I tried to think of a pithier title and couldn’t come up with anything.
You can’t know what happens after you die. The piano feels screws loosening, feels a crowbar somewhere underneath. Wood cracks, splinters. It’ll be soon. They’ve already pried off its ivory keys. At least it doesn’t hurt.
There’s a pling sound as its strings are cut, the last music it will ever play.
* * *
“What a unique table!”
The table feels a hand run along its glossy surface.
“It looks like it was made from a grand piano top.”
Was I ever a piano? the table wonders. It can’t remember. Unfortunately, you can’t know what happened before you were born.
copyright John Nixon
I was sure the piano had eaten Grandpa. I only stepped away for a moment and he vanished.
As I approached, I could smell roasting flesh. Dear God, it had sucked him in and was cooking him!
“You monster!” I shouted, grappling frantically at the keys. A door in the knee panel fell open, revealing a ladder.
I found Grandpa in a cellar, hunched over a grill like a barbecuing troll. He spun around, then relaxed.
“I thought Grandma made you guys go vegan?” I said.
“Six years ago,” he said. “Right about the time I took up ‘piano lessons’.”
Copyright Jan W. Fields
I idly hit a key and light explodes in the void. With a chord, whole galaxies form, their spiral arms blazing. I sit and pound out a vast unfurling creation, major geography meeting minor civilizations as the strains of death and rebirth crescendo.
I falter and the worlds fade. People are standing around dumbstruck, and I wonder if they have seen, really seen, what I have.
My mother hurries up. “I’m sorry,” she says, to the onlookers. “He wandered away.”
I hold her hand and we leave the store, the worlds still lurking in that machine, waiting to be found.
The casket was empty as far as I was concerned. I had come to pay my respects to my former teacher, the piano virtuoso Horace Thornhill, but as I approached, all I saw in the satin-lined box was a dead body.
I looked at the hands that had drawn exquisite aural elixirs from ivory vessels and the face that had worn an expression of such concentration and sublimity in the midst of his performances. They were empty—as cold and silent as a marble statue.
There was nothing more than a broken piano now; the music had flown far away.