The Pianist's Soul

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story that I entered into a the Hive Young Writers Competition in 2017; A light hearted short story following a strange abandoned hotel room with a musical secret...

Submitted: June 30, 2020

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 30, 2020



There is a room above the one I’m staying in, room 103 the hotel staff say that a friend of the owner used to live in that room and that it has remained empty since their passing six years ago.

But every few hours I can hear the playing of a piano above me in that exact room, I leave my room to check with my neighbouring rooms but it’s always the same response that they hear nothing.

I even asked the staff to check the room since every time I check it it’s locked and when they say they’ve checked the room, “no one is in there”, “the room has been untouched for six years” that is due to fear of angering the resting original occupant.


I’ve been here for a week now and I’m slowly beginning to go crazy I even checked in with a local doctor but they say nothing is wrong with me, yet I can still hear the piano being played, I shouldn’t even have known there was piano in the room above me I had never set foot in that room.

Even trying to book a new hotel room in one of the other hotels in the area is turning up fruitless it appears their always booked out or somebody has pre-booked a room straight after one becomes free.



It was the first day of my second week in the hotel I was still continuing my search for a close by hotel to continue my stay at but the music grew louder and played for longer, originally it would stop playing as soon as I stepped out of my room but it continues to play even when I’m stood in front of the rooms locked door.

My patients had soon run dry it was midnight and all I could hear was aggressive music being played so I decided enough is enough, there was only one way to deal with this, I have to destroy that piano.


I opened my window and lowered myself onto the fire escape making sure not to be spotted as I ascended the ladders towards the room above mine, I peered in through the groggy window at the room, behind the dirt there was a door facing the window a large rug in the middle of the floor and to the right of the window the piano, there appeared to be no one there, but the music which was playing had now been replaced by the sound of one key being played over and over again till my head began to not only hurt from lack of sleep but also from the constant repetitive clang from the note.

I examined the window looking for an entrance, the window was cracked open only slightly at the bottom just large enough for me to slip my fingers in, so I did pulling the window up but not with much luck, the window was jammed in that position.

I tried once again with all my strength managing to move the window up only for it to hit the stopping bar and have the window’s glass shatter on impact with it, I jumped back glancing around wondering if anyone heard the shatter… nothing could be heard but the sound of my heavy breathing and the continuous playing of that one key.

I climbed through the now open window making sure to not cut myself on the broken glass, I wondered around the room looking for some kind of recording machine or another piano, but there was nothing, the only thing the noise could be coming from was that piano in the main room.


I walked over to it slowly heading towards the keys to see nothing there but that one key being pressed over and over again by some invisible force.

By this point I had already come to terms with the fact I must be going crazy from the stress of my work and this hallucination and the sounds were all just proof of my mind slowly breaking.

I reached out towards the piano key holding it down only to be met by another key being pressed down by the invisible force, I stared at the other key as once again the same as earlier that key was pressed continuously, I held that key down two with my other hand, but again another key was pressed.

I slammed the lid down on top of the keys, but that was pointless the three keys were played over and over again even underneath the lid.

Slumping down onto the pianists stool I placed my head into both my hands, I couldn’t take it anymore there was nothing left I could think of doing to stop this, I couldn’t leave the hotel I was on my last warning from my boss if I mess up this job I wouldn’t have a job to return to.


After a while of being lost in my thoughts I noticed the whole room had gone silent, I lifted my head examining the room, the keys had stopped being played.

But then suddenly my arms moved on their own and the lid was opened again and my hands automatically went to the three keys again pressing down on them, at that moment in the back of my mind I could hear the feint sound of a piece of my music being played over and over again, it was soothing it calmed my whole body as well as my mind.

As I sat there listening to the piece being played something was blown under the piano from the gust of wind which blew from the window, I peeked under to see various pieces of paper lying there in a messy pile, I managed to reach down picking them all up and examined them.

They were sheet music hand written and slightly faded, it had been years since I even read sheet music, I could hardly understand what I was looking at, but there were certain section I recognized they were almost identical to the piece of music that was playing in the back of my mind a few seconds ago.

To break the silence the key from the beginning was repeatedly pressed again, I looked down at the keys, I placed the sheet music on the stand above the keys, all I could keep telling myself is that maybe if I followed the keys I may be able to outlive this hell I have been through and maybe prevent my mind from breaking any further.


I began to press the keys after each one was played, I repeated this for the whole night and following day till the notes flowed together to almost resemble the piece that played in my mind, the more I repeated it the smoother it sounded and soon I was playing the whole piece with no guidance.

A familiar feeling washed over me the relaxing serenity I felt when I first heard the piece overcame me again as I continued to play the piece almost perfectly.



After that event I heard nothing from the room above me, I managed to escape getting caught by the hotel staff, I left the following week with the sheet music tucked away safely in my bag, I managed to talk to the owner about the friend of theirs which stayed in room 103, turned out back in the seventies they were a well-known pianist, travelled the country playing his music to thousands of people.

But the one thing that stood out to me was the description of the music they told me that the music he played would cause any ill will to leave one’s body and mind once heard, it could most likely sooth the hearts of anyone and any war, it was like the music was a symbol of peace almost.


I decided that the events I was forced to take part in in those few weeks was the soul of the passed pianist guiding me to play his unknown piece to the world, I just couldn’t come up with any other solution why else would they have taught me the piece and given me the sheet music, I had to find some way of sharing it with the rest of the world.


I searched round for months looking for a recording company which would allow me to use their equipment to record me playing the piece, once the piece was recorded it was edited and placed on a disc for me, I managed to download then upload the piece to the web.


Within a few weeks the piece could be heard all over the world whether it was on the internet, radio, TV and even could be downloaded onto personal devices to be played at ones leisure.

That wasn’t the only thing I had begun to notice it was as though all the pain and suffering the world was feeling had been cleaned away, as though no one had any reason to be unhappy any more, no more despair only hope and happiness.

Was this really the power of that piece, I thought that the soul being crafted into a piece of music was just some kind of fantasy people made up to give a piece more backstory, but it must have been true how else could the world have come to be this way within a few weeks of the piece going viral.

He must have put everything into that final piece he just needed a vessel to complete his final wish, to create peace in the hearts of all must have been his final goal all along.

© Copyright 2020 RedStringEmi. All rights reserved.

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