Prologue: 9 23
And the lights went redblueredblueredblue.
I always insisted that I must have been born surrounded by music. Maybe the doctor had been humming, or my mother's screams sounded like violins. Maybe dad's tears were crescendos and staccatos or the air had been inexplicably melodic that day. I just knew that from the first second of my life my thoughts had been triggered by the beautiful, awful gun of sound.
In my head, the memories of my childhood are in choirs and bells, suffused in a golden, pure tune that is slightly cracked and faded and repetitive as it is overused by time. The song goes like this.
When I was a kid, I was constantly exposed to music. I never really had any aspirations to learn how to play an instrument because in my childish acceptance, listening to it was enough. My mother had a beautiful, deep voice which always reminded me of the rich red of her hair. I would sit on the carpeted floor of our apartment, playing with my lego or frog-shaped toys and listen to her voice curve and twist around my senses, making me giggle and clap as she sometimes picked me up and brushed her nose with mine. When I grew slightly older I used to sing along with her, the two sounds intertwining like a river that separates and joins and separates again.
My dad had an extensive collection of records and modern CDs which were put on as often as possible, echoing the mood of the house. There was no TV, a fact which often astounded my friends, just a radio which brought news chart-hits and stories cut up and served piece-by-piece each day, like life.
Even punishments were underlined with sound. When I didn't eat my vegetables or threw a tantrum or disobeyed the rules I was lead to my room, sat on the bed, looked at in the eye. Think about it my parents would always end their berating with and a soft music would be turned on. The sound of disappointment.
Even when the few times they argued, shut in their room so that their voices were like the noise from a distant war, the music was raised, covering the fight like a leper wrapped in silver, doing nothing but hide the problem. My mother would storm out of the room, her fiery temper flaring around her like an animal, grey eyes flashing until they settled on me, crying, upset on the couch. She would walk over to me, a blurred vision of affection with guilt in its eyes, whispering, oh Naruto, and wrap me up in herself. Dad would come out of the room, his tall form formidable in my eyes, blue eyes scathing, dimming at the image of mum and me curled in, for once, silence as if a storm had blown past us to leave an eerie stillness. He would approach with an adult expression meaning 'I'm sorry' and they would nod and smile and hold hands and we were a family again.
A family made of glass, glass that cracked and broke and shattered.
But out of all of these memories one of my favourites is what I called 'the dark room'. Be it through a friend or the radio or pure chance we used to look for and discover new bands that would be worth-while. I was so used to the routine that when I was six years old I started joining in, but never with the skill my parents held for discovery.
Out tradition, however, went far deeper than that. Sometimes, we would find a song which we called shivers, a song so good that it inspired, it struck us to the core. I used to think that only people with the right bone-marrow could feel the effects of that type of song, for they seem to capture you completely, burying themselves inside your veins and bones and organs until they draw a tremor down your back, making you feel until you can't feel anything else. When I grew older I began to associate the sensation with biting for some strange reason, as if the immensity of it could not be withheld within my body and the way to mourn the fact of it would be to destroy something, to bite down hard on it and transfer all the energy it gave me into something else.
My Dad used to say that for him it felt like sinking into a pool where the outside world is shut out through a thin film of substance that threatens to take over you if you stay inside too long.
For Mum it made her want to run. She described it as something pulsing energy into her until she had to do something.
These songs used to be shared in the aforementioned dark room. We either shut all the lights off in the living room or just the ceiling ones whilst covering the lamps with thin orange material to throw the room into a warm glow. We then curled up in the couch, DadmeMum, or spread out on the floor and put the song on and just...listened. The world was made of silence except for that one string of sound, made of crashing drums or trembling violins or rasping, dying voices. Sometimes it was only a shiver song for some of us, sometimes just one, others all. But my treasured memories of those moments in the living room, a peace so deep it was like war had no meaning on earth, those were the gems of my infancy.
Despite this obsession with music, inherited though blood, this addiction, those years could have been called normal. A mother a father a child living in an apartment, going to school and having jobs and being preoccupied by the worries of a western life, like taxes and bosses and grades. And I was a normal kid, with scraped knees and practiced puppy eyes and a habit of using crayons on walls. And silence in my head.
Everything was screeching, the air itself screaming in my pores so I couldn't think, couldn't feel anything but the bone deep horror.
I remember it was winter because it was snowing. It wasn't like the movies or stories where white flakes flutter and flitter and fall down lazily to settle on eyelashes and noses. Instead it slushed down, blurring the darkness into itself dirtily as our car rushed through it like an umbrella through rain. Mum and Dad and I were in the car, driving back from a gig of a people-only band, meaning they substituted instruments with self-made sounds and pitches and voices that clicked and overlapped deliciously. I was dozing in the back seat, for car-rides in the dark always made me sleepy. The CD we had bought at the show was on and the strange almost comical noises accompanied me to a near-sleep as my parents talked softly. Suddenly, through my eyelids, I saw light.
