Come ho accennato nel post precedente riguardante il mio training arc e quello di Tanjiro, ho un ritmo di scrittura che sto cercando di rispettare ogni giorno. Senza essere troppo fiscale, miro alle 1500 parole al giorno. Non importa cosa scrivo: appunti per lo studio, questo blog o narrativa. L’importante è che lo faccio. Qualche volta, come oggi, mi sento particolarmente stacanovista e ho deciso di sforare.
Sarà perché sono stato ispirato dal tema musicale di Hank Moody.
Sarà perché ho finito di leggere Ham on Rye di Bukowski per l’ennesima volta.
Ecco un post leggero e senza pretese che da qualche delucidazione sul mio training arc. Innanzitutto, la maggior parte dei manga ha un ‘training arc’: ovvero quel capitolo dedicato alla crescita dei personaggi principali tramite duro allenamento. In questo post ho deciso di accostarmi a Midorya di My Hero Academia: un ragazzo che sogna di diventare un eroe ma che è nato senza poteri (ne ho parlato ampiamente negli articoli precedenti). Un giorno Midorya ha l’occasione di ribaltare la situazione grazie all’incontro con il suo idolo, All Might (per gli acculturati, Oromighto). Inizia così il suo duro allenamento fisico per diventare degno di ereditare il One for All.
Mi piace definire la mia routine quotidiana come una specie di ‘training arc’ del tutto personalizzato. Studio, scrittura, esercizio fisico e lavoro. Nel post precedente dedicato a me e Tanjiro (il protagonista di Demon Slayer), ho condiviso la mia prima storia breve che ho pubblicato in un giornalino gallese… niente di importante, ovviamente (quella rivista letteraria la conosceranno in cinquanta persone). Qui, ho deciso di condividere un’altra mia storia (in inglese) che non ho mai avuto il coraggio di inviare a un editore.
Così… tanto per.
Volevo condividere l’incipit del mio primo romanzo di due anni fa… ma ho deciso di dare questa storia al suo posto. Perché? Perché mi serve per una cosa molto segreta per un torneo Tenkaichi letterario segretissimo (chissà quale sarà…) In realtà l’avevo pubblicato ieri mattina, ma l’ho cancellato recentemente. Avere un traffico medio di tre followers aiuta in questi casi!
Comunque sia… ecco la storia breve. Solo per chi è interessato dato che non è il contenuto principale del blog. Il titolo è ovviamente un riferimento a Silent Hill 2. Non ci ho mai giocato. Però la soundtrack è fuori da questo mondo.
I can see the neon lights turn on, then off, then on again. The “t” seems to have a problem or two: it is slightly brighter than the others. This is the kind of place you think exists only in the movies.
I carefully observe my reflection in the dark glass of the building. Two frozen lakes under a cascade of blonde hair like gold. The neon lights shine through my red gold chain strap sequin plunge Bodycon dress by Armani. It is so tight I can barely breathe. I am wonderful. More than wonderful. I am divine. Too divine to be in a queue.
I am just a beginner. There is time…
Maybe I like what I see too much so I look elsewhere. The music changes. The pretty girl in front of me screams, moving her hands in the air at the rhythm. Her not-so-pretty friend timidly joins her.
I would be timid too if I looked like that.
The doors open and we are suddenly allowed to check out the inside of Heaven. You can see the red lights caressing the completely white surface of the dancing floor. A topless girl, as tall as you would think God is, swallows a shot in front of a group of guys and she spits the liquid on them. Her white high heels are of the same color as her skin. The boys in the group punch each other fighting for her saliva. The girls in front of me giggle and they breach Heaven. They disappear into Nothingness. Music changes. The doors are closed once again. I am next.
“Who are you?” asks the man who I reasonably think is the bouncer. His ponytail and his cheap perfume make me think he is a bum.
“Whatever you want me to be,” I tell him biting my lips.
“You look like 13.”
“So, what? Not young enough for you?”
I giggle as I say, “I don’t need one.”
“And why is that?”
I raise my left hand so he can see the mark. I have a smile that is projected just slightly above my elbow.
“I am with Mainyu.”
The bouncer doesn’t act too surprised as he opens the doors of Heaven for me.
“How much flesh is there going to be?” I ask with a smile. I didn’t want to talk to a bum like him but then I remembered that quote from that writer ‘If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors.’ I am so kind. I want to see his face illuminated by the kind words of a goddess.
He does not answer. My laugh dies on my face.
Why is he not laughing?
I hate him. I wish he would die in front of me. I am having difficulties to breathe as he is watching me without any expression of intelligence in his eyes. I’d gladly give my life to make him suffer. I would love to plunge my nails into his throat and drink his blood. But, I don’t. Instead, I say:
“See you on the other side!”
The doors are finally open. It’s my turn in Paradise now. The music increases its pace. I know the song. It is an old remix of the even older song “I don’t care anymore” by Jim Collins. Instead of the guitar, there are bongos.
You even wrote a song to show the world you don’t care about your divorce.
“SO FULL OF HAPPY THOUGHTS AS ALWAYS…” A hard-body with tinted blond hair wearing a black side-buttoned notched–collar wool jacket and a fitted cashmere turtleneck grabs my waist.
“WHY DID YOU MAKE ME QUEUE, MAINYU?” I shout to him and Phil Collins as he directs me away from the crowd.
“Oh-oh-oh, WHAT?” I ask irritated.
“Oh-oh-oh, look at you! You just entered the industry and you already want the special treatment! You really have some guts, doll!”
