Rahimi's Violin- Part II

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part II of Rahimi's Violin

Submitted: June 18, 2010

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Submitted: June 18, 2010

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The elevator jolted to a stop. Daisy got out and quickly reached the entrance to her apartment and turned the light on well before actually entering the room.  She’d never enter a dark, quiet apartment, even one protected with three undisturbed locks, and she quickly made her way down the hall and into the living room where the stereo was kept on a shelf below the television.  Almost immediately the sweet sounds of lilting violins poured from the speakers. She had tried heavy metal, Hip-Hop, even Michael Jackson but nothing worked like classical. The music filled the room and bounced off the ceiling-to-floor windows that ran the entire length of the apartment.
 
The room was quite modern, decorated with the same fashion sensibilities from which she created her extensive wardrobe.  Rooms so stylish you’d be scared to sit on the Armani couch as not to disturb the Galbraith & Paul fabric of the throw pillows.  The place was well lit, maybe a little too well lit for most, and one might consider it a bit too sterile, like living in the glossy page of an Architectural Digest, but it was comfortable to her, and she felt very much relaxed and at home here.
 
There was a rich, dark blue patterned chair to one side of the sofa with a glass topped coffee table with a highly polished chrome frame on a thick shag rug.  Beyond, the sitting area, at the far corner of the room, was a small black stool with a thick, red pillowed seat facing a clean, chrome music stand.  The wall opposite the sofa supported two low rows of shelves filled with books on art and music and fashion broken at the center by her Sony flat screen television and her stereo with a few compact disk cases casually lying on top, although CD’s were all but obsolete now.  She carried her music with her in her iPhone and had large volumes of music saved on her hard drive.  Daisy would spend hours on the weekends (or the nights she couldn’t sleep) meticulously searching through iTunes for new sounds, purchasing digital “albums” and creating new playlists.
 
Off the living room was her well appointed bedroom where she slept on a soft, thick pillow-topped mattress.  Oddly, Daisy slept well in spite of everything, but she needed the sounds of a radio or television playing to distract her thoughts enough for her to find sleep, so this room too had a large Bose radio next to the bed and a flat screen television mounted on the wall. There wasn’t a room in the small apartment that couldn’t instantly be filled with music.
 
In the beginning, right after the trial and before all the hard work began paying off; she still lived with her mother in a small second story walkup. There were no large stereo systems, just a small Panasonic clock/radio next to her bed. She didn’t need the music then the way she does now but only being on the second floor she could crack a window open in her old bedroom and hear the sounds of the city- cars driving past, people yelling to one another, the occasional wail of a siren. But as things got worse in San Francisco she knew she had to go.  The stares she got while walking home or shopping in the market and the whispers of fellow musicians careful to turn their gazes away when she’d lift her head from her sheet music, was just too much to handle.  And as typical of people hiding from their problems, locking herself away from the outside just made things worse on the inside.
 
San Francisco wasn’t like New York for Daisy.  Although both are large cities, her neighborhood was quite small and everyone knew her before the fame, before the world tours and the posters and the designer clothes.  Family problems quickly became common knowledge and the fact that she was born into a tight knit community of Chinese immigrants didn’t make it any easier.  People spent their leisure time in the streets there.  There were no Chinese language television stations and maybe one or two Chinese language A.M. radio stations, but nothing at all entertaining.  People got their entertainment gossiping about everyone else over glasses of plum wine or games of mahjong in the park. Women speak of how old so-and-so is and how she’s still not married, and the men would smoke and bet amongst themselves on which business would go under next.  Of course you couldn’t say that in New York Daisy found peace, but here there was no more gossip, no more whispering when she walked by.
 
She made her way into the small galley kitchen at the back of the apartment and pulled a piece of crystal stemware from the overhead cabinet, placed it on the counter and removed the cork that had been stuffed half way back into the neck of a bottle of Bordeaux. She poured herself a glass filling the goblet at little more than half way. She took a sip, closed her eyes, tilted her head back and felt the wine slide down the back of her throat warming first her throat then her ribs from the inside.  She was feeling the last shivers of cold leaving her body when the whining of the wind outside caught her attention for just a second.
 
