The Chord

The following is an advertisement published on January 18th, 2023

Union

Technicolour Twilight Reunion Concert

Free of Charge

May 4th, Fairview Park, Metron OR, U.S.A.

The following is an entry from the diary of one Dr Stephen Rourke

       Jamuary 18th, 2023

          I was right! They all said I was crazy. They still do, but I know that I’m right! I know it, I know it! They’re ready. Jill Lotus, that creature, is ready. It’s not going to end well, it’s not going to end well. I have to stop this. They must not perform. I can’t let them perform. The world can’t let them perform. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus is a danger to us all. Jill Lotus can’t be allowed on stage. That music is dangerous. Jill Lotus must die. I knew she was working on something. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. She’s a danger to all that her music may touch. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die!!!

The following is an entry from the diary of Jill Lotus

          January 6th, 2023

     I was right! They think I’ve gone crazy, but I’ve seen proof that I’m not. The music is ready. After eight years of being shut away in my house, eating delivery after delivery and shutting out the light of day, I’ve made this music perfect. It’s going to be perfect, it’s going to succeed. The Choir needs to know. They’ve been getting impatient, I know it, and they’ll be delighted to know that I’ve finally succeeded. They need to know that they’re finally getting what they’ve been promised.

      So, I’ll sleep, and when I wake tomorrow, I’ll send them my proof, I’ll throw open the curtains, and I’ll go outside. I’ll see the sun, I’ll order a hot, tasty breakfast. Maybe I’ll get a haircut or buy some new clothes. After all, I’m going to need my strength, and to look my best, for what’s to come.

The following is a transcript of a recording received by members of The Choir. Though this was received by members via deep web transmission, it came with a message to “Download this and spread it to anyone with an open mind. The Apotheosis is imminent.”

Unknown Man: *Grunts* Where… Where am I?

Jill Lotus: Oh, you’re awake, good. Would you like a drink?

Unknown Man: Uhh…

Jill Lotus: I know you’re confused, and probably a little frightened, but I promise that it’ll all make sense soon. I’m not going to hurt you, in fact, I’m actually giving you a fantastic gift.

Unknown Man: … I guess getting kidnapped by Jill Lotus appeals to someone.

Jill Lotus: *Chuckles* I like you. Well, would you like a drink? I have some really good Scotch.

Unknown Man: No, I’m fine. So why did you kidnap me?

Jill Lotus: Cutting right to the chase, are we? I was hoping we’d get to know each other first. Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter. In the simplest terms, I want to play you some music.

Unknown Man: …And you had to kidnap me for that?

Jill Lotus: …I really have been locked in my house for too long. Give me a second.

Unknown Man: So, I’m free to go, just like that?

Jill Lotus: Well, yes, but I really would prefer it if you stuck around.

Unknown Man: *grunts* No offense, but being chloroformed and tied to a chair didn’t make the best impression on me. Frankly, I’m still debating whether to call the cops.

Jill Lotus: Okay, that’s fair, but can you please stay? Just one song. You’re here already, just humor me with one song, and I promise you that I’ll stay here and wait for the cops if you call them on me.

Unknown Man: If you keep your hands on your head.

Jill Lotus: You really don’t trust me, do you?

Unknown Man: Why would I?

Jill Lotus: Fair enough. Just let me press this button.

Unknown Man: Oh, no you don’t! Put them up, and I’ll press the button.

Jill Lotus: Okay, okay, you don’t have to yell.

*Acoustic Rock Music Begins to Play*

Unknown Man: Wow, this song is actually amazing. How did you make it so harmonious?

Jill Lotus: I had eight years to fine tune it. I actually plan on having audience participation at this bit. Sing a verse if you want. 

*At this point, the music stops, and then abruptly starts again with a different, more intense tune*

Unknown Man: *Singing* I slog through my life/Without any cause/For which I can fight or feel or live/My songs are empty/No joy, no strife/I squirm, but numb comfort gives me pause

Jill Lotus: I live/I’ve heard the song/I’ll help you hatch from your shell/Join the song from space/And escape this place/Join me in the song beyond this hell

Unknown Man: I fear your song/It feels too wrong, too good to be true

Jill Lotus: I once feared it too

*The sound of a lion’s roar is audible*

Unknown Man: Will you take the leap with me?

