Hi Everyone once again! This time I'm going to share a much longer piece, and it was written two years ago for English. There was a criteria of having "I really wish I hadn't..." as the first words for the story. Reading it now, I think it's a tad silly and I think I threw in some fancy words to try and impress, but I still quite like it. I'd love to know what you think of it! Thanks!
‘I really wish I hadn’t…’
I really wish I hadn’t signed up for this; it’s more than I bargained for. Maybe I should start at the beginning.
It was less than six months earlier when I was a normal 12 year old, these days normal is just a memory. I was in primary school, Year Seven to be precise, and was in class ‘triangle 7’. Don’t ask, no one is sure why our classes are named like this, they just are. It was the first term of school, and many of us were just becoming accustomed to the added pressure of Year Seven, oh how I laugh at how difficult we all thought life was back then, even after six months life is a lot more stressful.
We were all in our weekly music lesson, and it was the first time we had our permanent teacher; she had been on long service leave prior to this lesson. She informed us all that we had to select an instrument to learn this year and we could choose from the piano, violin, guitar, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, drums, bass guitar and the triangle. Okay I’m joking about the triangle being an option but there were a lot of instruments to choose from. I had no idea which instrument to choose, and I had had no instrumental experiences other than the previous couple of years where we were forced to play piano for music lessons. From those dreadful experiences, I immediately ruled out the piano. My hands were not able to play at separate speeds and rhythms well enough to play at an adequate level for Year Seven. I also ruled out the guitar and bass guitar for the same reason. I eventually ruled out the drums, for my lack of coordination and the flute, clarinet, trumpet and trombone all for the simple reason that if I were to try for my entire life, I would still be unable to create sounds other than something akin to a fart. That left the violin. The violin has the reputation of being in the hands of an expert a most beautiful instrument; however in the hands of a beginner it can be comparable to a dying cat being castrated, even that can sound better than a beginner’s rendition of ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’. This reputation immediately put my parents off the idea of me taking up the violin, but after explaining my other options and my limited set of skills that rule out all other instruments they reluctantly agreed. On the condition that I only practised during hours that they were unable to care, or hear the terrible sounds I would surely produce.
So I took my signed consent form to the music teacher and later that week I received my ‘brand new’ violin. I was quite excited about opening up the case for the first time and seeing what sounds I would produce, but when I had to open it up in front of the music teacher and see what sound I could make, I had trouble hiding my chagrin. The violin looked like Niccolò Paganini could have owned this very violin and even then it surely had to have been an heirloom from his great-great-great grandfather. The wood looked like it was rotting and splintering to the point that if I were to hold it a little too tightly I would crush the ancient wood. The strings however were clearly at least originating from this century, but still seemed to be something that would be unable to cope a performance of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No.1 by a professional violinist. But worst of all was the bow, the hair of the bow looked like it was taken from a horse that was only too happy to get rid of the hairs and would have (if possible) paid an archetier to take away the hairs. I looked up at my music teacher’s face and saw a look of encouragement and pride on it, so I picked up the violin and tried to rest it on my left shoulder. I picked up the bow and moved it over one of the strings and was surprised to see that none of the people inside the room weren’t blocking their ears and screaming for the terrible pain to stop. My music teacher’s face filled with such joy as I put the violin down and packed it up and said, “Yeah, I’ll play the violin”. I later learned that no student had played the violin for quite some time, and it had been an even longer time since someone had created a sound that was slightly better than a dying cat being castrated. My teacher told me, “Your first lesson with our violin teacher will be next Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.” And with that I left the room and took my violin home with me.
I decided not to risk breaking any windows at home, and not to practise until after my first lesson with the teacher. Tuesday rolled around quickly and I excused myself from my classroom and walked over, with my ancient violin, to ‘star 3’ where my violin teacher was waiting. I opened the door and saw my teacher, not being rude or anything, but I think she might have been around the time a luthier created my ancient violin. In all seriousness, she would have truly been in her seventies. She had long, grey hair that came close to her coccyx and her skin had wrinkles that only form with great patience and wisdom. When she heard me enter, she turned and smiled a big toothy grin, and her eyes twinkled. That sight made me think that she was an old lady that would make the perfect grandmother, one who would smother grandchildren in love and fresh, home baked goods.
