Image credit goes to Wikimedia
Green note: 2nd #fridayflash – thanks for the great comments and welcomes on my Black Umbrellas debut! – am ditching micro for the less brain-taxing standard flash – trying out Jon Jefferson’s great, ground-covering technique via an intro
The Destruction Symphony Orchestra
They came to die doing what they most loved to do.
The Demesne Concert Hall filled with the families of one hundred old and terminally ill classical musicians who would die while playing their final concert, the Ultima Requiem, written and directed by the renowned Maestro Ellis Kent.
What made this concert of more interest than any other of these quarterly euthanasic concerts, was the presence of Gil Marin, one of the youngest concertmasters in history at just twenty-five.
Eight months ago, when Kent had received Marin’s application and medical paperwork, no one had known he was ill, for he was a picture of health at the top of his game.
In his dressing room backstage, Kent shuddered to think what he must look like now…
As soon as Maestro Kent stepped onto the stage, the audience rose and wept, and those members of the orchestra who could rise did, and they wept as well. Kent stopped before Concertmaster Marin to shake his hand and was surprised to see he looked no worse for the wear.
A bit shaken, Kent proceeded to the podium, stepped up, bowed his head and collected his thoughts. Then he raised his baton like a cat poised to pounce, dropped it down and up and they were off!
After an hour of playing, a half hour of which was a solid and frenzied Prestissimo, all the old musicians had dropped dead and a half an hour after that, all the disease-stricken ones had perished, and it was down to Kent and Marin, who hadn’t flagged at all.
Kent knew it deep down, from the moment he stepped onto the stage, that Marin intended to kill him, but he couldn’t have walked away and let down the musicians and their families who’d come to see them off.
As he conducted his would-be killer, he scoured his mind for memories, clues as to why Marin would want him dead badly enough to forge legal paperwork and attempt his murderous plan in front of hundreds of witnesses. But he could find nothing.
When he could stand it no longer, he yelled at Marin, “Why are you doing this?” and immediately, the audience ceased their weeping, shocked by this sign of heightened interaction.
“You don’t remember me?” Marin yelled back.
“Obviously not, you cretin!”
“Think back to your early scrabbling days when, to make ends meet, you had to assume the disdainful task of teaching youngsters to play the piano.”
“There were hundreds!” Kent said.
“145 Freeman, Brookline!” Marin said.
“You can’t have been that talentless child!”
“I was. I am. That seven-year-old boy whom you told would never amount to anything. And ever since then, all my thoughts and actions around success have been as a fig leaf in the garden of Eden, to cover my innate shame, and just as fruitless to that end!”
“Oh, cut the dramatics! One man can’t have done that to you.”
“Not by yourself, no,” Marin said, “But you were the revered and gifted one who brought my shame to light and with it your dooming pronouncement of it, of me, as hopeless.”
“Your babblings are as a madman’s! You are before me now playing beautifully, powerfully, immaculately! Is that not proof enough for you that the term ‘hopeless’ doesn’t even remotely pertain to you?”
“No! It lives on inside me, stronger than ever!” Marin said. “I thought becoming a star would kill it, but it persists in me, feeding on the lining of my soul!”
“That is not my problem! Oh you poor wretch, let’s agree to end this!”
“No!” Marin yelled. “As you well know, the rules are one man left standing and only then can the presiding officials approach the stage, and it will be you lying amongst the dead strewn about here! And then I will make it my mission to see that your name is sullied for all time in the annals of classical music history!”
The audience gasped and sweated and fidgeted, wanting desperately for this hideous drama to be over, to collect their dead and be gone.
“I warn you, Marin!” Kent yelled. “The officials can move in if someone tries to bring on death prematurely!”
“Don’t worry, that won’t be necessary, Maestro, for I will effect in you a heart attack!”
The officials were talking on their two-ways, readying to storm the stage at a moment’s notice.
“That’s ridiculous, I’m in perfect health!” Kent said. “Look at me, I’m twice your age and keeping up with you!”
“Don’t push me. I have greater powers than you know.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kent said.
“How do you think I became a virtuoso?”
Marin roared with laughter. Then he struck a wounding chord and the conductor clutched at his breast and dropped to his knees.
One official broke from his position and began to run to the stage, but was downed by another official and brought under control.
Kent tumbled from the podium and lay at the foot of it writhing in pain. And Marin stood over him playing Albinoni’s Adagio.
“‘Hard work,’ that’s hilarious!” Marin said. “No, Maestro, you were right back then, I hadn’t a lick of musical talent. So I sold my soul.”
Cries and gasps rose from the audience. Some of them fainted.
Kent tried to speak, tried again. It was all he could to do to force the words to his lips and out. He rasped, “Then what will you gain from killing me?”
“You’re right, Maestro,” Marin said. “You would be a sumptuous feast for the hounds of hell and I would gain a mere moment’s pleasure in tearing you down.”
Marin abruptly lifted his bow from his instrument and in the dreadful silence yelled “So! Change in plans, Maestro! I will seize your soul and eat it like offal on my way to the bowels of Hell!” And he slashed the bow down, striking a final shrieking chord that killed them both.
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