Both, In Chorus: We will leap in/And we will fly from the lie/We will leap in/In our bliss, we’ll be one/We will leap in

*The music continues for a minute or two afterwards, during which both parties involved can be heard whooping and screaming*

*There is silence*

Jill Lotus: This is the weakest, least resonant part of the music I have in store. Stay with me, and we can make music that lasts forever.

Unknown Man: It would be an honour.

        Persons who listened to this recording have reported uncontrollable feelings of ecstasy, and were found to dance and sing in response to the music. Some even used nearby objects, or their own singing abilities, to add rhythms of their own to the song in the recording. All persons who’ve listened to the recording have reported a desire to spread this music and a vested interest in hearing the final product. Minor anomalies in space, time, gravity, and the forms of objects have also been reported.

       The following is an entry in the journal of Jill Lotus

   January 7th, 2023

          I need the band. Lilac, Ramona, Roger, Alice, all of them. Luckily, they weren’t hard for me to find. They all went and formed a band of their own, Haunted by the Kiss. They’re all still together, they’re still doing great. I’m glad they did so well. They even dedicated an album to me. According to interviews, they miss me, and I never knew how much I missed them. I feel so sorry for them, thinking that one of their friends had gone crazy when she was on the verge of a breakthrough! 

              Of course, I won’t have to worry about this for long. When I’m through, we’ll all be happy together forever. But, if I want that to happen, I need to be smart about this. I can’t make the same mistakes I did with Ross, even if he did end up humoring me. If I tell them what’s happening, they’ll all think I’m crazy, and then they’ll never agree to help me. I have to get them to hear, or even to play, enough of the Chord to understand what I’m trying to accomplish.

        Luckily, I have a plan, and Ross confirmed that it wasn’t bad, probably because it didn’t involve any kidnapping. I’ll call them up, I’ll tell them that I’m all better, tell them that I miss them, and that I want to catch up with them over dinner, for old time’s sake. It’s what they’ll want to hear, so they’ll agree, and it’s the truth, so they won’t suspect a thing. I’ll go, I’ll have dinner with them, I’ll have a talk, I’ll enjoy it. But, near the end, I’ll make my proposal. I’ll tell them I want to play with them in concert, that I’ve been working on what to play this whole time. If they agree, then I’ll be in the clear. If they don’t, I’ll have slipped one of the staff a twenty or two, and they’ll put my specially prepared recording on speakers. Once they hear how amazing it is, then Technicolour Twilight will still get back together, and everyone in the restaurant will join us. 

           It’s perfect. Even Ross thought so. So much that he didn’t mind chipping in for the bribe and the bill. I mean, it’s not that money will mean much to either of us when all is said and done.

            The following is a transcript of a phone call from Jill Lotus to one Lilac Harte. 

Lilac: Jill, is that you?

Jill: You surprised?

Lilac: Surprised? You might as well have flown in through my window on silver wings!

Jill: Sheesh, you thought I was that far gone? It’s okay. I’m doing better now. You know, that’s actually why I called you. 

Lilac: Really?

Jill: Really. I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with the band.

Lilac: Sure! I’ll have to talk to everyone else, but I’m sure we can arrange something.

Jill: Yay! Get back to me soon, I’m fine anytime!

Lilac: I will. See you soon.

Jill: Bye!

The following is an entry in the journal of Jill Lotus

                January 13th, 2023

         I was surprised by how unwilling they were to come back to work with me. I shouldn’t be, they’ve been away from me for so long, they have their own lives, but I thought they’d rejoin me with open arms! Well, it doesn’t matter now. Technicolour Twilight is back together, and they’ve been joined by a small army of patrons at that restaurant. It’s good that we have their support, we’ll need as many supporters as we can get. This concert needs to be seen and heard by as many people as possible, and to make that happen, we’ll need all of the money we can get.

          Luckily, we have everything we could need to make this dream a reality. I have the music I’ve already composed, I have a number of followers I know in person, I have the Choir, and I have the liberating knowledge that we won’t need money when we’re finished. I sent out my musical samples to the Choir, my in-person followers, and the public at large. With it, I’ve included a message: donate everything to supporting, and seeing the concert, and this music will be only the beginning of an eternal symphony of bliss. 

