“Mr Baines! Mr Baines!” the little boy came running to the door to greet him. “I’ve been practising.”
“That’s good,” said Vincent as he crossed over the threshold and into the warm mansion home of the Peterson family.
“I’m getting much better,” added the little boy with pride.
Vincent sat his violin case down. “Glad to hear it.”
He doubted it. Oliver Peterson had been struggling with the same piano piece since lessons began four months before. He was a cute kid but he lacked the musical ability his mother had expected of him. He couldn’t fault his enthusiasm though. Oliver’s twin brother, Osmond, on the other hand had shown great promise on the cello.
Vincent felt long fingers grip his shoulders.
“Can you stay an extra hour this evening? The ladies are coming round and I would love to hear them play.”
‘So I can take responsibility if they sound awful?’ Vincent thought to himself.
“Of course,” he replied. As their teacher it was his responsibility anyway.
Most of the families in the mansion houses of Filton had staff to clean, cook and perform all the domestic chores. Mrs Peterson took pride in controlling these things with her own hands, whilst still finding time to head several charity committees, social chairs and school societies.
“I’ll leave you to it,” said Mrs Peterson as she dashed off to retrieve something from the oven.
Vincent followed Oliver to the music room. Osmond was seated on the stool holding his cello. He wore the white shirt and grey trousers of his school uniform but he was barefooted. Oliver sat at the piano and started pushing the keys with no melody in mind.
The identical boys in different poses seemed surreal. The features were the same but the expressions different. Their chosen instruments were different. Their sounds were different. Their screams would crescendo through the hallways of the large mansion house like an echoing choral of a tragic opera.
“Why do you feel that way?” asked the professor.
Vincent leaned back in the chair. It rocked a little. It gave a grudging squeak as he reached both hands up above his head and rested them on top, smoothing the brown curls beneath.
“Those two little boys have a world of Hell coming their way.”
The professor showed no emotion. “Why is that?”
“I can just tell. I can hear it every time I see them.”