Then the world ended with the following sounds.
"MINATO! Watch o-" a horrified shout that sounded like mum but didn't. There was a wet, screeching sound followed by a trembling of air and ground. The Earth itself must have then collided with something because a humungous crash reverberated through me like an arrow in every pore. My own scream pierced the air as I was jolted forwards and stopped by my seatbelt, bruising me. Something else screamed and then a sound like a million things breaking and scattering. A conquering crack which echoed in my ears followed by a low, secret hissing. And then a horrifying, dead silence as I held my breath, not even able to think.
I opened my eyes and saw nothing.
At first I was confused and wondered if I thought I was lifting my eyelids but wasn't really. I wondered if I was dreaming. If dreaming could be this painful.
Slowly, as my eyes befriended darkness, I could see.
I was still in the car, but it wasn't going anywhere. I moved my eyes and saw that the front of the car was much nearer than it should have been and crumpled strangely like abstract art.
I looked to my parents who were leaning forwards awkwardly as if looking for something on the ground. My eyes gazed from one form to the other. They looked deformed like monsters in the shadows as they went; silencesilencesilence.
I unbuckled myself with little, trembling, 7-year-old fingers and searched around with big, 7-year-old-eyes.
"Mum? Dad?" I croaked. It was hard and painful to talk as if I had been singing for hours and hours and hours.
"Mum? Dad?" but they said nothing. They didn't rustle, they didn't move. And then I noticed that I was the only thing that was making sounds. I was breathing and sobbing and moving and I was the only one in the whole world making noise.
I shifted towards them where they were leaning forwards, looking for something, and gasped and cried out, whimpering in pain as inside me something hurt.
I forced myself in the middle of the two seats and looked at my parents. I stopped breathing.
Their heads were like the shells of boiled eggs which haven't been cracked properly. Their foreheads were mangled and caved in and were leaking something down their face, thick and slowly. Mum's neck was cracked to one side so that she was facing Dad slightly, facing me. I opened my mouth by nothing came out. There was nothing.
They were both sightlessly facing the floor. Looking for something.
My mouth stayed open and I didn't breathe. I sat there, still and dead, for an eternity. Not breathing, because nothing was making a sound. There was just absence like holes in space.
I looked at my parents and the monsters went silencesilencesilence.
The only thing I could see was the broken electronic watch on the crumpled front of the car, stilling time as, for hours and days and lifetimes, it went
I didn't notice that snow was falling inside the car until things around me started lighting up, blueredblueredblue. Shadows and forms started running towards us, pointing and waving and opening and closing their mouths that were filled with snow, but no sound was coming out. I realised it was people and I wondered faintly what they were doing. They looked scared or worried as they pointed at me, at us and their mouths kept changing shape with no purpose. I watched the snow slur down and realised it was hitting mum and dad and me.
They were so very cold.
The scene changed suddenly as someone grabbed my shoulder and removed me from my parents. I was suddenly very, very afraid because I didn't know what was going on and my parents were disappearing until I couldn't see them at all.
Then sound came back.
Something was blaring to the beat of the changing colours as they jumped off the scattered glass, redbluered. People were shouting and talking and someone was saying Calm down, it's gonna be ok. Out of my mouth a person was screaming and screaming and screaming and there was a shrieking in the air, as if it were wailing, the screeches of out-of-tune violins and crashing symbols inside my head. The world was breaking and still someone was saying,
There was music in my ears that came from no one, from some void created by us and the car and the snow and the concrete wall we had crashed against.
I looked around, frantic as the world slowed down sluggishly like the snow that spat down and a voice inside my head, cutting through the noise, sang in my mother's voice.
Woke up and for the first time, the animals were gone.
Disclaimer for whole story: If it were mine Itachi would be going :D in a very tight straitjacket. O.o
The last line is from the song The Animals Were Gone, Damien Rice.
Every chapter in this story will have music. It has an actual plot and will be relatively heavy in the narusasu but my first idea for this story was to write something that wasn't a band-fic but still centred around music. At the start of every chapter I will put up a chronological list of the songs that will come up in that chapter so you can download, find or youtube them beforehand because I highly recommend having them ready and listening to them at the right moment. You will be missing out greatly, missing the whole point, really, if you don't immerse yourself in music whilst reading this. :3
I have the next few chapters already written up. It takes me ages to write Shiver because of the 'finding the right song' bit, but that's remedied if I feel eager to write so honestly I'll just update as I see sensible, depending on your reaction to the story (winkwink hinthint). But I'll be uploading at least once a week, I aim, unless something horrible like me dying or, even worse, me going deaf, happens.