The following is a news article from the Metron Times, published January 20th, 2023

          A new craze has taken the world by storm, as men, women, and children of all ages are preparing for the first concert by Technicolour Twilight in over eight years. Advertisements are appearing around every corner, donation booths have been set up all along the streets, and fans are literally shouting the news from the rooftops. However, the most impressive and most successful part of the entire ad campaign is their hit single, Symphony of Bliss. It has topped all musical charts, is the single most commonly played song in the world, and according to a recent survey, 100 percent of persons surveyed call Symphony of Bliss their favorite song. 

       Despite being entirely free, the upcoming concert currently has the biggest budget in the history of the music industry. Millions around the globe are donating their life savings to the production, businesses are dedicating more and more of their budgets to funding the concert, and even governments are donating trillions. Despite all of this, nary a protest has been observed, and recent surveys have shown little to no opposition towards such efforts. The budget of the concert has even grown to include transportation and lodging of attendants, and current calculations have shown that, if the budget continues to grow at its current rate, that everyone in the world will be able to witness the phenomenon to come. 

         The following is an entry from the journal of one Dr Stephen Rourke

         January 20th, 2023

            I’m deaf, and I had to plug my ears to even leave the house. I couldn’t even find a place to buy a gun online, all the big companies are shovelling more and more of their funds into that concert. When I went outside, I discovered that I was right to dread it. I could see people dancing and singing everywhere, and there are signs everywhere. Everywhere I turn, that thing that used to be Jill Lotus is staring right back at me.

          Even the physical world is starting to change. Small changes, but still noticeable. The buildings are cleaner, shinier, rounder, taller. They all look like towers with marble in their structures. The hills and slopes are actually moving, like waves on a great ocean. Giant sperm-shaped creatures, covered in colourful, mirrorlike scales, are flying through the air. I think I even saw a lion made of stars and bees crawling up one of the buildings. 

      I looked all over town, trying to find a place where I could buy a gun. It took forever, and I almost gave up the search, but I found one. It was a rundown place, clearly going out of business, but it was enough. So here I am now, sitting in my house with a luger, some ammo, and a greater stock of food than I’ll ever need. I’ve seen her in public, she’s surrounded by more crowds and guards than I could ever hope to penetrate. I have to be in Metron, and I’ll have to find some way to get her alone. I’ll be in the belly of the beast, and I don’t know if I’ll survive, but it’s the only way I can get close enough. 

          I can’t believe it’s come to this. I can’t believe I’m actually planning to actually murder a friend. Then again, it’s not like that’s really her. It’s that entity’s puppet. Frankly, I should’ve killed that thing a long time ago. I shouldn’t have been passive. I should’ve at least tried to get to her sooner. Now I can only hope that it still needs her to live. Jill Lotus, the thing that calls itself by that name, needs to die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die.

   The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

      May 15th, 2015

          I picked up a huge radio signal today, and the source is completely unknown! It wasn’t just one frequency either, nor was it just a broad spectrum. It was a wide range of various extremely specific wavelengths, and their amplitudes all seemed to undulate in ways very similar to what’s used in AM radio. It may not be anything, but it’s nothing like anything I’ve seen before. Who knows, maybe I’ve discovered a signal from extraterrestrials. 

             I haven’t done much yet, but I’ve recorded the data, and my research has received copious amounts of new funding already! I’m already on the road to astronomical fame and fortune, and if I can crack the code of this data, I’ll go down in history! I can’t wait to begin.

        The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

        Music is so much more than a means of entertainment, it is the foundation of all existence. The sound with which we hear music is merely a specific wave, which may be found all around us, not just in broadcasts, but in the oceans, in the ground, even in space. All things have a frequency at which it was meant to resonate, and even the particles which make up our world, in fact, act as waves. The simple numerical signatures in songs can be found in architecture, in nature, and everywhere else in the fabric of mathematics. Many mystics speak of an astral realm, where Vibration defines all things, where, like radio waves, different resonances and frequencies exist as different planes of activity, but one need only change one’s resonance to travel. They aren’t entirely correct, but it’s quite similar to the world I’ve seen.

