Joshua slammed his fingers on the keys of the upper and lower manuals of the grand church organ, and the chord blasted through the pipes—heavy, minor, anguished. He let it hang, and then played five notes on the choir—why why O God why?—slowly at first, building momentum, increasing in speed until the notes tripped on each other, spilling into new notes. Those notes growing in number and intensity until a crowd of music cried in grief. Then: a single note, high and clear, rises above the rest, pleading, asking for…
His hands froze. His fingers didn’t know what to play next.
Joshua thumped his elbows on the keyboard, making it blare, and buried his face in his hands.
“That’s an interesting ending,” someone behind him said.
Joshua gave a start. He’d thought he was alone. He wiped his face with his hands, hoping the person would notice only his sweat and not the tears. “It’s a work in progress.”
“I didn’t know you could play organ. Is it more difficult than the piano?” The person climbed the short steps and sat on the bench beside him.
Joshua glanced at him long enough to take in the dark hair, brown eyes, and short sleeve polo that was totally wrong for the freezing weather outside. “Sorry. I’m…tired. Do I know you?”
The man laughed as if he’d played a great joke. “Seriously? A new hairstyle and contacts, and you don’t recognize me? Maybe I should go harass Malachai next.”
“Malachai? Dr. Randall Malachai?” Something clicked in Joshua’s overwrought brain, and he gave his visitor a closer examination. Blue eyes for brown; long blond hair, add a slouch that came from years of resentment and lack of self confidence… Could it be? Despite his prayers, he couldn’t believe it, and yet… “Deryl?” he whispered.