There were no shades hung on the tall floor-to-ceiling windows and the bright light within the apartment made it impossible to see anything other than the reflections of her own living room in the glass, but it was clear the wind was worse now and it was trying to pry its way in.  “At least I’m not out in that shit anymore.”  She said aloud and took a large gulp of wine. She grabbed the remote control with her free hand and raised the stereo volume a little more. With a last small sip of wine, she placed the glass on the counter and slowly walked out in to the living room.  Even if she could see out, there would be nothing to see anyway. Her apartment was shrouded in thick twisting clouds, engulfed in the gray darkness.
 
She sat on the white couch next to the dark blue pattered chair and flipped her hair to one side of her head as she leaned forward to unzip her Gucci’s, enjoying the Brahms and wondering why she left her damn wine on the kitchen counter.  Without warning the lights flickered, the music went out and Daisy could hear the strong push of the wind rattle the glass in its frame and she sat up quickly with one un-zipped boot still on her foot.  The pace of her breathing picked up and she felt her heart skip a beat, and instead of turning her head towards the window where the sounds of the wind beating against the glass seemed in full force now, she stared straight ahead at the darkness where her iPod should be glowing on the shelf below the Sony.
 
Before she could figure out what to do next, how to solve the problem of silence, the lights flickered back to life.  Daisy kicked off the loose shoe and limped on one healed Gucci boot towards the CD player and pressed play.  Brahms picked up right where he left off.  She bent down, undid the left zipper and pulled the remaining boot off at the heel.
 
“Relax.”  She said aloud and stood up straight and pulled in a much needed breath. She felt unusually short now, not being in heels for the first time since the morning but enjoyed the feel of the shag rug beneath her stockinged feet.
 
On her way to the bedroom she grabbed the glass of wine as she passed the counter and made her way to the bedroom. The number 2 flashing mockingly in red on her answering machine was quite a disappointing number for a successful, beautiful, single woman in New York City, especially one with her level of fame.  She hoped one of the messages was from her mother. Everyday she hoped there would be a message from her mother asking her how she was, how was work going, had she met a man, anything at all.  She pressed play, wiggled her hips as she hiked up her skirt and pulled the waistband of her pantyhose down to her thighs. She sat on the edge of the bed, leaned forward slid the hose over each flawless calf as she listened to her messages. The first was a prerecorded message of a cheerful woman named Debbie extolling the benefits of loan consolidation while the second was from a tired plumber who absolutely swore to a woman named Mrs. Kantor that he would return tomorrow to unclog her kitchen sink.  Daisy stretched her arm and pressed the button twice- delete, delete.
 
She hadn’t spoken to her mother since leaving San Francisco, nor had she spoken to anyone else in her family.  She hadn’t even seen her mother since the trial, and although it ended in acquittal, Mrs. Luó still blamed her for ruining the family reputation.  Guilty or not, Daisy- accomplished, beautiful, self-made Daisy- had disgraced the family.  Women would cover their mouths and whisper when Mrs. Luó walked home from the grocery store. “What was worse?” Mrs. Luó would ask, “A husband who committed suicide or a daughter that stood by and did nothing to stop it?  Doesn’t matter really, you’re both dead to me now.”
 
Daisy sat on the edge of the bed curling her toes into the carpet when the lights flickered again, just for a split-second, but enough to pause the compact disk player out in the living room.  She sat there in the severe light of her bedroom, knowing she should go hit play or, at the very least, smack the top of the Bose radio next to the bed.  But she sat there.  She sat there, with her back straight, still curling her toes into the carpet, skirt still hiked up around her upper thighs exposing just the slightest bit of her silk panties and gripping the edge of the bed tightly with both hands.
 
