lies breathed through silver

Beatrix Sakakino used to live for the screams of the crowd. She’d take up her stance at center-stage, everything still dark – a single spotlight would hit her – the band would rip into the opening chords – that’s when it would happen. The screams!

In Japanese, they call those screams “yellow voices”. Why yellow? Beatrix had no idea. But there was nothing in the world like it.

It startled the hell out of her the first time she heard yellow voices during sound check. No crowds, just musicians and venue staff. They played a verse and chorus to check levels, and when it ended – yellow voices. It sounded like the whole stadium cheering, though the seats were empty. “Enough with the dorkitude,” she said sourly to her keyboardist. She assumed he was playing yellow voice clips through the PA.

It was even less amusing when she started hearing yellow voices at band practice. The guys claimed they couldn’t hear anything. The instant a song ended, the screams rushed upon her like a deluge.

She’d shut all the windows of her condo before strumming work-in-progress numbers at home alone. Still, the yellow voices would seep in. Out in the street, only passersby.

She quit singing in the shower. Quit humming under her breath as she jogged around Inokashira Park. Would kick herself if, distracted by something, she unconsciously whistled a bar of something. Longed for escape, for relief.

The constant adulation—it was unbearable.