Dawn Pisturino’s Blog
My Writing Journey
Reprise: Concert for the Dead
by Dawn Pisturino on October 24, 2021
Reblog by: Lawrence Morra III
Zero Lift-Off Only The Beginning
October 25, 2021
Dawn; Lord have Mercy!!! What a Beautiful Story and Surprise! I’ve been behind the curve the last few days getting caught up so could that be why I didn’t see this coming or no matter where I was on the highway I still wouldn’t have had a clue or anticipated such an extraordinary pleasurable experience with glasses on nor if I had telescopic eyes and some advance warning system built-in! It must be your way of making the Trick or Treat Season a “For Real Holiday Treat;” forget the standard concept altogether and bring on the show no trickery needed at all; this is the “Real Deal!” Yes, a haunting and laughing we will go; “Hi Ho the Merry (Mary) oh, no!” Yikes could be a nightmare coming!
Where is Vincent Price when I need him? Met him many years ago and he was cool but creepy in a kind of pleasant way! Because having him talking face to face with me in reality I still couldn’t disconnect that voice and face from my ingrained memories of him being the main character in the great story by one of my favorite horror writers Edgar Allan Poe who wrote “The Pit and the Pendulum” in June of 1842!
I read on a site once that Vincent’s daughter has, and who since wrote a book about her famous spooky Dad in which Victoria Price tells us all about the 65-year career that began with radio and went on to his long list of movie credits and even his Broadway or television performances; but on the site she mentions how he would go Trick or Treating with her and friends when she was a child! So how cool was that; imagine having Vincent Price as your Dad and he is decked out in some costume Trick or Treating with you his daughter! Now that had to be a Treat but just as much a Trick to play on people they would visit if “not expecting” them; when they hear his voice coming from behind a mask; that would make you jump! What a lucky, “Stiff”
I was falling all over the place after reading this Line! From back in 2012 “Underneath the Juniper Tree,” interview!
“Her delightfully warped mind and find out more about her fantastic writing.”
Again; I have to ask now who creeped me out more, Vincent Price or Stephen King, both of whom I met and was taken aback by; or you, who I never met, at least not in person; or in the flesh!!?? Even met Roger Corman in LA at his production office, the director of “The Pit and The Pendulum,” who was a very interesting man, but somewhat odd too, not a mainstream person who found his niche, producing lots of creepy films on the fringe of Hollywood! But, he didn’t spook me out too much either or as I say shock me; or totally catch me “off guard!” You get the spook award as far as I’m concerned!
Then to really be so unanticipated like this; I walked into a doorway that I thought was open and slammed into it face first; finding I had been so wrong! Ha, Ha, Ha!!! But no lumps or a broken nose; so it’s all in good fun after all!
I have to say this is the first Halloween Season that I got a huge “Treat and Trick” at the same moment; which proves “no one can ever be too prepared!” Now I’m finding you’re a composer to boot. another “Shocker” with your “Concert for The Dead!” Never knew I would hear or know about one of those! And “Bloody Mary” sticks in my mind now, as I did know about the Historical Bloody Mary the monarch already, born on February 18, 1516 in Greenwich, England she known as Bloody Mary was the only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, as I’m sure you’re aware!!! But of course we can surmise the shame and insecurity she began to develop at 17 years of age with the split of her parents when her father annulled his marriage to her mother, how that was the catalyst or spawning ground of the legend that now still lives all these hundreds of years later in folklore and haunting tales; especially for Halloween, thank you!
Now about the Treat! Good God; I have so much to go over here one thing leading to another with a Halloween compilation of mischievous spooky stories to the “Gala Event” of your Daughter Ariel’s beautiful Soprano performances, that was really “haunting” me in a “Very Good Way” bringing me back to a time in my youth or as a young boy listening to my mother’s singing at home, or in the occasional out of the home performances, with her beautiful Soprano voice; all of which has given me a “Heartfelt Teary Eyed Halloween” and I don’t ever remember having one of those in my whole life; not ever!
Really enjoying my reminiscing of all my Mother’s great singing that “you and Ariel” have conjured up; and now I can listen to Ariel who is still so young like my Mother was in all those memories I have; to again hear those actual memories coming to life not only in my mind, but, “For Real” to watch and listen to here in plain sight; not any “Mirror” trickery involved at all!
