Toby started working with strings instruments because he loved them. He loved the high, angelic singing of the violin, the warm conversation of the viola, the still water lake of the cello, and the guttural, under the volcano rumblings of the double bass. The shapes pleased him, curved, almost human, holding within them the genetics of hundreds of years of history. The bows—hair wound tight, something like a modern day alchemy, creating little deviations needed to fill the area with sound.
However, the more he saw them, the more he became consumed by their higher-end perfection. Once he crossed the waters to the Stradivarius and the Kays, suddenly everything else seemed hoarse, raspy—plebian. And they would always come in, these pimpled, mouth-breathing little kids and their too-dressed-up white collar parents, bringing in these low-grade instruments. The unpleasant shriekings of the untrained hands and brutish instruments made him ache as he heard the sounds coming from the practice rooms.
When the owner would give some grubby child one of the perfect instruments—just to test, just to see—he felt as if they were being abused, befouled by those hands. Even he, who had spent years in the conservatory, began to feel as if he could not touch them. These were meant only for the best.
When he decided to burn the store down, it was to free them. Only in the holy ether could they approach their designed purity. Free from all of these profane hands, they could merge with the music of spheres in a crushingly beautiful chorus—finally something worthy of their make. As he watched it burn, he thought he could hear them crying out, finally singing as one. Even as it became confused with the oncoming sirens, he could still hear that music, that wonderful music, and it was all worth it.