Flash Fiction // Moonlight Sonata

Many many moons ago, I was a part of my high school’s literary magazine. From the first day back in Fall to publication in the Spring, we’d collect stories and poetry and song written by our fellow classmates (and ourselves) and go through the rigorous process of selecting, editing and awarding.

Then came college, and my school didn’t have anything like that (it was a small Bible college, and the only things they sent out were alumni information and newsletters and a bi-annual magazine that didn’t provide much writing inspiration). If I’d had the extra time, and wasn’t experiencing my first anxiety attacks my freshman year, I would’ve totally thought about trying to start one there.

But, if you can believe it, I was completely an introvert in college. At first I tried to be a part of student life, but I wasn’t ever really into sports. We had soccer, swimming and baseball and track. Bonfires, service projects and the like. What did I do on Friday nights instead? Open my windows to the crisp, Fall Tennessee mountain air and write Supernatural fan fiction. I’d dim my over head lights, put on my mood lighting and have at it. Never once did I think “Hey, maybe I could write a novel when I’m not working or doing homework.” If I had I think I’d be much further along and more disciplined with this whole thing.

As life would have it, I didn’t really write seriously again until 2016. My first few nights in I was thrown back in time to my high school days of working on our literary magazine titled Fragments. And I’ll take a moment to say that a couple of my stories did win awards. However, looking back through them, I find myself cringing at the concepts as I remember what I was feeling when I wrote them.

The funniest part? My one story’s titled Charlotte, which my sister later named my now nine-year-old niece. And I don’t think she’s ever read that short story. Charlotte also won a Gold Award, but I don’t think I’m going to share that one today. I wrote it the year I lost both my grandpas eight months apart from each other. And I think it was my way of dealing with the grief.

Instead, today’s blog post will contain a different sort of flash fiction titled Moonlight Sonata. A theme and song commonly found in fiction. However, I wrote it when I was trying my hardest to learn piano. Let’s just say I failed dramatically with both the keys and the clarinet. Behold: Moonlight Sonata. (I *did* take some editing liberties with a few phrases I found awkward).

As I stood by the clear blue lake in the middle of the forest, I began to wonder how I came upon this beautiful place.

The sun was already setting when I began my journey through the thick woods behind my home. Having come upon a place I’d never seen before and, not knowing which way to turn, I paused at the water’s edge.

The vast lake spread out in every direction as stars threw their shimmering gaze down on me. The night sky opened up to reveal their splendor, no longer blocked by the forest canopy. Although the moon was low on the horizon, it had already begun to cast its beacon of ghostly blue light over trees and water alike.

Ripples in the lake dispersed the beacon’s reflection, and an owl’s eyes glinted from inside a tree trunk. The cricket’s chirp was the only sound amplified on this still, beautiful night.

I scanned the shoreline, spotted a huge boulder near the water’s edge and decided to perch myself atop it. As I sat on the boulder, hugging my knees to my chest, I noticed a great dark object floating on the lake’s surface some distance away. Squinting into the night, I realized with disbelief that the floating object was, of all things, a piano.

My senses heightened as a soft sweet melody began to play. From it’s open lid, for it was a Baby Grand, silver music notes shimmered out and up into the stars until they disappeared into the moonlight.

As the music continued, I recognized it as the very piece I’d tried to play some weeks earlier: Moonlight Sonata. I hummed along with it at first, but soon the tempo picked up speed.

As the piano floated even closer, the force on the keys grew and grew. The shimmery notes, too, poured out of it so much so that they barely flew up. Some fell with forceful plops into the lake water and disappeared completely.

With such fury the piano began to spin, the once sweet melody now a cacophony of barely recognizable combinations. By now the piano was so close that I had to hold my arms to my face to keep at least some of the wind-blown water and debris away.

The piano spun so fast now, the tune now a tune of pure horror. The once shimmering, beautiful floating notes glowed angrily red, with each one disappearing around me instead of into the night.

Wind whipped my face as I, as incoherently as the piano, attempted to scream for it to stop. The night, once full of peace and tranquility, was now nothing but pure chaos.

Just when I knew I couldn’t take another moment of the madness, it ended. I crumpled to the boulder and took a moment to make sure that it was real. That I was still real. I’d kept my eyes closed tight since the notes glowed red, afraid to open them again. Afraid of what I might see.

Strangely, bright warm sunlight caressed my shaking form instead of pale moonlight. I cracked open an eye and sighed with relief. It had only been a dream! Mid-morning light streamed through the breaks of my window blinds. As I climbed out of bed I stole a glance to my own keyboard nestled in the corner. I stood in utter disbelief, utterly rooted to the carpet. For somehow it had turned itself on. Somehow, it was playing Moonlight Sonata.