She was in the middle of a chromatic phrase when the news came.  Hand stilled over the fingerboard and bow drooped, the phone’s shrill scream piercing her ears for a moment or two in discord with the piece she’d been practicing before she rose to receive the caller’s voice.

The hesitancy should have warned her, let alone the earnestness with which it spoke; reassured her of the concern and care of others for the subject.

They may as well have hit her over the head with a mallet.  As it was, the lead-glove sensation of a punch to the stomach was all she could focus on as their words spooled out the truth, the depth of the situation.

She tumbled the telephone onto the receiver more than it could be described as a replacing.  For a moment, she stood; her body shook; every nerve in her body trembled with the effort to hold herself together.

The unleashing could be heard in the village half a mile off.  Everyone remembered the pain that day.