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Recap: It was as if a spell was cast upon my brain, leaving me immobilized; I could not mutter a single word. A leather hand guided my chin toward the speaker’s face, and I flinched. A tear streamed down my face. The angel of death. My time had come.

“Shall I give you one last look at life? Perhaps you can play for me a last piece before you depart this world.” I could not breathe. All my senses were clogged with red, darkness, and pain.

“Oh God, please help!” I wailed mentally, bringing my trembling hands to my melting face. Though my skin crawled with a thousand pins, my soul felt empty. The eye of the storm settled in my heart.

“Join me! Entertain me! Perhaps some of your music will accompany you in your death!” the angel chanted and spread his massive black wings.

A wind so forceful warped around the room, blowing open several doors. From within the black pits beyond the door, a small flame began to burn, and a plethora of fiery arms and screams shook me to the core, sucking the little life left in me.

“Come and join the world of freedom where music can be your one and only,” the angel tempted.

“No, I can’t! No, get away!” I whimpered.

“No….” “Perhaps, this may make it up to you?” The angel presented a glorious violin, the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Made of the darkest cherry wood, sleek in the moonlight, my eyes feasted greedily on the instrument. “Play for me, and I’ll decide your fate. How about that, dear?” Unable to resist, I reached for the violin and bow with trembling hands. It felt heavy yet graceful in my grasp.

Taking a deep breath, I looked up sadly at the angel and placed the bow on the string. Then, I played. I played with cruel intensity and passion that reverberated through the tainted night. All the emotions and grief bottled up within my soul streamed out. My years of experience brought my hands to their greatest potential. Despite evil origins, the violin created the purest and melodious sound I have ever heard. A mocking laugh boomed as the angel clapped his large hands.

“Feed the beast! Fear of faith my dear; that is the lesson to be learned. See the candle’s light of freedom and the streets stained with blood. Are you truly going to abandon this world without music? A cold-hearted one you are,” the angel sneered.

I continued to perform a deep, minor chord that settled in more sinister than his presence. Tears streamed down my face as he circled around, taking my last light of life.

“A foremost future I have prepared for you….” I started up the last scale, the last effort of my final performance. I reached higher and higher pitches, ignoring every word and jester the angel threw at me. Then, the final note-the last E, so loud and high it shattered the world around me. I continued, feeling the power flow into my veins. The angel convulsed and covered his ears at the shrilling sound.

“Let shadows die, so I feel alive! Begone, you cursed being! Leave me and wither in your sadness!” I screamed. My lungs burned and I lifted the bow from the string, letting the final melody ring out into the darkness. Then, the world was still. Silence. I had defeated the devil. Then, I collapsed.

“Oh go-” I muttered and scrubbed a hand across my eyes.

My voice had gone hoarse and I found myself back in my living room but a new person. One of youth and vitality. I had conquered age and my time had finally come. As I sat, eyes still closed, my ears picked up the slight sounds of a song. An eerily familiar tune. Ah yes, the the first ever piece I played, which began the ultimate chapter of my life. The gospel story of my family, bringing my soul much needed peace, harmony and assurance. A chorus of voices erupted behind me, blended so smoothly that I could not help but raise my hands in joy and close my eyes. Surely, I was in heaven. I smiled to myself; I finally found the missing element. At last, I was satisfied. Music had saved me from eternal death.

Stretching and sitting up, I eagerly blinked open, only to be greeted by the same desolate wasteland. All music ceased.

“No,” I breathed. “No, this is a mistake dear Lord.” I called out, but no one replied.

“No, please!” Still silence.

“Ah, you’re up. Welcome, we’ve been expecting you. That performance brought me great happiness. I was very impressed.” I sighed in relief and turned around. The angel of death grinned wickedly.

“Welcome back, dear.”

Disclaimer: People and places are purely fictional.