So here it is - it's over. I hope it's not too much of a disappointment.

French sentences' translations: "I want to see her one last time" "That is not my daughter" "Chemical burning"


The knight rode to the princess, who sat quietly under the tree with the golden apples. The dragon hunting her was dead… or so they thought. It did not matter, they were happy, the golden apples shining in the sunlight. But as soon as their hands touched, a gigantic cloud appeared over the castle's courtyard, and a lightning struck the beautiful tree. As the golden apples fell to the ground and shattered, the palace went ablaze too. No one survived. The dreams were gone forever, no more smiles, no more laughter around the burnt, black spot on the ground where the palace once stood. Flowers would never grow again there.

Death.

Death.

Death…

Writing with her left hand was so unusual. But she should get used to it, she knew, as on her right hand, only her thumb and little finger remained – also, she would never remove the thick leather glove that covered it. She would not let anyone see her as some scarred wreck, bad enough that she lay in hospital for a week, and there was no way she could conceal the cut on her right cheek. Nevertheless, she knew that one was the fault of the boy she used to love… that long gone time, as if it was centuries ago.

No more fairytales or pretty dreams. All Lindsay could write about was death and pain, as of then, she had filled one entire page with the word death. She could pretend it was a writing exercise, to get used to letting her left hand be the dominant one… as if pretending would help anything. It just wouldn't.

It would never erase the moment when she literally punched her father in the stomach for asking her if she was all right. Would not erase the scared hisses when she threw the whole plate full of her favourite meal to the ground, shattering it, then intentionally cutting her arm with one of the ceramic shards, just to see the blood spill and realize nothing would hurt her ever any more. Or when Kelly, her best friend, came to visit her, only to be slapped and shooed away. She needed no compassion, no fake frienship.

Her hair was cut short, not only because most of it was ripped off, but also for preventing her from pulling it out and tearing at it in frustration.

"Linnie…" her mother would whisper, standing at her door, and most of the time getting it slammed in her face.

"Come on, I'll take you for a walk and we'll have an ice cream" her father would sometimes suggest, at which she would just stare blankly. Those empty eyes would soon deter John Carter.

No hugs. Nothing.


"Numbers?" Miss Durham opened that silly notebook of idiotic writings, as Lindsay lay dazed in her hospital bed.

"To change the lines… try out how it would sound if I swap them around…" the girl whispered.

She still knew what they meant. What she had hidden in those eight childish lines of fantasy poetry – not that she needed to, she would still remember only the numbers. But the time she wrote it, when she could still dream, it seemed much more adventurous to write up a code, and reveal it later – anyway, lines of numbers in a writing notebook would have seemed suspicious. Miss Durham let her keep the notebook, as it was not blood-spattered or torn, and she couldn't figure anything out of the lines.

Reveal the code.

Reveal it to whom?

There was nothing in it about the Training. Nobody would know about it, never. If her dreams were not only shattered, but gone, making it impossible for her ever to hope again – or so she thought – maybe someone else's would come true. One day.

She put her pen down and looked sideways at the blue notebook lying discarded on the floor, her eyes forever lacking the happy sparkle that used to be the trademark of the eternal optimist, who would not let some cliques full of shallow bitches ruin her will to live.

Numbers and asterisks. Only Willie and Al would know.

Reveal.

Reveal to whom?

1. In the clouds, a kingdom I see

2. Dreams live on, as it should be

3. When I look on, I miss you so much

4. You are so far, I long for your touch

5. But you will not stay, so let me finally go

6. I wished it would last forever, but it was not so

7. I slip away in the peace, silently

8. Just please, do not forget me…

"I gotta go."

"Linnie! Where?"

Lindsay, so strangely thin and fragile in her black dress, stared blankly, as she would always do since she came back from the hospital.

"To… see somebody…" her right hand, three fingers of the glove flat, held the blue notebook.

Not a dream. More likely a duty.


Several miles away, far across the ocean, someone else felt something amiss, though they could not make sense of it, and never would. The Training would remain a secret project – and the Beaumont family would never make return to America.

"Je veux la voir une dernière fois…"

François Beaumont, the chemistry professor, handed a large bundle of money to the Lyon cemetery worker, who knew the coffin would have to stay shut – but now seemed to waver.

"Ça… ça n'est pas ma fille…" François stammered, his eyes widening in horror.

He knew it wasn't true. He recognized the thick black hair and the large golden cross, the mole on her arm, the clothes and the body type. It was indeed Madeleine.

His eyes narrowed.

"Brulure chémicale…"

But that was the end of it. The Beaumont family would never discern anything more – at least not that time.

It was over – twenty-nine lost lives, and one lost soul, a walking shell.


The notes of Mozart's Requiem resounded through the house, always reminding the family of their terrible loss, the tragic death of their eldest son.

Fifteen-year-old Zachary Vine hit the last key, then lay back and sighed. Nine-year-old Christopher stood in the doorway, clutching his teddy bear, though he had abandoned it two years before, claiming to be a big boy.

"Come on in, Chris."

The little boy walked up to his brother.

"It's all right to cry…"

The sharp sound of the doorbell interrupted them.

Mrs Vine opened to see a girl with boyishly short hair holding a notebook.

"I know you…"

"Lindsay Carter" she answered, her voice hollow "can I see Zachary?"

She knew the boy by sight, as sometimes he had played at a school concert with Al, but they were by no means friends.

"You're my brother's classmate, right?" he asked, not getting up from his chair "what are you doing here? Offering your condolences?"

Of course, she was the sole survivor of that accident, as far as the Vine family knew.

"Just Lindsay" she said flatly, and looked around for a chair to sit down.

"There" Zach finally stood up and pulled his desk chair next to the piano "why are you here?"

