The Composer

Submitted into Contest #55 in response to: Write a story about a meeting of a secret society.... view prompt

2 comments

Mystery

Cassandra never really did understand why they had sealed off the fireplace in that particular room. Massively made of beautifully carved marble, it stood its stance in the sitting room like some awesome sentinel guarding his post. When Cassandra bought the house, (literally for a song), she discovered its age and history to be enchanting. It owned a presence and displayed a sense of character to which few houses could dare attest.


When Cassandra said she bought the house “for a song”, she’s was not being metaphorical. The eccentric, aged composer who had previously owned the house, had used it as a retreat, away from the maddening crowd. He would retire to its massive embrace each time his muse inspired him to create a new composition.


The night they met at the home of mutual friends, Cassandra had mentioned that she was in the market for a country home, but with her trust fund left to her by her parents, she still had to be frugal. She feared it would be a fruitless effort until she made her mark in the world with her voice. During the evening, as was common with her friends, they requested that she also perform for them. Never one to turn down an audience or a chance to sing, she agreed.


Upon hearing her voice, the composer requested that she perform one of his newly written and yet unknown compositions. She was hesitant at first, knowing his talent, precision and celebrity, but he coaxed her on, saying that she would have no problem. She was highly skilled, and her voice contained the perfect quality and tone for his music, he assured her. He promised her that it would be worth her while. She agreed, and flawlessly completely the song, with loud applause and accolades from the other talented guests and the composer. That was when he offered to sell her his house in the country for a mere pittance of what it was worth.


They met later the next day and upon visiting the house, they settled and signed the paperwork. . By that next evening she owned it. Cassandra couldn’t believe her luck, this stroke of fate, as it were, and she hurriedly moved in that same week. And now, she was mistress of a beautiful home, with a promising career since the home’s owner decided to use her in his current and future compositions. This would bring her the fame she had sought and fulfill her life’s dream. She so wanted to do this in memory of her deceased parents, talented musicians on their own accord. They had suddenly been taken in a dreadful accident at the crossroad out of town; after having tried to avoid hitting a dog in the middle of the road.


Now, weeks later, like Alice in Wonderland, this sealed fireplace grew “curiouser and curiouser”. When she had asked about it, the old composer strongly suggested that “some things were better off sealed away forever”. She never heeded the warning in his eyes and voice. Soon she would wish she had. Still, at the same time, he almost looked like he was challenging her to take the dare.


Since then, she had dreamed about this mysterious fireplace night after night. Why was it sealed? She dreamed of darkened rooms, like mummies' tombs, threatening, yet enticing her, until she woke up drenched in sweat and shaking with fear. And still she wondered. Day after day the one sealed mystery called out to her greater curiosity, and to her greater fears.


Grabbing a hammer and other tools from the outside shed, she carefully proceeded to unseal the opening to the beautiful fireplace. After all, it should be put to good use on cold winter nights. Upon completion of her task, she found a back wall opening. What type of fireplace would have an entrance area? Fear engulfing her, she challenged herself now. Being the ever curious, daring Cassandra that she always had been, with flashlight in hand, she crawled in and entered. "To hell with it all!" she exclaimed.


The opening displayed a cavernous room. It was as if she had entered an entirely new house, or even a portal! Using her torch for light she moved further and further inside. It indeed was an entrance. Past hallways and through slanted light she came upon a massive door. Turning the knob, it creaked as she opened it. What appeared before her was a sort of temple, complete with shrines and an altar. Inside the room was an organ. Carved along the walls and ceiling demonic faces leered down at her. The room was stone, accented in hues of dark black and blood red. Upon the altar laid an athame, a tool used in rituals to the gods and goddesses by practitioners of the Craft and ancient pagan rites.


“So you’ve found your way to us Cassandra. We knew it wouldn’t take you long. You were destined to belong”. Shocked, she turned around and saw that from yet another doorway, the composer had entered. He was not alone. Along with him, stood her friends who had held the party last night, and their guests. The same amount of people, including herself, she summed it up to the number thirteen.


They were dressed in long robes, holding black candles. One of them proceeded to light the other candles in the room. The room was no longer dark, but the blood red hues and blackened walls, had transformed it into a hellish area. As they moved her further inside, she was placed in front of a large statue.


