Authors: B. Roman
But soon more pressing incidents occur than a tiff between Janice and Isaac. Heavy storms hit Port Avalon, causing mudslides and more cliff erosion by the beach. The Nickerson family cemetery and especially David's mother's grave are in danger of being washed away. And an especially heavy blow to Isaac and Cole Shipping occurs when the Miracle Ship is badly damaged by flying debris and her maiden voyage has to be postponed.
But as swiftly and violently as the storm came, it subsides, and an eerie calm looms over the town.
Taking a walk along the beach, now marred by piles of seaweed and sea trash, where he had last summoned the Moon Singer, David looks around anxiously for his laptop. It's not on the bench where he left it and he fears it was washed out to sea, or worse yet, stolen by someone who might discover what was on the computer.
“Is this what you're looking for?” Heather says, holding the laptop toward David.
Trying to be casual while his stomach pulsates fearfully, David asks, “Where did you find it? I guess I must have left it somewhere. I'm getting forgetful.” He takes the laptop from Heather and sits on the bench.
“You know exactly where you left it, David,” Heather says apprehensively. “You left it here, that day I saw you and we argued. You told me to go away and leave you alone.”
“I'm really sorry,” David signs, with truly heartfelt expression. “I had no right to say those things to you. I hope you'll forgive me.”
“Of course, I forgive you,” Heather signs back. “I just don't understand you. In fact, after what I saw – I – I'm kind of afraid of you.”
“What you saw? I don't know what you mean,” he says evasively.
Heather stands in front of him. “I saw the lights, the brilliance from your computer. I saw the
, and you, walking – good grief, I'm crazy! – walking on water!”
David wants to laugh at Heather's description, but he realizes that's what it would look like to someone else.
“And then you disappeared on this ship. Or maybe there wasn't a ship. Maybe you just disappeared. David, I don't even know if what I saw was real!”
“Maybe it's better you don't know,” he tells her. “Just tell yourself it was a mirage or something.”
“A mirage is what you see in the desert when you're dying of thirst. That's not what I saw.”
“Sorry, I didn't mean to be patronizing. It's just too hard to explain. I can't do it right now. All I ask is that you keep this to yourself for now. Okay? No one else can know what you saw.”
Heather throws back her head and laughs at the irony. “Don't worry. No one would believe me anyway.” She sits down on the bench next to David. “And considering everything that's happening now in town, they might want to burn me at the stake.”
Dr. Ramirez is in the lab, playing his keyboards and manically manipulating the weather systems. While he plays, he watches several TV monitors broadcasting weather reports from around the world.
David confronts him, and begs him to stop, but Ramirez refuses and becomes physical, pushing David against the wall, threatening to hold him hostage to keep him from telling anyone.
“I promise I won't tell anyone,” David says, remembering Rami's warning not to. “But can't you at least tell me why you are doing this?” David pleads with him.
Ramirez gets hold of himself and releases David from his grip. “Because I'm fed up with noise blocking out every natural sound in the environment. Disgusted with the direction music has taken, away from its true meaning since the beginning of time. It's an insult to all the artists who have made so many sacrifices to leave the world a timeless musical legacy.”
“You could do that, leave a legacy of great music, Dr. Ramirez,” David suggests, hoping to get through to him. “Don't stoop to the level of the very people you despise.”
Ramirez suddenly grabs his head and cries out in pain. He staggers away from his keyboards and almost falls to the floor, but David grabs him and sits him down.
“What's wrong? Are you hurt? Let me call an ambulance.”
“No! No. It's just a headache. I have to finish my work.”
“You are finished, at least for the night, professor. You've done enough damage.”
“I might be finished for good, David. I think I'm dying.”
David is almost relieved to hear what might be a plausible, and less villainous, reason for his friend's behavior. “Why? Are you sick? What is it?”
“I don't know. But I see things, in the telescope. Sometimes I think I see UFO's and sometimes I think I see angels. Whatever they are, they're coming to get me. I have something they want, David. I have the musical formulas that create and destroy life.”
David is even more puzzled than before. Maybe the man is sick, or demented. It wouldn't excuse his behavior but it would at least explain it.
“When do you see these – these lights, Professor?”
