Music, my love

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Chapter 11

Waking up late in the afternoon, shower, breakfast, make-up. Morgan hadn’t fully recovered from yesterday that she already had to get back to it. Two evenings in a row for rookies might be too much.

She was a professional now, a transient fatigue would not stop her, she drank a black coffee without sugar, it tasted awful but gave her energy. There were mistakes yesterday, anxiety and unpreparedness, it would not happen again.

They would be erased for a perfect partition, it was only 5 p.m., enough time to rehearse. Sleep, train, sleep, train, a monotonous lifestyle but centered around two activities she enjoyed.

She cautiously went out, ready to face any incident on her way, but nothing happened, she took the bus to get to Grenoble and hopped into the tramway from there to reach the hall.

She crossed the door and felt right at home, enough to remember the way through the maze and find her treasure, gorgeous just like she remembered.

Shinier too, someone must have polished it again. She took off her jacket, dropped her bag in a corner and rolled up her sleeves until, finally, she sat down and pressed every key. Crystalline as it should be, the introduction had been made, now her heart wanted to run wild.

One piece, then another, a mistake, she started from scratch again and went on. Time flew, the pain in her fingers faded, she played possessed, she lived the notes more than she heard them, the piano resonated with her.

Morgan did not see the saxophonist approaching, he did not dare interrupt her for a while, hoping she would stop on her own. She didn’t, time flows differently when playing music, he knew that and mustered the courage to speak up.

“You’re bleeding from the nose.”

Was she? She felt nothing, her fingers wiped and came back clean. A sudden exhaustion befell her, she fought to stay awake and looked up to the saxophonist to signal she was okay.

He wasn’t looking at her, she followed his gaze to a small pool of blood under the piano. Morgan was certain the place was stainless when it was put away, she had followed it.

It wasn’t her blood, she found no explanation as to why someone who crawl under it to bleed. She forgot about it when the costume designer loudly called:

“To the dressing room kids, it’s time to suit up.”

Morgan reluctantly left her place, had she looked better she would have realized the floor had been recently cleaned and that the smell of rancid blood still lingered in the air.

“Let me in! I’m Jonathan Bourkas, I’m the director of the center and you’re fired.”

“Director my ass, you have no papers on you and you stink like a dead rat.”

“But it’s me!”

A couple of richly dressed elders approached the entrance.

“You, tell this idiot that I manage the place and created the event, it’s thanks to me you will dream tonight, it’s...”

Something entered his eye and burned up to the brain.

“You stop bothering the spectators now or I’ll call the cops on you, the pepper spray is just a warning.”

The guard proved his intent by kicking Jonathan away, sending him flying in the grass bordering the entrance. Laying there, he cursed this incompetent fool while rubbing his teary eyes.

Him, Jonathan Bourkas, creator of the greatest orchestra ever and distinguished director, had been kicked off his own place by an underling he hired. Not him directly, obviously, he only cared about the musicians and spectators.

His team had made sure the personnel was just as illuminated, but they hadn’t met him, nor had they any real training, they were to stand vigil and redirect the unworthy away, and he looked a lot like the latter.

He lay daydreaming on the grass, struck down by resentment and apathy, until cold wind and boredom vanquished his low spirit and put him back on his feet.

The last rays of the sun had vanished, he walked towards the guard, intent on murdering him, his physical and mental inferiority did not scare him off, he was set on committing a string of murder or, failing that, wake up in detention for the second time in less than 24 hours.

He never got to see the outcome, a moving shadow caught his interest. The darkness near the barrier prohibiting access to the wing currently in reparation moved with too much humanity to be an illusion.

Jonathan could see, the guard in the light could not. He faked leaving until he was out of sight and promptly dashed towards the site. When his eyes had adjusted to the obscurity he was dumbfounded by the procession finding place.

Beggars, pest and hobos were moving under cover of darkness towards the incomplete branch. He had deemed them all unworthy and personally turned some away, but just as he would not be stopped by law, so wouldn’t they either.

A sense of pride filled him, tonight would be so memorable that the lowest of the low were ready to risk their lives to be witness. Maybe he had misjudged them, he shouldn’t have reserved it for the elite.

In a sudden flash of acumen, Jonathan looked at himself and admitted he was no different tonight than the pest he abhorred. He silently gave them his blessing and followed in their tracks towards the skeleton of concrete.

Doors and walls were lacking, but it rose as high as the rest of the building. The procession knew how to go up, they had scouted the place and carefully prepared how to get in. On the third floor, a howling wind unhampered by walls froze them to the bone.

On the rooftop, they went from the broken branch to the center of the building, regrouped around two beefy men, Jonathan expected them to attack the lock with a hammer. Instead, one of them took a key from his pocket and opened it.

Shocking, but logical, they must have been here yesterday and replaced the lock to ward off whoever they wanted to ward off. Unbelievers probably, even the bottom of society found someone to look down on.

How an army could enter a secured building without a hint of suspicion twice in a row amazed him, the night was rife with miracles. The hatch opened, a kid entered alone, he wanted to follow but a fellow held him back.

To Jonathan’s surprise, they preferred to stay outside and suffer the bad weather than shield themselves from it inside.

The kid came back and gave a thumbs up. A scout. He looked around him before entering, the roof was a writhing mass of shadows, a ragged horde ready to pour into a luxurious house of the arts.

They entered an empty room, he recognized it from his early days. The center had been built too big and ended up having unused space, it should have been sealed off but, like his predecessors, he just isolated it to lower the heating bill and keep it under the elbow as an option.

Another lock, another door, another key. Had he known the silent figures outside in the night possessed so many skills he would have been paranoid. Now that he was with them, he welcomed how naive he had been, lest he would have improved the security measures and locked himself out for good.

Stairs down, the walls were brightly lit, they approached the main entry to the amphitheater. How did they... the guard saw them arrive with a grimace.

“Not again!”

“Same deal as yesterday. You let us enter without a fuss and we don’t interrupt the orchestra.”

No one in their right mind would take the risk of having a riot stopping the show. The doors stood wide open, the spectators Jonathan had chosen were already seated, the ones he hadn’t sat on the stairs, leaned against walls and packed the aisles.

Latecomers dismounted the doors from their hinges to let the music flow to those stuck outside of the main room.

An applause rose from the front rows, curtains had gone up. A violin played the first note.

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