Cassandra was now dizzy with the effect the room and faces were having upon her. The statue lurched at her monstrously as if laughing at her predicament. She smelled a strong scent of incense, pleasant to her senses, while at the same time emitting an overwhelming scent of sulfur and phosphorus fumes. She felt pleasured and nauseated at the same time. They knelt her in front of the giant figure.


“Meet our god Cassandra!” “We have many but Satan, before his fall, was known as “the anointed cherub”. He led the court of heaven with his music and we are sworn to him to carry out his worship upon earth, until he returns to take over the reign denied to him the day he was cast out of the heavens!”


“What are you talking about?”; Cassandra reeled at them. As in her dreams, she broke out into a sweat, wishing she could awaken from the nightmare she had entered. Satan is no god or great musician she thought. "Wake up! Wake up! She urged herself on, but began to realize that the nightmare was indeed real.


“Oh but he is" the composer replied, as if reading her mind. In the book of Ezekiel 28:13 it sings his praises: “The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in the day that thou wast created”!


“We have all reached 'the devil’s chord' Cassandra." "Like Robert Johnson, we’ve sold our souls along the crossroad. Have you met Robert, Cassandra? Of course you have. He’s the guest at many of the souries you’ve attended, when you marvel at his performance of the Blues each and every time.


Suddenly she recognized one of the guests in front of her, a man “from Mississippi”, who thrilled her to the bone with his crafty and enthralling performance on his guitar every time. “You might say my number is 4961 Cassandra”, he scoffed. “49 and 61, the crossroad where you sold your soul to Satan to master your technique of the Blues” she quietly said, in a hushed, fearful whisper. “Smart girl” he replied.


“All of us here have been to our own crossroad Cassandra. We’ve all met our hounds of Hell. And now we revel in eternally singing the praises of Satan". It was her friend Janice, but no longer Janice. Before her stood her mother and father, dead for so many years. “Our trade for talent and fame was you Cassandra. You’ve been marked since before your birth to perform before great audiences, Presidents, Royalty, Popes and leaders of this world and later the Underworld”.


She had been sold by her own parents. Born into this secret society that now wanted her soul.


“Chose now Cassandra. The choice was made for you by your parents, but now you must make your own choice. Join our group of the anointed ones, Satan’s choir” the composer urged. “Or forever lose that spectacular voice of yours!” he threatened.


She couldn’t do this. “Never will I ever” she proceeded to scream at them. They carried her and laid her upon the altar. The knife touch her neck, cold and metallic, threatening to drain her of her soul, her music, her voice. "Say yes Cassandra or you will lose your voice forever. We're not here for your life Cassandra. You will keep that due to the deal your parents made for you. But you can live it in total silence, or spend it in blissful music and fame as was intended before your birth."


"Never will I ever!” over and over until her voice began to fade away slower and slower, ebbing from a loud shriek to a distant whisper. The athame was pointed towards her vocal chords. A life of silence lay before her, endless silence. Each time she would hear the music, she would know what she had given up. She felt her voice ebbing away, her future and the sound of silence threatened to overtake her. "No!"


"No, wait", she sang the words of the final chorus. Cassandra stood upon the stage, ravishing the audience with a heavenly sound of a voice unheard of in centuries. "No wait" she sang again. Never had they ever heard such power and majestic tones, such mystifying strains, hypnotic as the very ancient s

Sirens themselves. The muses could not have inspired music this enthralling. The composer conducted the orchestra with his same magnificent aura and mastery as she sang his newest masterpiece. Her friends sat in the audience along with the facsimiles that she knew were her original parents. The press would rave endlessly on the next day that never had they ever heard such music and talent performed so splendidly together.


She finished the final chord, and concluded the finale of the Composer’s latest masterpiece entitled “Never Will I Ever". But she had. Indeed, she had! 

August 21, 2020 18:04

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Yolanda Wu
03:12 Aug 22, 2020

Ooooh, this was such an interesting story. I really liked Cassandra's character and all the little details about music throughout made the story truly come alive in my mind. Amazing work!

Reply

Cynthia Grove
20:05 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you so much Yolanda! As a former singer it hit close to home for me. I started one page years ago about the fireplace, left it sitting around, and skated on to the prompt from there.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply