With a sharp gasp, Sebastian jerked into wakefulness. His hands clutched his throat and his eyes were wide as saucers. He lay there rigidly with breaking, hitching respiration. He swallowed with difficulty because his heart was sticking in his air passage. Trembling, Sebastian swung his legs over the side of the bed and staggered to his feet. Clutching the edge of the bureau, he struggled to regain his breath. Slowly, he turned to gaze out of the open widow. The gauzy curtains reached for him as they fluttered gently in the twilight breeze. Half of his face was illuminated eerily, bathed in the luminescent moonlight. He passed an unsure hand over his pale face and pushed his hair out of his eyes. Letting go of the corner of the bureau, he stepped in front of the windowsill and stared out at the sky. Gauging the approximate time of night to be just before dawn, he turned away from the window and crossed the room, where he lit a lamp on his desk. He sat on the edge of the bench in front of his piano and sighed.

This was the third time this week that Sebastian had been woken in the night by a nightmare. He closed his eyes for several moments and opened them. This was not good. He had thought that his problems with nightmares were over months ago, but apparently not. Even though his father had been dead four years, Sebastian was seeing him regularly. He flipped through the pages of a piece of music carelessly. He needed to get his mind off of… present circumstances.

Slowly, he rotated on the piano bench and pressed his fingers lightly to the cool keys. Everyone else on the floor would be asleep by now. He had no intention of waking them by playing loudly. He closed his eyes again and left them closed. Taking a deep, rattling breath, he allowed his fingers to guide themselves in a pattern he did not remember ever playing before. They did not press down on the keys and they did not rush. They merely traced the outline of a tune that did not exist yet. Had Sebastian’s fingers been resting on the keys of a typewriter and had they been moving in the same pattern, he would have been shocked at what he saw on the paper.

This dreamlike ritual continued until far after sunrise.