Brother

Somebody was playing on the piano, a soft, delicate tune, played with delicate fingers. The octave was high and the movements brisk. A beautiful piece in a major key. I closed my eyes just to let it fill me up, for my mind to sing with it, before I remembered what I had just seen.

Reopening my eyes, I saw a great hall, laden with dust and decay. The walls were crumbling, the marble floor no longer glistening, the grand piano standing closed in one corner, the great staircase dimly seen on the other side, center to everything, with beautifully curved banisters. I looked up and saw the paintings on the ceiling. Pale faces smiling down at me through dirt and age.

A chandelier fell great and sinister from their midst. Spiked crystal and once golden vines intertwining them together, grey and still.

The music faded from my ears. The beautiful music ... like the sigh of a whisper or the stroke of a finger.

I was standing in darkness. The darkness enveloped me now. I could no longer see the faces, nor the piano or the spiked crystals hanging from above. I could just see the walls enclosing me within the ghostly space and the grey forms of the chandelier and great marble staircase.

I knew what I had to do, which was an odd sensation I hadn't felt before. Knowing exactly what to do - where to go. I knew, and it filled me with both excitement and great sadness. Anticipation and fear, pain, grief.

I pulled myself together. I carefully put one foot in front of the other. One after the other, until I reached the piano.

With almost uncontrollable trembling hands I reached out towards it and used my fingers to pull open the heavy piano lid and lean it gently against the dusty wooden frame. The keys were not so dusty, which surprised me. The stool was, however. I wiped off as much dirt as I could with the sleeve of my jumper before sitting down on the soft cushion and raising my hands once again.

I took several deep breaths before my fingers stopped trembling and I took to the keys. They were heavy and hard to press. The first few notes sounded loud and ugly, echoing about the dark, empty hall.

I tried again. And again. I found the piano was surprisingly well-tuned, the keys getting lighter and the tune getting quicker, I reduced the pressure of my finger-tips and allowed the tune to flow through my body. My eyes closed, my breath held, I ran my fingers up and down the piano. It was the song I had heard earlier. The song I had played.

Then, by no help of my own, it got louder. It rang out through the hall. It made the very floor glimmer and the eyes above twinkle. The chandelier sparkled and the marble staircase glowed. Lights beamed from every corner, I could see it on the inside of my eyelids, the beauty of the room had awakened itself. The music had revived its long-dead soul.

And then I saw the boy in the corner of the room. Just a glance told me who he was, though I had expected him. I had not anticipated it, though now I knew that I had known all along that I would see him one day, in a dream.

Yes, so it was a dream. I knew it to be a dream. I opened my eyes but the lights didn't fade, but they gleamed brighter, no dust, no decay, no longer an empty tomb, a memorial.

I filled with sadness, and so the music escaping my fingertips did also. Perhaps I filled with sadness because the music trickled into minor key. The sound of it was heartbreaking. The look the boy gave me made me want to tear out my mind so that I wouldn't understand his glare, but I did.

He stood so far away, but my eyesight was much better than it was in a waking state. I could see each line on his face, each dot of stubble on his jaw, the dark rings about his eyes, the dark hair falling into them.

A dead boy. I boy I had long ago forgotten, and he now stood in front of me, his eyes burning into mine. His thoughts loud enough for me to hear.

I could have prevented his death. Even at that age. He was somebody to me, though I had never spoken to him before. He was something to me, and he was telling me with his eyes ... he shared my blood, his eyes the exact color of mine ... and that's when the boy told me that he was my brother - suddenly it all made sense. Suddenly I felt as though I had known all along. My brother ... but then I woke in a room with no light. A small room with a bed and a wardrobe and a cluttered desk. Dreams faded. Memories faded. But sometimes they came back in the strangest of times.

The End

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