LABYRINTH OF SOUND

The venue is filled with a critical mass of writhing, dancing, and sweating bodies moving to the pulse of the bass. The holographic video wall, under where the Dj booth is positioned, blasts a barrage of 3D stimuli straight to the visual cortex. It’s a montage of worlds within worlds opening the gateway to the front doors of perception to all who enter.

The bass pounds, swirls and builds until Ris feels her heart quiver in almost an orgasmic sundae delight. Uncontrollably her body starts making its way between the masqueraders, squeezing like her breasts in her corset. Ris takes Alecia’s hand and they move through the crowd like a pod of dolphins, stopping only long enough to get their bearings on the Dj lighthouse. Readjusting their coordinates accordingly, they proceed to find their way backstage. Only to be confronted by a security guard at the gate backstage, “Excuse me ladies, where are your passes?”

Ris looks up and stares at him confusingly, “Passes?”

“Yeah passes. You have to have passes to go backstage.”, he says blocking the hallway in front of them.

“Zer_0 is my boyfriend, he didn’t mention anything to me about a pass. He said that we’d be on the list.”, Alecia says irritated .

“That’s unfortunate because as you can see I don’t have a list and without a backstage pass I can’t let you any further.”, he says starkly looking over at Ris whose eyes are still staring at him from under her lace mask.

“Are you sure were not on your list? “, Ris smiles.

Normally he would’ve told them to move on by now, but her eyes were piercing him from under her mask. “I’m sorry, I can’t let you back here without a pass.”, he says apologetically.

“This really is Zer_0’s girlfriend and we need to speak to him but he’s doing his set right now. We can’t text him because all the phones are immobilized at these events. What are we supposed to do? Are you sure there’s not a list in your head you might’ve forgotten about?”, Ris looks at him once again and throws in her beauty pageant smile.

Unable to resist her hypnotizing eyes, “Go ahead, but if you get caught by anyone else I will deny any of this. If he’s your boyfriend, I would advise finding him quickly and getting your passes.”

Stepping aside, he lets them walk across the threshold through the gated arches.

“We will. Thank you so much… What’s your name?”

“It’s Tyler.”, he says with a smile.

“This is Alecia and I’m Ris.”, reaching out to shake his hand.

“Thank you so much.”, smiling as they move past his human barricade.

As they walk by him Alecia turns to Ris, “How do you do that?”

“It’s a gift.”, she says with a wink.

There’s a resonant echoing coming from the crested vestibule in front of them. As they move further into the dimly lit castle, the music reflecting off the walls creates an ambient soundtrack that is reminiscent of a science fiction movie from 1970. It makes for quite an unnerving sound wallpaper across the 16th century stone walls around them.

Alecia squeezes Ris’ hand a little tighter. “So now what? Do you know where we’re going?”, she asks.

“Of course. We just turn left around this corner ahead.” , Ris says as a matter of fact. All the while knowing she has no idea either.

Progressing into the barely lit warren Alecia says half jokingly, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, now come on.”, she says pulling on Alecia’s hand.

Stepping into the darkness, the castle corridor takes on an appearance of a classic film noir cliche. The air is like a chalky eraser cleaning session, the particles lit only by the glow of Ris’ phone she’s using as a flashlight. “At least this thing is good for something tonight”, she says over the escalating loud music. There appears to be only one way to go as the walls careen to the left up ahead. As they turn the corner, the hallway glows from a couple of candles burning their last breath. The sound waves escorted by the walls can be seen through the dustiness of the centuries passed. Enveloping them as they switchback around the next turn, bringing with it a rush through their bodies as they meander towards where the music is coming from. The corridor continues it’s ever winding and turning in on itself so that the mere act of walking brings with it, a continuity that flows like a tributary. Currently, the sinousity of this path has developed into a journey guided only by the sherpa waves of music leading them forward. A beacon begins to form in the mind of Ris as she stops, just long enough to take a deep breath. Unsure of how long they’ve been walking, Alecia succumbs to the flow of vibrations once again as they progress further into the mind void. Finally coming to a stop at the center as the music swirls around them skyward, up a stone staircase.

Zer_0 drops one of his newest tracks as the bass vortex becomes part of the cinematic experience they’ve been having since they arrived. As they climb the spiral stairs it begins to heighten their awareness to what is happening inside. The opening at the top brings with it a bass drop, perfectly synchronized, into this moment on their experiential journey.

After standing at the summit for a few moments, while regaining their composure, Zer_0 turns around and notices his visitors. Giving Alecia a hug and a kiss first and then turns to Ris, “Ris is that you?”

“Of course it is, you didn’t think I was going to miss this? Did you?”, Ris says stepping back with a smile.

“Wasn’t sure if you could figure it out.”, he says sarcastically. “Glad to see you made it.”

