Book Cover Artist: Steven James Catizone
Minor Editor: Gregory Williams
Major Editors: Richard Prefrement
Andy Bunch http://andybunch.weebly.com
NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association www.niwawriters.com
This is a work of fiction from the Author’s imagination. It does not reflect any living or deceased person. Copyrights reserved.
This book may not be reproduced in whole or part by any means without special permission from the Author.
SOPHIA and the STRADIVARIUS
A Sophia and Kanani Adventure
By Michele Makinson
The blue sky turned dark and heavy rain pelted down on my windows. I decided to close my antique shop early today, because of the weather.
The bell over my front door chimed and I looked up. A tall woman clutching a violin case stood just inside the frame. Rainwater soaked through her black, cropped–short hair, and ran down her knee-length, white raincoat. 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 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 then I’m going back home. I’ve had it with Seattle weather.”
“My grandfather sent you? You’re 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 with 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, muttering to myself, “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 was 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 into my pocket. Driving home I was getting a weird feeling about this violin. I tried looking out my back window, but it was raining so hard I could not see if I was being followed or not.
Arriving home I parked in the street, grabbed my violin and ran through the rain to my side door.
Woof woof woof, slurp slurp.
I’m so happy your home, Sophie. Oops, I tinkled.
“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 put down the violin down on the little table by the back door and let Kanani outside. Then I went back to clean up her mess. I just finished and she was jumping up on the door looking in the window. She didn’t like to be outside without me for very long. Lol.
I let her in and she ran over to the refrigerator and stared at it thumping her tail.
I’m hungry now, Sophie.
I looked at her and laughed.
“Let me get my wet clothes off and I’ll feed you, Kanani.”
She then followed me into my bedroom. I got my damp clothes off, put 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.
Kanani ran out of the bedroom and over to greet Susan.
“Hi Kanani.” Thump thump thump.
“Hi Sophie.” Susan put the pizza on top of the oven and pet Kanani.
Oh I like that. Kanani said.
What another violin?” Susan asked me.
“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, I looked inside the violin. It didn’t have a name. I put my finger through the hole and felt around.
“There’s something in here.”
“Sophie, don’t you still have your luthier tools?
“Yes, I’m sure I brought them with me when we left Hawaii. Let me go check.” I looked for Kanani. She was staring at the pizza.
“Let me feed Kanani first, before she devours our pizza, Susan.”
I walked over to the fridge and took out Kanani’s food placing it in front of her. Then I walked into my bedroom and looked in the closet. I came out carrying my tools. It had been a long time since I had used them. In fact, these tools are the same ones Grandpa had before he gave them to me and taught me how to use them to make the violin I play all of the time. 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.
“Hmmm, I don’t know if I just ruined the violin.” Then I saw something!
“Look, Susan!” An envelope is taped on the inside of it.”
“Wow that was clever Sophie. What’s in it?”
“Thanks,” I replied. “Let’s see.”
I carefully removed the envelope 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.
“Let’s get our pizza and wine then go sit by the fireplace and read this.”
“Ok, I’ll grab the pizza and make the fire.” Susan told me. She placed the pizza on the coffee table and walked over starting the fire.
I grabbed the wine and turned on the TV on low then sat on the couch. Susan joined me a few minutes later.
“Ok, let’s see what it’s in the letter,” 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 revealed when you enter the vault located in the village by the Church in Le Mont Michel, France. You will also discover 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 Psalm 107, 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.”
“Sophia, look.” Susan pointed at the television.
I stopped and turned around, then went over and turned up the volume. The reporter was saying:
“There has been an accident in Coupeville tonight at the ferry: There was gunfire and a woman named Rachael McFarland was shot; then she disappeared. We don’t know the extent of her injuries. There are torrential winds with heavy rain; the police have closed the ferry for the rest of the evening.”
The wind was whipping through the reporters hair and he was having a hard time keeping his balance. As he was trying to finish his report, the power went out!