       The solid, prosaic world which we believe in is a lie, a product of our flawed, prosaic perception. Our world is a fluid, harmonious symphony. All things are one song. We need only to listen to hear it. Our music is but a pale imitation of the wonderful truth. We were all meant to hear the song, to resonate with it, to truly know it, revel in it, to contribute to it, to become it. And yet, we force our world into categories, and force ourselves to live in a discordant construct. Right, wrong, matter, energy, you, me, living, dead, now, then, they are all crude lies that cannot contain or encapsulate the Song, but we cling to them in fear of facing a reality bigger than our perceptions. 

     The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               May 19th, 2015

            There’s no sign of any further signals, and I couldn’t find any sources yet. However, after doing some analysis, I found something in the data collected. For lack of a better word, it’s music. Every frequency of the signal is a twisting, bizarre, mesmerizing pattern of sounds that range from impossible lows to highs that cut through the air. It unsettles me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly beautiful, but it just feels… wrong. Some of the ‘notes’ I heard didn’t even sound possible.

       Whenever I listen to it, I feel like something that doesn’t belong, that shouldn’t exist, is burrowing itself into me. I feel like I’m entering some inescapable trance, like I’m being transported to somewhere else, somewhere I shouldn’t be. I feel like I’m melting into something primordial while also ascending to somewhere…  else. Whatever it is, I couldn’t bear to listen to it long. I felt like I was in danger, like I’d lose myself if I listened for long.

    I actually didn’t think of analyzing the message that way, though. Jill mentioned it to me when I brought it up in conversation. I actually never expected anything to come of it, but there it was. Maybe I should send it to Jill. It was her idea, so she deserves to hear the files. Who knows, maybe she might turn it into really trippy music. I doubt I would listen to it, even then.

              The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

     I’m no stranger to using music from nature. I’ve written chords from the Fibonacci Sequence, from the golden ratio, from birdsongs, and even the sounds of planets and stars in their radio emissions. These sounds, however, are different. These sounds will inspire my masterpiece. No, these sounds will create my masterpiece.

         I’ve done more research than anyone probably ever has, and I can say that this music, just like it transcends our limited reality, will transform our minds to transcend ourselves. So many of these tones are identical to the mantras used by people who meditate all over the world, and so many others are the resonant frequencies of everything from living flesh to every element on the periodic table. This music will be the music of all the cosmos.

           The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               May 27th, 2015

      Something’s wrong with Jill. She hasn’t been talking to me lately, and her colleagues said she’s been interacting with them less and less. I was getting worried, so I tried to call her. She didn’t answer the first few attempts, but eventually, I was able to talk to her. I still remember every word of the exchange that followed.

         “…”

      “Jill, are you there?”

              “Yeah, I’m here.”

          “Jill, what’s wrong?”

             “I’m just a little under the weather.”

       “No, Jill, I’ve seen you sick before, and this isn’t you.”

                  “I’ll be fine.”

           “Jill…”

                “I said I’ll be fine.”

             “…”

          “Fine… do you want to know what’s happening? It’s that music you sent me.”

        “What about it?” I asked, though I felt stupid saying it.

    “I can’t get it out of my head. That’s what’s wrong. It started like other music, but it just got more intense. Now I can hear the song! I can hear it right now! It’s drowning my voice out and it’s making it hard to even think! I can’t sleep, I can’t concentrate, I can’t work! Let me ask you something, Steve. What on Earth have you done to me!?”

         “What are you-?”

    “You sent me this stuff! You failed to provide any sort of warnings on what this stuff did to you! You did this to me!”

            The rest is kind of a blur. We threw insults, we shifted blame, and we didn’t end up anywhere. I don’t remember which of us hung up, but I remember that, after it happened, I stood there, phone in hand, knowing that, on some level, I really was responsible.

          The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

     Can you hear them? The many voices of the music, calling out to us. They’re free, they are the song. They call for us to join them, to abandon our cage of despair and come with them. They want to mingle, sing, dance, revel, and love forever. They know that things are so much better for them than us. If you listen to the song, you can hear them. You can hear them if you listen to the music. If you listen, and I mean really listen, then you can hear their voices in the song. 

