A Sort Of Symphony

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Clare is an orphan. How can Veronica refuse to take care of her niece?

Submitted: January 04, 2018

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Submitted: January 04, 2018

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A Sort Of Symphony

“She’s a funny child,” Veronica said into the phone, then hearing Clare’s footsteps on the stairs, brought the conversation to a quick close.

“How are you this morning, Clare? Would you like some breakfast?” As usual the only reply she got was a silent shake of the head but she’d keep trying; she owed her sister that much.

Veronica had not seen her sister, Grace for a long time. She knew of Clare’s existence but had never seen her, not once in the ten years of her life. When Grace and her husband, Sam, had been killed in a tragic drowning accident, Veronica had felt that she had no choice but to step in and take care of the girl.

Originally the idea was for Clare to move in to the city, to stay in Veronica’s apartment, but the child had put up such a protest that changes had been made to those plans. The house and the surrounding land all now belonged to Clare, although she was not really old enough to inherit. Veronica would move in there, take charge of the property and take care of the child. She’d always dreamt of being an artist, and this unexpected tragedy offered her the chance to pursue dream.

She had moved in two weeks ago and as yet the girl had yet to speak at all. She did not seem in anyway hostile towards her aunt, just not interested. Apart from her silence and withdrawal, Clare did not seem to be overly grieving for her parents.

There was one thing that Clare was interested in, and one thing only; her violin. If it was wet, Veronica would hear her playing upstairs, and had to admit her niece was very good. When the weather was dry she would run down to the jetty, almost to the end, and play her music. The notes must be able to drift right across the lake, Veronica thought, and could not help thinking that perhaps she was playing a symphony to her lost parents. They had both drowned and had not been recovered from that very same lake.

In some ways it was a macabre thought; a ten year old playing to her two drowned parents. But it could also be that she was playing to the lake itself, with no thought of her parents laying somewhere beneath the water. Whatever the reason, that was what Clare spent her time doing.

Veronica sighed. School time was approaching and she was not looking forward to broaching the subject. There seemed to be no records of the girl’s schooling, not even the same of the school she attended. There were no reports, no schoolbooks, no bills. The girl could read, very well, in fact; her ability in music was fantastic. Other than that, Veronica knew nothing. Perhaps her niece had been home-schooled? She did not feel that that was something she was qualified to carry on with, so some kind of education needed to be arranged.

The first time that the subject had been raised, Clare just ignored the words, carried on with her dinner and then just left the table. Since then, at any mention of schooling she would simply get up and walk away. No matter how cold, how windy, or how dark she would be there at the edge of the lake, violin tucked beneath her chin, the bow bringing the music to some kind of eerie life.

Autumn was approaching though, and Veronica had to find a way to get through to the girl. Maybe she would be more open to talking by the lake, that was clearly where she loved to be. Veronica pulled on a thick sweater, pushed her feet into a pair of boots and went outside.

She almost felt sneaky trying to creep up on the girl. She wasn’t trying to spy; she did not want to startle her, make her flee. Reaching the jetty, Veronica carefully stepped on to the wooden planks and made her way forwards.

As she got nearer she could hear Clare’s voice. She was singing as well as playing, a strange tune, oddly haunting. But it was not sad, sorrowful, but almost crooning. It sounded like she was singing to something very much alive, not to a memory, not to death.

Veronica carried on forward, drawn to stand beside her niece. Clare did not acknowledge her presence, but then she did not turn and run either but carried on. Strange words made their way across the water’s surface. Something to do with promises, fulfilment......a ripple appeared in the middle of the lake, a fish maybe.

The air seemed very still, so quiet that the ripple could be heard as Clare stopped playing. Veronica watched as it seemed to be heading towards them, to where they stood right out in the lake.

“I promised you I’d feed you.”

Veronica heard Clare’s words clearly but could not understand. And when she finally realized, she turned, began to run. The notes of the violin began to fill the air once more as some kind of monstrous head broke the water’s surface right beside the woman who was now running for her life. It launched itself up and snapped it’s jaws around her, dragging her screaming into the lake which soon became stained with red.

The violin sang out for minutes and minutes. There was not a sign of the woman, not a sign of the beast. The surface of the lake was still once more.

Clare stopped playing and walked back towards the house, saying quite clearly, “I promise that I’ll feed you again.”

 


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