She stood up with some strain clearly visible but still came over to me and even though it was the first time I had met this lady she hugged me. Now I’m not the hugging type, but the hug she gave me I couldn’t resist even if I tried my hardest. Once our hug had ended, she introduced herself as Cordelia. She and I both sat down in the regulation school chairs, ones that are always cheap, plastic and most of all uncomfortable. Cordelia picked up my violin case, unzipped it, and removed the violin. She picked up the bow and proceeded to play it. She played a song is ineffable, it was so beautiful and I am unaware of its name, even to this day.
Once Cordelia had finished playing she looked at me, and had a face of mild distress on it, “Didn’t you like it?” she asked sheepishly. I shook my head vehemently and murmured, “That was simply amazing!”
“No, no! I’m a little rusty. It has been a long while,” she candidly replied.
“Don’t be silly, it was fantastic!” I insisted. She refused to be convinced that she played beautifully, and she quickly turned her attention on me to assess my aptitude for the violin. “I can’t promise you anything, you may want to block your ears.” I said with great seriousness.
“Don’t be silly dear, even if you were terrible my hearing is not the best and it can’t get any worse,” she jokingly said.
I picked up the violin and the bow and attempted to make some noises on it. I was so nervous that I didn’t even know if the sounds were good or bad. I only stopped making the noises when Cordelia held up her hand to signal stop. “See I’m terrible at violin, nothing like you,” I immediately assumed.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. Did you even listen?”
“Uh… not really I couldn’t pay attention to the sounds.”
“Well you shouldn’t have assumed that you were terrible. I’d say that you were quite good for a first timer. You need to learn proper technique and then you should be reasonably good.”
“Yeah, so you must go home and practise, practise, practise. Right now you need to learn how to hold the bow, and rest the violin on your shoulder.”
The lesson followed a similar structure for the next couple of weeks, learning and mastering simple songs with increasing difficulty were imperative. In addition, correct posture and technique were imperative also. One day Cordelia placed ‘De Beriot’s Concerto No. 9 in A Minor, Op. 104, I. Allegro maestoso’ in front of me. I looked at the music and averred, “This is really complicated, far beyond my skill level.”
“No it is not, just have a go and you shall be surprised,” Cordelia encouraged.
I picked up my violin and tentatively began to play. Every so often, I made a mistake or had to stop and think about the note positions and I was sure I was playing it incorrectly. I eventually made it to the end of the piece after much struggle and concentration. Cordelia just smiled and clapped, “A beautiful sight-reading performance, I doubt even I could have played it like you did when I was your age. I knew you could do it, and that is why I think you should sign up for the ‘Kendall national violin competition’”
“The what?” I said puzzled.
“The Kendall national violin competition, many young violinists compete for the title. Many years ago, I was awarded that title and now you, my first talented protégé, will go on to win it as well.”
“I’m not so sure, but I guess I’ll give it a go. What will I play?”
“Don’t worry we have plenty of time to perfect the programme, you will do great!”
And so began two months of vigorous practise and preparation. There was also heated discussion and deliberation about the selection of repertoire to perform. However, in no time at the entire repertoire was chosen and ready to perform.
To compete in the competition’s grand final required a CD to be sent to the competition selection board containing four different works with various criteria. My CD was sent and two weeks later a letter informing me that I had been accepted into the final stage arrived in the mail. I was very excited and extremely pleased with myself. Nevertheless, immediately after feeling joy and anticipation, I was hit with the reality. Furthermore, I became quite nervous with trepidation about having to perform in front of hundreds of people. During the next violin lesson, I showed Cordelia the letter and she hugged me and said, “I’m so proud, I knew you could do it. Now, we have to choose a final repertoire. I have a few ideas.”
There was almost three months between the confirmation of acceptance, and the final. During that time, there were many, many hours of solid practising and countless hours spent with Cordelia learning as much as possible from her and improving the scores.
The day finally arrived, and I had to be flown to Kendall, NSW for the week. I wasn’t just nervous, I was exceptionally nervous. I dressed up into a concert black suit and collected my brand new violin that I received two months earlier especially for this occasion. I was backstage tuning up with the rest of the finalists, in preparation of our names being called to perform.
