His signature recording of Liszt’s Faust Symphony roars through the empty theatre but I can’t break contact with his steely eyes. His lower lip, now stained with my blood, lifts on the right side, as I’ve seen it do often during performances. This is his moment, the one that he planned for ages. And it’s all about him I thought, it was never about my talent or me. It was always about him. And winning. Always.
Talking heads bleat from the screen that now hangs over the stage behind the Steinway D that we used all year for rehearsals and performances.
“Acclaimed conductor Antonio Accardo found dead in his Manhattan apartment. Estimated time of death was 5:00 AM. Accardo was a once renowned violinist. Now he is famous for being the third victim in a series of murders popularly known as the Violet Hour Romance Murders. The term refers to the untimely deaths of once renowned musicians known for specializing in the Romantic repertoire. Each death occurred at just before sunrise.”
The details escape me because I am completely terrified as my captor is now floating above me. His breath chills my cheeks and is heavy with the slightly metallic scent of the 1787 Bordeaux Chateaux Lafitte that we shared in better times, you could say.
“It’s your choice, Целую. And I’m shocked at the familiar sound of his pet Russian name for me, a word meaning I kiss you, Tseyluyu. He had taken to shouting this during rehearsals and my voice responded to his other worldly genius. But now his vocal caress pounds in my ears like a Lady Gaga recording that is poorly synced. I am determined to hold onto another melody, one that was written for me..
“I sought him who my soul loveth: I held him and I would not let him go.” The phrase from the Bible’s Song of Solomon races through my mind. So, I am to be this monster’s immortal bride or destroy the man who has become my soul. This totally sucks.
I don’t answer and my silence enrages him. I feel a rush of wind as the demon hurls me to the other side of the vast stage that is set for La Traviata. My body feels mangled and the harsh stage floor cradles my head before I lose consciousness. The last thing I hear is my beloved’s music. It comes to me as through a mist. I hold onto that. I will take that to my death. “Questo il mio momento finale,” I think of the aria that my love wrote for me, the aria that I was cast to sing in the New York premier of his opera on this stage, and another stabbing pain rocks my body. And so I will not die alone, or in vain. My love and his music will survive. And the world will be a better place for that…