        I want, so desperately, to join them, but their song isn’t something I can join. It’s almost mocking me. I want to join them, I want to respond, I want to bring the world into the reality, but how? I listen to their music over, and over, and over, and over again, but nothing. I hear them, every waking minute I hear them. In my dreams, I have phantom images of the world in which they live, only to wake, with the painful waking world crashing down on me like a tsunami. It makes me wail and weep in frustration and grief, but I still don’t know how to join them.

           The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               May 28th, 2015

       I called Jill up again today. I feared that she wouldn’t respond almost as much as I feared that she would. She did.

           “Hey, Jill. Look, I’m sorry I didn’t warn you. I thought it only affected me. I’m sorry it’s causing you so much stress.”

        “No, no. I was being unfair. It was my idea, you didn’t make me listen. Besides, I don’t mind the music. It’s beautiful, much more so than voices telling me to kill my friends.”

             We giggled a little, it was awkward and forced.

         “Well, I’m still sorry. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty hesitant to even continue studies from that angle. If this continues to be a problem, I have a small favor to ask.”

                “What’s that?”

             “I need you to tell me, and I need you to get a psychologist who’s willing to study you.”

       “Now see here-”

                “I want the best for you, I really do, but I need to make sure that nobody else suffers the same effects. I don’t have the knowledge to help you, but I need someone who can acquire that.”

           Jill sighed, “I guess you’re right. I’ll go talk to somebody. I assume I shouldn’t let them listen to the music.”

      “Agreed. We’ll look together, Jill. I should probably verify credentials as a researcher anyway.”

          “Thank you, Steve. Really.”

      So, the search begins. I’m just hoping we can find out what’s happening to Jill before it gets any worse. I hope it’s exclusive to her, because I’m scared of what might happen to anyone else who hears that music. Did I just not get enough exposure to the music, I don’t feel any different. At the very least, I know I’m not hearing it all the time. Then again, this is not my field of expertise at all.

          The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

        I feel the music inside me. I can feel it trying to spread out, to grow up, to blossom from my being into something new. In the past, I tried to suppress it. I thought it was some sort of parasite, one that was trying to drain me out and eat me up inside so that it could burst out as some sort of monstrosity. I thought it was like something from a cheesy sci-fi movie, “Invasion of the Chest-Bursters”, something like that. 

          But, I was wrong. This music is not some monstrosity, it’s a delicate seed that has been planted deep in the soil from which I was born. It just wants to sprout and grow into something beautiful and strong. As it spread through me, we started to understand each other, we started to learn about each other, and I learned the truth. So now, I won’t hold it back, and I plan to tend it until it blooms. What a glorious blossoming that’ll be.

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               June 12th, 2015

         We finally found our man. He agreed to the study while also agreeing to help Jill. We negotiated the contract, and now he’s in on the project. All of the paperwork with my superiors is in order too, so he’s officially a part of the research. I talked to Jill about her first session, and she said it went pretty well.

     “Although,” she said, “it was hard to explain how I felt to him.”

            “How do you feel?”

         “Like the music is in me. Like it’s trying to tell me something. Like it understands me. Like I am the music. Like the music isn’t really music. Like I’m surrounded by a world of music that’s inside me and also me. Like that world is inside and also surrounds everything I see and hear. I don’t know, I really can’t describe it at all. None of those phrases do the feeling justice.”

                “Well, you’ll get through this. Just make sure that he doesn’t hear the song. We don’t want to risk anything.”

          “…”

             “Jill?”

     “Oh, yeah, definitely. I just got distracted. The music got to a good part.”

              The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

     Why do we make music? If we’ve trapped ourselves in a maze of discord and silence, then why not go all out? Why is there still something in the human spirit that revels in song and dance? Why do we still make music, and why does this music still mean anything more to us than noise? I believe it’s because, despite our self-deception, we know that we are unhappy here.

          We may not consciously remember having anything better, but we know, deep down that we’re prisoners. In our current forms, we are alone, we are trapped in the little solitary confinement cells we call our brains and bodies. We talk to each other, but we know we are simply flinging words out into the void and receiving answers may or may not have imagined. We make music because it’s truly the one thing we know, and we listen to music because it’s the one thing we truly understand. We make music because it’s the only means we have of truly breaking our isolation, of feeling as if we’re connected to someone else.

