The Midnight Serenade

The following story won second prize in this month’s competition on

With hands still grimy from digging his most recent grave, the maestro lifted up the string and fitted it into the violin. The task was not a simple one for two reasons: Firstly, it was pitch black in the graveyard, and he needed to complete the task by touch alone. Secondly, the wire was still slick with fresh blood.

Each of the strings of his violin was anointed thus. Each wire had been consecrated by the blood of a young female victim. It was part of the ritual he performed whenever he needed to replace a string.

Since his rise to stardom, it had become so much easier, of course. He didn’t need to hunt his victims down anymore. They came to him; all wide eyed and simpering over his music. They eagerly accepted his offer of a private dinner, away from the crowds and paparazzi. The lavish dinner, prepared with his own hands, was followed by too much wine. Heady with drink, they would fall into his arms, and later, into his bed. It was there, during a night of wild passion, that they would meet their demise.

He loved the look of shock on their faces as the garrotte bit into their soft tender necks. He often became aroused again during their final struggles.

Later, he would carry their still naked bodies out into the family graveyard at the back of his mansion, and there they would be laid to rest, forever to listen to his midnight serenades.

When the new string was set in place, he would tune his instrument; a wonderful Mendini, as black as his heart. Plucking the newly-baptised string, he tightened the peg until the sound of the note was just right. Tiny droplets of blood flicked across his cheek as he nuzzled the chinrest and began to play.

Standing over his mother’s grave, he always played her favourite piece: Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. In his mind, he can hear the rest of the orchestra playing along as he performed the piece in front of a packed arena, perhaps even for the Queen herself.

He could also imagine the sighs of his many victims. They rested nearby, keeping his mother company through the long years of darkness. She had always demanded to be the centre of attention.

It was his mother who had bought him his first violin. She, who demanded the best on every occasion. She, who beaten him and locked him in his room whenever his performances where not up to scratch. She, who eventually became his first victim.

Playing his violin afterwards, with her blood still slick on the strings, he had found a new sense of peace. He had played like never before … and so the ritual had begun.

He was sure that his mother would have understood. It was such a small sacrifice to make for the art. He was sure that they had all understood eventually, once they had heard him play his midnight serenade.


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