DUET WITH THE DEVIL’S VIOLIN
Upper MG Magical Realism
Thirteen-year-old prodigy Miranda Harper craves the kind of perfection that goes beyond hitting all the right notes--she wants to be inside the music. Thanks to her new violin, she achieves her goal, but it's more than she bargained for. A flawless performance of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” lands her in a flying chariot piloted by a Valkyrie transporting a dead soldier.
Miranda snaps back to reality, only to battle exhaustion and a reluctance to play for several days. She decides the Valkyrie incident was a hallucination, until the magic strikes again during the "Psycho" theme at a Halloween concert. This time her world goes black and white, and Norman Bates chases her with a butcher knife. As a bonus, the scratches Miranda gets during her escape come back to the real world with her.
With each trip into the music, it’s harder to return and the side effects get worse. Miranda’s best friend begs her to stop, but she’s determined to prove she can control the violin and achieve perfection on her own terms. She’s willing to risk a few cuts and bruises, but when she discovers the violin could trap her forever in an alternate reality, she must decide what perfection is really worth.
First 150 Words:
I prepared for the downbeat, bow poised over the strings of my new violin.
Miranda Harper: concertmaster. Just thinking about it made me want to jump up and dance. But I couldn’t do that, especially not at the first rehearsal. It wouldn’t be concertmaster-like.
After a year of waiting it out as principal second violinist “so I could observe and grow,” I’d finally made it. At least we played some Mozart last season. Good old Wolfgang sometimes let the second violins outshine the firsts.
Now it was my turn to shine, and we weren’t playing Mozart today.
My fingers tingled, like extra energy ran through them.
I’d been practicing this piece--a medley from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung--for weeks. It started with “Ride of the Valkyries,” a melody everyone recognized, either because they’d seen a fat lady singing it or watched Elmer Fudd warble, “Kill the Wabbit.”