Linda Maye Adams

Writing in Public, Story 6, Scene 1


No cover for this one yet…not quite sure what genre it will be yet.  Not even sure what length it will be.  But it’s called Broken Notes.

1

The lawyer told Nikki Chandler not to expect much when she went to the house.  Her house, now.  It sounded strange.  It had always been her great aunt’s house, or the family house.  Four generations of family had lived in it.

The door creaked open, spilling morning sunlight across the plank floors.  No power, the lawyer said.  No heat either, apparently.  She had brought a yellow anorak jacket, worn over her sun dress, and wished she’d dressed warmer.

The entrance stank of being closed up for too long, and of dust, and of mold.  She stayed in the middle of the room, afraid to touch anything.  Everything look itchy and spidery.

This could not be the same place she and her cousin had visited every summer when she was growing up.  Somehow, she’d left for the adult world and the house had been abandoned without her noticing.  She’d heard that her aunt had not been well not for many years, but she hadn’t realized the impact until now.

Still, the house felt familiar, like an old friend she hadn’t seen in a long time.

She found herself walking anyway, her kitten heels clicking on floor.  The furniture was covered in white sheets gray with dust, making them look like dirty ghosts.  She used the hem of her jacket to lift the nearest sheet.

Underneath was a couch with a half back, beautiful cherry red upholstery matched with deep wood.

The memory that came with it warmed her face with a smile.

Fainting couch.  She’d been ten and hadn’t understood then why someone would need a sofa to faint on.  She and her cousin had sprawled on this couch, dramatically fluttering their hands and sighing like they had fainted.

She lowered the sheet carefully, then walked to the stairway.  Her fingers lingered just above the railing,  but she did not go up the stairs.  She couldn’t.  Not yet.  The bedrooms were up there, and more ghosts.  Maybe even some real ones.

Then she saw the piano next to the stairs, and the chill rushed in around her.

She remembered this piano.  It was one of those upright ones, like out of an old Western TV show, but made from black walnut.  She’d played on it, banging out what she called music, but probably wasn’t much of anything.

The piano was the only thing in the room not covered by a dust cloth.  It was caked with grime, keys broken and battered.  Someone had wanted to silence this piano forever.

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