Time to start another serial story, folks. This one’s got mystery, romance, uppity divas, and a cannibalistic piano… Gonna be fun! Enjoy!
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Maren Thompson fell in love with the piano the moment she saw it. “Where’d you find that?” she asked the Brisby Theatre manager, Cal, on his way across the backstage area. He frowned, and for a moment his young face showed the age and strain of someone much older.
“We don’t know,” he said. “The movers don’t know. Nobody knows.”
“What do you mean, nobody knows?”
“I mean, this piano shows up on our doorstep when we didn’t order it and the moving company can’t find squat about the sender.” Cal shook his head in exasperation.
“A donation, maybe?” she suggested. It wasn’t unusual for odd pieces of furniture and other things to turn up from fond patrons cleaning out their attics or from random estate sales.
“Possibly. I’m gonna have a helluva time tracking down who, though.” He scratched his head and wandered off in the direction of his office.
The piano was a tall cabinet grand constructed in ebony wood with wrought silver flourishes crawling over its surface. Silver-edged columns swooped gracefully up from the floor to support the keyboard and bas-relief silver trim laced across every edge of the box. It was stunning, a beautiful piano as far as pianos go, all dark shine and sparkling opulence, and Maren couldn’t breathe.
The piano dominated the narrow space, crammed as it was against the back stage wall among the set pieces and spare curtains.
Reaching out, she caressed the case of the instrument with an open hand, regarding its beauty with a careful eye. “How old are you?” she murmured, moving around to get a better, closer look. She’d never seen an instrument so finely crafted before. Most pianos were simple, utilitarian. She traced her fingers down the front, following the inset silver along the panels. On a whim, Maren retrieved the bench from where they’d left it by the door. Settling it in front of the piano, Maren sat and pried the keyboard dust cover open.
The black and white keys grinned back at her, a full set of teeth in the dim backstage light. Reverently, she touched them, skiing in awe of the perfect ivories. Her little spinet at home, though well cherished, exhibited a badly flawed smile: chips marked every white key and scratches marred most of the black. Maren ran her finger down the edge of the flush keyboard. Positioning her hands, she pressed down on the keys.
A firm, robust chord rolled from the instrument, the low notes rich as honey and the high ones delicate as lace. Beautiful. If Maren didn’t miss her guess, this instrument hadn’t even fallen out of tune with the moving. Shaking her head, she played some more. Hell, this piano sounded way better than the Theatre’s Steinway. Maren smiled, letting her fingers drift over the notes from Miss Poulan’s accompaniment music.
“Where is that accompanist-girl?” shrilled up the stairwell from the basement rehearsal room.
“Speak of the devil…” Maren muttered, returning the bench to its rightful spot underneath the keyboard before setting off to meet her client.
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This is part I of an ongoing serial story. Learn more on the Serials page!