“I saw them tonight. Before you came. Go ahead, look for yourself. If you see them, maybe I'm not dying. Or maybe we all are.”
David powers up the telescope and studies the sky. At first he doesn't see anything out of the ordinary. He adjusts the lens to get a panoramic view, then he sees it, the image that Ramirez refers to. David knows exactly what it is, but he can't tell the professor or anyone else. Not yet.
“I think I see it, Dr. Ramirez.” David turns away from the telescope to talk to his friend, hoping to pacify him. “It's not a UFO. It kind of looks like the vision some other people are describing. I'm sure there's a logical explanation. But, you know, “David says, feeling real concern for the man, “you really should see a doctor about your headaches. They could really be serious.”
“I'm better now. Just eye strain,” Ramirez says, straightening himself up and taking a refreshing breath. “Well, back to work. It's getting late, David. You'd better get on home.”
With that, Ramirez sits down at his keyboards and begins to play a Bach sonata. He looks so content that David can hardly believe it's the same person who only moments ago was a madman violently attacking him, and intent on destroying the world just to prove a point.
Maybe he'll stop
, David hopes,
at least for the Millennium celebration. But in case he doesn't, I'd better be prepared to stop him myself, using the tools that Rami gave me. And God, I hope I do it right. Or I might be the one to blow up Port Avalon.
As David plays them on his computer keyboard and watches the colorful patterns dance across the monitor, every musical scale resonates deep inside him. Rami's words resound clearly in his head: “
Music…is a symbol of what you, yourself, are made of, what you are capable of. Once you tap into the Triune Power…you will touch the face of God…and put an end to Ramirez's unholy scheme.
David then moves from one instrument to another. He sits pensively at the precious old grand piano in the Nickerson family parlor. One of the oldest polyphonic instruments created, with an unprecedented capacity to transform the ten fingers of a pianist into a creator of multiple melodies and rhythms at once, the piano is superior in David's mind to the dazzling complexities of today's electronic keyboards. Each tone is pure and one of a kind, its beauty and power reliant on the craftsmanship of the piano maker and string tuner.
David runs his hands along each of the 88 keys. Oh, if he could only hear the sound of each one resonate in the air, filling the room with a poignant ambience. This is a memory he carries within him, from the years before he lost his hearing, of his mother seated at this very same piano playing Brahms, Chopin and Strauss in a passionate interpretation of her own.
So, this is where my love of music began, and why I continue to pursue it to this day. Is this how Beethoven felt after his hearing went? How impertinent I am
, David thinks, to ever equate himself in any way with Beethoven. Then he remembers something Dr. Ramirez told him: “You hear
music, David. Not everyone does.” Perhaps - no, no perhaps about it. This is definitely what Beethoven heard: inner music when the outer music disappeared into a tunnel of deafness.
Taking in the expanse of the piano's width, some pertinent descriptions from David's music theory books loom large:
The piano has 88 keys: 7 black keys and 5 white keys, which make an octave, an interval of 8 tones. From the left to the right of the keyboard are 16 of these octaves, which reduce numerically to 7. The 12 black and white keys comprise the 12 semi-tones of the chromatic scale.
Most people are familiar with the diatonic major scales heard in today's music -
do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do
- the first 7 notes that span a full octave with 5 full tones and 2 half tones, ending on the final
note), which is a repeat of the first
, only an octave higher tonally. For example, a basic octave scale of notes on the piano would be written on a music score as:
c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c
Somewhere in these keys, these octaves, these tones, is the key to the puzzle of those cryptic messages that pop up on David's computer screen. Music, he has learned, is more than just notes and scales; these notes and scales mean something mysterious as well as mathematical.
“Mathematical! Yes!” The light goes on in his memory again. “Now where are my books on Pythagoras?” - the master Greek mathematician (550 B.C.) who gave a scientific basis to the diatonic music scale upon which most of Western music is based.
But more than just a master at the science of numbers and mathematics, Pythagoras believed that the 7 music tones of the diatonic scale correlated to the Divine Music of the Spheres (the 7 planets of the solar system), and to the 7 Spirits before the Throne of God. Many people have believed for centuries that, in using the Pythagorean principles in their music, master composers such as Mozart and Beethoven were creating music channeled from a divine source and not just from their own brain.
