Repetition by Rebecca Xu

The familiar mourning melody of the infernal violin seared through her mind like a sharp knife slicing mercilessly through her aching heart.

Nothing irritated her more than the screeching of string instruments.

It was unfortunate for her to have been taught the skills of decoding the beautiful messages hidden by the language of numerous black and white notes printed laboriously by hand on pieces of manuscripts, passed down through generations, surviving wars and destruction under the protection of a thinly veiled glass case, and knowing the secrets whispered by the harmonies and melodies produced by the violin.

Again and again, the memorable tune remained glued in her mind, stubbornly refusing to leave for all the gold owned by the Aztecs. No matter what she did, whether she cried tears until no watery substance remained in her body, or screamed with rage until her voice was dried hoarse, the five note melody would not go.

Those repeated notes chased her relentlessly, tormenting her every step and laughing at her feeble attempts to destroy Death, who had appeared through that taunting tune.

She clutched her head in despair, praying for that vile song to disappear. Why couldn’t she be left ALONE?!

Nothing could hold her interest for more than three minutes, her thoughts flittering around like butterflies, never stopping in their mindless flight. She raced to the kitchen, cluttered with unwashed plates and an abandoned, broken dining table that needed a good clean. Her electric blue eyes flew around the dusty cabinets and landed on the tool she needed; the knife.

Her hand shaking, she grabbed it and hurled it against the crumbling wall, letting out a thunderous shriek.

She had enough.




Three knives; three bull’s eyes against the wall.

She sunk to the ground, gripping the knife so hard that her knuckles shone palely. They weren’t the only knives she had thrown. The walls were littered with cracks and marks created by the other sets of pitiful knives that were welded as the torturers for the sullen, innocent walls that served as large targets.

There it was again, the maddening notes played by the screeching instrument that could summon all the cats-including the ones that scourged the dark and dismal alleys outlining the identical homes in the small, isolated town-as audience members, perching on the fence, or purring lazily on the wooden veranda. She bit her lip and tasted the irony-salty flavour of blood.

Again, not the first.

The repetitive notes continued echoing through her mind, repeating the same sentence over and over again, never stopping, never pausing. French and Italian were pleasant at the tongue, and delightful conversations could be formed, but what can be said about the horrible, unspeakable language of classical music?

The terrible messages delivered to her every second of the day by the SAME, BLOODY NOTES OF THE AGGRAVATING VIOLIN!

She flung her last knife across the room, sinking it deep into the wall, where its fellow knives rested firmly. She yowled like a feral cat and beat her pallid fists that were elaborated with hundreds of scars on the ground, crying and begging for the simple, yet recognisable motif to cease.

The same notes…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…again and again in her head…quaver, quaver, quaver, crotchet, quaver…the constant notes playing the same rhythm…never flinching, never halting.

To any other musician or classical enthusiast, those five notes would be as precious as jewels, but to her? It was nothing but the demonic chants that had begun welcoming her on the long, endless road to the eternal flames of Hell.

What could be so urgent that this…this foul melody would be reiterated a million times a day?! Why?! What was it?!

Her hands were covered with thin streams of fresh blood and bruise; she had not succeeded in destroying the malevolent pattern of notes any further than before.

Back to square one.

She had injured herself for nothing.

A thought struck her.

What if there was a way- brutal and deadly- just one, to annihilate the accursed five note theme once and for all?

What if it was the only option to finally obliterate the melody?

It would be painful -of course- but…necessary?

Slowly, she reached for the closest knife and yanked it from the wall with a rough tug. It was her only choice…

The knife gleamed at her like the bright eyes of a cat in the middle of the night. Her heart pounded like drums as she brought it closer to her and stared at it, the tune replaying itself louder and louder by the minute.

No, the angelic part of her pleaded. This is not the way! Embracing Death is never the way to escape from a slight irritation! The violin motif only wishes to reconnect


you to its voice. You were acquaintances back then! NEVER allow Satan to plant dangerous thoughts into your mind!

She hesitated.

DO IT! hissed the devilish voice inside her head, as it slithered through her fuzzy array of thoughts. It’s your last chance to break free from the chains of misfortune that are holding you down in this torturous game called life! That melody will plague you for the rest of your miserable existence! DO IT!

C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…

Clenching the knife, and murmuring soft words of regret and loathing to the tune that followed her like Mary’s lamb since the first day of her life, she brought it to her beating heart, breathing deeply.

C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…

C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…

C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…C sharp, E, G, F sharp, F…