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Page 4



"I found you outside. Ten feet from the door, which was open. I stood there for the longest time. I thought you were dead. But then I heard you groan, so I helped you inside, then you woke up. Should I call a doctor?"

"No - no, I'm fine, I think. I must have been sleep walking. Help me upstairs, I need to get out of these wet things."

Where had he been last night? What had he done? If it had been a mundane case of nocturnal wanderings then he wouldn't have been so concerned, and yet he was. He was certain that he had done more than just wander downstairs, but what he couldn't say. Faintly he seemed to recall music, tried to hum it, capture and identify the sound but instead it receded back into his unconsciousness. Sara knocked at the door. He called out to say that he would not be a moment and then realized that that was another odd thing - just why had Sara come to visit him, especially on this of all mornings?

"It looks like you have been composing, sweets!" He looked at the reams of composition paper crumpled up like pillboxes in Verdun. On the piano was a stack of more composition paper. He didn't remember composing anything. Sara looked at the first page under the title, scribbled out in pencil: "The Symphony of the Dead, Opus #45". He just stood there, stunned. What sort of a dirty trick was this.

"You have been working too hard, William. Why you've finished a whole symphony, it looks like! This long vac is doing you some good, even though you look the worse for wear."

"I havenít composed anything, dear!"

"Here is the proof in the pudding right under your nose." She laughed a throaty laugh of the gods. "This first subject is fantastic! You must have been delirious!" She thumbed through what looked like about 200 pages of pure orchestration rivaling Rimsky-Korsakov or Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."

He looked for himself and was surprised to recognize his handwriting. The way he carved the notes. The quarter notes, the sixteenths, ...there were his trademark Double Bass dirges, the horns barely used except to bleat out genius here and there, heavy on the strings, tremolos of raging seas, strange tempos thither and yon, rhythms and hemiola rivalling Bernstein... Had he ever heard that melody before? The first subject came out of nowhere and was supremely masterful!

Was he in some auto-suggestive trance last night? No one man could write 200 pages of composition overnight, that is practically a mile of melody! He looked up at Sarah and she was beaming.


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