The target wasn’t difficult to find. It moved as it always did, as if responding to song. The target was called Jane. I’m Jane, she said.
“Jane”, I repeated without realising. Yes, it’s a very common name she continued. Paris sent me I said. I gave her the letter from Hubert. It explained that I would accompany her to Paris to meet him. We leave on Saturday right? She said. Yes, I said. Great, we have a day to get to know each other.
What is that you have in your hand? I asked Jane. She had been holding a postcard with a strangely haunting picture of a young man sitting at a desk with a pen in his hand. The young man was looking straight ahead with a shocking look of sadness and loss. This, Jane said, is Narradio. She explained that Narradio was a fairy tale. She spoke quietly as if to draw me closer and I listened intently.
“Some time ago there were two great kingdoms ruled by two great kings. The kingdoms did not live happily and there were many wars. Many people died in these wars and many believed that the kingdoms would eventually destroy each other.
In one of these kingdoms lived a man called Narradio. Narradio was a good man and had many children and a beautiful loving wife. One day during a walk with his family he encountered soldiers who thought that he was an enemy spy. They chased Narradio and his family and attacked them. Narradio only survived because they wounded him and they thought that he was dead. However, all of Narradio’s children and his beloved wife were killed.
Eventually, Narradio recovered from his injuries, but was heart broken to find out what had happened to his family. He started to write songs, telling stories of his love for his wife and children. These songs were so beautiful that they quickly became popular in Narradio’s town. They were so beautiful that it was impossible for anybody to be evil when they heard these songs.
The king also got to hear these songs and being a clever old king, invited Narradio to stay in his palace so that Narradio could write more songs and the king could hear them first. Narradio’s songs quickly spread throughout both kingdoms and soon something amazing happened. Because the songs were so beautiful and nobody wanted to do anything evil when they heard them, it was impossible to fight and wage war.
Soon the kingdoms stopped fighting and everybody was grateful to Narradio for his magical songs. The kingdoms enjoyed the new peace and for many years, Narradio continued writing songs about his heartache and lost for his family. Although the kingdoms were happy and full of love and peace, Narradio himself felt alone and missed his family very much. However, as long as he felt this way he would write songs that would allow the kingdoms to live in peace…”
It was later that evening when I first heard it. At first it was an echo, then it was a whisper, then it became a feeling. The feeling became desire and that desire would become my obsession. I slept deeply that night and dreamed.
I am perfectly relaxed. A slight breeze is caressing my arm now. My eyes are closed. I hear voices, beautiful voices washing over me like luxurious waves of blissful emotion and I am at peace. The voices now materialise into calm ocean waves and I am floating. Deep sunshine gently massages me and I can hear Jane. She is saying that everything is going to be fine and that I am safe. There is no need to worry, not anymore and not in this place. I rub my hands together. The sensation feels good. I drift breezily into consciousness. When I open my eyes I realise that I am not floating. I am in fact in a café with Jane. I am rubbing Jane’s hand and I immediately let go. Jane is not embarrassed. You were dreaming she says in a low voice. Yes I say. It must have been a good dream she says. Yes I say. It was.
We were in a busy café near the river having breakfast. Jane had suggested this. I had wanted to decline, but each time that thought entered my mind, it was washed away by gentle songs. They were now accompanying me everywhere. Soothing and calming, perhaps I thought, even dangerous? And then that thought was gone. Jane continued her fairy tale.
“…One day whilst walking in the nearby forest, Narradio met a beautiful woman called Siréna. Siréna had also lost loved ones in the war and could feel Narradio’s pain. Very quickly, Narradio and Siréna fell deeply in love. Narradio’s world was transformed and over time his pain for his lost family was replaced by Siréna’s love.
There was a problem though. As Narradio’s pain eased, so had the pain in his songs and people no longer felt they could not do evil when they heard them. Both kingdoms started drifting towards war again and many people would die and suffer.
Whilst the kings loved seeing Narradio happy, they did not want to go to war and as his songs had lost their power the kings could now do evil. So they decided that they would lure Siréna away from Narradio and kill her. This would break Narradio’s heart once again and his sad songs would bring peace throughout their kingdoms once more…”
The more Jane spoke, the more I felt myself becoming lost to the song. The song is beautiful and it hurts not to hear it. The song now sustains me and it has become a part of me. The vibration resonates deep within me. I was losing my edge, but I didn’t care. I could feel danger, but I was not afraid. Whispers told me that death would be my reward and that seemed comforting to me. They sang to me again.
On Saturday we arrived in Paris. A car was waiting for Jane. I watched her walk away. Her shoes clattered heavily against the marble floor making a rhythmic sound that chimed with the singing voices in my head. Her stride, also, was rhythmic. Each swing of her leg seemed to hypnotise. I could really love you I thought. And, at that moment, she turned around and whispered “I know”, and then got into the car and left.
It’s late and I’m lying on my hotel bed. I am still in Paris. I should have left now, but I thought I’d stay. I had not heard from Hubert, but that was not unusual. I am startled by a knock on the door and Jane walks into the room looking like heat from an airplane exhaust. I am happy she has found me.
She is radiant. Her voice now has changed. It is sharper and clipped, but it still resonates with the song. The song is loud and I can barely hear what she is saying. The singing continues and the room has started to sing back. Now that Jane is here, everything is singing. Jane is singing, the room is singing. Now the room has starting to dance. Dancing to the tune of Jane and I am under her spell. I collapse. This is intense.
Jane is drinking champagne. She seems really happy. Now the singing turns to voices. They are calling me. I feel myself lost to them. Jane is speaking too. She says she knows who I am and what I am, but I don’t care.
Only Jane and her song matter and I have given myself to them. I killed Hubert she says. Jane says. He was a bad man she said. Hubert is now a bad ex-man. You must join him too she says. Yes of course she is right. Everything she says is right. How could it not be?
I fall to my knees in awe of this divine Jane. I tell Jane that I can’t leave now, not yet. I tell Jane that I love her. Jane gently holds my head and says it’s time for me to come to her. It’s time. Yes Jane I say. And I fall to her feet. Jane takes out the postcard of Narradio and begins to write something on the back. When she’s done she puts it in my hand and I am on the floor looking up at her.
The singing is now fading and Jane is telling me goodbye. I watch her feet step over me as she exits the room and then the singing stops and then silence. They say that at the time of your death you know. They told me that everything would make sense and that I could go in peace. Except that when that time came, I wanted to live.