I quite like this short fiction by Tyger Schonholzer- it has an unusual premise, which I won’t reveal so that you can discover it for yourself, but feel free to discuss this in the comments.

Naumann portraitI did not expect nineteenth century Vienna to be so filthy. The stench assailed me as soon as I stepped through the portal, gagging me and forcing tears from my eyes. I choked back a cough to keep from retching and sidestepped a puddle of horse urine and dishwater, clicking the heels of my lace-up boots on worn cobblestones. I had hoped to be dropped outside the city proper so I would have time to adapt, but my mission was urgent and the portal guards knew to take me as close to my object as possible. I did not come here for pleasure but to save a life.

I hurried along a wall of narrow buildings, ducked into a doorway just in time to avoid a splash of bath water from an upstairs balcony and pulled my stubborn skirts to my knees. Would I ever get used to this garb? And would I ever get used to the way men leered? I dropped my skirts and stepped out into the street with what I hoped was an aristocratic air. The men dropped their gazes.

I found his house at the next corner. A simple facade brightened by vigorously climbing wisteria led to a cobblestone courtyard. I gathered my courage and knocked on the heavy oak door. A servant answered.

“The master is not here.”

“Oh… I…when…?”

“You can come in and wait. He never goes far when he walks.”

“Thank you.”

I followed the maid up a staircase and through a dark corridor, unadorned with paintings of any kind. Ludwig did not entertain. We entered a large airy room, strewn with piles of papers and she bade me sit down. When I moved a stack to find room for my feet, I found scores upon scores of music, all written in his hand. What a treasure! I traced the notes lovingly with my fingers, resisting the urge to stuff the papers into my bag to preserve them for the afterworld. All would remain as it should. I had a mission.

My heart pounded in wild leaps when I heard him approach. My whole life I had been anticipating this moment, when past and future would meet and I would stand in the presence of his greatness. Would you blame me for being a Beethoven groupie?

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