Prompt: It sounded like violin music, and it was coming from the basement…
There was a strange sound in the house today. It sounded like violin music, and it was coming from the basement. Julia had only just gotten home from her job, but it was clear someone else was in the house, or had been. She didn’t have any electronics in the basement that could go haywire; she only owned a laptop and iPhone, and she had taken those to work. She did, however, have a violin.
She quietly set her bag down and scanned the living room for signs of disturbance, even though it seemed unlikely any burglar would bother with the living room once they realized there was nothing of value in it. Everything was as she had left it, though, so she tiptoed into the closet and opened a small, hidden cupboard and took out the gun she kept there.
Julia wasn’t particularly worried about getting into a fight, considering she had trained under half a dozen martial arts, but it would be simpler to just scare off whoever was down there. As she started down the stairs to the basement, she heard a meow behind her. She turned and saw a small, black cat. It looked at her curiously, and then ran down the stairs. The cat turned back and meowed before going around the corner.
Julia didn’t know what kind of burglar, or home invader, for that matter, would bring their cat. Of course, playing the Chaconne all the way through, as it seemed this one was doing, was also very strange. No one could be smart enough to play that and mess up a burglary so poorly. No one normal, anyway.
As she came around the corner, she was surprised to see not only the cat, but also a finely dressed old man and a young girl in a Victorian style dress who was playing Julian violin. “Ah,” exclaimed the man, “Do come and join us, Miss Julia. We were starting to think something had interfered with your arrival.”
“What the hell are you doing in my house?” Julia asked.
“Is a girl not allowed a bit of fun?” asked the girl. Her accent fit her attire. She gestured to a table behind the pair and continued. “We were only trying to have a tea party.”
The table was set up with a fancy tablecloth, as well as three places set with teacups and fine chairs. Julia knew she owned none of it, which meant these two must have hauled it all in while she was at work, but she hadn’t seen any cars out of the ordinary. Perhaps they had an accomplice? But for what end goal?
Julia raised her gun up and pointed it at the man. She still didn’t have the heart to threaten a girl that looked to be only about sixteen. “What kind of game is this?” she demanded.
“No game, miss,” replied the man. “Just tea and talk.”
“And put the piece away,” said the girl as she began the final part of the Chaconne. “I wouldn’t want to laugh and mess up now.”
Julia furrowed her brow but remained motionless. The girl couldn’t seriously be implying the gun was laughable, could she? Then again, she wasn’t exactly reacting to it as one might expect, and neither was the man, who just walked around the far chair at the table and sat down.
“Do you take sugar or milk?” he asked politely.
“What? I’m not having tea with home invaders!”
“Suit yourself,” he replied with a shrug. “But it would have been easier this way.”
“Please, Robert,” said the girl as she finished the song, “I actually quite like this violin. Could we maybe try doing this without proving the point?”
“Oh fine,” Robert sighed as he got back up from the table. “I suppose we can try that.”
He suddenly flipped over the table, sending tea and fine China everywhere. Julia stepped back, and then noticed what was on the underside of the table. It looked exactly like every movie bomb every; a small display with wires going from it to tubes of dynamite lookalikes. It only scared Julia in that it always took so long to recover from explosives.
The girl finished playing the violin and said triumphantly, “And that’s what I just saved you the trouble of going through.”
“Yes, for now at least. Since Alice here doesn’t want me blowing up your violin, I’ll just have to speak plainly. Everyone in this house right now would be absolutely fine if this bomb went off.”
Julia suddenly realized what was going on, halfway. “Everyone?”
Alice nodded and said, “I would tell you to shoot one of us to find out, but that would ruin these nice clothes.”
“Yes,” agreed Robert. “Because we can’t possibly get more.”
Julia didn’t know if she liked where this was going, on the one hand, there may be more than just herself, but on the other hand, they seemed to have some sort of agenda. “Are you saying you can’t die?”
“You see, Alice?” said Robert, throwing up his arms in frustration. “This is why I kill them, and then talk to them.”
“I apologize for Robert,” said Alice as Robert began pacing back and forth next to the bomb. “His methods are a bit crude for dealing with most of our kind. He’s just not the right gender, nor does he have the age necessary for negotiations.”
The age? Julia decided then that they were either. Dry good actors, or telling the truth, but she decided to test them further. “What ‘negotiations’ are you talking about?”
“We would like to extend an invitation to you, Miss Julia. Meet us on New Year’s Day on Mount Olympus, and you will meet many more Immortals like us. Some are new to it, and need guidance. Others are veterans that have learned how to deal with it. I suspect a few have lived far longer than you or I.”
“How am I supposed to get there?” Julia asked. “I’m not exactly a mountain climber.”
“That’s not our concern. Maybe carpool with other Immortals. Break a few rules. Live free for once; with purpose.”
Robert knelt down and picked up the bomb. “Well said, Alice, but I still prefer my way. Goodbye, Miss Julia, perhaps we shall meet again come New Year’s.”
Alice put the violin back up on the shelf where Julia kept it. “I do hope we shall, and, if we do, bring the violin.”
And they walked right past Julia without hindrance. The last to leave was the cat, who pawed at the pantry door before following the two Immortals up and out of the house. Julia had a strange feeling about it, but walked to the pantry and opened it anyway. Inside was a scrapbook that contained newspaper articles, pictures, and book passages with her in them, ranging from when she began in 1209, to her latest incident last year.