Chris walked out in silence, he didn't want to cry in front of a stranger.

Lindsay just pulled out the notebook, and searched through a bit clumsily with her gloved hand.

"Here."

Zach looked at the silly poem and the rows of numbers, occasionally interrupted by asterisks.

"What is this?"

Is she dedicating me a love poem?!

The boy had seen her a grand totale of two or three times, so that seemed highly unlikely.

"Willie composed it."

"What…?"

Willie, the legendary Willie writing something so girlish and idiotic seemed completely impossible.

"Not the verses – the composition."

"All right, listen, I don't see where this is going, so please…" Zach had about enough.

Lindsay suddenly grabbed the empty partition lying on the piano beside the Mozart volume.

"Pencil."

"What are you exactly doing here?" Zach stood up, and Lindsay, looking at him, went silent for a moment.

Taller than herself. Pale brown hair, dark eyes. He totally did not remind her of Al… just some of his facial features looked similar.

Take it to Zach…

That was what Al had said, anyway.

"Pencil" she repeated, as if giving orders, still not changing intonation since she arrived.

Zach sighed, irritated, and gave her one.

"Look, this is a do" she scribbled down a note.

"That's a C" he corrected, annoyed "what do you want now, a music lesson?!"

"Look, take it as a do, and follow the numbers, according to the notes in those verses! This is Willie's composition, Al wanted you to play it!"

"Willie did not compose anything recently!"

"He did, during the tr… the… the trip! I heard him and Al humming it! I saw it and wrote it down!"

"All I see is a stupid poem! And just why didn't Willie have it with him?!"

"Stupid bitch threw it in the fire!"

She remembered Miss Durham holding the composition and burning it with a lighter in front of her eyes as she lay in her hospital bed.

Zach threw Lindsay a killer look. All he wanted was to shoo her away as soon as possible.

She didn't mind his looks or his attitude – as if anything would hurt her. She just took the pencil with her left hand, and underlined a few passages in the verses.

"You see now? The composition is in the numbers, 1 to 8. Asterisks… there should be something else. I know only eight notes."

1. In the clouds, a kingdom I see

2. Dreams live on, as it should be

3. When I look on, I miss you so much

4. You are so far, I long for your touch

5. But you will not stay, so let me finally go

6. I wished it would last forever, but it was not so

7. I slip away in the peace, silently

8. Just please, do not forget me…

Zach didn't really get it. He let out a puff of air, took the empty partition, and, following the numbers, filled up a few lines. Then he stretched his fingers.

"Okay, let me try."

He began playing, as Lindsay looked at him, or, rather, through him, somewhere distant where only she could see.

"Wait…" he stopped "asterisk between the D and the F… or the re and the fa, as you say… there could be a pause, or a…"

Lindsay did not pay attention any more. She didn't understand any of the musical terms Zach said, nor did she want to. Her mission was accomplished.

She, however, did not want to hear it now. Not yet – the memories were too fresh.

The notebook, full of silly writings, was not with her when she returned home. Before, she used to hold it jealously, let nobody see what she wrote in her spare time. But what did some stupid girly secrets matter now?

By the time Zach finished composing, correcting and adjusting, ignoring his parents calling him to dinner or telling him to stop playing already, it was far past midnight.

In front of him lay William Wosley's final masterpiece – the great composer's name would one day shine in neon letters, his music, the one found posthumously, to resound in the music halls.


Zachary bowed to the cheering audience at the memorial concert, after he had finished playing his enhanced version of what he had called Memory of Class 10th C, composed by William Wosley with help from Alistair Vine.

Lindsay sat in the front row with her parents, trying in vain to cover her ears or block the music out. Beautiful, yes, it was – but Al's voice humming it kept on roaring like thunder in her confused mind. Not letting go for a moment, for a second. Al still lived in her, and she knew with painful certainty he forever will.

"Thank you, thank you… really, please, now I have to go home…" Zach shyly pulled away from a few congratulating fans as he exited the music hall "oh! Miss Carter!"

He still didn't feel like calling her Lindsay or Linnie.

"What?!" she turned around, almost angrily.

"You… thank you" he took both her hands.

He, unaware of what he was doing, accidentally compressed the three empty fingers of the glove.

"Leave me alone!" she pulled away.

"No, I won't! Listen, I can't… I couldn't… I see it's really Willie's! You took it to me!"

"Meet us at the corner" John and Alice Carter whispered, and left - they didn't want to interfere. Lindsay didn't pay attention, anyway.

"Come on" Zach tried to take her hand, to calm her down.

"No!"

"What's wrong with you?!"

Lindsay walked towards the street corner with big steps, Zach following her relentlessly.

"Please! I just want to talk with you!"

The girl didn't answer.

Al… Al… Al… Al…

"Oh, all right" Zach finally resigned.

With a big sigh, he stopped, and looked at the Starbucks café on the other side of the street. He looked at Lindsay leaving one last time, then walked across and entered.

The girl just stood empty eyed between her parents at the street corner. None of them said a word.

"Al…" she whispered.

Her glance went down, to the program sheet her mother was still holding, with what would be played at the memorial concert.

Memory of Class 10th C – by William Wosley and Alistair Vine
Piano: Zachary Vine

His name. His name in print. Not yet neon letters, but as a composer.

Al… Al… Al… Al… Willie…

Without another word, Lindsay pushed her parents' hands off her, and, almost running, crossed the street.

For a slight second there appeared to be light in her eyes, but it didn't last long enough to be certain, as she entered the café.

THE END


Reviews most welcome. Please visit my forum, and give a try to my new story, in which I corrected most of the flaws this one had, like shallow characterization and too many names thrown all at once. I would love to hear from all of you, my beloved readers, as it thanks to you I got this far, and finished this story. I would never let you down, as you have always supported me.