My name was the antepenultimate name to be called, and I took a couple of big, calming deep breaths and walked out onto the stage. The first piece I was to perform was entitled ‘Solo-Sonata opus 27, No.2, “Obsession” by E. Ysaye’. I looked out into the audience, held up my violin, and began to play. The semiquavers bounced off my violin in perfect timing and the chromatic tonality of the piece rang through clearly. I was pleased with my performance it sounded exactly as I hoped it would. My second work was two contrasting sonatas there were “‘Grave’ and ‘Fuga’ from Sonata A minor, BWV 1003 by J. S. Bach.” I hoped that they were both contrasting each other and I think they were as far as I could tell at the time. My third work was “S. Prokofiev’s Sonata in F Minor for violin and piano.” I hoped that my scales contained in the piece replicated ‘wind passing through a graveyard’. Cordelia said that I did, but at the time, I was not sure. My final work was from an Australian composer named R. Edwards, it was entitled ‘White Cockatoo Spirit Dance’, and this is by far my favourite piece to listen to, and even to play. I finished my performance and left the stage hoping that what I had just played was good enough for me to win.
There was an agonizing wait overnight to find out who had won. The next day we had to return to Kendall Hall for a celebratory night where more performances would occur and the winner would be announced. Thankfully, tonight I did not have to perform; I don’t think I could of because my hands were shaking too much from nervousness about the announcement of the winner.
After three hours of networking and more performances, it was time to announce the winner. There was the standard drum roll and then the announcer opened the envelope and read out, “And the winner is… … … …” I don’t remember what he said after that, as I realized that he said my name. I was in shock. I had won! I went on stage and shook this man’s hand, but it was a blur and it went so quick. I don’t know whom I thanked or what I said in the short speech I made, and then I don’t know whose hand I shook as I walked off the stage. It was just a blur.
After I had shook what felt like millions of hands I left the hall and walked outside. I then walked over to the car that I thought looked like the car that took me here. As I was walking, I checked the licence plate, and it was the same, opened the door, and sat down. “Take you back to your hotel?” asked the driver.
“Yes thank you. I didn’t catch your name, what is it?”
“Oh, it is Steve.”
“I thought I was supposed to be driven by Craig?”
“Oh he got sick with a cold and had to stay home, company policy.”
I was still sitting in the car after half an hour, and was becoming to be suspicious. I swear that the trip only took 10 minutes coming to the hall. I looked out of the tinted windows and tried to observe my surrounding to see if anything looked familiar, nothing did. “Uh Steve, where are we going? Is this a different route?”
“No, you must be mistaken; we are still on route to the hotel.”
“Then why is it taking three times as long as before?”
There was a long pause, as he seemed to contemplate his answer. The silence was broken by the mechanical whirr of a limousine style glass divider that separated me from ‘Steve’. Even though this was not a limousine, it still appeared. My suspicion immediately exploded into the stratosphere. Where was I being taken, by whom and more importantly why? I tried the handle of the nearest door, but I was aghast to learn that it was locked. Knowing that there was no escape out of the locked car I submissively sat back down into the seat. I reframed from continuously trying the locked car door to see if somehow it would magically unlock. Instead, I tried to communicate with this ‘Steve’. “Hey! Steve! If that is actually your name. Where are you taking me?! Why are you taking me there?!” I was screaming hopefully loud enough so he could hear me through the glass.
“If you do not keep quiet, further measures will be taken to shut you up, and trust me they are not pleasant.”
I decided to heed his advice, even though I was unsure what would happen to me if his threat were carried out. For a car that was being used in what I now could only assume was a kidnap, it sure was comfortable. You would have thought that they would make sure the seats were extra hard and uncomfortable, so that the kidnapped would be sore, not relaxed.
The rest of the trip took a long time; it felt like we were going out to the middle of nowhere. Wait! ‘Steve’ isn’t taking me out into the desert to kill me and then dump my body is he? I hope not. I told myself to calm down and stop being silly. ‘Steve’ might be just trying to confuse me; if he was doing that, it was working. I had no idea where we were. Then we stopped. I couldn’t see out of the tinted windows, it was too dark outside, and there seemed to be no streetlights nearby. ‘Steve’ turned off the engine and then opened and closed his door. I heard him crunching the gravel beneath his shoes as he walked towards my door. “When I open this door, don’t try to run away. It will only end in pain on your behalf. Is that clear?”
“Sure, whatever.” I said trying to sound casual.