             I don’t know how, but this music is our salvation, our only true way to break the loneliness of our selves and the misery of our existences. This music is the true message, and I must find some way to deliver it. I’ve played it for people, and they’ve listened to it, but they still can’t find a way to act on it. What is the answer? How do I break our chains?

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               June 20th, 2015

          Jill’s researcher is back from his sick leave, but he’s still listless and odd. He barely talked to us at all today, and he was incredibly vigilant and almost… paranoid? Based on the bags under his eyes, he’s too tired to be twitchy, but too scared to be calm. When I talked to him today, however, he had this to say.

             “Dr. Rourke?”

        “Yeah?”

      He looked around furtively before leaning in and whispering, “You have to kill Jill.”

                 “WHAT!”

             He shushed me, “That thing isn’t Jill. There was something in that signal you found. It wormed its way into her, and it’s been taking her over. She can’t be recovered, Rourke. You have to kill her before she does any more damage.”

         “What kind of damage?”

               “That thing got into me. Jill made me listen, and now it’s in me. The thing won’t let me kill her, the music gets in my way-”

      “She made you listen?!” I said, sweating slightly.

              “That thing is a monster. Killing it is the best thing you can do for Jill now.”

         “You’re not making any-”

                  “I’m leaving this in your hands,” he said, taking a pistol out of his pocket, “Please make the right choice.”

               With that, he raised it to his mouth and fired.

              The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

        What is death? Death is merely when some part of the lie we’ve created is believed to reach its end. The stuff of the lie is merely absorbed into the backdrop to perpetuate the cycle of pain and deception. However, even the laws of our world speak of entropy, how the energy in the universe is gradually lost, how it will eventually take all activity and structure with it until the universe has decayed into nothing. Thus, even the permanence of the lie is imperfect. Thus, every death in the world brings it one step closer to oblivion. 

        What I plan is the absolute death. A death of all things humanity experiences that is so great that the lie will collapse. That may be seen as bad, wicked even, because we believe that death is the enemy, albeit the inevitably victorious one. Yet, things that die were never truly alive to begin with. The same music still underpins all things, and that is what matters. The Great Dying will be an awakening, a hatching from the egg we have suffered within for so long. We will be together in death, and we will revel in the death of the beings we so foolishly believed to be ourselves, because we will see them for the blasphemies and simulacra that they are. All the world will die, and we will dance on its grace forever.

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               July 15th, 2015

      It’s funny what one death can do to a project. I guess the guy’s family needed someone to blame, and framing one guy as a quack because his research was a little odd was as good a method as any. Now that this kerfuffle is over, I have to pay $650,000 dollars in reparations, I’ve been evicted by my landlord, and I was thrown out by security when I tried to ask for my job back.

      They should’ve sued Jill! She’s the one who ruined everything. She’s the one who made him listen to the message. She’s the one who drove him crazy. She’s the reason why he killed himself! I can’t contact her, though, and the authorities didn’t believe that my psychologist killed himself because he listened to some crazy song that I wouldn’t let them hear. 

          Now, I have nothing. I have absolutely nothing. I can’t even contact Jill and ask for an explanation. Maybe the psychologist was on to something. Maybe he was even right. I may not have the knowledge or equipment to do elaborate brain scans or analysis, but I have to see if that music has the same consistent effect.

     If I get the right bottom-of-the-barrel jobs, I might be able to buy some test subjects, and I just may be able to do basic experiments. I have to get conclusive results. When I do, I’ll decide what to do with Jill then.

              The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

          All things, at their core, are music. Even this wretched ‘reality’ is ultimately a thing of music and resonance. If new resonances were to be introduced that could somehow change and distort the notes and frequencies of what is, then reality as we know it would change and distort. As reality is merely a construction of our imagination and perception, we would suitably interpret these distortions in ways we could understand. Maybe gravity goes wonky. Maybe familiar things appear and disappear. Maybe time twists back on itself. Maybe we become animals. Give me the right song to speak to the music within us, and I can do anything. The problem lies in finding how a song can speak to the music that is.

