Free Short Story: A Note on the Piano


It was happening again. Her world was shifting out of her control. Control was the only thing she had left. If she gave in to the demons again, she would be lost… perhaps forever. Her hands instinctively grasped for her ankles and she pulled herself into a tight foetal ball. For the moment it felt safe in that position, silently rocking herself into oblivion.

If only…

If only her parents had lived. If only she hadn’t been placed here. If only she was stronger and could speak out.

How many other lives had he destroyed? Fire and brimstone, they preached. He created a living hell in a place that was supposed to be a sanctuary.

Tomorrow, she told herself as she drifted into her nightmares.

Tomorrow is the day of reckoning.

She awoke early and went about her morning routine. Dry toast, strong coffee, a burning shower and the ritual brushing of her teeth mercilessly until her gums bled. She chose her best Sunday dress. Bright and cheery, it veiled the darkness within. She pasted on the smile that she showed to the world then placed the small shiny revolver in her pocket.

Today, she told herself.

Today is the day of reckoning.

She walked purposely from the dorm. No baggy clothes today. Today she wore her burden openly. She found a seat in the chapel where she could be close to the piano alcove. There were sideways glances from the girls as she stood and knelt with the congregation in the morning prayer. They hadn’t noticed her pregnancy until now. She had hidden it well.

The girls beside her whispered behind their hymn books. While they were distracted by their own gossip, she removed the weapon from her pocket. The smile never left her face.

She waited for the signal. She had heard the sound over and over in her nightmares, the long shrill drawn out notes of the piano which had echoed her screams. As the first note rang out from the piano, she rose from the pew. She aimed the shining revolver at the robed figure in the pulpit.

“How could you let this happen?” she screamed. All eyes in the congregation followed the path of her hand as she pointed down toward her visibly swollen abdomen.

A look of fear and confusion befell the priest and he raised his arms to shield himself.

“Forgive me father.” She swung around and glared at the man sitting at the piano. The fear he had caused her was finally reflected in his eyes. She fired a bullet into his back. He fell heavily onto the keyboard. A long drawn out chord sounded from the depressed keys as blood began to seep across the polished wooden floor.

The gun dropped from her hand as bodies tackled her to the ground. She sunk gratefully, exhilarating in the sensation of many arms embracing her. Instinctively she reached for her ankles, but pulled herself back. There was no need.

She was safe now.

Reproduced from The Appointed Hour, © Lea Scott 2012


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Lea Scott