Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Oh, Flute and I'll Come to You, My Lad! By Kath Allen

Oh, flute, and I’ll come to you, my lad! By Kath Allen

It may be that we possess two selves instead of one...

It was a night forever etched upon my memory. A wild storm raged outside as I stood in the drawing room of our country house, surrounded by paintings of haughty ancestors, my parents elsewhere, at a ball or some such, while I was left in the care of the maid, Dithers.

I was a talented musician for one so young, not much more than six or seven. To comfort myself in the tempest I raised my flute to my lips and began to play, animated by some external force over which I had little control; the very candles seemed to dance and flicker to the tune of my playing. The shadows jigged wildly on the walls and the answering firelight leapt and shrank. As the music built to a crescendo, I could not escape a feeling of terrific foreboding which had me turn slowly towards the uncurtained window where I beheld, in some horror, a face looking in at me from the dark turmoil beyond. And such a face! Twisted and withered in the extreme, it seemed to hold a lifetime of suffering within its lines and the blazing look which it bestowed upon me confirmed in me the suspicion that this was the twisted visage of the very devil himself! Shocked and rigid to a state of petrification, I released my grip on my precious flute and the instrument clattered to the floor, bent and broken, never to be picked up or played again.

Inevitably, I grew up and left the house of my birth. Music, which had been my lifeblood, was denied to me. Having called up the very devil with my playing, I dared not ever allow myself that particular heaven or hell again.

Years passed, my life blighted by my early experience, I grew old, lonely, tired – never to know the balm of hearth and home or a family of my own.

One night, I felt an overpowering urge to return to that long lost home. My parents were now dead and the ancestral estate sold. I galloped through the night to arrive in the handsome parkland I had once roamed; the wind blew up suddenly and a gale began to roar around me. I was compelled to approach my beloved old house, drawn on by the sound of sweet music emanating from the large, lighted windows.

Walking slowly towards the house, I felt as if a force were pressing against me, trying to push me back, away from whatever pleasant, harmonious scene may greet me. Finally, through strength of will, I made my way up to the window and beheld the precious scene; a small boy, caught up in the magic of his own playing of the flute. In an instant, catching sight of my face illuminated at the window, he uttered a silent but visible cry of horror and letting go of his flute, it fell to the ground with a clatter.

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