“Actually figuring out the code wasn’t that hard. I didn’t even need any help from Alecia this time, not like I wouldn’t have found out anyways being I rode with her. You really need to step up your game or you might just get caught.”, winking from under her mask. “Although it was quite the trip finding you once we got past the backstage security.”

“So you enjoyed the labyrinth then?”, he says smiling.

“Is that what you call it? Never experienced anything like that before, that’s for sure. We need to get a couple of passes by the way.”, Ris raising her voice to be heard above the music.

Alecia steps forward, “I can’t believe that just happened.”

“No problem. Wait till you go back out. It will transform you.”, Zer_0 says as he turns back around to change the song. “Welcome to my world!”, putting his hands out in front of him.

Ris looking out at the swaying, vibrating, sea of people over Zero_0’s shoulder seemed to bring with it fragments of memories that seemed familiar, yet at the same time unrecognizable.

Zer_0 turns back around with two passes and a drink in his hand. Handing one pass to Ris and the other to Alecia, “Here, you ladies should drink some of this.”

“What is it?”, Alecia says with a serious tone of question.

“Don’t worry, it’s a tea that some friends of mine make and sell. It’s 100 percent made from natural roots and herbs. It will enhance the experience you are already having from the labyrinth without the use of drugs.”, as he smiles with the drink still in his hand.

Ris removes the drink from Zer_0’s hand and starts to put it to her lips. Alecia grabs Ris’ hand, “What are you doing?”

“It’s Zer_0, I mean he is your boyfriend, right.”

“Really? Do you think that is a good idea Ris?”, Alecia says concerned. Looking at directly at Zer_0, “What the hell are you thinking?”

Not wasting anytime Ris puts the drink to her lips and takes a drink. “This is really delicious. It reminds me of something…You should have some too.”, handing the drink toward Alecia.

Zer_0 hands Alecia a cup for herself. Reluctantly, Alecia takes the drink from his hand. Slowly moving it towards her mouth Ris yells, “Just drink it already, Jesus!”

“I don’t think this is a good idea Ris, considering…”

“Considering what exactly?”, Ris replies.

“Well you know, with all the things… you are experiencing lately.”, Alecia says treading lightly.

“Can we please not discuss this right now? I’m really just trying to go out and have some fun and dance all night.”

Still looking for a way out of this Alecia hesitantly gets the drink to her mouth and tilts it back. “This is really good.”, with a surprised look on her face.

“Come on you know I wouldn’t steer you wrong.”, Zer_0 says looking directly at Alecia.

“Yeah well it’s not me I’m really worried about.”, Alecia says snidely as she hands the drink back to him.

“Oh come on. She’ll be fine.” He says looking down at the cup, “It’s all yours. I have plenty, plus your going to need it where your about to go next. It’s going a fantastic ride. Enjoy!”, raising his cup in the air to do a toast. “Sometimes we need a little kick in the pants to experience new things. Think of it as a metamorphosis brought to you by the universal consciousness.”, Zer_0 says waiting for everyone to toast.

They toast and then Ris grabs Alecia’s hand. “Come on, it’s time to get going and have some fun now.”

“Alright fine.”, she says to Ris.

Alecia hugs Zer_0 and as they embrace she says in his ear, “I still don’t think that was a good idea. We can’t take chances like that.”

Whispering in her ear he replies, “We need her. You have to trust me on this one.”

“I hate to interrupt you love birds but can we please go dancing?”, Ris asks.

“Ok, ok Ris.”, Alecia says as she stops hugging Zer_0.

Ris goes and hugs Zer_0 goodbye and says, “Thank you.”

“Anytime! Let’s get this party going.”

Zer_0 turns back and throws up his hands, energizing the crowd during the build up of the song. The audience starts bouncing up and down in sync with the beat and his motions. His hands resembling that of a 21st century maestro orchestrating the crescendo to the pit of mass below, letting go of control just as the 32nd notes climb and echo throughout the walls, the song drops in anticipation of the beat that is about to pound through the hearts and minds of all those present.

As they get to the bottom of the sonic vortex that encompasses the staircase Alecia turns to Ris, “I just want to say I’m still not really sure about this Ris. ”

“Please don’t…”, Ris interrupts. “I really don’t need this right now Alecia.”

Alecia looks at Ris in the eyes. “Your right. I’m sorry. We are about to experience something and we don’t know what that might be. So let’s take a deep breath together and let go and see where this journey takes us.”

Holding hands, they both take a deep breath and exhale.

Just as they exhale the beat comes back in full force like a round house kick to the chest, banging on the inner rhythm of their souls reminding it… of it’s presence in this world.