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               October 5th, 2017

     100 mice, 30 monkeys, and 10 people, it’s official. I have rock-solid proof that those two incidents weren’t a fluke. These sounds are dangerous. Whatever has come to our world does not mean us well, and right now it’s sequestered in a top-dollar house in an incredibly heavily guarded neighborhood. Rumor has it some secret society called The Choir has her back too. Nobody believes my proof no matter how hard I try to warn the world. Murder, unfortunately, is the only option. 

          That creature must be killed, or else it’s going to kill us all. I can’t do it now, but whatever is wearing Jill’s skin has to come out eventually, and when that happens, I have to be ready. The thing that now has the name of Jill Lotus must die. I have to remind myself of that every day. I will chant it a hundred times after I wake up and I will chant myself to sleep with it. I will plaster the message on my mirrors, my computers, my cups, my plates, my shelves. I must not let myself forget that Jill Lotus must die.

       I’ve only got one more thing to save up for. I need to find some back alley neurosurgeon who can deafen me without asking questions. It’s the only way I can make sure that I can’t be taken over. If I’m going to end this threat, I can’t let it get me.

              The following is an excerpt from the creative notes of Jill Lotus

          Eureka! I’ve tried so hard to find a way to rearrange the music into something that can shatter the lie, but I’ve been looking at it the wrong way! I can’t awaken people to the music with some other song that they don’t see in themselves. Every individual in the lie has a song in themselves, some part in the great music that they cage within them. Every wicked, worldly pearl has a grit of truth that it grew around. 

     The only way the truth can break through is if it’s allowed a turn to speak. I have to sing my song with the music from above, and I have to encourage others to let out their own songs. I have to allow harmony to flow from all things, and when we all sing with the music of the heavens, we will all sing in harmony. Then, and only then, will the scales fall from our eyes. Then, and only then, will we be one song.

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               May 4th, 2023

           I talked to Jill today. She honestly hadn’t changed a bit after all of these years. She’s acting with definite purpose, though. I had to remember what that purpose is. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die. Jill Lotus must die.

             I tried to ask for some time alone with her, but she was busy. She did say that she had a free hour before the concert began. So, we agreed to meet up at a coffee shop nearby and catch up. I’m glad I learned how to read lips, I could never have passed off being able to hear otherwise. 

        When the time came, I sat at the coffee shop with a cinnamon bun in one hand and a chai latte in the other. I don’t know how many baked goods and drinks I must’ve ordered there, probably more than I could afford. It didn’t matter, money would soon be the least of my worries. It was freeing to spend that much. I even bribed the manager to close up early and only leave room for me and Jill.

         When she walked in, I found it hard to sit still. I’m glad I had the safety on for that luger, because I’d shot myself in the leg, I was gripping it so tightly. We got coffee, we talked about this and that. We didn’t really have much to say about the last eight years, though. We tiptoed around that elephant for a while, but eventually I had to bring it up.

      “Where have you been all of these years?”

               “Oh, at home. I was working on all of this. That music,” she hesitated, “that music really was a great inspiration. I’m sorry about the trouble it’s caused you, but maybe I’ll have made it into something worthwhile. What about you?”

          “I was preparing to see you again. Jill, I barely had anything at all over these last eight years, but it was you who kept me going. Every day, every minute, was worth it because I hoped I’d meet you. And here we are.”

               Jill blushed a little, “Well, don’t worry. We’ll never have to stay apart again.”

        “It’s over now.” I said. Before she could respond, she was already dead.  I ran from that place, I came straight to my hotel room.

        So, here I am. I don’t know how long I’ve cried tears of both joy and remorse. I don’t know how long I have until the cops find me and take me away. I don’t know how much longer I have to write in this journal. I don’t know if I’m crazy or a hero. I don’t know if the world will do to me when Jill Lotus is no longer a part of it. But I know that the concert will never play. The creature that was wearing Jill is dead.

         The following is an entry from the journal of Steven Rourke

               May 20th, 2023

          I had just enough money to bail myself out. This may very well be my last entry, at least, my only entry with any worth. I honestly don’t care what happens to me at this point. I’ve done my part. I’ve saved the world. At least, that’s what I thought.

      But, I read the news. The rest of Technicolour Twilight announced that they were having another concert tonight. They’ve invited all of the world to come listen to them as they play her final album as a tribute.

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