“We finally heard back from everyone,” said Tahila, placing down a handbound book, laid out with a hand-drawn calendar and numerous notes scribbled on the opposite page. Coloured markings stood out among the black ink. “Most were open to resume the previous schedules.”
Violet’s chest rose. A smile spread across her face and she became lighter. “That is amazing.”
Jayda whacked her back. “It’s been two months and they were willing to work with us – I think everyone was just waiting.”
She then noticed that her mothers were staring at her. She cocked her head in question. “Is something wrong?”
Jayda scratched the back of her head. “I know you’re excited that you got your hands working again, but do you need to be playing now?”
“Huh?” Violet looked to her left, noticing her violin placed on her shoulder and her bow playing a tune. Her face went slightly pale. I…didn’t even realize. She forced a smile. “Oh, I’m just so excited to play again, I just can’t stop!”
“Well, could ya while we discuss the new concert schedule?”
Violet nodded. “Yes, o-of course.” She put down her violin and her bow and turned her attention towards the concert schedule.
Tahila began to go down the list, week by week. It became clear as she went on that she had gotten some replacements and additional shows, giving Violet plenty of time and places to perform. Violet’s toes tapped quietly, listening. Irritation crept up through her arms and into her head. It seemed to increase with each explanation.
“I think I got it. Just bring me to the place and I’ll play,” said Violet. Her words were rushed. She waved her hand. “I’ll be returning to my room now.”
“O-okay,” replied Tahila.
As she walked off, Violet lifted her violin and began to play once more, using her foot to open the door to her room and to shut it.
Concert after concert, almost non-stop, both in Aurum and surrounding village cities. If anything, Violet was finding herself going further places than she had ever before. It was her first time in three months that she had more than two days off.
And what did she want to do?
Literally, that’s all she wanted to do.
She sat in front of her mirror on a stool, watching herself mesmoerized by the image of her moving her bow and the sounds the strings produced. I’m so happy!
“Violet, I made you some food.”
Violet didn’t respond to Tahila. She could see from the corner of her eyes, from the reflection in the mirror, Tahila placing down a plate of food on Violet’s desk.
“You didn’t eat your breakfast?” asked Tahila, sounding utterly disappointed. “What are you doing???”
A vein popped out the side of Violet’s head. “I’m playing.”
Her mother put a hand to her cheek. “But…I…I made you these. And….you haven’t been eating them. I’m starting to get worried.”
“I’m fine.” As long as I can play.
Violet lifted up her chest and started playing a more ominous tune. She locked eyes with herself in the mirror, completing droning out the background. She could no longer hear or see Tahila…only herself and her violin.
Violet’s eyes were so heavy, each blink threatened to put her to sleep. Her back started to stop supporting her. Her arms dropped down to her sides, numb from the non-stop playing she was so compelled to do. She got off up from her chair and collapsed half her body on the bed. Her eyes blinked shut and didn’t reopen…again.
The next thing she knew, she woke up neatly tucked into bed, her bow to one side, her violin to the other. Her body seemed to be fully recovered, as it was everyday. She grabbed her violin and her bow and began to play without htinking about anything.
She stood up from her bed and went back over to her mirror to play once more.
What day is it? she wondered. Mothers didn’t mention anymore concerts…
Violet stayed fixated on herself and her violin in the mirror.
There was a knock at the door. Violet changed the tune of her song very briefly – a signal to come in.
Jayda walked in bringing a huge tray of food. Everything sizzled hot – you could see it clearly in the mirror. Violet breathed in, not smelling a thing. She could see from the corner of her eyes Jayda putting down the tray with a scowl.
“You didn’t eat AGAIN?!” Jayda groaned. “This has become predictable. Look at yourself! You’ve lost so much weight!”
Violet’s stomach knotted, so she looked into the mirror.
She saw no difference.
She still looked the same.