It wasn’t long before nervous energy made her jittery.  She lifted her right heal off the carpet and began to shake her leg and look around the room, although she wasn’t quite sure what the hell it was she was looking for, and her already fair winter skin grew more pale.  She stood up.  Her mouth felt bitter and dry, but the wine in front of her only made her stomach churn more and she walked briskly into the small white tiled bathroom next to her bedroom.  She ran the water and filled a small white paper cup with water but as thirsty as she was she could only sip at it cautiously.  With the abruptness of a gunshot Daisy could hear a single gust of wind slam into the window and the lights went out again.  She let out a startled yelp, gripped the sides of the basin and her head popped up, eyes wide.  She was stood there staring at her terrified face in the medicine cabinet mirror, chest heaving as she tried to calm herself.
 
She bowed her head to catch her breath letting her hair fall around her face and hang over the sink. She turned the cold water tap and it let out a tiny squeak before cutting off the water and she instantly realized that it was the sound of the flowing water that had hid the approaching footsteps.  She gripped the cold edges of the porcelain sink tighter and thought if maybe she could stay silent he would go away, back to where he came from.  Back to where she had sent him. If he hid in the noise, maybe she could hide in the silence. But the foot steps seemed to be pacing back and fourth in the living room, circling, as if he was looking around, judging her by her possessions.  Maybe, if he is satisfied, he’ll go away. She said to silently to herself.  Maybe this time he won’t find anything to complain about.  Maybe he’ll see the expensive furniture and fine wood cabinetry and spotless hardwood floors and he’ll leave satisfied.  Maybe he’ll just go.  Who cares why?  She thought.  But she could still hear him, banging around in the silence.
 
“Daiyo!” His gravelly voice finally shot through the apartment.
 
Daisy let out a gasp and spun around falling through the door back into the bedroom. She fell to her knees at the side of the bed, her hands reaching, trying to climb across the bed to the clock-radio hidden in the darkness. It took several seconds of pulling at the bead spread before she realized the power was gone and getting to it would be useless.  Nothing would work.  She began to panic and she tried to stand and suddenly her head jerked back hard and she screamed and kicked with her bare feet slamming her shins into the bed frame.
 
“What is this??”  He screamed into her ear.  He had a firm grip on her, pulling hard at the turf of her hair, and his lips were so close to her face she could feel his breath when he yelled, but she couldn’t see him. She couldn’t make out his face in the darkness. The only light in the room was whatever small amount the grey twisting clouds would filter in from the street thirty floors below. He twisted her head to one side and threw her hard to the floor beside the bed.
 
“Bà… qí… bù…”  She pleaded.
 
She could feel him searching around the room again, his footsteps muffled by the bedroom carpet, but he was close.  She crawled on her belly towards the bedroom door and felt the hardwood floor of the living room and she grabbed at it, scratched her nails into it, kicking her feet and burning her bare knees in the carpeting.
 
“How could you disgrace the family like this, Daiyo?  How could you disgrace me like this?”  He bellowed in Chinese. “You’ve been nothing more than a cheap whore your whole life. You think you’ve found success here?”
 
Daisy was crouched over but up on her bare feet now stumbling into the living room, moving between the blue patterned chair and the glass topped coffee table and stretching her arm towards the compact disk player, in spite of the fact that it was still dead and powerless and on the other side of the room. She felt the blue chair slide away from her hip and as she turned in horror to see how close he was she was instantly struck hard across her face. She fell back down to the hardwood floor, landing face down on her chest. She lied there, motionless and could feel the warm blood leaking from the corner of her mouth where his open hand had met the side of her face and watched the dark outline of her father pace in front of her.
 
“You’ve never done anything for me.  Nothing!”  He insisted. “You think you have talent?  You think you have success?  I gave this to you.  I gave it all to you!!”
 
Bà… Father…” She whimpered.  He reached down and tugged at her hair again, pulling her up to her knees.  She hung from his hand like a doll, without so much as a single tear; only the tiny stripe of blood that ran from the corner of her mouth to her chin.
 
“You fool.  You think because you didn’t pull the trigger you are not responsible?
Everybody knows it was you.  Everybody knows.”
 
“Father… I didn’t…”
 
“You did! This was your fault!!”  He screamed and he threw her into the center of the room, rolling over the glass topped coffee table and flipping the large pane of glass off the stand and crashing to the floor next to her.
 
