The Eighth Octave


Dear Fred,

This is a complete document of the time we spent together this summer. I felt like you should know what was going through my mind at the time. I hope you will read it and find it of value to yourself.


On my 15th birthday, I was accepted to a college. It was the best birthday present I have ever received. And one of the only. My parents were famous musicians and they were always on the road; they couldn't be expected to always remember my birthday. Perhaps you've heard of them? Sam and Lou Kravdraa? No? They both died when I was very young, but they were very popular back in the day, so I've heard. Anyways, back to my fifteenth birthday and the school. When I went to get the mail that morning, I was surprised to see a fancy letter bearing my name. I was even more surprised to see the college seal on it. I had never actually applied to any school, never mind this one. I hadn't even heard of it! I read the acceptance letter over for the millionth time. It clearly stated that I was accepted to the school and I had a full scholarship. I know what you're thinking: it's a joke, isn't it. For all I knew, it was, but my curiosity got the better of me and I knew I just had to check it out. I glanced at the bottom of the letter. In small letters, as if nobody would want to call it, was the phone number. I went to find the phone.


"Good morning! You have reached The University of Music in Boston. How may I help you?" the female voice was much too cheery.

"Hello. This is Alexi Kravdraa" I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth when the receptionist gave a small shriek.

"Oh! I'm honored to speak to you!" she gasped, "What can I do for you?"

"About that letter I received. Is it real?" I said it bluntly.

"Oh! You mean the acceptance letter? Of course!" she giggled, "The first day of orientation is September 8th. We're all looking forward to seeing you here."

"Ok. But I never actually applied or anything." I was afraid the receptionist had made a mistake. There must be another Alexi Kravdraa however unlikely that seemed. It was an unusual name.

"Oh! That's OK!" She said oh too much. It was starting to bother me.

I said goodbye and hung up, perplexed. It was making no sense. Why would this school at the end of Massachusetts which I had never heard of be expecting me to attend this September? I didn't have any answers.


The next day, you rang the doorbell. I went to answer it. You explained your name was Fred, you was from the University and you would be escorting me to school. I wondered why you would have to do so. You explained that there might be risks involved and it would be safer for you to help me.

"Don't take it as an insult," you explained kindly, "we just don't want anything to happen to you. There is evil beyond the eighth octave."

I verified that I was not insulted, wondered to myself what the eighth octave was and invited you inside.

"I'm almost finished packing," I announced, "do you mind waiting down here? I'll only be a moment."

"Not at all," you responded.

I hurried up the stairs to my room, threw some last minute belongings into my trunk and grabbed my jacket. I slowly descended the stairs with my heavy trunk.

"I'll take your luggage and put it in the car," you said.

"Thank you!" I smiled.


Later that day, I was riding on the subway into the city, sandwiched between you and an abnormally tall, skinny guy. We were riding to some shop where I could get the books I needed for school. You handed me a list. I glanced at it quickly; Book of Songs in E flat for Piano, Flute: a Brief History, Eighth Notes, the list went on. I had a horrible feeling; I didn't know how to play an instrument.

"Ummm... Fred?" I asked hesitantly.

"Yes?" you answered absentmindedly. I couldn't tell you that I didn't know how to play an instrument.

"Where are we going to get all these books?" I asked him instead.

"You can find them if you know where to look," you grinned like there was a big secret to it.

We got off the subway and headed up the escalator. You walked to a small coffee shop. It didn't look like it got very many customers.

"Let's get something to drink and I'll explain," you said kindly, "I know you must be very confused."

"Confused doesn't even begin to cover it," I muttered but I don't think you heard.


As I entered the coffee shop, I crashed into a woman. She was shorter than I, which is saying a lot, and was wearing a cape covered with musical notes and symbols. In one hand she held a flute, much like a wizard would hold a wand.

"I'm sorry!" I apologized for not seeing her.

She grumbled in reply and moved off. As I walked deeper into the shop, I realized she was not strangely dressed for here. Several people had the same sort of style. You came in behind me, walked over to a table and sat down. I followed you and sat across the table from you as you ordered drinks.

"You said you were going to explain. Why are all these people so weird?" I was good at getting straight to the point.

"Alexi, you're a musician," you answered.

"No! You must be wrong. I don't know anything about music," I answered, "You must have the wrong person. I don't know the first thing about music!" I know I was being repetitive, but I wanted to get the point across.

"No. Your parents were famous musicians. You will be a great musician."

"My parents died when I was little."

"Did anyone ever tell you how they died?"

"They died in a train accident," I answered sulkily. You were horrified,

"You mean nobody ever told you the truth? I'll tell you now: there was an ancient evil at work there. I won't tell you It's name, but It is a human being. Or, at least It used to be. I don't know what It is anymore. One day when when you were very young, It came to your house and murdered your parents with a piano. Somehow you survived. You were blessed by the fermata with long life."

For some reason I did not question you. I don't know why. Being murdered by a piano seemed like an odd way to die, and being blessed by the fermata was a strange way to live.

You took a deep breath, "Come on. Let's go get your books."


We walked out the back door of the shop into a busy street lined with hundreds of shops it seemed. And hundreds of people. You grabbed my arm and pulled me in the general direction of a bookshop. I went in and you helped me find my books. When we were done there, we hurried to a instrument shop. As I walked in, a bell above the door rang and a wizened old man walked out from a door behind the counter.

"Hello! How may I help you?" the man inquired.

"Alexi here is looking for an instrument," you responded.

"Well then! If it isn't Alexi Kravdraa!" the man exclaimed, "I remember when your parents were in here looking for their instruments. It seems like yesterday." The man shuffled back to the room he had come from. A moment later he re-appeared holding a shiny brass trumpet.

"Here- try this out," he smiled.

I took the trumpet and blew through it. A little whistling sound came out. I wondered what you would do when you found out I couldn't play an instrument.

"No, that won't do" the man muttered to himself, "How about a flute?"

I don't know how many instruments we went through that day. It was a lot. Finally the man decided a oboe was right for me. I paid for it and exited the shop, lightheaded from trying to play so many instruments.

You smiled, "Good thing it wasn't a piano! That would have been hard to carry around!"


The first day of school dawned. You escorted me to the train that would take me there. I thanked you for all your help and left you standing on the station waving. I waved back. I don't know if you saw me or not. In any case, thank you again for helping me find my inner musician. I have taken a break from composing my next orchestral performance piece to write this. I hope you have a great year and I hope to see you again.



Alexi Kravdraa

The End

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