That Ghostly Band

"You've been here way longer than me."

"Three weeks. It's not a big deal." Emily punched her lightly in the arm, but she didn't seem to appreciate the gesture. "Come on, why are you so sulky? It's nothing, honest. We always need more flautists."

Cay knew that, she really did. The truth was she was nervous, and whenever she was nervous she found herself growing angry and defensive. She'd been told that it was a personality flaw. Well, if it was she was just going to have to live with it. "You'll be way better at this than me. I've never played any of this music before." As she spoke, she was leafing through the folder that had been put on their stand. "Oh, why didn't I join at the beginning of term?"

"You'll be absolutely fine," promised Emily. She was trying to hide her irritation, but it wasn't really working out. "You're a way better player than me. Just - just take a few risks, for once. No one will notice if you get half of it wrong. I do that all the time."

Grudgingly, Cay relaxed, and the rehearsal began.

It wasn't too bad, she decided afterwards. Sure, so she didn't manage most of the pieces and she spent most of it in hysterics at Emily's ridiculous faces, but it was worth it for the moment when Anna, sitting in front of them, turned around. "How's she getting on?" she asked Emily, gesturing vaguely in Cay's direction.

"She's playing more than me," Emily replied, grinning. "She was so worried about this, but she's doing great." That was as maybe, Cay thought, but it wasn't what she was used to. She was a perfectionist. She didn't like having to ignore all the bits she couldn't play, or the fact that no one cared if it sounded terrible. The very idea was alien to her.

At last it was the break ("Finally!" said Emily. "You know, sometimes he makes us wait for ages and ages and ages. Once he didn't even let us have one at all."). Everybody spilled out into the entrance hall, their instruments forgotten.

"Where do we go now?" said Cay, nervous. There was a tuck shop, but she didn't have any money.

"Come with me," replied Emily. "I'll show you where the ghosts live."

The End

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