Inspired by “One” by Adrian von Ziegler

Pierre sat at the piano in the ballroom. A full moon shone through the tall windows overlooking the gardens. The house was his now – the land, the debt. The very debt that drove his father to drink and his mother mad. Pierre could feel it weighing on him like a heavy chain around his neck.

This was never supposed to be his problem. Don’t worry about it, he was always told. The third son need only worry about himself. But one brother turned up dead after too much opium, and another never returned from war. So the third son became lord of this broken manor.

Pierre absently played a sorrowful melody. It echoed through the house, off walls which held memories of generations. Is there no future left for them? For Pierre?

“Don’t stop.”

Pierre looked up. He saw a pale image of his twin sister who died of fever years ago. “Philomene?”

Philomene smiled as she sat down beside him. Pierre dumbly played a scale. Philomene placed a ghostly hand on the keys, her fingers fading into the ivory. “No matter what happens, don’t ever stop.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mama had nothing, so she went mad. Papa had drink, and it killed him. But you have this. Who knows where it will lead you?”

A smile crept over Pierre’s lips. He resumed his original melody – louder, freer. Tears blurred his eyes. Yet he played long into the night, till his hands were sore.

©2018 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.