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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: A Midnight Concert
By A. E. Cuthbert


It was almost midnight as Christina quickly walked across her university campus from a late-night study session. Despite the roar of traffic, that could always be heard in Southern California, the campus seemed eerily dark and quiet. It was usually so busy with professors and students bustling about in the warm sunshine among the white stucco buildings with red tilled roofs. Now the moonlight cast strange shadows on them that made her heart race.

“FLOP FLOP FLOP.” Christina’s flip-flops seem to bang loudly against the pavement. She heard the distant noise of music playing. Christina assumed it must be coming from a far away dorm room but as she walked on it grew louder.

It was the sound of someone playing the piano. Something made her pause to listen in the darkness. The song was delicate, like spring flowers, yet passionate and wild, like a rushing river. It was the most beautiful music she had ever heard.

“Where is that music coming from at this hour?” she whispered to herself. She had to find out. Slowly she wound her way through the dark buildings in the moonlight feeling rather foolish for her aimless pursuit. The music gradually increased until it was bouncing off every dark wall and tile roof in the campus replacing the silence that was previously around her.

As she crossed the courtyard, she finally spotted a light. It shone through the windows of a small white chapel in the middle of the campus. The doors stood wide open. It was not an uncommon thing for the chapel to be unlocked, for the school left it that way for students to pray whenever they felt the need. Christina drew near the door and moved to the side to remain unseen, and slowly peaked in.

The chapel was barely lit and completely empty except for a few dozen rows of hard wooden pews. At the front of the chapel sat a young man before a baby-grand piano. He was a big man dressed in board shorts and flip flops, still sandy from that afternoons surf. He wore a large grey sweatshirt with a hood that was now pulled tightly over his head as his fingers lightly touched the keys. The sweet music filled the chapel warmly.

“Tim Watson?” Christina whispered to herself. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She had a few classes with Tim. He was a popular guy who normally hung out with his surfer friends. She believed he was a Sports Science major.

Christina turned to leave but found herself drawn to the music, and before she realized what was happening she had slowly made her way into the chapel, down the aisle, and was sitting in the front pew basking in the beauty of the song.

It suddenly stopped. She looked up to see Tim staring at her in complete embarrassment.

“Oh please don’t strop,” Christina pleaded. “It’s the most beautiful song I have ever heard.” Tim looked at her in shock but because of the earnest look on her face turned back to the piano. The music started again, where it had left off.

Christina watching him play. He read no music and it was clear that he felt passionately about his songs despite his attempt to cover his face with the dark hood. As she listened to the beautiful song that reminded her of falling yellow and orange leaves, she wondered why he had kept his talent so well hidden all these years. What lies had the world told him to keep him from being free to bless so many others with his God-given gift.

The song finished and Tim slowly stood to his feet and walked away from the piano and down the isle, leaving Christina in the front pew.

“You should record a CD,” Christina called after him. He slowly turned around in the doorway of the chapel. “I would love to listen to that song over and over again.” He laughed back at her.

“If I ever record a CD you will be the first one I give it to.” He slowly turned around and disappeared into the darkness.

“I will hold him to that promise,” she said aloud sitting alone in the empty chapel. The graceful music seemed to linger in the dim room for a moment, and then drift into the night like a fleeting memory of a beautiful dream.

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This article has been read 566 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes03/16/07
Wow! I really, really liked this piece! Your descriptions were superb, and you story was captivating! I noticed a few "mechanical" errors, but they weren't enough to take away from your story's beauty! I'm left wanting to know why the young man hid his gift and whether he ever did release a CD! I'd like to buy one if he did! :D
Sherrie Jackson03/16/07
Such a beautiful story! Everything about it was right on for me, and the descriptions are fantastic. This line: "What lies had the world told him to keep him from being free to bless so many others with his God-given gift" -- how often I see this in my daily life. It would be so nice to go back to a time when men could sing and dance and play music without fear of retribution from their "brethren." Awesome job.
julie wood03/16/07
I loved this! Beautiful, vivid descriptions made the whole scene come alive for me.
I could see the "bustling" students and professors amidst the white stucco and red tiles, hear Christina's flip-flops flopping, and feel her delight in the haunting music. My favorite line: "The song was delicate, like spring flowers, yet passionate and wild, like a rushing river."

Could also just see the embarrassed surfer-performer with his sand-sprinkled shorts and the hood pulled up over his head, concealing him.

Enjoyed the dialogue, too!

A couple typos in this--"tilled" for "tiled" and "strop" for "stop"--but otherwise a total delight. Great job!
Phyllis Inniss03/17/07
Such a beautiful entry. The images just stand out, appealing to one's sense of hearing and sight and awakening one's emotions. Just as you were drawn to the chapel, so this reader was drawn in by your vivid scene.
Cristy Zinn03/17/07
This was such a beautiful piece. I could feel the young man's conflict as he tried to hide who God had made him. I almost heard the melody - well done!
Jacquelyn Horne03/17/07
I've often said that God has talented people whom the world can never outdo. Many people could be in the bright lights of this world with their talents, but choose, instead, to play only to him and for him. Fame is not always the name of the game. Good story.
Michelle Burkhardt03/21/07
I loved your descriptive words and the story line. I could hear the music, see the campus, and imagine the struggle in Tim. This is a winner in my book. Nice job.