Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Devil's Eyes by G.R. Richards

Devil's Eyes
by GR Richards
12 pages / 6100 words
Available file types - html, lit, pdf, prc, epub, Sony Reader pdf
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Synesthesia isn't always a useful gift for a recording engineer, as Graham reveals during a film interview for Noah's documentary on the topic. Synesthetics are people who see music. Some see colors or shapes in the notes they hear. Graham's a little out of the ordinary because he sees images. Often, entire scenes play out before his eyes. Graham's come up against a stumbling block because of his synesthesia. In the bizarre death-metal tracks Graham is working on, the devil's eyes appear at every turn. He's scared stiff, and if he's afraid to listen to them, how will he ever get the tracks edited? As Noah and Graham discover, confronting the devil's eyes is a job for two.


Watching Noah through the mirror, Graham set the system to broadcast into the studio. He put on his headphones as Noah worked away at his laptop. He should probably give the guy some warning. Pressing the speaker button, he said, "Noah, I'm putting one of the Valley of Darkness tracks on now. This is their take on In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt."

Noah turned away from his computer to squint at the wall of dark windows. He obviously couldn't make out Graham's shape through the glare of the glass, but he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up nonetheless. Graham's insides seized at his broad smile. In a short space of time, Noah had tapped his inner thoughts and asked about mental patterns most people expressed little interest in hearing about. It seemed only natural to fall for a documentary filmmaker. They were like therapists, inviting transference.

With a deep breath, Graham started the track. Fuzz. The guys' chatter. Voices didn't bother him. Even a capella singing didn't cause him much synesthetic reaction. His stomach clenched as they went quiet. To distract himself from the revival of old images, he marked on his sheet where to clip the track at the start. When the upright bass struck its first deep, reverberating note, he nearly jumped out of his chair. Noah turned owl-like and latched onto his gaze, even through the dark glass. There was a silence between them, despite the cello seeping into the groundwater of the bass' heavy-handed performance.

They were a blood-thirsty group, Valley of Darkness. The results were impressive and chilling, but they tore the classics to shreds like a pack of wolves. Graham was shoulder-deep in a vision before he even realized the synesthesia had kicked up. It came on fast, and once he was this far-gone he knew there was no escape. When he looked around, it wasn't a room with a soundboard he saw. The expanse in front of him was no longer a recording studio behind dark glass. The deep, haunting music transported him to a world that wasn't his. A dark planet with nothing on the horizon but starlit space. A bone yard. There was no atmosphere, only bones everywhere he looked -- underfoot, too. They snapped like pencils. Dust rose knee-high before dissipating into the planet's nothingness.

Graham had never seen this place before. As a well-worn drum kit kept the rumbling cellos and basses in time, he gazed around the planet. In the distance, silver wolves snarled and snapped as they tore at a bloody carcass. His heart beat faster. Should they come after him, how would he defend himself? The bones turned to dust as he trod on them. Why approach wolves with no manner of defence? He couldn't say why his feet were moving. He certainly wasn't willing them to.

The wolves looked up from their meal and their eyes were devils' eyes -- red pupils in golden gleaming pools, lined in black. They shocked Graham into submission. He stood very still as the mangiest of the dogs crept away from the pack. The rest were more interested in fighting over table scraps. He watched the silver dog with matted fur. He watched its devil's eyes as it approached. A wolf would go for the jugular, wouldn't it?

Like a virgin sacrifice, Graham fell to his knees among the bones.

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