The Composition

The Composition

    Furiously scribbling ideas onto the parchment, Luther takes one last bitter swig from his stein as he meticulously works through the night and on into daybreak. The candle is almost extinguished from its use over the last several hours, but he stops at nothing, knowing the sun will be up soon to provide what the wax lit wick cannot. Sitting in angst, he tears the yellowed paper from his large oak podium, throwing it aside into the discarded mountain created by his recent endeavor. He is sickened by the need to restart his newest composition. Never has he felt such resentment or discontent toward his past works as he does at this very moment.

    Feverishly he starts over again.

    He is wrought in agony because the melody is right there in front of him. He can hear the music rising and falling through each scale and arpeggio; together they must produce every sound and tone at the precise moment that he envisions. Every chord must be flawlessly constructed. Every note must resonate with meaning. The melody must be properly measured and counted for perfection. He knows time is of the essence, and continues the arrangement of his latest masterpiece while remembering his past.

    "I hear you’re quite an accomplished musician,” stated Julia as she smiled with timid admiration, walking at his side.

    “No my dear, I merely write the music. I am not a performer by any means, only a composer,” Luther modestly corrected her, gazing into her hazel, almond shaped eyes.

    “Well, I must say that is even more impressive than I first imagined.”

    He was courting her for the first time after being introduced by a mutual friend at his request. She wore a light blue dress on that day, embroidered with an elegant white lace that perfectly complimented her every curve and feature. A curl of her long auburn hair fell to the side of her slender, pink cheek. As they continued walking, she brushed the strand of hair back into place.

    “Do you write music often?” she inquired.

    “As often as I am inspired to write it,” Luther said with a grin.

    “And what is it that inspires you?”  

    “I’ve never thought about it. No one has ever asked me that before. I suppose it would be a muse that provides me with my inspiration,” Luther charmingly asserted.

    “Oh how clever you are,” she laughed. “Your muse shall have to inspire you to write a composition for me someday.”

    “I do not believe inspiration from a muse will be necessary to write an entire symphony on your behalf,” he said to her with confidence, “as long as I may have the honor of your company again in the future.”

    “If you promise to write for me one day, we shall certainly meet again,” affirmed Julia.

    “Very well then, consider it done,” Luther promised.

    Obsessively, Luther continued to compose his masterful sonata: music grand enough to be performed by every orchestra in Heaven. Still, he was unsatisfied. It had never been this hard to create music before, he thought. Why now? After years of being the jealous topic of his contemporaries, he could barely produce a worthy line from the talent he knew was his only natural gift in life. His body and soul were on fire as he wrote for Julia. Another image flooded his memory as he attempted to resume the undertaking of this imperative creation.

    “Luther, come to bed my darling, after all it is our wedding night,” Julia delicately requested.

    “I’ll be right there my dear. But first I have to finish this small bit of music and then all my attention will belong to you,” he replied.

    “Is this a new masterpiece for me, my love?”

    Luther sighed, “No, it is a piece I have been commissioned to write.  I feel compelled at this very moment to finish it. It is almost done. I only have another few notes to arrange. It is very simple in form and will not compare to the work of art I shall compose for you.”

    “And when will you find time to write for me?”

    “I will write you a splendid concerto one day soon,” he said as he set down his pen and walked over to the bedside. “Do not worry, I have all the time in the world to perfect it, and all the motivation I will ever need now that we have been married on this blessed occasion.”

    Time was running out. Regret was welling up from inside of him, along with the bile forming fast from within; making him feel ill. His hand began to tremble and cramp, but he continued to write and rewrite this masterpiece; attempting to construct his greatest accomplishment in one night’s time. Luther forced the music swiftly onto the stationary as the sun crept into the room. He became infuriated by his indecisiveness and the lack of inspiration provided by each of the notes he put to paper. Tears began pouring down his face. He tasted the salty warm droplets blazing a pathway down his cheeks and into his soul. Fighting to continue on with the composition, he was again reminded of his recent past.

    “Luther, are you with me?” Julia asked in a low, hoarse voice.

    “I am right by your side my love,” he answered.

    “I’m sorry I never gave birth to any children for you. I want you to be happy once I am gone. I want you to find a good woman that can bring you everything you always wanted and more,” she said with sincerity.

    Her face was flushed and she was abated by fever and a strong pain in her stomach. The scarlet complexion was an irritating shade, unusual for her normally pink bright face.

    “Please do not talk like that. You are all I will ever need and more,” Luther declared, choking back his tears. “When you get through this unfortunate convalescence, I am going to compose for you the greatest symphony in all of history,” he vowed.

    “I wish I could be here to listen to it my darling, unfortunately,” she began coughing before she was able to continue, “I am on my way to a better place. Do not worry my love, for I am not afraid.”

    “Please don’t leave me Julia, I beg of you,” he pleaded.

    “Make one final promise to me Luther.”

    “Anything my dearest, I will promise you anything!”

    “Create a beautiful symphony in memory of me. Do not forget me, my darling. Keep me in your heart forever and I shall live on in your music forever,” she whispered with her final breath, as her soul peacfully left her body.

    The next day, Luther buried his beautiful young wife. She was clothed in the light blue dress that she had worn on the day they first met. Reluctantly, he pulled himself away from the site as Julia was lowered into her resting place. Luther left the cemetary, not knowing if he could continue to live another day without her. Passing through the rusty, black iron gates, he became aware that one more composition had yet to be completed. Rushing back to his home, he began to imagine what music would best capture the love he had for his newly departed wife.     

    He stared at the paper, but could think of nothing to write. Hours flew by as he progressed at an almost dormant pace. He began to drink heavily in order to calm himself; hoping the muse would inspire him one final time. It wasn’t enough. Every moment without Julia was accompanied by a fierce torment, and he knew he would never be able to survive without her by his side.

    The moment was brought to a halt as Luther’s quill tip snapped with an uneasy stroke. Maddened by the thought of Julia’s death and his unkept promise, he frantically tore his room apart in search for another feather to complete his final obligation. Pain ran through his mind and body; as fast and hard as he tore through the room seeking a new marker. Finding the quill in an old bureau by the bedside, he rushed back to his seat determined to finish his final masterpiece.

    Luther became extremely weak and dizzy as blood began to flow from his nose. He was drenched in sweat as cold as a winter wind and overcome by a heat as hot as all the fires in hell. With an immense explosion from within, his body began to convulse, feeling the pain increase to an unbearable degree. He gave out a loud cry of anguish and failure.

    It was too late.

    The parchment fell to the floor unfinished.

    The poison had taken its full effect.


Michele   Michele wrote
on 3/14/2009 9:41:18 AM
Beautiful! As if you somehow time-transported in setting, and style as well! Well-deserved kudos for the contest!

atlantis   atlantis wrote
on 2/16/2009 10:23:38 AM
Oh my , this is a very powerful story , very well written . Besides the emotional charge the writing is Impeccable ! Congratulations on winning the contest !

Short Story
writing albertfiger
Muffins are just ugly cupcakes!!!
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Rating: 9.3/10

A composer struggles to write the most important work of his life for the woman he loves.