Beginning, Middle, End of the story, to be split up. In between the parts, the heft of the book will be made up by the two characters’ stories of how they got to this situation. I should probably post a full plot outline (or, at least, as full as it’s going to be for at least another week). Needs to be longer and might change the end a bit.Here it is!
The sun knew it was time to set, but it lingered in the graying sky. Like a child at bedtime, turning away from the darkening window in ignorance, it lit up the city with its feeble, dying rays. The wind slid around the fallen buildings. It whispered in the ears of the people outside, huddled together on curbstones, bent low over small scraps of food or dwindling candles. Amid the rubble and broken stones stood a man, alone on the corner of the street. His name was Andras. His shoes were dusty black, coated with dirt, and his coat was long, brown, and tattered. A chiseled Greek statue dulled by sand and wind, his once-handsome face was now creased and tanned. His eyes were shut tightly, making little ripples around their lids. Under his chin, there was nestled a violin.
It was spotless. The smooth mahogany wood was as pure and perfect as the day it was first polished, immune to the stone dust that now covered everything. The man rocked back and forth as he drew his bow across the strings, his fingers waltzing up and down the neck, coaxing out a song as fluid as the chilling October wind. The music seemed to overtake the foul-smelling air, filling it with the sweet scent of gardenias and laughter. Quiet and soft as it was, it billowed up into the sky and stretched on for miles, like a kite.
Across the road, a soldier stood watching him. He ran his fingers over the rough brown wool of his uniform, adjusting the leather strap across his chest. The melody tugged at something in his memory, whispering of sunny afternoons in the pavilion and the heavy perfume of old paper. But out of the sad-happy memories he drew the feeling of fear, abandonment, loneliness. He felt isolated suddenly, in the middle of the square, in enemy territory. He felt his gaze harden as he watched the old man’s still-agile fingers.
As the piece floated into a crescendo, the old violinist opened his eyes, noticing the soldier across the road. He stopped abruptly. He began to draw the bow across the lowest string, then pulled it sharply against the others, making his violin wail in pain. The soldier winced.
“Ez nem az Ön számára.” he said.
“I don’t speak hungarian,” replied the soldier, approaching.
“I said, you ignorant pig, the music is not for you.”
“Well if you don’t want anybody else to hear it, why don’t you just slink on back to your dirty budka in the slums and play it for yourself?” he snapped. The violinist brushed his graying hair from his forehead. He still had all his hair, noted the soldier, though he must have been older than sixty.
“How can you understand?” The old man began quietly. “You think this–” he gestured to the violin in his hands. “–is all about you? Perhaps I play for my neighbors. Day and night, dragging the music out, wrestling with it like a dirty communist wrestles with his conscience. I’ve played since before you were born. All that work, and where does it get me? Here, yelling down at some scrawny, ugly Russian boy. Broken life. But you,” his voice began to rise, accusing. “You have just begun your life. You will be promoted, commended for your admirable displays of courage, your sacrifice to your country and your all-powerful father of Russia. You, my friend, are a hero indeed.”
The young soldier remained silent. Andras felt his veins expand, the blood rising to his skin in a vain attempt to calm him. The boy watching the ground, how ashamed he looked. Perhaps he will demand of his mother to fix everything. Determined to make the boy look at him, he began again.
“Quite a display,” he said, sliding a grimy finger along the meager collection of honorary buttons and pins. “How does one go about getting such a fine show of medals? Oh, but I know. It’s easy, you say. Just find some poor bastard, shoot him between the eyes. That’s how you got that one, there,” he lowered his voice to a sharp whisper. “How many have you killed for that one? How many of them old, like me…how many of them children?” He was yelling now. “You killed her, I know. My daughter. Nine years old, such a pretty girl. And you slaughtered her like a pig at the block, like a common animal. And you might have taken the time to talk to her, you know. To just talk to her? Or couldn’t you spare the time, comrade, for a person so lowly as her? You’re nothing. A rotten communist shitbag.” The soldier looked up, and noticed the tearmarks boring ridges into his dirt-crusted face. But he was hurling insults at him, at the street, across the entire square people could hear. No courage, he said. No heart, no soul. Before he knew, his hands whipped from his side, he was throwing his weight against the withered bones, feeling them give way beneath him.
He had the strangest expression on his face. At first glance, it appeared to be contentment, a quiet satisfaction. But around his eyes there hung an absence; the anger in his brain dissipated into a tingling, blissful numbness that hugged his entire body.
Andras fell to the ground. Almost in slow motion, a red pool grew around his head like a gruesome halo. The soldier stood over him for a few seconds, his face placid. “My name is Andrei,” he murmured to the body, before turning away. The city swallowed him into