“How could I live with such embarrassment?  People knew.  Everyone knew I was wasting my time and money on you.  They knew you were squandering the talent I gave you.”  He growled and she could see his black figure pacing again.  “How could anyone live with a daughter like you?  Why would anyone want to go on living with a daughter like you?  A whore!” And he flipped the blue chair aside crashing into the wall.
 
A small bit of light found its way in from beneath the front door and Daisy could see the bottom of her violin case.  She stretched for it and pinched one of the locks with her fingers and as she pulled the case towards her with a new purpose, her body began to rise.  She slid herself up silently, sitting on the floor with the case to her side and she quietly unclasped the two locks and lifted the violin to her shoulder and began to play from her knees. Her eyes were closed and she played slow, fully expecting his fist to slam into the back of her head at any time as she played. But it didn’t.
 
The music filled her head and she began to feel liberated from the fear.  Even if he came to her now, she thought, she would die with these sounds in her head, not his awful words, and she kept playing. Her fingers were sore and cut but the neck of the Strad felt cool and smooth in her palm.  Her breathing slowed.  Her father’s rant stopped and she pictured him standing there in the living room listening to her, silently taking in the music.  Soothed by it. Listening to her create wonderfully blissful sounds and feeling the pride he so craved grow inside him.Maybe there was a smile creeping across his lips?She raised herself up on one knee, then to her feet, and she took a few steps toward the living room.  She kept playing.
 
She played for what felt like hours.  She stood there in the corner of the living room, blood flowing down her cheek, across the base of violin and dripping to the floor.  She knew it was the music keeping her alive, keeping him silent, and she played and played until she was almost in a dream state, swaying and spinning, her bare feet creating sweeping arch’s of her own blood on the floor blonde floor.
 
The strings began to cut into the flesh of her fingers and as the fatigue began to set in her playing began to slow.  She had no idea how long she had been playing, it could have been hours, it could have been days. She felt no pain, just fatigue.  She felt more tired than she’d ever felt in her life.  And as music slowed and slowed until she finally couldn’t play anymore, the grey clouds lightened. Perhaps it was the dawn approaching.  She pulled the bow across the strings one final time until her hands fell to her sides and the priceless violin and bow dropped out of her hands bouncing on the floor beside her. She stood there in the dim light of early morning, head tilted to one side and still swaying.  She realized she was still alive and she cracked the slightest of smiles.
 
He hit her solid in the center of her back and she flew over the kitchen counter, her left arm finding the bottle of Bordeaux and it went crashing to the kitchen floor along with her.  He was instantly on top her.  She kicked at his legs and flailed her arms in front of her face to keep his hands from her neck, and when his hands couldn’t find her neck he’d smack at her face and try again.  She twisted and turned on the floor in every direction and rolled herself on to her stomach, feeling the shards of broken glass dig into her shoulders and the backs of legs and buttocks. He stood up over her and before she knew it she felt the violin bow crack against the side of her head and she pulled her hands in to protect her face.  He grabbed at her hair and gave her head a tug, exposing the thin pink scar on her neck and he pressed the silk of the bow against her neck the way he had twenty years ago and pulled the string slow but hard across her neck.
 
“It was you that should have died that day, little Daiyo. I wasted that bullet on myself. It should have been you.” He whispered in her ear and she felt the familiar burn on her neck and finally let out a scream.
 
Her hands slid around the blood soaked tile and she could feel the neck of the wine bottle against the side of her hand and she grabbed for it.  He pulled the bow from her neck and let go of her hair and before her head hit the floor she twisted her body and buried the sharp neck of the wine bottle in his leg at the inside of his thigh.  He fell to one side, bouncing off the kitchen cabinets and slid to the floor.  She got up on her knees and held the weapon with both hands and plunged it into his chest.  Over and over she stabbed at him in the dark letting out a yelp with every blow until he stopped moving, and even then she continued to stab at him.
 
