Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - Glissando

“Glissando” by Maya Mourshed, Cresthaven Elementary School, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Maya Mourshed is a third grade student at Cresthaven Elementary School. Maya loves to create new things, whether it is stories, poems, games, or composing music and songs on piano. She is fond of mash-ups, and often combines her music creations with math or science.


My ears swivel as I hear Leila play piano. Her fingers sweep across the shiny black and white keys, crescendoing into a movement she calls glissando. Her notes hang in the air from bass clef to treble, like a rainbow’s arc stretching far across the sky.

My thoughts drift, as I imagine myself playing the keys.

I leap onto a stack of books, which nearly topples under my weight. Another hop gets me onto the flat black cushion of the bench. Then, I put my front paws on the keyboard and scramble to pull up my hind legs with one fast burst.

I frisk across the white keys, my furry paws sliding against the smoothness. But the sound I make is not glissando. Instead, it sounds like a harsh clash of notes that pains my ears. Next, I run carefully across the black sharps and flats. But that sounds like dull church bells.

Again and again I try. I run slow, I run fast. I tiptoe. I kick out my hind legs. Each time, I hear two notes being played with each movement I make instead of one.

The glissando sounded so easy when Leila played it.

A spider on the wall taunts me with her eyes.

I look down at my four legs, and think again. Maybe I need to move them differently. I slowly rise onto my hind legs and balance myself precariously. I tremble as I hop from one key to the next, as if I am on a taut tightrope. I hear only one key play at a time. Willing myself on, I quicken my pace, the notes rising. On and on I hop until I get to the highest octave and...


I awaken abruptly from my fanciful bravado performance as Leila carries me outside to play.

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