It was bright and airy in the music room. The thick heavy curtains had been pulled back and the windows flung open so that a refreshing breeze flowed through the room. Matilda watched as the bright sunlight danced across the glossy wooden floor in time with the slight movement of the tree just outside of the window.
The grand piano in the corner of the room was singing as her Mother's fingers danced across the keys. It was an old song, one that she had heard her mother play countless times before. A warm comforting favourite. Smiling brightly Matilda skipped across the floor. Her bare feet felt the warmth of the sun brightened wood as she went. Her summer dress floating around her as she moved. It had been a present for her 10th Birthday only a couple of days before and she had refused to wear anything else since.
The air smelled of newly mown grass which only enhanced the ecstatic feelings within the young girl. Beside the piano there was a side table with a black case on top. The case contained Matilda's Violin and she opened it with glee. As she did so the song changed to something new, one that Matilda hadn't heard before, but that didn't matter. As her mother laughed and continued to play the strange new music Matilda put the instrument to her shoulder and picked up her bow. She stood with her eyes closed for a couple of beats following the flow of the music as it issued from the piano. Then taking one last deep breath she put the bow to the strings and began to play.
The tune was slow and melodic, light and calm like the breeze flowing through the room. Matilda hummed along softly as she played, smiling softly with her eyes closed, enjoying the music. The combination of the calming notes and the breeze giving the girl a sense of peace. Opening her eyes she looked across at her mother happily.
Matilda's mother looked across and smiled at her daughter as she continued to play. Matilda frowned a little looking into her mother's eyes. Something wasn't quite right. Nadia Baumann's eyes were usually a light grey to match her daughter's, just as their dark hair had always been exactly the same shade of Ebony. But now they were slightly different. There was a darker tint to her eyes now and her hair seemed lighter.
The music too was changing. The tempo had increased as had the volume. The change was subtle but the atmosphere of the room had also shifted with it. The light coming through the window was not as bright as it had been before. The smell of grass had a bitter edge to in now and the breeze was getting heavier and the sir colder.
As they played it all kept changing, faster, louder, darker. As slowly as the change was, Matilda felt her heartrate was rising to meet the speed of the notes. The more she played the harder and faster her heart beat inside her tiny chest. Her mother's eyes were darker still when she looked anxiously back at her. Her hair again was lighter, more like a dark grey than the deep shimmering black it usually was.
"Are you sure you can do it Tilly?"
Matilda's eyes jolted from the changing face of her mother to the other side of the room. Her father sat in his armchair on the other side of the room and he was looking at her closely. She had not realised that he was there when she had entered the room. The corner appeared darker than it should have been. Darker than the rest of the room. Even with the light dimming in the rest of the room the area around the chair grew thicker, almost impenetrable.
"I can do it"
She replied despite the ever increasing music. Her heartrate rising steadily as she did. Her breathing was becoming frantic now as she kept going, moving in time with the music. The curtains were being tossed about in the ever rising wind swirling around the room. The pages of the music books on piano and on the stand beside her fluttered frantically. The sheet music swirled around the room as it lifted away from the stand. Her mother was laughing now, but it was not the sweet gentle sound that Matilda was used to. It was harsh, grating and hurtful.
The girl pulled her eyes away from the shadow wrapped form of her father to look back at her mother once again. Her eyes were black now, black and empty, And her hair was silvery white. She looked more like a monster than her mother. Looking back at her father Matilda realised that she couldn't see him through the shadows. There was nothing but inky blackness on the other side of the room. But it continued to taunt her as she played.
"I think your having one of your attacks Tilly. It's time to stop"
Matilda's fingers were starting to hurt from pressing down so hard on the strings. Her heart felt like it was trying to burst out of her chest. Her breathing had become so fast that she couldn't take in any of the air around her. Panic was flashing through her, but she refused to stop.
She forced the word out even though she couldn't breathe. The room was ice cold now, and almost in complete darkness. The wind swirling around her was like a hurricane trying to throw her off of her feet. Still she wouldn't stop. She could feel the strings break through the skin she was pressing so hard onto the strings. The blood trickling down her hand was warm, the only warmth in the room. She closed her eyes tight as she concentrated on playing, trying in vain to ignore the pain.
"You need to stop Tilly!"
Unable to speak she shook her head. She could do it. She could keep up. She had to. She was not going to let it stop her. She was not going to let the panic win. No matter what her father thought she could do it. She could do it.
In that second she lost the battle falling to the floor and passing out. The music stopped.