Title: DUET WITH THE DEVIL’S VIOLIN
Genre: MG magical
Word count: 43,000
prodigy Miranda Harper craves the kind of perfection that goes beyond hitting
all the right notes--she wants to be inside the music. Thanks to her new
violin, she achieves her goal, but it's more than she bargained for. A flawless
performance of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” lands her in a flying chariot
piloted by a six-and-a-half-foot Valkyrie delivering a dead soldier to
Valhalla. She’s sure there shouldn’t be dead bodies inside the music.
Miranda snaps back to reality, only to battle exhaustion and a
reluctance to play for several days. She decides the Valkyrie incident was a
hallucination, until the magic strikes again during a Halloween concert. This
time her world goes black and white, and a dress-clad psycho chases her with a
butcher knife. As a bonus, the scratches Miranda gets during her escape come
back to the real world with her.
With each trip into the music, it’s harder to return and the side
effects get worse. Miranda knows she should stop, but the violin and its
promise of perfection call to her. The euphoria of one extraordinary
performance is worth a few days of exhaustion and some cuts and bruises. But
when she discovers continuing to play the violin could trap her forever in an
alternate reality, she must decide what perfection is really worth.
I knew it wasn’t really possible. Near perfection,
yes. Total perfection, no way.
I’d learned that lesson after years of playing the violin.
Something that sounded flawless to the average person was bound to have
A tone so slightly off pitch that even someone with a highly
trained ear couldn’t tell.
A note played a hundredth of a beat too soon.
A bow pulled at the wrong speed to produce the right sound.
A measure performed in mezzo piano instead of pianissimo.
Joshua Bell, classical music superstar and my idol, once
said: “When it’s perfect, I feel like I can do no wrong. I could change my
fingers--do it on a different string--because I have that much concentration.
Also, you feel like you’re inside the music.”
That was what I wanted to feel--that I was inside the music.
That I was the music.
I especially wanted that sensation today, my first day as
concertmaster of the youth symphony. Miranda Harper: concertmaster. I loved the
sound of it. I should have had the title last season, but Dr. Kamensky had said
I needed a year to observe. It probably hadn’t helped that my first year was the
previous concertmaster’s final year before college, and it would have really
sucked to be bumped by a seventh grader.
Instead he’d named me principal second violinist. At least
we’d played some Mozart. Good old Wolfgang sometimes let the second violins
outshine the firsts.
Now it was my turn to shine, and we weren’t playing Mozart