“I AM BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE! YOU SAID THAT!”
“SAVE IT FOR LATER, LILITH!” he interrupts me. I bit my lips hard enough to make them bleed. “I WANT YOU TO MEET THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SABBATH!”
“ARE THEY MODELS TOO ?!”
He doesn’t answer. Why does he not answer me? The world is unfair and I am the biggest victim of all.
“Shut up! I thought we were friends!” I scream.
We reach the bar counter. I am on the verge of saying I need a drink, but I suddenly think that there are going to be plenty of them at the lounge. I just hope the people there know who I am. The music changes into a remix of The Demon Dance by Julian Winding. I love that song and the world suddenly appears to be a little more colorful. Once again, I have faith in life despite the horrible way people treated me.
As I try to forget the traumatic experience I have been through, we go upstairs and a bouncer who wears a Searls leather biker jacket and a Tobago patched jeans in blue waves bend the knee as he sees Mainyu. I get a little excited. It makes me wonder how long should I wait before people do that for me too.
Before entering the lounge Mainyu touches my shoulder. I can see the mass of people clubbing just beneath me. I grin. The lights of Heaven Night change color at the rhythm of the music. Blue. Red. Blue. Red. Blue. This is mine. This is all mine.
“This is not yours yet. Try to make a good impression,” he whispers to me as the Demon Dance begins to fade.
“This is our opportunity to make it big. You want to be a real model, don’t you?”
“I would do anything,” I whisper back passing the tongue on my lips.
“This is what I am talking about.”
The bouncer steps back and lets us enter. All I see is black.
“Are you food or sex?” someone asks me as I enter. Mainyu is just behind me. I try to reach his hand but he pretends not to notice.
“Christ! Refn! Can’t you see she is a girl?”
“So? There is a 50 percent chance…”
Heaven’s Night. All I see is light.The neon lights show the symbol of Mainyu all over the place. The smile. I can see them. Not entirely. The man wears a Ted Baker Tailored Fit Black Dress Suit. Short. Pair of glasses. New York’s accent. Maybe Hebrew?
The woman wears a Lani Dress as black as the color of her skin. Now it is red. Now is blue. Now is red again.
“I am not a girl,” I mutter. I hate myself because I don’t sound confident enough.
“That’s obvious. Girls do not wear sequin plunge Bodycon…”
I can sense my own insecurity. I am better than them. They are beneath me. The entire world is beneath me. Even God is beneath me. I should not feel this way. Mainyu laughs as he introduces me.
“She is Lilith. She is going to be the next big star.”
The woman smiles at me, “First Sabbath?” she asks.
“But not last,” I reply as Mainyu tells me to sit just next to the man called Refn. I know him. The entire west coast knows who he is.
“Nice,” he mutters as he fills four glasses with Champagne Dom Pérignon Rosé directly from the gift box in the limited edition released in 2005. I take my glass. I press my lips on the top the glass and I observe the print of my lipstick.
Damn, I realize with shock. I am avoiding eye contact.
“Now, just to make everything clear…” Mainyu says. “We have 20 minutes for the feast. The doors will be completely closed. The walls are soundproof. Lilith will stay with me. She is a first timer. Refn and Miki will be together. We will meet again outside. Doubts?”
No one says a word. I try to drink my champagne when Refn stops me. He shows me a pill in the palm of his left hand.
“Are you sure you want to club without Devi-Devi?”
I take the pill muttering a weak, “Thank you”.
“Just swallow it with a sip of champagne,” Miki tells me gently. “Just like a medicine.”
She is treating me like a daughter. I am doing it all wrong. I do as she says. My eyes roll. I take my hand to my mouth. It is not that bad. It’s colorful just like my future. It’s tasteless just like the animals dancing beneath us.
“Look at her face! She is like a doll! I love you!” Refn screams.
“I love you too!”
The others do the same. Mainyu, Refn, and Miki take the pill. At first, I don’t notice a single change. Then, my heart begins to race. The music begins to be even louder than before. Boom. Boom. Boom. The rhythm is unbearably fast-paced. The lights of Heaven’s Night are now red and red only. I look at Mainyu and he smiles at me. The masses of flesh beneath us continue screaming at the music.
“Are we having a party or something?” Refn suddenly asks. He swallows half of the Dom Pérignon bottle as he stares at the people. Then, he jumps from the lounge. I see Miki reaching him jumping into the heart of the crowd. I wonder what the flesh is thinking right now. I wonder how do they feel now that divinities left the Mount Olympus to join them in their miserable fun.
Now there is just me and Mainyu.
“Do you think I made a good impression?” I ask visibly worried. There is my future at stake.
“It’s too early to tell,” he says. “But I can tell Refn likes you. He has a thing for girls who didn’t even have their periods. Just like everybody else. Well, now that I think about it everyone likes you.”
“Perfect,” I whisper relieved.
The people beneath us continue screaming. However, their scream is quite different from before. It has more passion. More fear. More visceral.
“More ‘passionate’ I would suggest. Art always comes from suffering. Beauty always comes from sacrifice. Never forget that, doll.”
All those screams. All that red. All that music. I can’t stop myself anymore. I need it. I need to be part of the Sabbath.
“Shall we go?” Mainyu knows who I am right now. I wish I could say the same for me.
“Yes,” I say. “And Mainyu?”
“Thank you for this but don’t make me stand in a queue ever again.”
He smiles. No wonder his symbol is literally a smile. As I join the Sabbath I officially become part of Heaven’s Night.