31 Dec 2013

Another Year (6/7)

"Thank you so much for coming here, guys! Even though I've got, like, a nasty flu, and there's like, a great rock concert not too far from here, you peeps are still staying here for me!"

Of course Harold was. This was all part of his mission. He was here to enjoy himself in more ways than usual, in this lush windy park under the starry sky. Amidst the cheering crowd, he was here to resolve a question in his heart. If it went unanswered before he was due, he would suffer greatly.

So here he was, gazing upon a blond beautiful woman sitting on an illuminated stage, armed with a guitar, a tambourine, some sort of drum, and what looked like a strange alien form of technology packed in a long rectangular panel on the floor. He guessed it was a loop pedal for Skelli to provide her own accompaniment on the fly. And he would be right.

"Well now I'm going to do a cover of this popular song... if you know the lyrics you can sing along if you want!"

One, two, three, four...

Harold didn't consider himself a music aficionado, and he didn't even know what song she was covering, but he found her music pleasant. Everything just felt so... chill. The windy cool weather might be influencing him, but there was no doubt she had such a disarming melodic voice, the kind that might come from a gentle physiotherapist or a loving sister. He almost wished he could stir Ellis' voice into a cup of camomile tea and sip it slowly on a Sunday afternoon.

The crowd cheered and clapped.

"Thank you so much! I'm really sorry I've got this flu, so my voice sounds kinda weird... but I'll do my best to entertain you guys so we can start off the new year on a fantastic note!"

More cheers and claps.

For the next few hours, Harold stood amongst the crowd of listeners, admiring Skelli on the stage as she belted out song after song with her charming voice and adept musicianship. The whole scene blended into a mysterious dream-like scene: he watched silently as the siren on stage weaved sound and words into stories and emotions, to the delight and wonder of the audience she captivated. He wasn't even paying close attention to the lyrics any more. She could have sung a shopping catalogue and he would have still been mesmerised. How had he not become a fan of hers long before?

"...all right, that's it for me guys! Thank you so much for listening to me perform with a blocked nose and messed up throat, ha ha! The countdown's going to begin soon, whoo!"

Just like that, she was done on the stage.

Wait, that was it?

No, Harold figured, snapping out of his music-induced trance. That wasn't all that Ellis had to offer. He knew there was something way more she hadn't shown him yet. Was it her illness hampering her? Maybe. Or not. He came here to find out how Ellis was doing. All he had found out tonight was how Skelli was doing even at her semi-best.

Damn it. He had to find out more. He had to probe further. This performance wasn't nearly enough for him!

"Okay everyone, now our guest of honour will trigger the fireworks at the stroke of midnight! Start counting!"

20! 19! 18!

All Harold wanted was to put one matter to rest, yet he ended up being entangled further into this mess. Why couldn't he just die peacefully!?

17! 16! 15!

Now he ended up being hooked on Ellis like a drug addict. He ended up being more miserable than ever. If only he hadn't bothered with pursuing this trivial matter...

14! 13! 12!

He was so frustrated. So tired of it all.

11! 10!

So. Tired.

9! 8!

Colours and sounds blurred into a muddy mess. He felt light.


No. He couldn't go now. Not like this.


All this time he had been trying to speed up his death, and now he was so desperate to delay it again.


He no longer felt anything. Everything went black.