Short Story: The Music Went On

Here’s a short story I wrote– a very short story.  Surprisingly, it has almost no humor, but is weirder than any of my other stories– perhaps for that reason.  Enjoy.

I stood, contemplating the cellist playing in the park.  His hard case was open in front of him and he was looking intently at a music stand with many loose papers on it.  The sound coming out of the cello was flawless and beautiful, but no one stopped to listen except me.

The cellist didn’t acknowledge me, alone in my stillness among throngs of people, cars and bicycles.  His eyes were fixed on the music as his fingers flew around his instrument.  The cello seemed alive, moving with him like a friend who knew his ways.

As I watched, the musician closed his eyes, ignoring his music for the first time.  The sound became richer and clearer as his movements grew wilder and more expressive.  It seemed that any moment he would jump from his chair.  His eyes closed, he played for the crowd who didn’t hear him.

I peered into the case in front of the young man.  There was nothing in it; no one had yet stopped to donate to the musician.

As I fished in my pocket for some money, the cellist suddenly knocked his music off his stand with a wild bowstroke.  He didn’t mind; he wasn’t using it anyway.  A gust of wind blew papers through the park as the cellist played on.

The music stand fell to the ground and shattered, pieces bouncing in every direction.  Still no one paid any heed.

The strings of the cello broke, but the music went on.  The bow in his hand split into pieces, but the music went on.  The cello itself shattered, but the music went on.  The man and his instrument had become the center of chaos, but still the music went on.

As pieces of wood and metal flew in all directions, I covered my face and head with my arms.  When I peered out again, the cellist and the chaos he had created were gone.  All that was left was the case.

As I stooped to flip a few bills into the empty case, I could still hear the music playing softly.

Leave a comment


  1. awesome!

  2. Charley R

     /  September 3, 2012

    Hmm, nice work. The language is a little odd in places – “many loose sheets” would probably sound more natural as something like “several”, for example – but on the whole it’s not bad.

    I feel the impact of the cello, bow, musician etc breaking could be made more dramatic and punchy by use of stronger language (and perhaps a little more length and detail in the story as a whole. A nice grim, grey, typical cityscape backdrop might help too).

    I do like that last line, though. I like that very much.

    • SHE’S BACK!! *gives distance hug*

      Thank you so much for the critique. I’ll work on it– I might even edit this thing. One question, though: what do you mean by “stronger language”? Can you give an example? I’m lost in all these higher writing terms.

      • Charley R

         /  September 4, 2012

        “Stronger language” – in short, something a bit more complex and evocative. I’d try and think of examples, but they never illustrate what I mean 😛

        Also *return distance hug* Thankees. I am indeed 🙂

      • Okay… I’ll try and figure that out. Thanks!

      • Charley R

         /  September 5, 2012

        Hehe, sorry – best of luck, and you’re very welcome.

  3. This is a really nice piece, and I enjoyed it very much. I liked the haunting feeling it leaves.

    Good work!

  4. Short as it was, it did leave a slight feeling of melancholy at the end.

    I do think that you could have used some stronger verbs/adjectives here and there to make it more vivid in some places, like changing “covered” to, perhaps, “shielded,” when you were trying to avoid getting shish-kabobbed by the exploding cello and musician.

    Over all…nice job with the whole thing. I liked it.

  5. That was very weird, but I like it. I like slightly creepy (not GORY) stories.

  6. I really like it. I agree with everyone else, though, where you’ve got to use more expressive adjectives. Also, that part where you said that the music stand shattered was one of the places where I went “Hmm…”. ‘Cause when I first read it I imagined it exploding, but then I noticed you said the pieces bounced so that kind of minimized the explosion for me.
    Also I imagined a tornado when it’s really chaotic, and Washington Square Park as the setting.

  7. Oooooo, I liked it. It was creepy enough to make me shiver, but not too creepy that I would be haunted! I especially like the last three paragraphs. Ooo. *shivers* Oddly, I can kind of picture this in my mind, just kind of black and white pictures for each two paragraphs. I can’t let you in my mind, unfortunately, but it’s an eerie but beautiful picture it creates. Good Job 🙂

  8. That’s a…very odd story. I like it.

  1. The Music Went On– Second Draft « This Page Intentionally Left Blank
  2. The Music Went On, Draft Three « This Page Intentionally Left Blank

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