The bow scrapes across the strings, tentative at first, and faltering notes tumble into the twilight. As the prelude gives way to the melody, the bow glides back and forth, and delicate fingers caress the neck of the instrument. I remember those fingers, so long and pale, even in life.
The violin sings its mournful lament, and the early evening chill carries its melancholy song across the lake to where I stand on the shore. I remain perfectly poised, perfectly still. I am not the only audience for his song, for I sense spectres in the woods behind me, but I am the one for whom the song is intended.
He played this song for me some years ago, accompanied by a cellist. Their harmonies brought a tear to the eye of even a man so unmoveable as my father, and the humble violinist was to be my husband. How could I have known the source of such unfathomable talent?
Ripples break the calm surface of the water, and I sense they have arrived. They gave him his gift, and they took his life in payment, yet he defies them even now. They cannot touch him while he plays. It seems he is lost to me in life, but in death he continues to give away shards of his soul with each song. I look on with horror as his lament reaches its crescendo, and realisation dawns.
The music fades, and a heavy silence descends across the lake, rolling in with the mist. He has given me the last sliver of his soul. I stand in the cold night air, savouring the final notes as they continue to roll around inside my mind. Eventually I can remain no longer, and I turn to walk back up the shore, the spectres in the woods parting to let me pass.
My lips purse and I whistle a familiar tune, so doleful and full of sadness – his tune. I am so wrapped up in the melody that I do not hear movement in the water behind me. I do not hear them.