“Oh no,” I exclaimed. “This is just awful! First of all what did Grandpa mean” I know who I am. You know who I am, we’ve been friends for ten years. This doesn’t make any sense. Actually it’s a bit insane.” I looked at Susan in exasperation. I was getting myself upset.
“I don’t know, it’s really weird, Sophia, but things always happen to you and you bounce out of it. This one just might top the other adventures though.” Susan was laughing.
Her laughter was contagious and I started laughing as well.
“Very funny. Ok, I am supposed to destroy this letter. I don’t want to but I know I should.” I was trying to convince myself to destroy the letter.
“Can you help me remember the combination?” I asked Susan.
“Yes I can, it’s 2012stradivariussophia. We need to go to the Eagle’s Nest in Austria, reading Psalm 107 first, then on to France. I don’t get what word in Psalm 107 we need to memorize tough, it’s a bit mysterious. ” She said.
“Ok, I’m convinced you have the key components memorized, thank you.”
With that I flung it into the fire. I was excited to tell John about this, but we needed to take care of ourselves at the moment.
“Let me get some flashlights, it’s getting dark.” I walked over to the kitchen and opened a drawer, pulling out two flashlights. I turned them on.
“They both work. Take these Susan while I find some votive candles.
She walked over and took the flashlights while I grabbed four candles and some matches.
Then I joined her on the couch. Kanani curled up next to me.
“Let’s sit here for a bit and talk, then I guess you should stay over tonight.” I said.
“Yes, I don’t want to go home while the power is out.” Susan replied.
“I have extra night clothes for you. I need to get my phone and try to call John.” I said getting up. Kanani followed me into the bedroom. I grabbed my phone and pulled out some night clothes for Susan then walked back out to the living room and sat on the couch.
“Here’s some bed clothes.” I said handing them to her.
“Thank you Sophie.” She said.
I looked at my phone.
“Oh no, there’s no reception and it needs charging.” I said.
“Let me get my phone and try, Sophie.” Susan walked over to her coat and pulled out her phone. I don’t have any reception either. She stuck it in her pocket then walked back over and sat down.
“I’m worried about that Rachael person. she’s the one that brought me the violin. Grandpa said in his letter that I would be in danger, you didn’t see anything else in this case did you Susan?” I asked her.
“No, Sophia, you went through it really well and then you destroyed the letter, so you are ok.” She said getting up from the couch.
“Well let’s clean up and get ready for bed, come on Kanani, outside one more time tonight,” I said walking over to the door letting her out.
“Whew, is it still nasty out!” I told Susan.
“I know, its dark out too, no moon,” She replied.
I let Kanani back in and we all went to bed. I tossed and turned thinking about that letter and what it could mean to me, actually to all of us. I wished John was here or we were all back in Hawaii.
Woof! Woof! Kanani barked as she jumped off of my bed. It woke me with a start. I reached for my lamp but there was still no power, so I grabbed my flashlight.
Woof! Woof! Woof! This is serious Sophie, let me out there! Kanani kept barking and trying to open the bedroom door.
She must have heard Susan getting up to use the bathroom. I opened up the door and Kanani rushed out growling and barking.
“Susan? Is that you?” I called out, there was no answer.
It was cold in the living room and wind was coming in from somewhere.
“Who’s there?” I shouted. There was still no answer, all I heard was some scuffling.
Kanani bit someone! I heard a scream! Someone bolted out the front door with her running after them.
I ran to the door and almost slipped on something. I looked down, Kanani had ripped a big chunk out of some ones raincoat. I ran outside and called out, “Kanani, let him go, come back, now!”
She turned around, thank goodness, and came back into the house. I shoved the piece of clothing out of the way and tried to push the door closed. The wind was so strong I couldn’t shut it.
“Sophia? “What’s happening?” Susan came running out of her room.
“Please help me shut this door. Someone broke in here tonight, Kanani bit them and he went out screaming.”
She came running over and with her help we got the door closed, then I moved the flashlight all around the room.
“The violin is gone!” I yelled running over to the table.
“Someone is on to us!” I exclaimed. “Grandpa was right, we are in danger now!”