He laid there in his brown suit and white business shirt covered in his blood and hers. Daisy fell to his side, lying on her back on the kitchen floor staring into his dead eyes, the bottle neck still in her hand. She wondered why he had followed her to New York. She left San Francisco to end her mother’s embarrassment and her own.  It wasn’t until she arrived in New York that she began to feel him, fear him.  She wanted to leave him behind; leave all the hate and doubt back in San Francisco and come to New York to forget it all, but he wouldn’t let her, and she thought maybe he loved me too much, and tears began to flow down the side of her face. It wasn’t long after that that the lights flickered back to life bathing Daisy’s lifeless body in pure white artificial light, lying there alone on the kitchen floor in a pool of her own blood, her wrists torn to shreds by the jagged ends of a broken wine bottle.
 
 
**********
 
 
Hiram Spiegel arrived at his office early that morning with the Sunday edition of the Times under his arms.  He hung his coat and hat on the tall rack in the corner and sat at his desk digging for the Arts section.  He pulled it from deep within the stack, laid it on top and read the headline- Beautiful Violinist Commits Suicide.  He pulled a large pair of scissors out of his desk draw and began to cut down the edge of the page when he was startled by a knock at the door.
 
“There are two gentlemen here to see you Maestro.”  Spiegel folded the paper and slid the scissors back into the desk drawer.  “Yes, yes.  Of course, please show them in.”
 
Two tall gentlemen entered the room in worn suits, one holding a black plastic bag. The man carrying the bag was the only one to speak.
 
“Good morning, Maestro.  I’m Sergeant Fleury of the New York Police Department, and this is Sergeant Arnott.  We won’t take up much of your time, Sir.”
 
“No, no.  It’s quite alright gentlemen.  Please sit, sit.”  Spiegel motioned to the round table near the window.  “How can I help you?”
 
Sergeant Fleury placed the black bag on the table and reached inside.  “Sir, I believe this belongs to you.”  He said and slid the familiar leather violin case from the sack.  Spiegel reached out with two hands and gently took the case from the officer.
 
“It was at the scene of the crime.  Obviously, we figured you’d want it back.  Our people cleaned it as best they could.  Honestly Sir, they were sort of nervous about handling the thing in the first place, it being what it is and all. They took off as much of the blood as they could, but we really think your people should take a look at it.  We’re all pretty happy to be rid of the thing.”
 
“Yes, of course.” Spiegel said quietly.  He opened the case and ran his fingers over the face of the instrument and could see the dark liquid dried in the trim along the edges where the investigators had been too nervous to try and clean it. “Yes, we have people that can restore this.”
 
“Very good then, we’ll leave you to your work. This must be a very difficult time for everyone around here I’d imagine.”
 
“Yes, yes.  Very difficult.  She was a wonderfully talented young woman.”  Spiegel said, never looking up from the violin.
 
The two men made their way to the door and let themselves out.  Spiegel closed the case and gently lifted it back to the upper shelf where he had removed it eight months earlier, and retrieved a large leather book standing on the same tall shelf, almost beyond his reach and took it with him to his desk.
 
The leather cover looked similar to the violin case- old and worn, except that it was a little darker brown. The stiff fabric spine creaked when he opened the cover.  It was an old scrap book, the kind with hard black cardboard pages where photos were secured at their corners with small black tabs.  But this book didn’t hold old family pictures or pressed flowers. In this book was kept news paper clippings.  Each page had one brown clipping, the frayed edges and fading text showing its age.
 
Beneath the cover the headline of the first article read- “Great Violinist Ruchinski Shot Dead”.  Spiegel dug his frail fingers in to the center of the book and flipped several pages over at once, to the most recent article dated August 18, 1977. It was the last entry in the book and read- “Daniel Rahimi, Virtuoso Violinist, Dead at 45”. He pulled Daisy’s obituary from the bottom of the pile where he had stashed it and carefully placed it on the next black page, his curled, arthritic fingers awkwardly tearing pieces off pieces of tape. He centered the article on the board and carefully fixed a piece of tape to each corner.  He closed the book and ran his hand over the smooth cover, mumbling something under his breath what may have been English, but probably not. He lifted the old album and very carefully placed it back on the top shelf, next to the blood stained violin and watched the rain outside wash away the last of the snow.
 


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