“Your cheekbones habe sunk, your collarbone is sticking out,” nagged Jayda. Violet stood up straighter, watching her mother come closer to her, mostly blocking her view of the mirror. “I’m concerned. I’m calling the doctor, this is too much…maybe it would have been better if –”
Violet didn’t turn her head torwards the door, nor could she see who it was.
“VIOLEEEEEET!” exclaimed a woman’s voice. Violet listneed over her shoulder. She cracked and smile and laughed to herself – it was Galia. Violet continued to play, even has the woman came over, squeezed her shoulders in a hug, and gave her kiss on the cheek.
“Tahlia said I’d find you playing and i’ll be, here you are!”
Violet nodded. “Yes.”
“That was such a miracle – you playing once more, after being told that you couldn’t because your permanent hand damage.”
Violet nodded again.
Jayda frowned. “Galia, I’m trying to have a conversation with her.”
“Wipe that scowl off your face – your daughter can play again!”
Jayda placed her hand to her face. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing.” She extended it back out to Violet, who watched from the corner of her eye. “She looks sickly.”
Galia entered more into Violet’s perephral vision. “Hmm….I guess I can see that.”
“She’s been playing non-stop since she got her ability back. She doesn’t even eat! She ate more at the start, but now…”
Galia slapped Jayda’s back. “Oh, don’t worry! She’s a bit excited.”
“She’s not just a bit excited. It’s been months.”
Violet’s body tensed up and anger rose a bit from her stomach. Her violin’s toned changed matching how annoyed she was beginning to feel. Get out of my way.
Galia covered her mouth. “Uh-oh, did we make you angry?” she joked.
Violet wanted to smile, but she didn’t even move.
Jayda grabbed Galia’s shirt. “Actually, I think we did.”
“Huh?! You can tell?!”
“She’s always done that.”
Jayda and Galia left Violet’s line of vision. Violet settled down and the tone of her song changed to something more uplifting. The anger receded back into the depths of her stomach and her muscles relaxed. She even started humming! It’s been a while since I’ve used my voice this much. But there’s not much for me to say when my music speaks for me?
“Oooh, Jayda, you should lock her window! Haven’t you heard?”
Violet went cold, listening. The tone of her playing started to change, but she shifted it back to the more uplifting done, trying to avoid drawing attention to the fact she had started to listen.
“Those strings of mysterious deaths all had an open window in common.”
“No, I didn’t,” replied Jayda. She went over to the single window that was unlocked in Violet’s room – the same one Violet vaguely remembered the demon had entered.
That was a dream though, she thought.
“Ooo, yeah, you’ve all been occupied going to didn’t villages around Foreligis…but every single place you went had those mysterious deaths! And every single one of them involved an unlocked or open window. Can you believe it?”
Galia gasped. “Oh yes! They also say haunting, mysterious music plays and otherworldly singing can be heard just before the deaths.”
Violet’s gut pinched and twisted hearing this. Her throat seemed to drop down into her stomach. Her shoulders tensed up and her body attempted to hold her breath, but she wouldn’t let it. I’m not listening…I’m not listening….she forced her attention back to her playing. Why do I do this??? I wish they’d change the conversation. This is too creepy for me.
Jayda frowns. “And how do they know that?”
“They all think banshees escaped from over the hill and took up music,” said Galia. She began to laugh. “Can you imagine that?! Music-playing banshee!”
Jayda shivered. “I don’t even want to think about it.”
Violet violently shivered. It’s not banshee
“Oh, Violet, you okay? Your playing sounded kind of shaky there.”
“Yes! I am fine,” replied Violet. Her voice squeaked. “I’m just a bit cold.”
Galia patted jayda’s back. “Go get your daughter a jacket!”
“I-I don’t need one!”
“Are you sure?” asked Jayda. “You’ve become so thin…”
Violet’s playing changed once more.
“I get it, I get it.”
Jayda patted Violet’s shoulder. “Let me check your windows.”
Violet nodded. A lump formed in her throat as Jayda inspected each window. “No one’s going to come in and kill any of us.”
Violet truly ran cold, watching from the mirror her mother moving from window to window to ensure that each one was locked.