderly brushed the hairs right up to the bow tip. Soundless longing filled the air as I ended my fermata. This piece had always been a favorite of mine. Tonight, it would be my masterpiece.
Allegro con moto
Casting away traditional dynamics, I crushed the strings into a wild fortissimo. My whole body danced with the violin, giving the wood vibrant life.
Diminuendo poi subito fortissimo
The tone sank suddenly down to the soft sounds that opened the piece, losing none of their speed. An explosion of sixteenth notes followed, jumping decibels in a single beat. Sound crashed through the hall with abandon.
The bow slashed dotted quarter notes across the strings, never touching them for more than a moment. My fingers plucked through the eighth notes that balanced the measure. The air rang with the barrage of slashes and plucks.
I wove a trill after trill into the melody, casting a dissonance across the stage. The hymn to bring rest for the dead clashed with the living world. D harmonic minor scales haunted the room with vigor.
The final measures snapped into natural minor and returned to the somber, yet sweet sound of an end. A broad upward slash formed the terminal note, ending with my arm straight above my head.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Three robust claps rolled across the stage in the empty hall. I turned to look at my unexpected visitor, only to find emptiness.
“I’m over here,” called a voice.
Turning back, I saw a man sitting in the front row. Ebony eyes rivaled the darkness of the auditorium, lit only by a single stage light. He was well dressed in a dark grey vest wrapping around a black button down.
“Excuse me, but this auditorium is closed for rehearsal. If you’re looking for the manager, I’d be happy to give you his number.”
The man’s smile brought a chill that grew deeper with each heartbeat.
“It’s you that I’m here for.”
His tone vibrated through me, shaking me down to my core. These were my last moments.
“And who are you?” The choked words hardly formed a whisper in the air.
Light dimmed. The man faded into the darkness. A hand gently touched my shoulder, and a light whisper danced on the back of my ear.
“Are you afraid.”
I turned. My eyes looked into the black orbs that stared into me.
“Yet, you face me.”
“Would hiding really do me any good?”
A sad smile spread across his handsome features. He gestured to the stage beside us. My gaze wrenched itself from his, only to land on a crumpled figure in a tuxedo, clutching a violin. I was already dead.
“Are you the Grim Reaper?”
A single nod was all he gave.
“May I ask how I died?”
“You were poisoned.”
Not what I had expected. The urge to ask more about who was behind my untimely demise rose, and then faded. It didn’t really matter anymore. Death himself was standing right next to me. His alluring features drew me from the sight of… well, me.
“Funny, you’re a lot better looking than what I expected.”
“Most look away in fear.”
“So is this the part where I kick and scream while you drag me away?”
“If you like,” he smirked. “Though for those who are brave enough to face death, the process can be far more gentle.”
His arm snaked around my waist and pulled me closer. A gentle hand lifted my chin, and even gentler lips brushed against mine. As darkness tenderly wrapped around me, I could only think of one thing. Twenty-two years of life, and I had never managed a first kiss.
Maybe the afterlife wouldn’t be so bad.
~ THE END ~