Ancient Music

This is an excerpt from a short story about an ancient spirit haunting a modern music studio.

The shaman’s spirit heard the music above and reached for it. The new electronics were the first thing he could interact with since he had been trapped. He reached into the patterns of energy and felt it, heard it, the beautiful music. The spirit immersed himself in the music, but then the music changed. It grew lighter, happier, spoke of sunlight. The shaman wanted it desperately, but he could not be part of the music without turning it dark. If he pulled away and only listened, the dark madness pulled him back down and away. The spirit learned how to put only the least touch of himself inside the music, only enough to hang on. He tried to only change the music a little bit.

Blue egg-crate walls cushioned the sound of the music that played in the empty live room. Microphone stands and music racks reflected silver lines on the glass of the dark control booth. Nothing moved, no LED’s gleamed on the panel. The music played on, bright and complex, music for dancing. Gradually it became darker. The bass grew heavier. The tempo was more driven, the harmonies used more minor chords. Soon the music evoked dread and un-named violence in the dark.

There was nothing electronic about the music now. There was nothing modern about the rhythms or tone palette. It was ancient music, from instruments not heard in thousands of years. The music echoed his madness. Then it gentled again. He drew from the energy patterns he could feel stored in the new devices and the music changed. He tried to let the new music hold him, but the madness was who he was now. It drew him back, and the ancient drums pounded out again. The horns of the great aurochs sounded their dismal low tones. It drew him down again until his spirit could no longer muster the will to reach for the music, and silence descended on the darkened studio.


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