I listened closely to the slow beating of my heart.
I remembered the first time I felt this calm was when I was doing my first recital. The audience made up of eager parents and talent scouts. It was a make or break moment for the students of Juilliard’s music division. I was a part of the Strings Department, playing the cello. The first instrument I made contact with since I was 3 years old. I could still see the excited and scared looks of my parents watching their only daughter take the stage for the umpteenth time.
Tip-tap. Tip-tap. Tip-tap.
I knew this rhythm by hard. The only sound of footsteps that could quicken my pulse and send me into an anxious spiral.
One-two, one-two, one-two.
My heart starts beating faster then before. I reached up and felt the cross around my neck – a habit I’ve not broken since I first performed. The cross gave me strength and courage for what’s to come. As I held the tiny cross in my hand, I heard him speak.
“Ready for your final recital?”
~ * ~
Officer Bronson looked at his partner, Officer McCarthy, before running to the corner to throw up the doughnuts he just ate.
Officer McCarthy slowly reached up to click the receiver on his left shoulder.
“10-23. This is Officer McCarthy. Victims are the missing kids from Juilliard. We need back-up, the Detectives… and the ME.”
He released the call button on his receiver and took in the scene in front of him.
A group of young adults were displayed before him, each posed holding the instrument they played and dressed in all black – contrasting their pale features. His eyes focused on the girl holding the cello with the cross around her neck. He only had a few seconds to say a prayer for her until he felt the sudden urge to join his partner. As much as he wanted to hold onto his snack, his stomach was not about to hold back.
Officer McCarthy ran up next to his partner and immediately hurled the contents of his stomach, as the sound of police sirens filled the air.