THE MUSIC INSTRUMENTS I: MAD LOVE
We all have been through terrifying experiences. Seeing a spider can give us a heart-attack, and riding a roller coaster can be as scary as death. But it’s love, from every single experience, the most terrifying of them all, something so crazy, so possible and impossible at the same time. This is the story of how a mad love can change everything, despite of what the rest of the world says.
It was Sunday. May the 1th, year 4 of what most people got to call “The First Era”. The First Era began in 2015, when rock confronted its deadly enemy; the Beliebers.
General Justin Bieber had almost half of the world population under his control by 2014, endless armies of zombie-like people, most of them girls, who listened all the same music. Beliebers attacked the main bands, Green Day, blink-182, Simple Plan, and after taking over all the cool rock fans, they attacked the big kings; Oasis, Guns n’ Roses, even Slipknot. Music died.
Beliebers thought they would have control, but they were wrong. After what was called “the rock massacre”, General Justin Bieber disappeared, and Beliebers summit in chaos. The Apocalypse began. Music was dead, and the people responsible for that did not had a leader, so dictator Daddy Yankee took over the planet, and imposed a dictatorship.
People couldn’t listen to rock or pop music, only reggaeton a tedious tropical music that made girls dance like bitches. That was the beginning of The First Era. Why first? A drunken dude made a prophecy; someone will lead rock to the ultimate battle. Someone will put an end to this dictatorship. Someone will free us all…
“Jack,” Alex yelled.
Alex Gaskarth was cooking a soup. He was trying to do it as tasty as he could, but he knew that it wasn’t going to be delicious; lately his food wasn’t tasty. Was it the nerves?
Alex and Jack lived in a small flat in Baltimore. After the music crisis, they escaped from Daddy Yankee’s bounty hunters and bought that apartment. What had happened to Zack Merrick and Rian Dawson, the other members of All Time Low, was a question that Alex remained asking himself. He missed them, but he couldn’t go out there and look for them; any person with a rock look was haunted down, and Alex wasn’t ever going to stop being rock-looked.
“Jack, food’s ready!”
Jack Barakat appeared in the small room. By his 33, Jack still looked like the 25 years old dude that played the guitar in All Time Low, the famous pop-punk band. He was tall and had a messy dark hair with a blonde dyed zone. Alex never told Jack how much he loved that dyed zone; it gave Jack a rebel look.
Jack sat on the chair while Alex put the soup bowl in front of him. Jack took the spoon and started to eat. It wasn’t the best thing he had ever tried, but it wasn’t that bad.
Alex sat in front of him with his own soup bowl.
“You liked it?” Alex asked setting his dark eyes on Jack’s face.
“You are getting better,” replied Jack as he turned his face to Alex’s. Both eyes met, and Alex felt a kind of electricity through his body. He turned his eyes to his bowl again, and his lips curved upwards, not intentionally.
“You’ve been distracted lately. What is it Alex?”
Alex thought before replying.
“I’m afraid,” he said after some silent seconds. “Afraid of today. What if they catch us?”
“What if they don’t?” Jack closed his eyes. “What if everything goes as planned? No more Daddy Yankee”
May the 1th was perhaps the most anticipated day of that year. People where going to do what was forbidden; to play rock music. They were joining at a place called “The Tent”, a big house on the outscores of Baltimore, and there was the rumor that the chosen one, the one who would lead the rebellion against reggaeton will be unmasked that night. But if Daddy Yankee’s men found out what they were planning, they would execute them as fast as Justin Bieber had disappear.
Alex smiled once more.
“You are right,” he said. “There’s hope.”
Jack put his hand over Alex’s, smiling at him. Alex’s heart stopped. He wanted to. He wanted to turn around and kiss Jack as he dreamed, but he didn’t. He was afraid. What if Jack didn’t felt the same? What if Alex was wrong? It would destroy their friendship forever, and Alex couldn’t imagine a world without Jack.
He breathed slowly, shaking.
“There’s hope,” he repeated.
The Tent was full of people that night, as expected. The house was actually in the middle of nothing, so none would find them. Alex and Jack arrived on an old Chevy Alex had stolen a year ago. Jack thought about tweeting “This Chevy is older than earth. Fuck it.”, but twitter wasn’t no longer available since Daddy Yankee considered that social networks were a way of conspiracy, and he close down them all.
