It is early morning and Gus has just left his house to head out to that chemist of his. A couple of days have passed since the visit of and then the subsequent death of constable Pierce Rowan. Gus’s nearest neighbour is once again out in his garden.
‘Hello there, neighbour.’
‘Hi, beautiful morning isn’t it?’
‘It is indeed,’ Gus manages to say before his neighbour heads inside.
At lunchtime, there is not a soul in Crew’s chemist other than Gus himself. He looks out the clear glass panel door and cannot believe what it is that he can see. There is a young lady standing just outside and Gus is sure that this lady is the same young lady he had been talking with not so long after he had stopped playing the piano in the new town center.
‘Evelyn,’ he says to himself.
Gus takes off those thick brown rimmed glasses of his which perhaps is something he could also think about patenting for they are so him, he wipes his eyes and then wipes the lenses with a handkerchief. He looks back outside that door as he puts his glasses back on, there is no one there outside his door. Gus moves outside, looks left then right, and then across the street and there is no sign of that young lady.
‘I think I need to get myself some new glasses, either that or I really need to get away.’
The hours pass and Gus once again finds himself in a moment of indecision and that moment of indecision like before is interrupted by the arrival of Missus Brady into the store. Gus was most definitely not expecting to see Missus Brady again for at least another couple of weeks.
‘Good afternoon Mister Crew, how are you today?’ she asks.
Gus looks at the clock hanging up above the entrance into the back area.
‘It is a minute after six so I guess it is a good evening Missus Brady. How can I help you today?’
‘Are you feeling alright young man? I have come to collect my prescription.’
‘Of course, you have,’ Gus says to himself. For some reason or another, he decides to head into the back area to search for a gathered prescription for Missus Brady and he becomes mystified to find that there is a prescription for Missis Brady ready and waiting for collection. He had only passed over a month’s supply for her a few days ago. ‘Now there, here you are,’ he says having decided to go along with the strangeness that this moment brings.
‘Thank you so much, how much do I owe you?’
‘Now put that purse away Missus Brady. I will see you end of the month and we can square things up then.’
‘If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, your father and your grandfather would be so proud of you.’
‘You were always so kind Missus Brady, do be safe making your way home, it will be getting dark soon.’
Gus closes up shop and heads straight up to the new town center once again passing right by one of the two new chemist stores almost as soon as he enters that town center. A grand piano rests in the centre mall area and is surrounded on three sides with a thick red rope hooked on steel post stands. Staring at what is before him Gus feels somewhat overwhelmed, it is almost as if the piano is calling to him, just begging to be played.
The strangeness of the current moment he finds himself in ensures that he resists the urge to play that Grand Piano. He briefly considers the thought that he is reliving the same day he has already lived some time back however he quickly dismisses that thought. There have been days in the past that seem like they are being relived such is the routine Gus’s life has always been.
In the town center right at the split second that Gus turns to his left to move away from the piano, something towards what had been to his right prior to his turn, catches his eye. There is a man off in the distance and within the town center moving away.
Gus turns back in that direction. From the head of hair on this man Gus is sure that the man he is observing is constable Pierce Rowan but how can this be? He has been reported dead. This man soon moves out of sight though Gus is quick to head over in that general direction but any attempt to give chase soon becomes futile, there is no sign of that man with the thick head of hair. That hairstyle is common but still…
If things weren’t already strange enough, when Gus closes in on arriving home he notices that not only is his nearest neighbour not out in his garden as he so often is but that house has a for sale sign in the garden. As well as that the front downstairs windows of his neighbour’s house are boarded up and the grass in the garden appears not to have been cut in quite some time. Gus can almost picture his neighbour cutting that grass no more than ten or eleven days previously.
‘I am going mad, that’s it… I am losing my mind,’ he says to himself once inside his own house and as he sits on a chair by the kitchen table. ‘There is no other reasoning for all this.’