It’s at this moment that Ris’ starts feeling the halo effect of the roots and herbs coursing through her veins down to the capillaries. With nerves tingling and the urge to dance no longer being able to be contained inside her mind or her body. She starts moving fast down the corridor with Alecia.

Once again, the visual collection of waves pander through the abstract foundation of consciousness, appearing like oscillating apparitions in the hallway before them. Dancing patterns of light shifting as the resonance tunes to their body, clearing the cataracts of perception. The path of untold centuries in these corridors reveal their imprints like sonic palettes of ghostly hallucinations. The experience feels as though their minds are interacting less and less with the basis of ‘reality’ and instead are observing the projections belaying to the summit of their consciousness. This expedition, led by Zer_0 and his soundtrack, is climbing into the quantum portal of reality and exposing the subliminal under pinnings of the fabric all around them.

Ris senses are overloading from the labyrinth of sound. Unaware, she looks in her hand and realizes she is still carrying a cup of the tea. At first she almost doesn’t even remember what it is but then Ris takes another drink from her cup, it was if it was asking her to… remember. Not quite able to pinpoint exactly what the taste was she takes another drink, this time the taste on her lips gets the neurons flowing with the memories of an ex-boyfriend’s kiss. The one that she still is secretly in love with. “Lane”, she says to herself out loud.

 

After breaking up over 2 years ago she been having a tough time of letting go. This could be because the relationship ended so abruptly one day. There were no fights, no arguments and no cheating, just a couple of days after his birthday he tells her, “There’s never been anyone that I love and adore more than you. Everyday I wake up next to you I feel like the most blessed man in the world, and the way you look at me reminds me of who I really am. I feel like I couldn’t ask for more.”, she remembered that moment. It was the last time she truly felt happy. The words that he said after that seemed to drift off into a tunnel. Her mind picking out random sentences, “I’m going to Costa Rica for…”, was the last clear thing she recalled.

The next part is like a bad dream,”…surfing photographer…something inside of me says I need to go and follow this path…”, tears beginning to move down her face now. Holding back the river no more when she vaguely recalls “…our relationship is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life till we find each other again.”

The words echo in her head like the music around her, “find each other again.” If only he hadn’t said those words she’d be able to move on, she thinks to herself.

Over the next couple of weeks things became more difficult as he kept referring to his ‘re-birthday’. “Pursuing the dream of being a surfing photographer is one I’ve had since the moment I felt the ocean beneath my feet”, he would say. “It’s one of the longest lefts in the world. It’s going to be amazing.” Somehow his excitement didn’t quite make it through to her fragmented heart. These were the longest 2 weeks of her life. She tried to enjoy the moments that they had together still but she couldn’t. It was always sadly destroyed by the fact that he was leaving. She would spend some nights at Alecia’s house just so she could try and not think about it. This didn’t work of course, it only just reminded her of what it was going to be like after he left. She was going to be, alone.

The day finally came; dread, fear, love and rejection all wrapped up in one day, Sept 5th.

She doesn’t remember much about the drive to the airport. As they reached the point where there was no going forward for her and no turning back for him, they stopped. Facing each other he spoke first, “I’m sorry Ris. I can’t go on the rest of my life and not know.”, wiping the tears away from his eyes and giving her a hug.

Her final objection, “Lane, How can you live and not know about us?”, it might have struck a chord but if it did he didn’t show it. “I know I will always wonder.”, she said as the tears came rushing out.

“I love you Ris. Always.”, sang from his lips one last time as he held her and kissed her.

Her memories fade as he turned and walked through the security checkpoint.

 

She knows she needs to let go. She just can’t because this feeling she’s left with in her heart everyday says that it’s not over. It’s like the unresolved symphony in E Flat by Tchaikovsky, in pieces only to be brought together again sometime in the future.

Circling around, life and death come with connections that are apparent once you do meet again. Believing that possibly in a former life she has thrown this karma and eventually it must resolve itself, into the Pathétique. It is like fate is being intertwined with the symphony in E flat like a DNA helix; the existence of each being contained within the program of both. Spiraling human melodies move in concerto to the unique rhythm within each one and yet they are still part of a larger whole. Released to the ever evolving experiences opening the multitude of possibilities, even the one where their sonata would move beyond this dissonance and come to a final resolution.

Eerily on cue, she could feel the melodies from E flat in her mind. “How the hell is this even possible? ”, she thinks. Then, she remembers hearing this before on the mix tape Zer_0 gave her, the one where he had remixed the Vivace assai. “Everything is possible.”, she hears from a voice. Unsure of where it came from. Ris’ connection to her body is loosening as she feels the beat kick back in and bass lift her consciousness into the melodies all around.

As Alecia turns around the corner she realizes that Ris has disappeared into the darkness of the corridor ahead. No where to be found.