Broken Strings

Who was playing that day? And why can't Eleanor forget the tune?

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4. Overture

7 months later and the only piece of mourning clothing Eleanor was still wearing was her black hair ribbon. The day was bitterly cold, and every breeze seemed to bite at Eleanor’s finger tips as she walked to school along the familiar path out of the village. As she passed the ‘for rent’ sign outside a rickety old building, she couldn’t help but remember the face of the boy who used to be waiting outside for her bicycle every morning. She tightened her grip on the violin case she was carrying and gathered her scarf closer to her pink nose. Every morning she went through the same heart numbing routine. But she couldn’t stop thinking about him.

The school was back to its old standard after a very brief period of mourning from the students. As Eleanor took her seat in the classroom, everyone else was crowded around the window. It was the first scouting since the accident, and every student in the school was eager to impress. “Oh my god! Isn’t that the same guy as before?” someone asked the class as a general.
“Urgh what a joke. The guy wasn’t even in our subject.” Another student groaned as they sat down along with everyone else. Eleanor looked up and turned her head to look out of the window. It couldn’t be the same scout.

As the day went on, Eleanor couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the scout was the same man as before. She entered the music room for her last lesson and put her violin down on the desk before looking through the frosty window at the school grounds. It had been months since the sky had been this clear, and to her surprise, she found herself opening the window wide and taking in a deep breath of the crisp air. “Eleanor Bryce?” a voice asked from behind her. She span around and jumped as she realised there was a man sat in the corner of the room. “Um... Yes” she replied, walking closer to the figure. “I hear you play violin pretty well? Could you show me?” the voice asked again. It didn’t sound like the speaker was much older than Eleanor. She nodded and walked back over to her violin, opening the case and tuning her violin by the piano. “Aren’t you already tuned?” the voice asked, Eleanor turned and explained briefly;
“Oh yes, but the cold weather means it turns quite easily so it’s important to keep up maintenance in the winter months.” She took the proceeding silence to mean that she was to begin playing, so placed the instrument under her chin and poised her bow.

“Wait!” the voice called. There was a clicking sound followed by a sheet of music being slid across the floor to Eleanor’s feet. “Play this please.” It explained shortly. Eleanor picked up the music and frowned at the pieces simplicity. “Okay...” she agreed, placing the music on a stand and beginning to play.

Her fingers pressed down upon the strings of her instrument and she allowed her bow to flow gracefully over the strings as if it were a feather being guided by the wind. As she played, the fresh air from outside blew in a gust from the window and filled her lungs with an awakening uplift, and it wasn’t long at all before the stranger was clapping his hands together and signalling for her to stop.

“That will be all Eleanor. I have some good news for you.” He said calmly, pushing another envelope out from the shadows towards Eleanor’s feet. “I hope you will enjoy your new life in Ingenia Academy for the gifted generations Miss Bryce. We look forward to tutoring you.”

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