Alex got off the Chevy and walked into The Tent, which dark-woods doors were open. There was a guy in a black suit sat on a bunch next to the door.
“Do you smell that?” the dude asked.
“Yeah,” Jack answered. “It smells like teen spirit.”
“Come as you are then,” said the guy, and he let Jack and Alex, who had just reached him, get into The Tent.
“Nirvana songs?” asked Alex. “I thought they were going to be from AC/DC”
“No, that was for the guitar seller at the shopping mall,” said Jack while he walked into the huge hall.
There were almost 100 people, most of them members of a rock bands. Alex saw Tom DeLonge talking with Hayley Williams and Dave Grohl was smoking back there. Vic Fuentes from that band called “Pierce the Veil” approached to Jack, and hugged him.
“What’s up Jack?” asked Vic after letting Jack go. Jack smiled as he replied.
“As usually,” Jack said.
“Does Alex still cook as he sings?” Vic asked smiling.
“Hey, I do not cook THAT bad,” laughed Alex. “Have someone played something?”
“Ummm,” Vic thought for a couple of seconds. “Yeah. Simple Plan. A Day to Remember is next. Come on, there’s beer”
Vic guided Alex and Jack to a table where there were beer bottles and some snacks. Alex took a glass, and so did Jack.
“You are driving,” said Jack to Alex. “You shouldn’t.”
“Fuck that,” smiled Alex. It was then when a voice sounded in the entire room. Alex looked towards the stage where the drums, the basses and the guitars where located. He felt a kind of pain in his chest as he remembered the times before Daddy Yankee, before Beliebers, before everything, when it was he, Jack, Zack and Rian playing at the warped tour.
Travis Barker was on the stage, holding a microphone. Alex thought that that was something interesting, because Travis used to be very shy. At least the last time Alex saw him, which was more than 3 years ago. Anyways, Travis hadn’t got any older, he looked exactly as he looked in 2011.
“Evening,” Travis said. “Thank you all for coming.”
“Where the fuck is A Day To Remember?” Vic yelled.
“Shut the fuck up,” Travis answered. “As you know, today was meant to be a special day for us. The day in which we were gonna find out who the chosen one is.” People began to murmur. Jack drunk some beer, he was completely calmed. He had hope of returning to normal living, but he thought that the idea of a Chosen guy was kind of stupid.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the girl who knows the identity of the chosen one,” said Travis finally, as a girl entered the stage.
She was really pretty, with her black hair, blue eyes and a delicate pale skin.
Amy Lee talked:
“Hi,” she said as serious as Jack had ever seen her before. “I’m Amy Lee, from Evanescence…or what’s left from it as our dictator murderer my friends. I’m here to reveal the truth of who is gonna free us all.”
Jack turned back to the table and started to eat as he did not care that stuff. Meanwhile, Alex was hearing and biting his nails.
“Our savior is someone who is in this room, at this very moment. He’s going to lead us to victory, and he will restore the balance to the music, but to do that he will have to face a long way towards truth. That person…is Jack Barakat.”
The room summited in silence. Jack kept eating as he didn’t hear what Amy said, but Alex hit his arm.
“What?” asked Jack with his mouth full of food and turning back to Alex. Jack saw then that everybody was looking at him, and he realized. “No. No. No, no, no. Nononononono. You are wrong.”
“I’m not,” said Amy.
“Yes you are. You think I’m going to go on a quest to save you all? I can’t! I’m lazy, and I don’t even know how to tie my shoes. Alex does it for me.”
“Yes, but you are the chosen one Jack, believe me.”
“No Amy. I’m sorry, but you are wrong”
“If I tell you the prophecy you’ll have to believe me.”
“I won’t believe you even if you wrote it for me,” but Amy had stopped hearing Jack’s words, and started to talk.
“The guy will lead us to salvation or oblivion, as he travels through the most dangerous quest of his life. He will have help, and he will learn more than only one truth, and at the end, if his initials do not coincide with Dark General’s, our world will collapse.”
“That’s all?” asked Jack. “How do you know that the prophecy talks about me?”
“Because it says that the initials of the chosen one have to coincide with the Dark General’s initials. J.B.”
“Justin Bieber,” whispered Alex. “J.B. Jack Barakat. The two faces of the same coin. Good and evil.”
Jack looked everywhere. He felt pressed, squeezed by the hundreds eyes that were looking at him. He let the beer glass fall and ran towards the door without looking back.
“None understands me!” he screamed.