The night after Francis' death passed in a hazy feeling of unreality, and Lovino had no idea what he had done after finding the letters, safe for crying, ending up playing the violin again to drug the pain away with music and finally retiring to bed clinging onto Feliciano, and Feliciano onto him with just as tight an embrace. Only the two of them were left now, only him and Feli, and they were both scared, wondering who could bear such terrible grudge against them, whether that person was going to continue his horrific deeds, and, indeed – whether it would be Lovino or Feliciano to go next. Lovino wished, in his mind dulled by pain, that it should be himself. He couldn't bear to lose the last person he had in this world, and he knew Feliciano didn't want to die, he had such a bright future ahead of him. Lovino had already given up on his.

Slowly the night turned into morning, and Lovino, in his yet drowsy state, realized that instead of Feliciano, the soft thing he was holding in his arms now was the boy's pillow. With a panicky expression he shot up from his bed and called for Feli, wishing desperately to hear his brother's childish voice from the kitchen, telling him he was only making breakfast. No reply came. Lovino's cries were echoed by the walls in the house empty of other souls except for Lovino's own. Lovino trembled, as if encountered by a bad case of the flu. Dreadful scenarios filled his mind until he noticed a small piece of paper left on Feliciano's side of the bed. He picked the note up and recognized his brother's handwriting, the message written on it saying that Feli had gone to the concert hall and Lovino shouldn't worry about him. Contrary to what Feli had written, Lovino felt even more worried and scared, and barely took the time to put on his shoes before rushing to the concert hall.

The lights in the building were dim, someone having lit candles here and there, changing the whole appearance of the aristocratic hall into something that sent shivers down Lovino's spine. The hall was quiet, safe for a silent murmur coming from somewhere deeper in the building. With legs trembling of fear Lovino followed the voice, not sure if he wanted to find its source, but it was his best lead at finding Feliciano. As he approached the main stage the voice grew more audible, and Lovino felt something sticky on the floor under his feet. He couldn't brave himself to look down, having good enough of an idea what it could be even without looking. As he finally set his feet on the dark stage, bright lights were suddenly turned on, blinding Lovino for a moment. As soon as his eyes got used to the brightness, however, he wished he was still blind.

Feliciano was sitting on the floor on his knees, a terrified look on his face, sobbing in a panicky manner. Both sides of his head were smirched with blood, almost hiding the fact that the boy's ears were missing. His arms were hanging uselessly from his shoulders, each finger pointing to an unnatural direction.

"Feliciano!" Lovino cried and ran to his brother, holding him in his arms as if he could somehow heal him with just a touch. The blood from the countless thin scratches all over Feliciano's body soon dirtied Lovino's clothes, but he didn't care.

"I'm sorry," Feliciano continued his whimpering, proving to be the source of the voice Lovino had been hearing ever since he entered the building. The glassy eyes told that Feliciano couldn't see him, and even the touch didn't seem to make him realize Lovino's presence. "I'm sorry, Fratello… I'm sorry… please forgive me…"

Lovino's heart stopped for a moment as he heard the words. "W-what are you talking about?" he said in a slightly hysterical voice. "D-don't speak… W-we'll get you to the hospital and you'll be a-all right…"

Lovino's words had no effect as Feliciano continued his pitiful chanting through his sobs, the large wound in his neck pumping up more and more blood by each word he uttered, until he finally let out a gurgling noise and his head fell to rest upon Lovino's shoulder. Lovino's eyes widened in shock, and he shivered violently, holding the slowly cooling corpse of his brother in his arms.

The trance was broken by slow clapping from behind Lovino. The Italian turned quickly around and saw the same man he had seen the day of the concert.

"What a moving scene, comrade. My compliments," the honey-sweet voice said, the same old smile on his face. Lovino stood up, pointing a shaky finger at the man.

"I-it was you," he gasped, voice the mixture of fear and anger. "Y-you killed them! You killed everyone I love!"

The stranger in his black suit and a scarf chuckled. "Me? No, you're giving me too much credit. I didn't touch any of them. I don't even have the motive to kill them."

Lovino bit his lip, obviously not believing what the man said. "Then who…"

"Did you enjoy playing my trill?"

Lovino froze, his eyes largening. "N-no… you can't mean…"

The stranger laughed and pointed at somewhere behind Feliciano, who was now laying at the ground looking as if he was merely asleep, instead of having just been put to eternal slumber in the most brutal manner. "I never touched them, as I said. That would have been no fun. It's far more interesting to see a mortal let out his aggression."

Slowly, ever so slowly, Lovino turned his head and saw his old violin laying on the ground where the stranger was pointing at. The bow was coloured dark red with drying blood.

"N-no," Lovino whispered, shaking his head. "Why me? Why me?"

"You had all I needed," the stranger said in a laughing tone. "The talent. The pain. The grudge, the anger, the hatred." the man said the words in a tasting manner, as if each of them was a piece of delicious candy he hungered to devour.

"T-that's not true!" Lovino cried out, still shaking like a leaf in the wind. "I didn't hate them! I loved them!"

"Then, why did you do it?" the stranger said, squinting his eyes into thin slits as he smiled in his evil way. Lovino backed a couple of steps until he hit the wall behind him, and could barely stay standing even with its help. "No… i-it can't be possible…"

The stranger sat himself comfortably on a chair and crossed his legs.

"By the way, Lovino", he said, clearly enjoying the show. "You haven't quite perfected the trill yet. You're still missing a note."

Lovino shot a scared look at the stranger, then at his violin, and slowly made his way to the instrument. With practised calmness he picked it up, and the hall was once again filled with music – the most beautiful song that had ever been played, and that will ever be played there – the Devil's Trill being performed with not the slightest flaw or waver. And as the song ended, the violin fell to the floor with an audible clank followed by a louder thump, and slow clapping echoed in the empty hall.



[[I want to thank everyone who took the time to read the Devil's Trill! This was my first time writing horror, and I don't have much experience of the genre in general, but I hope you found it worth your time! Special thanks to everyone who commented, you've made me a really happy ficcer! *heart* ]]