Music begins to play and it just so happens to be Moonlight Sonata on piano and it sounds loud and clear. This cannot be. Gus can hear it clearly but he himself is not playing the song. He does not have or own a piano. No record player or music player of any kind is switched on. No radio is on and neither is the television. The music is so clear and playing at such a decibel level that there is no way he can be imagining this music but with all that is going on Gus cannot be entirely sure of anything at all.
Consultation of any kind has never been something Gus would ever consider, well not prior to this point in time but with recent events being what they are then maybe now would be as good a time as any to go find some consultation. He would soon reach out to such a professional and organize himself an appointment.
‘Thank you for seeing me so soon doctor, this is not something I would really ever consider but I guess right now I am open for anything.’
‘Luckily enough for me, this kind of meeting is proving more and more popular, so you are not alone Mister Crew even if you feel like you are,’ speaks a Doctor Albright as he grasps Gus’s outstretched right hand with both of his own.
Gus is a little unnerved by the handshake but he gets over that fairly quickly.
‘So how does this work?’ Gus asks of the man before him who would appear to be quite possibly twenty years his junior.
‘Well, you can take a seat or lay on a crouch I have here. We can have a chat and a bit of a discussion and take it from there. How does that sound to you?’
‘I can do that.’
‘Great, then why don’t we get started?’
Gus told Doctor Albright of recent events, a few questions were also asked and answered.
‘So doc, what do you think? Am I going crazy?’
‘Crazy, no not at all, you have a longing, a desire for change. You are so stuck in routine and a comfortable routine at that, now you are all of a sudden attempting to attain such a change that can make it quite possible so that you are witnessing events which are not actually happening.’
‘So you do think I am going crazy?’
‘No, I didn’t say and wouldn’t say that you are…’
‘What I… Witnessed… As you put it was real, or as real to me as anything I have ever experienced. It is as real as this moment right here and right now, so by your logic then is this a moment which is also not real? Are we not really having this discussion? Listen to me, I definitely sound crazy.’
‘Is anything real Mister Crew? You are in the here and now and this is what we need to focus on.’
‘I… I am somewhat relieved though. It is good that you have not suggested that I may have had anything to do either knowingly or otherwise with the deaths of either or both Evelyn and constable Rowan.’
The discussion continues for a few minutes though it would be mainly one-sided and what the Doctor would say would mostly go over Gus’s head and in a way, he wouldn’t hear it at all. Slightly disappointed but with also not having had expected much, Gus heads home. Night has arrived. The sky is once more clear with a full moon and a multitude of stars shining bright.
A moment of shock would hit Gus as soon as he would enter the kitchen area of his home for in the rather large and adjoining dining area there sits a Grand piano. How such a thing is there or has got there is beyond him. He must be going insane. No matter how much he wants change or how much he likes the piano, he would not have organized for such a thing to be in his dining area.
It is not long before he sits at this piano and begins to play that one tune he is so used to playing. Gus closes his eyes and loses himself in the moment. A floating sensation takes him and fairly soon it feels as if he is playing that piano up high in the nighttime sky right amongst the stars.
What is real and what isn’t? Sometimes when an ending has come to be then some things can be forgotten and others may become distorted. A soul or spirit can become lost, so lost that perception is not at all what it was, is, or can be. For Henry Augustus Crew lays motionless in a bathtub of warm water, warm water which has turned red in colour. Time of when he has come to rest is a minute after six in the evening.
Evelyn is a young lady who works for the coroner’s office. She is one of the first on the scene once it is discovered where Gus is. She had not been someone who had approached Gus in the town center for that moment has not actually happened.
Doctor Albright is the town coroner who has come to investigate a discovered death. Missus Brady is an actual customer or at least was. She now gets her prescriptions from one of those two new chemists in the new town center, the one closest to the main entrance. Pierce Rowan is a police officer, and his job is to investigate the circumstances of the death of a lonely man and he is on scene to gather whatever information he can.
Gus’s nearest neighbour has not been his nearest neighbour for quite some time for it has been a number of weeks since he had moved out and away from Castletown.
Whatever it is that Gus went through, whatever it is that his soul, his spirit went through, he is now at peace, resting in a Moonlight Sonata with a Grand piano to play high up in the sky and among the stars.