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The bright lights. The crowd erupting with applause. Everything felt muted. Cassandra took one step forward, then another. Her heels clicked against the ground like someone’s long, bony finger tapping against a windowsill. She sucked in. A deep breath. As she took a bow, she felt her stomach stretch and twist into knots. The skin of a rope, rough with fibrous edges. Cassandra stood up, gulping one more time, feeling the dry saliva crawl down her throat in an itchy scratch.

    She turned towards the grand piano. The surface was black and sleek, elegantly bold. She settled herself onto the piano bench, watching the keys in front of her blur into a kaleidoscope of black and white. Her hands shook violently. Sweat beaded from within the pores of her skin.

    Her delicate fingers rose from her lap to the piano keys. The polished wood of the keys felt natural underneath her fingertips. A surge of confidence flowed through her, the very thing she needed. And she played. Her fingers flew across the keyboard in a graceful dance. Ranging dynamics, the silky legatos and the thorny staccatos. A harmonious melody rising in long wavelengths of music. It was her native language.


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