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A Strange Occurence

Brandon Riederer is an Adjunct Professor of English at Bryant & Stratton College. He has a M.A. in English from National University.


A Strange Occurence

Masked in shades of iron grey and pearly white,

jubilant faces eagerly tend to the night’s honorable guest— a mysterious silhouette clad in the shadowy bowels of an antiquated piano.

A crowd of unblinking eyes gaze upon our guest as narrow and

intense as the lone beam of light projected down upon the stage.

Amidst the hard lighting, our guest stood as an isolated figure,

a mere black shape in a sea of white.

After a twirl, a graceful curtsy, and a tip-of-the-hat

our guest motioned to join in arms with their instrument.

The musician, however, was distracted by the sight of an elderly man hobbling across the stage;

he had a ghastly complexion: a course face oxidized with valleys of wrinkled creases— the rust of human flesh.

During this silence, an impatient juvenile ceased this keratotic moment to humiliate the old man.

He took one final bite of the apple in his hand before hurling the core towards the stage.

The apple struck the poor man’s walking stick which immediately caused him to collapse.

The spectacle of the grotesque man and his horrid facial expressions— a mixture of pain and

embarrassment— ignited an eruption of laughter from the audience.

This spirited carnival, this hostile horde of glow-eyed spectators, roared, hooted, and hollered;

The crowd began to throw miscellaneous objects at the old man as he staggered back to his feet:

utensils, assorted foods and alcoholic beverages, random pieces of paper, and some loose change.

Our guest, however, did not partake in the folly of this man’s misfortune.

Rather, our guest helped the old man regain his balance.

This virtuous act by our mysterious guest effectively silenced the crowd.

The old man then whispered an inaudible utterance into our guest’s ear,

which was followed with a simple nod and a crisp gesture for the old man to exit backstage.

The lone presence of our guest— an ambiguous black figure upon the stage— again restored the

crowd’s anxiety: standing there nonconforming like an ink blotch on the mind.

The figure deftly moved back towards their position to take arms with their instrument.

With a string of notes, the musician commenced with an awfully memorable performance—

an exhibition of surgical precision, dazzlingly technicity, and blinding passion.

Allegro! As the pace hastened so too did the galloping beats of the audiences’ hearts.

An ecstasy of sound—a trembling force, a gathering momentum of potential energy,

a slingshot to the moon, a race across the stars— speeding towards the threshold of light,

speeding towards the summit of universal knowledge and the valley of eternal darkness.

The audience— possessed by these otherworldly vibrations— were dreaming awake,

clenching their eyes to visualize the mystical sounds that overwhelmed them with sublimity.

Even during the dying moments of our guest’s performance—a mere droning note—

The audience remained completely at the will of the musician’s magnetic pull.

The final note rang into oblivion and a moment of silence reigned over the crowd.

The juvenile, among the other spectators, rested in peaceful calmness: an empty daydream.

Then, from a remote corner of the room, a shriek was heard.

Horror arrested the minds of the audience members as each attempted to open their eyes,

Only discover the inescapability of the cloudy darkness of their vision.

From behind the backstage curtain, a grotesque man could be seen grinning with devilish pleasure.

The musician, still with sight, gazed with horror into the old man’s empty eyes— glass eyes —

And inside his laughing eyes, our guest swears to have seen two pupils appear from nothingness.

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