But there are 12 tones,
in each of the 16 octaves on the piano, which reduce to 7…
“That's it!” David yells. “12 is 7 is…but where is the 5 and the 3? 12 is 7 is 5 is 3…where are the other numbers? And what do they mean anyway! Rats! Think!”
No, don't overthink. Remember what Dorinda told me when I was held hostage in the Prism Palace by the evil High Priestess Jaycina: “
Listen…listen to its song…listen to what it's trying to tell you…
“But,” David recalls now, “that was when I had the Singer. She wanted me to hold it in my hand and listen to what it was telling me. Of course. How dumb I am!”
He rushes to his room and retrieves the precious Singer crystal from its pouch, the Singer that Rami had saved and protected until he could return it to David, its rightful owner. He carries it downstairs and sits at the piano. Holding the crystal with one hand and placing his other gently over a span of white and black keys, he listens, and hears…
Black symbolizes spiritual power in latency; White symbolizes spiritual power in manifestation. Music being the first of the arts, shall also be the last - the alpha and the omega, the highest and most important of them all.
David now has the Singer crystal, and understands its purpose in his current mission. But what is he to do about the Rose Crystal? He wants to put it around Sally's neck to see if it will heal her. But Rami insisted that David has something to do before he can.
But what is it? And when will I know?
Upstairs, David passes by his Aunt Dorothy's room. He so wants to talk with her, but she tires so easily that he resists the temptation to use her as a sounding board. Instead, he walks to his sister's room and goes in, wanting to get one of her stuffed animals to bring to her in the hospital. He sees her diary on the desk and certainly doesn't want to read it, but it is open to a page that bears David's name…
“Oh, how I wish David would have an operation so that he could hear again. Then maybe he would stay with us and not need to go on his adventures on the Moon Singer. Wherever it is that he goes, he can hear other people, and beautiful music, and I know he wants to stay there.
“He thinks he can make me walk again normally, and he says he sees and talks to Mom when he's away. How can we compete with those miracles? So I won't help him with Dad. I won't ever tell Dad that I believe David can do all those things. I know they fight and it's so hard, but maybe I can make David see that this is where he belongs. If only he would have that surgery…”
David is shocked to think that he has been so selfish, even though he thought he was being helpful to his sister, hoping that by using his crystals he could help her to wake up from her coma and walk again. He has no choice now.
* * *
Isaac is surprised that David has finally agreed to have the cochlear implant. He had been so adamant, so dead set against it.
“I'm really happy that you've decided on the surgery, David. But what made you change your mind?”
“I think it's what Sally wants. Maybe it will help her wake up if I can talk to her, and hear her, normally.”
“If so, it will be the best Christmas present she could ever have, the best present for all of us.”
* * *
David has been here before, at Dr. Jabbour's office for treatment decisions, supplements, new hearing aids, and discussions of surgical options.
“I didn't think I'd see you here again, David,” the doctor says. “You've been disappointed with everything we've done so far.”
“Yes, I have,” David concurs, “but I thought maybe I was being selfish. It's hard for my family to deal with all of this.”
“Just to be clear, David, you have to do this for yourself. There are no guarantees with a cochlear implant. You have to want to hear normally, and to be willing to take the risk of surgery. But you couldn't be a better candidate. So, I have high hopes for you.”
“My dad feels guilty. He said I could be deaf because of him, because it runs in his family and even though the deafness skipped him, I inherited his genes.”
“Well, that's a very small part of the equation, David,” Dr. Jabbour reassures his patient. “You were fortunate not to have been born deaf and to have had several years of normal hearing, which is why you speak so well. But you also had a couple of double whammies here. Not just the gene pool, but you did have a terrible bout of meningitis, and otosclerosis caused profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. But you have had some success with the new high tech hearing aids. And I must say, I'm proud of the way you learned to read lips and sign.”
“Thanks, Doc. Thanks to my mom, and my sister, who spent weeks and months learning to sign with me. So, I did have lots of family support.”
“Well, you're going to need all the support you can get after the surgery, too. Okay, David. I've got you all scheduled for Monday. So rest up this weekend and let's get you hearing for Christmas.”