La Mort De La Musique

Burnished mahogany was now coal black, indiscernible lumps in the gloom behind the yellow police-tape all that was left of the once regal showroom pianos. It fluttered in the breeze, bright hue mocking the dull melancholic gravesite. The fire had gutted the wooden building, blackened beams protruding haphazardly from the ground; markers for the deceased. Charred ovals of metal sprinkled the ash here and there--foot pedals--all that was left after the flames had burned intense and long. Now and then the same wind that disturbed the police tape sent a flurry of ashes dancing into the air, an earthbound cloud, condemned to linger until the elements fought it away.

The blaze had come without warning, ripping through the polished wood; knives through flesh. Paint peeled and cracked; the very skin of every instrument flaking and melting away. Agonized screams the beautiful instruments issued was really the collapse and tumble of ivory keys and fraying hammer-strings. The conflagration clawed from the glowing casings of the clavichords and organs to the plush fabric of padded seats, racks of music devoured in glowing plumes of black smoke. The beast that was destruction roared and tore apart the immaculate chamber, hunger insatiable. This glow, this heat, was not pleasant and warm, no, it was hate, it was suffering, it was the inferno of Hell itself.

The showroom had been as sparkling clean and white as a hospital, the acrid perfume of disinfectant lingering about the keys of spinet, upright, and baby grand alike. From the almost feminine honey colored numbers to the deep chocolate-cherry monoliths, the pianos had been sovereign over the room. Marble tiles had glassily stared from underfoot, meticulous shine reflecting the underside of pant cuffs and ladies’ bare legs in skirt. Under every piano however had been a square of luxurious burgundy carpet, a fitting bed for each lord and lady. Even though they were all noble over their own estates, the room had brimmed with the golden glow of fellowship only melody could provide.

Music had never been lacking in the vast, circular room. Every customer, be it a child with the humble offering of chopsticks, or a distinguished gentleman with a Brahms concerto, had something to add to the convivial environment. The sound-tuned room descanted in joy and sorrow, a push of a pedal all that was needed to brings tears of distress or bliss to an eye. A flutter of a page could bring on lively show-tunes or despondent funeral dirges, a voice raised in C sharp along with the plunking of keys light and happy, C minor wistful and dark. Every piano had had a story destined for it, be it somber and dusty in a corner or illuminated and celebrated on-stage. Dreams had been made in that room. Now they were dead, shattered, silent evermore.

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