SOPHIA and the STRADIVARIOUS
A Sophia and Kanani Adventure
By Michele Makinson
I heard the bell tinkle over my front door and looked up. I saw a drenched woman standing there with a violin case. The woman was tall with black hair cropped short, she had on an off white raincoat that was knee length. She didn’t look very happy.
“It’s wet out there, isn’t it? What can I help you with?” I walked in front of the counter and walked over closing the door, it had blown open.
“I am looking for a woman named Sophia Anderson. I have travelled a long way to deliver this violin to her from her grandfather. He thought that Sophia had moved to Port Townsend and opened an antique shop. I have been to several of them and they weren’t the right ones. This is my last hope or I’m going back home. I’ve had it with Seattle weather.”
“My grandfather sent you? Your in luck, I’m Sophia.” I stuck out my hand to greet the woman.
“Thank goodness,” She said placing the violin case down and shaking my hand. “My name is Rachael McFarland, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
“Same here let me see this violin.”
“I believe your grandfather put something in here for you.” She handed me the violin. “I did this as a favor for him. He is an old friend of my Grandfather and Father, they are Luthiers and your Grandfather is too. That is how they became such good friends many years ago. I don’t know anything more. I must really go, I can’t stay.” She turned and ran out the door. I carefully put the violin down and ran after her.
“Wait, where did you come from?” I called out.
“Luxembourg, I must really go. Nice meeting you,” Rachael called back before turning the corner.
I couldn’t do anything but watch her disappear. Then as I turned to go back into my shop, I had a glimpse of someone following Rachael.
“It’s just probably someone running for the ferry too.” I thought.
I ran back into my shop without getting too soaked and slammed the heavy door shut, locking it. I had to get home, Kanani my German Shepherd must have to go out. I usually bring her with me to work, but the weather so bad I left her home today. I picked up the violin case and took it into my office placing it on my desk. After putting on my raincoat, I grabbed an umbrella and the violin case. I ran out the back door and made a mad dash down the alley to my car. I had to run through large puddles, I wish I had worn boots today. My feet were soaked and I was drenched. Why am I living here? I could be back in Hawaii basking in the sun. I finally got to my car and jumped in. Looking at the clock on my dash, it was only five pm. Hawaii as three hours behind, so I decided to wait and call my husband, John, later.
“Ring Ring Ring.”
“My cell phone. Darn it’s stuck in my pocket.” I fished it out just before it stopped ringing.
“Hi, Sophie, it’s me Susan. I’m at the market, I thought I could pick up a pizza and we could eat dinner together tonight.”
“That’s a great idea, I’m wet, hungry and cold. I’m on my way home now, just come over as soon as you can. I have some wine already so we don’t need anymore. I can’t wait to tell you about my strange encounter a little while ago in the shop.” I loved teasing my best friend Susan.
“A strange encounter? I can’t wait; I’ll be right over. Bye.” Susan hung up the phone.
I just stared down at my phone, shrugged and put it back in to my pocket. Driving home I was getting a weird feeling about this violin. If it had not been raining so hard, I would have noticed a car following me.
Arriving home I parked in the street, grabbed my violin and ran through the rain to my side door.
“Woof woof woof, slurp slurp.”
“Kanani, down girl, ha ha, come on you need to go out. Let me put this on the table.” My dog was happy to see me and I was happy to see her too.
I walked by the table, put down the violin case and let Kanani outside for a quick potty break. She did not like to be without me for long, soon she was scratching on the door to come back in. I let her in then ran into the bedroom and got my damp clothes off, putting on stretch jeans and a sweatshirt. Then I braided my dark blond hair. I was just finishing up when Susan came through the front door holding her umbrella in one hand and pizza in the other.
“Hi Susan, you can just put it on the counter. I will be right there.” I said.
“Ok, hi Sophia. What another violin?” Susan asked me as she glanced at it walking by the table I had placed it on.
“It involves my strange encounter I mentioned,” I told her walking over to it and opening it up.
“I can’t wait to hear about it, let me open some wine and pour us each a glass.” Susan did that and walked back over to look inside with me.
“Hmm, some lady came in before closing and left this with me, saying it is from my grandfather and I would understand. My grandfather is always up to some adventure or something mysterious, but this is strange indeed. I have lost track of where he is at the moment. Unless he joined a Monastery like he always talked about doing after Grandma died.” I told Susan, taking out the violin. I searched through the case. Nothing and then I had a thought!
“Hold on! Let me get my violin tools,” I told Susan, as I ran into my bedroom and grabbed my box of Luthiers material. It had been a long time since I had used them. In fact the violin I play all of the time, I made with Grandpa’s help. Coming back into the room I picked up the violin; took it out of the case and set it down on the table. I took off the strings, popped the top off with my trusty little tool. “Hm, I don’t know if I just ruined the violin.” Then I saw something!
“There, look, Susan!” An envelope was taped to the top of it.”
“Wow that was clever Sophie!”
“Thanks,” I replied.
I carefully ripped the envelope off and placed the top back on without securing it. Then I put the violin back in its case. I would have to deal with that later.
“Ok, let’s see what it’s in it,” I told Susan with excitement. My hands were shaking as I unfolded the letter. I began reading:
“My dear Sophia, I have sent you this message because time is of the essence for you to accomplish what I am asking of you.
I have made a decision to enter the Trappist Monks in Begrolles-en-Maugges. This is in Western France not far from Normandy. I am extremely happy about this decision and I have turned all of my property over to you. You must go to Le Mont Michel in France; in a vault you will find the Stradivarius Violin. It is essential you get this violin and prove to the world that you are the rightful heir. The sooner you do this the safer you will be. I am sorry, but leaving this to you has already put you in grave danger. Monsieur Gaspard must be exposed and arrested as soon as possible. He wants this violin and will stop at nothing to get it. All will be reviled when you enter the volt located in the village by the Church in Le Mont Michel, France. You will also find out our real heritage, a story you have never known. Not even your dear Father had the opportunity to find out the truth before his early death. You must be very careful.
My father hid the Stradivarius during World War ll from the Nazis in Le Mont St. Michel. He received it from his father, and his Father received it from his father. You get the idea; it has been in our family since 1690 when it was made.
I am going to give you some hints to attain the passwords to enter this vault. You will find a hint in Austria at the Eagles Nest. You must look out over the mountains at sunset. Read psalm107, what you find at the Eagles Nest is in this psalm.
To enter the first vault, you need to memorize 2012stradivariussophia and destroy this letter. God speed my love and know that I am praying for you and will the rest of my life.”
I Love You,
I put the letter down and looked at Susan; her eyes were wide with astonishment. I could not believe what I just read either.
“I can’t believe this Sophia.”
“Me either,” I replied getting up. “Let’s look up that Psalm and feed Kanani. Then we can sit by the fire and eat this great looking pizza. We have some decisions to make. I couldn’t find my bible and we were hungry, so we thought we would do later.
We were finishing dinner and listening to the news. Kanani was lying on my feet fast asleep.
The reporter came on, “listen Susan,” I said turning up the sound.
“There has been an accident in Coupeville tonight at the ferry, there was gunfire and a woman named Rachael McFarland was shot; then disappeared. We don’t know if she is wounded or not. There are torrential winds with heavy rain; the police have closed the ferry for the rest of the evening.”
The reporter was saying all of this with the wind whipping through his hair and blowing him off balance. As he was trying to finish his report, the power went out!