He opened my door and immediately grabbed me, clearly knowing I had already removed my seatbelt. He pulled me out of the car and lifted me onto his shoulder in a ‘Fireman’s carry’. He seemed to be able to carry me with ease, and I knew that this was the type of guy you didn’t want to mess with. His shoulders were extremely wide, and I could see that his arms were like giant hunks of meat. I looked down and I could see even his legs were massive. I noticed also that on his left forearm an aggressive tattoo began and seemed to extend all the way to his chest and over to the other forearm. Just who was this guy? I had to assume that he was just the hired muscle and not the man behind the operation; he would be inside the looming building that appeared into my line of obstructed vision.
‘Steve’ continued walking towards the building, opened the door, and walked inside. He continued down a dark, musky smelling corridor before turning into the second door on the left. He opened the door, threw me inside, and quickly locked the door before I had any chance of escape. The room I was in was pretty much completely dark, with the only light streaming in from the gap between the door and the floor. From what I could tell, the room could not be larger than two square meters. It must be designed as a small storeroom, with wooden floorboards, and what seemed to be laminated wood shelving surrounding the walls. I stood up and decided to search around the door for a light switch. Unfortunately, it seemed that that had been removed leaving a hole in the plaster work. I could only assume that there was a light switch outside the door.
I was inside the dark room for what felt like an hour, when I could hear multiple footsteps moving towards the door. I heard the rattle of keys and then the click of the tumble lock unlocking, and then the door was wrenched open. I was immediately blinded by the sudden influx of light, and it took multiple moments before I could see detail instead of shadows. There were two men standing in front of me. One was ‘Steve’ who looked even more menacing now than before and a new man, who could I could only assume was the boss of ‘Steve’. The new man was the first to speak, “Steve who is this?”
“This is the kid you wanted, sir.” Steve said.
“No! It isn’t! Who is this kid? You must have got the wrong one, you idiot!” The other man screamed, throwing his arms up in disgust.
“What?! Sorry s...” ‘Steve’ tried to apologize.
“Be quiet! Now, who are you?” The other man asked fiercely.
“Me? I want to know who you are, and who you think I should be.” I replied definitely.
“Making threats are we? You aren’t in the position to be doing that, kid.” The other man said cunningly.
“I’ll tell you who I’m not. I’m not this kid you are on about.” I replied.
“You don’t even know who we want.” The other man said questioningly.
“I don’t need to, because I know I’m not them.” I once again replied.
“No, you aren’t them. And you won’t know who we want, it would ruin our plans. So...”
He immediately pulled the door shut and locked it. I waited for their footsteps to walk away from the door, but they didn’t. They were still standing behind the door. I heard them begin to whisper, I think ‘Steve’ spoke first, “What are we going to do with him? We can’t release him; he knows too much, he knows our identities.”
“Hmm…? We can’t really keep him either, he would be a nuisance, especially if we moved locations.”
“I doubt we could just keep him locked up in the storeroom, he’d either get out or someone would find him. Also we couldn’t let him starve or dehydrate to death.”
“Wait! We could always kill him. Then he wouldn’t be a problem anymore.”
“But where would we dispose of him? And surely we would get caught.”
“We’d get caught if we let him go too.”
“I think we should kill him. I think I know of a good spot to dispose of the body it’s…”
I blanked out from the conversation. I couldn’t believe it! I was going to die. Because of what? I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. None of this would have happened if I were a bit earlier or later from the presentation. Actually, none of this would have happened if I didn’t even go to the competition. I really wish I hadn’t signed up for that stupid competition, this is a lot more than I bargained for.
I now, begin to recall my story of the events that unfolded to get me into this terrible situation. It’s all my music teacher’s fault; if she hadn’t required us to do an instrument I would have never learnt it and never would have gone to the competition where I was kidnapped. No, it wasn’t her fault; it was these thugs outside the door’s fault. Why were they kidnapping anyone in the first place? They must be quite stupid, getting the wrong guy and all. Nevertheless, they aren’t too stupid; otherwise, they would let me go. Now I sit here in the dark, waiting for their return into the room. They are still outside, saying things, but I can’t hear them. I am lost in my thoughts about my family and friends, and what the last words were that I said to them.
Oh no! I can hear the rattle of the keys again. They must have made a decision. It’s been a long while since they walked away, presumably to get something arranged. I had to begin to think that they had left me. Oh god, was that the sound of a safety being released on a gun. The tumbler in the lock clicked open and someone grabbed the doorknob and slowly opened the door.
Oh, and sorry to everyone, this one does end here, I seem to have a habit of leaving everyone in complete suspense with my writing!