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Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-This_Elegant_Ruin-by_Erin_Bartels.docx

gently plucked sweet sentiments from oboes, flutes, and violins with his left hand. With the right, he pulled beautiful round phrases from the rows of shining brass, and with a nod came the deep emotions of cello and bass. Drawing his hands ever closer to his chest, Garrison pressed the sounds into a sphere, slowly packing them tighter and tighter, like a snowball. Then all at once he released them again and the dust-speckled air above the orchestra thrummed with energy for the space of a few more breaths. Garrison gave his musicians the freedom to launch this sonic assault on the audience for a space, then deftly pulled them back down into their seats once more and laid the sound out like a cloth upon a broad table. He patted it down, flattening the wrinkled peaks of notes until it was completely smooth. Then he closed his eyes as if in prayer before a meal. Suddenly he clutched at the sound and snapped it in the air. The instruments screamed. Garrison’s cheeks shook and his entire upper body convulsed with energy, though his feet remained planted, a tree, unshifting, solid against the thrashing storm. Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat. Boom … boom … boommmmmm. Then silence, like a stopped heart. Thunderous applause. And Garrison breathed again. He glanced over his beloved musicians, his eyes smiling though his mouth remained a tight


Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-This_Elegant_Ruin-by_Erin_Bartels.docx
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