No sense, this made absolutely no sense. Morgan reread the letter for the hundredth time.
Present yourself to the Pierre Mendes France sports hall to review your music score and evening gown at 11 a.m. The first representation will find place at 8 p.m.
She recalled yesterday’s event, Jonathan slapped her bloody and she fought back in kind. She called the police and they came, taking her home and putting him in detention. He could have shredded the contract, maybe he was no director, just a scam. That letter contradicted these scenarios.
Had he really undertaken the daunting task of preparing a concert on such short notice? Impossible, but spectators going mad when she played music seemed impossible too not so long ago.
How the letter arrived here made even less sense, he was in detention right now, at best the contract was staying in his home, forgotten.
Senseless, but she intended to be there. Studies could wait, a few boring hours could be traded for a dream possibly coming true. She looked around in her flat, fit for broke students and not much else, this evening she might play under the spotlights.
It was too good to be true, but she had to know for sure. She dreamed of everything that could happen as she ate her breakfast, showered and got dressed.
She left her place with a chocolate bar in the pocket for courage. She crossed the streets, watchful of any suspicious passerby.
The hall looked like a bloated four branch star, reminiscent of the worst modern art had to offer. The receptionist escorted her to the gigantic reserve hidden behind the scene, containing decors, costumes and machinery for light and sound, a cold and rough place, quite different from the class she expected from an opera.
« Here. »
Sober, black with white keys, polished to shine and carved in the priciest wood and ivory possible, she instantly forgot about the knock-off she kept at home.
Laying on top of it, the music sheet. Between a used curtain full of holes, an assembly of electronic parts that looked like a DJ’s wet dream and a fake facade with decaying paint, Morgan was abandoned to practice in peace.
Somewhere in this limbo the fragmented sound of other lost musicians rehearsing their piece could be heard. She sat with religious respect, her part seemed disappointingly simple. A beginner out of the crib could learn it on a short notice, only the foolish and the ignorant would be impressed by this, Morgan guessed that the amateurism would be hidden behind numbers, the more played at the same time, the more the individual level could be concealed.
Intro, powerful upswing, transient sweetness, weeping sorrow and hymn to joy as final. Every instrument would have its moment of glory and spend the rest of the time in a support role before the thunderous ending.
Awful, awkward, an auditory disaster, such a structure worked for a rock concert where musical instinct prevailed over finesse. This was a classical opera, the complexity of every instrument was lost to lacking skills and unsuitable structure.
Morgan imagined an infuriated public throwing tomatoes on the scene. At least, should it happen, she would know for sure how her musical future looked like.
Charles had spent the night outside, he had unanswered calls and messages from Sophie, the police was certainly after him. He had been frantically checking the sports hall website in the hopes of finding a hint on Morgan’s whereabouts when it was updated in the morning.
A concert out of nowhere, she had to be there. He went to a cutler and bought the necessary material for his grand plan, he paid by card. He would not be a fugitive for long, he just needed a day or two.
He set off, carefully avoiding crowded streets and public transport until he stood before the hall. An artistic and architectural prodigy that didn’t come close to the marvels occurring inside. A four-branched star only handicapped by a sick member: a branch was being renovated, next to the smooth and classy walls stood a gray heap made of concrete and wire mesh.
Not that Charles cared, he had but one prize in mind. The security was in theory tight, as the place presented a juicy target for a terrorist attack. In practice, Charles just entered alongside an influx of workers, looking like the average technician with a bag full of equipment. He then vanished inside the toilets, his diminished brain would have been incapable of making up another stratagem.
His task and excuses for Sophie monopolized all his attention. In an attempt to calm his nerves he outlined the coming evening. Instruments would be stored away before the concert, in a room that had to be both big to contain the material and easily accessible to permit smooth transitions, in all likelihood close to the scene.
He knew the general direction, he just had to find it discreetly and wait there.
He hid there most of the day and left the toilets an hour before the beginning of the show, onlookers littered the place, waiting to be placed and passing the time with small-talk.
Charles, looking like a machinist, was invisible to their eyes, the evening was too important to take notice of an insect. He dodged the guards, easily recognizable with their translucent earpiece and tight costume.
It reminded him of the movie Matrix, he was the anarchist, the saboteur fighting the system. The enemies were sensibly more efficient in the movie, a small door marked authorized personnel only wasn’t looked after, ropes and lamps to the side of it signaled he had found his target.
It took him a long time to realize how big the reserve was once inside. Dusty piles of machinery, old decors that felt moldy to the touch, you could play a hundred pieces here and never use the same props twice. He moved carefully, hiding whenever he heard a noise.
Instinct guided him, and instinct lost him fast. On his right, he heard applause, it was starting. A harp started, sweet, simple and soon followed by violins. He resisted the drive to follow the music despite the intoxicating melody. He scrounged further, frantically, holding on to the foolish hope he wasn’t too late. A note petrified him. He imagined Morgan, dressed in an opulent red robe and playing an instrument worthy of her.
He had failed, it was too late, nothing to do but listen and forget now. He strolled towards the scene, nodding his head in rhythm, lost in imagination.
Charles did not realized he had stopped in his tracks. Surprised, he looked around, it was an empty space in the reserve, nothing more. He tilted. It was an empty space big enough to house the piano.
A failed accord pulled him out of his trance. Too soon, the players were not fully ready. There would be another occasion, he could enjoy the music this evening.