Prose

808s & Fantasy

3 April 2019

CUT IN. INT. WANGS BAR & CAFÉ. NIGHT.

The distinct, yet soothing low-fi sound of a distorted synth ripples through the air like sawblades slicing through steel in an empty factory. Its sharp, staccato crashes mimics the rhythm of rain beating against a window then sliding down into a puddle below. Yet, an aggressive edge seeps through the track almost as though someone ran it through Audacity, boosted the bass and randomised the mixing.

What should have been an ethereal, angelic woman’s voice is compressed and amalgamtated into an industrial and demonic collection of syllables that create a dichotomy between the vocals and instrumentals. The sound reverberates, permeating the air and creating an unseen but noticeably present feeling of unrest.

ENTER DANTE

DANTE slides the ‘NERV’ branded lighter into his pocket and swishes his hair to the side as he enters through the kitchen side door. He throws an apron over his blotted red spray jacket, wraps his headphones around the discman dangling by his cargo pants and walks into the foyer.

Although he seems to be moving with deftness as he shuffles toward the stereo, he is distracted, his eyes glimmer with the flashing image of a girl. The white of his eyes are cloudy and bloodshot and his pupil pulsates as it generates the image of the flailing girl with the obscurity of a flipbook. She slices her arms through the air as if trying to keep afloat in a river current while still maintaining the serenity and dreamy transfixion of a swinging pendulum

With his eyes locked on the girl’s image, his body acts sentiently and drags him to the stereo against the back wall. He pulls a dial out towards him until he hears a click then slowly turns it left as the green text on the CRT display changes. It changes from ‘Genesis (slowed, reverb)’ to ‘Win96: dreams’ to ‘F A I R Y  F O U N T A I N’. The crashing of the drums and backing of ambient rain amalgamates with the transparent wall to create an image of eeriness and hopelessness. Dante stands dwarfed and silhouetted by the wall as he quickly glances down at roaring waves breaking against a metallic shore, then up at rain plummeting from an endless grey sky into the abyss. DANTE gazes deeply, transfixed as VHS scan lines run up and down the window, barely noticing when a slender woman with pink hair and an oversized yellow jumper walks over and clasps his shoulder. She reaches into a gap between her jumper and her gingham skirt and pulls out a pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

MYSTERIOUS WOMAN

Can we talk?

The cigarette hangs between her pursed lips, and DANTE reaches over to light it for her. They stand in silence. DANTE looks at her as if wanting to speak but returns his gaze to the window. They are silhouetted as smoke rises and clouds the air.

MYSTERIOUS WOMAN

I’m confused DANTE… I feel like I’m in a dream, but I’m not sure. I feel like something bad is going to happen but I can’t be certain because I don’t know if I’m awake or asleep right now…

The scariest part of a dream is knowing the terrible things that are coming… because you’ve had that dream before. I feel that the moon is going to collapse in 3 days. In 3 days, the moon will fall and crush everything… I’ve been here before, watching through the window as the city collapses.

I know that was a dream, but I’m not sure what this is DANTE. You’re here but I feel alone. I feel that perhaps this isn’t my dream or your dream.

DANTE begins to sweat profusely. He feels someone glaring at him so he deserts the MYSTERIOUS WOMAN.

The camera tightly tracks DANTE as he moves towards the bar. A red and purple strobe light illuminates two aging men yet gives the ambiguity of a darkroom. The large congregate of chatter fails to muffle the man with an unkept beard and vague wrinkles on his forehead as he slams his fist onto the wooden counter. He turns to the clean-shaven, grey haired man to lament.

HIPSTER #1

I don’t know what the fucks goin’ on anymore; these fuckin’ tea connoisseurs all go on about strawberry tea. What the fuck happened to chai man… what happened to chai?

The man with a clean shave nods and his eyes begin to moisten.

DANTE

What do you want?

HIPSTER #2

*Wavering voice* Yeah, we’ll actually get the uh… What do you want man?

HIPSTER #1

I don’t wanna spend too much. The establishment has taken enough from the proletariat so I think I’ll just go with the maple-cinnamon fries.

HIPSTER #2

Right on SPLIFF, gimme that as well.

DANTE

Will that be all?

HIPSTERK #2

Nah…

DANTE’s attention is stolen as he sees past the punks to where purple and red neon strobe lights beat down on a woman with pink hair and an oversized yellow jumper tucked tightly into her gingham skirt. She dances alone.


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