Thank you very much Dawn and Ariel!!!
God bless both of you so fully and richly!
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
Reprise: Concert for the Dead
by Dawn Pisturino on October 24, 2021
Story by Dawn Pisturino.
Illustration by Job van Gelder.
Dedicated to my daughter, lyric soprano Ariel Pisturino.
Ariel knelt before the marble niche holding the remains of her dead older brother and placed a bouquet of roses in the stone vase. Six months had passed since the horrible night a drunk driver had taken Jonathan’s life. She would never forget.
“Coach Willis still talks about you, Jonathan,” Ariel said, tracing the carved letters of his name with trembling fingers. “Nobody’s beaten your track record. You were the best. You always will be.”
She pulled some sheet music from her backpack. “The opera club is doing Purcell this year. I got the lead role. I’m so excited!” She began to sing:
“When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate . . .”*
The haunting elegy echoed through the halls of the Great Mausoleum, bringing tears to Ariel’s eyes. As the last melancholy note faded away, the mausoleum doors slammed shut. The lights flickered and dimmed.
Icy panic clawed at Ariel’s chest. She could hardly breathe. Then a long, agonizing scream tore from her throat.
She ran to the entrance and pushed against the heavy metal doors. Locked. She searched for an intercom or emergency button. Nothing.
“Let me out!” she cried, pounding on the door. “It’s not closing time!”
Voices whispered all around her.
“No!” she howled, throwing her weight against the unyielding door.
The whispers grew louder. “We’ll let you out when the concert is over.”
“W-what c-concert?” Ariel stammered, searching the empty air.
“The Concert for the Dead.”
And then she saw them, gliding down the dark corridors, the eerie inhabitants of this condominium for the dead.
They crowded into the main hall, hundreds of them, the ghastly and the beautiful.
Men dressed in military uniforms soaked with blood, arms ripped away, legs shredded at the knees, and heads split open, eyeballs dangling from their sockets.
Women gowned in rustling silk, faded and torn, ringlets framing faces eaten away by worms. Pale young mothers with tragic eyes, carrying shriveled up babies in their arms.
Dead children glared at Ariel with menacing faces, their transparent fingers clutching moth-eaten ragdolls and time-worn teddy bears.
An orchestra appeared. Skeletons with shreds of rotting flesh hanging from their bones. The conductor raised his baton, and the slow, plaintive strains of a violin filled the air. He turned and looked at Ariel with one putrid eye, motioning her to begin.
I know this song. I can do it. Shaking with fear, she dug her fingernails into her palms and began to sing:
“None but the lonely heart can know my sadness
Alone and parted far from joy and gladness . . .”**
She sang until the sun disappeared and the stained glass windows lost their color. She sang until the moon ran its course and the stars began to fade. Finally, her throat too parched and raw to continue, she pleaded:
“The concert’s over. Please let me go.”
Hushed whispers rippled through the audience. Then a lone figure broke through the crowd.
“Jonathan!” Ariel cried, grateful to see a familiar face.
Smiling, he extended his arms to her. “We don’t want you to leave,” Jonathan said, drawing her close. “We want you to sing for us forever and ever and ever . . .”
Cold waxy fingers tightened around her throat. In the background, the orchestra played a quiet requiem.
* * *
When the groundskeeper found Ariel’s body the next morning, he noticed two peculiar things. Her throat was purple with finger marks, and her hair had turned completely white.
Copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino, Job van Gelder, and Asheka Troberg. All Rights Reserved.
This story is dedicated to my daughter, lyric soprano Ariel Pisturino.
Published in the November 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree. Read it here.
Published on Brooklyn Voice, February 2012.
*“Dido’s Lament,” from Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell
**“None but the Lonely Heart,” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and J.W. Goethe
Artwork by Jason Smith. I commissioned this Concert for the Dead artwork for my daughter, Ariel Pisturino, as a gift.
Copyright 2011-2021 Jason Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Happy Halloween! Make it scary!
Photo by Dawn Pisturino.