Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Doomsday Symphony: Chapter 71 (The End)

In the previous installment of The Doomsday Symphony, Mahler's score has been safely deposited in the Posthumous Manuscript Collection, Klangfarben's plot was a total failure, and Victor Crevecoeur has been taken back to New Coalton where he has been successfully revived. The case would seem to be closed.

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Chapter 71
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As we pulled into the farmhouse’s driveway, the sun was about to come up, that slight, pale light on the horizon letting us know the night was over and a new day was ready to begin.

There were some heavy clouds that looked like they could bring much needed rain except, in this heat, they’d likely produce strong thunderstorms.

I’d forgotten how hot and humid this mid-summer day had been after the time we’d spent in the cooler world of Harmonia-IV. Despite the humidity or thinking I should be exhausted, I was wide awake – “wired!”

Mary, already standing on the porch, ran down the walk to greet us when she saw Victor get out of the car. Words didn’t need to be spoken, then. We stood aside to let them embrace.

A moment later, Mary, threading her arm through Victor’s, invited everyone inside for breakfast. It seemed the thing to do, given the timing.

Dr. Portnoy and Dr. Highwater, sleeping on the parlor sofas, awoke slowly but quickly focused when they saw Victor in the archway. They both greeted the good news of everybody’s return, wanting to know about everything.

Mary shook her head, guiding everyone toward the kitchen. “Not now, not now – I’m sure everybody’s exhausted,” she said. “I know I am…”

The musicians were sleeping upstairs and Zoe went to wake them with the news.

Mary told her, “Make sure you invite them down for breakfast as soon as they feel they’re ready.” She knew something about artists.

Detective Ste.-Croix declined to stay, excusing herself to get back to the office and the business of somehow writing up her day’s report.

Mary, along with Dr. Portnoy, looking out the kitchen window, commented about the wind. It seemed to be getting stronger, maybe brewing up a storm, though now that everybody was home safely, it didn’t really matter.

It wasn’t long before the rain kicked in and winds began howling. Before long, lightning and thunder rocked the early morning skies.

As the musicians came downstairs, some of us stood at the windows and watched.

In no time, Mary and Dr. Portnoy had breakfast ready and on the table, all of us digging in like we were famished.

Soon, the storm stopped, the sun came out and almost instantly it felt cooler. There were deer playing in the yard, the calming effect of everything reminding us that, so in nature, so also in life.

During breakfast, no one bothered asking anything about where we had been, what we had seen or how we had found Victor, though Dr. Highwater was extremely curious and Ms. Rowberson, on the verge of exploding.

Even after watching the deer and commenting about how calm everything felt, Mary said she was just happy to have her husband back.

Too wired just to sit down and rest, some of us strolled around the back yard while Xaq wanted to take his mom down to the pond which surprised Victor since Zoe never went there, willingly.

Once we’d gotten back inside, we heard a commotion coming from the parlor. Loni and Devon discovered they couldn’t find the parts for Sebastian’s quintet – it’s like they were all stolen right out of their folders. And when Dima went to check his computer files to see about getting another set printed, it turned out his laptop was fried.

Zoe thought maybe she should check her “new” violin – the one Bach had given her (how would she ever explain where she got it?) – afraid perhaps it too might have vanished. Was everything going to disappear?

But when she opened the case, not only was the violin there, there was another handful of white petals from the mock orange.

Where could they have come from, she wondered. How did they get in there? Did Bach put them there – or, more likely, Sebastian…?

She smiled as she closed the case, realizing the past is always with us.


As I drove home, Cameron was very quiet. I was going to drop him off at the train station near my place so he could catch a train into Philadelphia where he’d meet his best friend. After telling me about his plans to attend college with Dylan, he cautiously showed me the sealed envelope that Beethoven had given him.

“He didn’t say what it was,” Cameron elaborated, “except it would make my fortune. He even told me which library I should go to, pretending I found it there, then publish it in this particular magazine.”

I couldn’t imagine what it might contain – perhaps a letter identifying the Immortal Beloved?

“Don’t lose it or forget where you hid it.”

Sebastian had told me where I could find an envelope of my own, though I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone about it. It contained unmarked sketches for his Piano Quintet, surviving separately from the registered score.

He said I should realize them, turn them into my own work, since they were largely based on something I’d already written.

“Who would know, right?” he’d said, with a wink. “Dedicate it to my memory.”

It was his way of inspiring me, since I had helped inspire him – like a joint creation, a mutual tribute to our friendship.

“What if anybody remembered what they’d heard or played that night at the farmhouse?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he’d said with a shrug. “Tell them you’re trying to recreate what you’d heard, that night. They’d all understand.”


After dropping Cameron off at the train station, telling him to keep in touch, I stopped for groceries before going home where I was greeted at the door by a very hungry and highly incensed cat.

It was good to be home, maybe grabbing some sleep after checking the mailbox.

There was a letter – scented – with no return address.

It looked like a ransom note, cut-out letters.

That didn’t make much sense.

Who was Klavdia Klangfarben?

What was that all about?


Anyone standing near the woods outside New Coalton that afternoon would’ve seen Detective Jenna Ste.-Croix, dropped off by a cab, looking around. She took note of the clouds, some nearby deer, then located an old stump.

Then they would’ve seen her walk into the center of the field – and disappear.

They would wait a long time till she returned.

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This turned out to be the first in a series of classical music appreciation comedy-thrillers I call The Klangfarben Trilogy. You can read the second novel, The Lost Chord, which beginning here. I completed the third novel, The Labyrinth of Klavdia Klangfarben, in September of 2014, and it may well become available here in future posts. As of the Fall of 2014, I am toying with another novel that would not involve Ms. Klangfarben but would continue the adventures of Dr. Kerr and his sidekick, Cameron Pierce, at the moment entitled In Search of Tom Purdue. Stay tuned...

- Dick Strawser

The novel, "The Doomsday Symphony," a music appreciation thriller written between 2010 and 2011, is the sole supposedly intellectual property of its author, Richard Alan Strawser.
© 2012

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