The Violet Hour
Published: 11th April, 2015
Age: Young Adult
Allegra Teagarden, a musical prodigy, flees her father’s dominance and abuse while touring in pre-civil war Charleston, South Carolina. Plagued by depression over her mother’s suicide during their previous visit, she escapes in an effort to piece together the details behind her mother’s mysterious demise.
Down to her final coin, Allegra happens on Charleston’s Fancy, the first southern amusement park, which is searching for musicians for its orchestra. At first, the park seems her salvation; but she quickly realizes she has traded the dominance of her father, for the even more terrifying madness of the owner, Silas.
And more secrets.
Allegra meets the dashing Brighton LeFroy, Fancy’s engineer and pyrotechnics master. His shabby clothing cannot conceal the brilliant mind beneath. The musician’s whisper he is a witch, is obsessed with storms, and is rumored…to fly. And despite the danger, despite her own misgivings, Allegra is inexplicable drawn to him.
She ventures to his reclusive home on Fire Isle during a thunderstorm and together they seek to unravel an ancient mystery.
From The Violet Hour, aboard The Riverboat—where well-heeled society stares up into the night sky at the pyrotechnics, accompanied by the orchestra.
I stare at Marietta in the row ahead of me and see the gooseflesh on her pudgy arm. She has seen him as well. He has not departed. Please, let him still be up there.
My chest aches. I fight the urge to cast down the cello and leap into the bay; to swim and swim. Till I find him, wet and cold, and let his skin warm mine. Constant explosions light the sky, white and cornflower blue, raining down across the bay, again and again like luminescent raindrops. The light show reflects in the water, mirror-like, like Alice’s Wonderland looking glass, come to life.
I picture the upturned faces of mermaids and sea creatures staring up at the surface in awe.
And my fingers stray. The mourning tune they play does not match the joy and rebelliousness of the dancing lights overhead.
Of his soul. I stray from the piece.
Throwing the entire orchestra off. The music halts in a jangle of discordant notes.
Except for my cello. I compose on command. I stare, enraptured by the lights, my arm sawing in perfect synchrony with every burst of light. I wince in pain as my fingers stroke the neck of my cello, following Brighton’s lead.
With every fiery burst of color, staccato notes.
With streaming showers of sparks— long, melodic pulls of my bow across the vibrating strings.
Jonesy recovers first. He accompanies me, following my lead on his violin, as best he can. A few brave souls follow suite, their instruments playing harmony about my melody.
All the patron’s eyes stray back to the sky. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a woman cover her chest, overcome with emotion.
I spy another couple join hands and a third press her trembling lips together at the beauty—the marriage of light and sound. I writhe and ache, following his lead, keeping time with his lights with my fingers.
His lights tell a story, as does my music. It is as if our minds are dancing, sharing a wavelength, and he doesn’t even know it.
Or does he?
About the Author
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.
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