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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: November 8, 2015      Views: 575
Chapters:
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 ABOUT
W.J.DEBI 

Favorite saying by Albert Einstein, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

She is a top ranked author at the #92 position.

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Chapter 2 of the book The Piper
Piper in the Night
"The Piper, part 2" by w.j.debi



Previously
Piper struggled against the crowds of people anxious to be inside the city gates before they were closed at sunset. He assisted a small girl who fell and was separated from her family in the rush. As he headed out the gates, a city guard warned him of the dangers in the darkness and offered to wait by the city gates for Piper to let him in if he returns after dark.


Ending of previous chapter
Piper stopped in his tracks and turned to look at the guard. Why would he offer this favor to an under-aged flute player? "Thank you, sir, but I'll be alright. I have somewhere to go tonight. I'll be back in the morning."

"Well, if you are certain."

Piper nodded his acknowledgement. Without another word, he headed into the encroaching gloom, surprised by the momentary hesitation in his steps at the words that trailed after him.

"You be careful, young man."

A scowl creased Piper's brow and he quickened his pace. He had never feared the darkness and he certainly wasn't going to start now. In fact, the darkness beckoned like a warm cloak, one he would wrap around himself tonight and use to his advantage.

 

Chapter 2

Piper wasn't certain how long he stared at the mound of freshly turned earth, tears streaming down his face. Sobs shook his frame, but he didn't care. He let his grief have full rein. There was no one in the darkness to judge, no one to call him unmanly for giving way to emotion. All the tears he had held back when they buried his grandfather this morning could flow freely now. Piper dropped to his knees next to the grave and put his face in his hands. "Why, oh, why, did you have to die, Grandfather? Oh, why?"

Darkness deepened. The moon rose over the trees and inched its way high into the night sky. Stars multiplied and gathered into constellations. Near midnight, Piper finally looked up, weary from the physical drain of emotion.

He rose to his feet, took a measured breath, and put the flute to his trembling lips. A melancholy melody wafted upon the breeze. Night creatures paused to listen. Insects fell silent. Even the moon seemed to fall under the enchantment of the dedicatory serenade.

Some of the best court musicians had performed at the funeral and the graveside, but no one had played the melody Piper knew his grandfather loved best. Was it a secret his grandfather had shared only with him, this melody and its story? Piper hoped so. It made it even more special.

His grandfather had often played this melody as a jaunty tune. Now, Piper played it slowly and thoughtfully. Love. Loss. Loneliness. Heartbreak. A hundred emotions flowed through his flute, caressed by his affectionate fingers, brought to life with his delicate breath. His grandfather was the only one who would understand. It was a connection Piper was unwilling to release, so he stretched and explored each musical phrase to its limit, searching for the hidden meanings in each individual meter. When he finished, Piper started again. The music took on a deeper melancholy mood, each note lingering on the night air--hesitating, longing, embracing, reaching out to touch the world beyond.

Lost in his grief and the alluring comfort of the music, Piper played the tune over and over again. About an hour before dawn, a heavy sigh was all he had left. His mouth was too dry to play another note even though he wished he could. Piper let the instrument drop to his side where it normally hung. He repositioned the cord that crossed his chest and took a deep breath of cool night air. He should head back to the city. Still, he found himself rooted to the spot, unwilling to leave his grandfather alone.

"A wonderful tribute, young man."

The unexpected voice was soft and friendly, but it startled Piper. He spun to face its owner, then froze. A hooded figure stood about twenty yards away.

The speaker continued, "I don't think such a hush has come over the world in many years. I dare say the very leaves on the trees held absolutely still so they could listen. I swear all nature was in awe. It was pure magic, my boy. Pure magic."

Piper's mouth was so dry his tongue stuck to the roof of it.

The figure took a step closer. "What, nothing to say after such praise?"

Piper swallowed. Just enough moisture trickled into his mouth and throat to allow a hoarse response. "I'm sorry, sir. I ... I didn't expect to see anyone else out here. I do thank you for the kind compliment."

"You are welcome." The stranger cocked his head to one side as if listening for a sound in the distance. "I suppose you are right. A graveyard isn't a place a lot of people frequent this time of night."

Is this stranger dangerous? Should I run? Most people are inside the protective walls of the city, except for thieves and such. And one stupid, grieving flute player. Can I outrun him and make it back to the city safely? It's hard to know how fit he is, or how swift.

Then the stranger reached up to push the hood off of his head.

Piper's mouth dropped open and goose-bumps rose on his skin. The stranger's hair was pure white. Because of the dappled shadows of the moonlight shining through the trees, it was hard to tell if there was a silver-blue tinge to his skin or not, but the pointed ears left no doubt about his heritage. He's Fae. I don't stand a chance, not physically. Stories say the Fae are swift, strong and deadly.

"Your name is Piper, isn't it?"

"How ..." Piper choked the word out.

The Fae grinned. "Well, this is fortuitous. I was on my way to find you."

~~~

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