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