Inferno: Part Three
We were eating dinner. My pets chatted happily about the
music they were now able to perform. They paused for a moment. "So, it's official,
right? We're forming a band?" Nagru roved his eyes over his siblings expectantly.
Too polite to open their mouths while chewing,
the others nodded eagerly. Nagru spoke again. "So what will we be called?"
Everyone swallowed. I sipped my soup silently,
watching them as they thought.
"How about 'The Hyper Hyper Candy Band'?" Kyriio
chimed happily. Everyone shook their head in disapproval.
"What about 'The Inferences?" asked Zarath,
sticking to scientific terms as usual.
Kyriio disapproved. "No Infer… no Infer….what
was that word again?"
Ledra looked up from her meal. "Great idea,
Kyriio! How about 'Inferno'?" Everyone smiled, looking at each other eagerly.
"Well, Inferno it is. When shall we begin practice?
How does right after dinner sound?" Nagru rubbed his paws together excitedly.
Everyone, even me, gulped down the remainder
of their food. I washed the dishes and put them up quickly. I headed to Kyriio's
room. Practice was being held there because Kyriio's drums would be too difficult
The first practice of Inferno started with some
difficulty. Ledra was still trying to figure out the bass, and everyone else
was trying to stay at the same tempo. By the end, however, they were playing
I decided to leave everyone some privacy during
practice from then on. After a few days, though, I could hear Ledra singing
the lyrics whenever I walked by. Practice went by uninterrupted for about a
Pretty soon, however, Ledra came running up
to me while I was reading our thoroughly worn copy of Moehawk's History. She
seemed close to tears, but she was fighting to keep them back.
"What's wrong?" I asked, scooting over on the
couch to make room. Ledra fell into the couch, clutching a piece of paper.
She sniffed once. "They don't like them and
they're making fun of them." She turned her head away and sniffed again.
"What don't they like, Ledra?" I asked, but
no answer came. I left the room and got some Neopkins, which I placed on the
coffee table in front of us. They sat, ignored, and Ledra answered.
"My lyrics. I guess they really are awful. I
can't do anything right."
We sat in silence for a few more moments. "May
I see them?"
Ledra nearly threw the lyrics at me, seeming
glad to be rid of that hateful little piece of paper. Before looking at them,
I asked if she would like some help with revising. She sniffed again and nodded.
The movement was so slight it was hard to detect, but she repositioned herself
to face me. I went over the lyrics line by line with her, laboring hard to work
out the awkward parts that didn't seem to fit with the overall rhythm. I didn't
hear any arguing about lyrics after that.
The end of summer guild party was coming up,
and Inferno volunteered to play. All of our friends were excited that they would
get to hear my pets perform. My pets' best friends couldn't wait, and had created
a countdown poster, counting down the days until Inferno would perform.
A month after the band had formed, as I was
walking by, I didn't hear any music. I stopped and stood by the door listening.
All of my pets seemed to be arguing about something. I shrugged it off, knowing
all bands must have a fight at one time or another.
But the next day it was the same. And the next
day. And the next.
I was lying on the couch, slightly distraught,
when Kyriio came up to me and asked me to come help settle something. Curious,
I followed. I opened the door to hear full out yelling. As soon as I entered,
everyone was silent.
Nagru, clearly upset, spoke. "Arula, who should
be the leader of the band? It should be me, shouldn't it? I started music first!"
This statement was greeted by more heated arguing.
I watched helplessly as everyone fought. I had never seen this before. I had
never seen my pets fight. I tried to silence them, but to no avail. I finally
gave in to my anger. "Shut up! Everyone, just shut up! You've been arguing the
past week, not playing! What is wrong with you? Why did I have to introduce
you to music? It's corrupted you, and it's all my fault!"
I walked away as calmly as I could manage. As
soon as I was out of sight, I ran up to that room where everything had started.
Crying, I picked up my guitar. I played the heaviest, loudest, most angst-ridden
song I knew as tears fell around me, decorating the floor with small, separate
water droplets. As the song concluded, I looked down at my tears. They were
so disconnected, so apart, just like my pets were. Not able to bear any reminder
of what had just happened, I fell to the ground and tried to fall asleep.
The next day, as I walked through the double
doors of the guild, I expected to see the Inferno flyer taken down, along with
the countdown poster. But they were still there, the countdown showing a mere
seven days until the party. I continued to the meeting room, where the five
guild leaders were planning the party.
All that week I had to go to the meetings, which
were scheduled at the same time Inferno was scheduled to practice, so if they
were doing anything or not, I didn't know. All I knew was that everyday when
I walked through those double doors, the flyer and countdown were still hanging
there, tormenting me. One more day.
That night, while eating dinner, I casually
asked if the band would still be playing at the guild party. I saw everyone
flinch at being reminded of the previous week, but Zarath managed to respond
quickly. "Yeah, we still are. We've been working hard."
I tried to smile and nod convincingly, but couldn't
help but worry about the following day. I was hoping so desperately that they
wouldn't sound awful. If a band can't work together as characters, the music
is bound to clash.
After a fitful sleep full of nightmares about
Inferno, I got dressed, picking out my favorite shirt and pair of shorts. I
ate breakfast quickly, wondering why no one else was here to partake in the
pancakes. As I grabbed my shoes from beside the front door, I heard footsteps
I turned to see my pets dressed in a uniform
of sorts. Nagru was wearing black shorts with an emerald green shirt on which
black fire inched up toward his face. Ledra was wearing a black v-neck shirt
with green shorts. A green pendant was draped on her neck with the aid of a
silver chain. Zarath was wearing a green shirt with green shorts. He was wearing
a black and gray Hawaiian-style top to go with it. Kyriio had gone all out with
dressing up. She had changed her blue top for a black one and she had black
shorts on. Her hair had been spiked with what must have been seven bottles of
hair gel, and the end of each spike was tipped with green. Everyone was holding
their instrument with them and Kyriio's drums were split up among the pets.
I finished tying my shoes. My pets were all smiling
at me. "Ready to go?" I asked, somewhat nervously. At least they would look
good, if nothing else.
We arrived at the guild after the most agonizing
five minutes of my life. We had arrived early so Inferno could set up the stage
while I put up decorations with Falcon and Devin. Other guild members were putting
out the food tables and displaying the food festively. The members of Inferno
were tuning their instruments as other guild members began to pour in. My pets
put their instruments down and walked offstage, obviously waiting for an introduction.
Once everyone had arrived Falcon, our guild leader, walked onstage and picked
up the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, lupes and gelerts, pets
and people alike, if we could have your attention at the stage." Everyone ran
up to the stage eagerly. "Please, put your paws together for…Inferno!"
Falcon put the microphone back and my pets walked
onstage. I could feel my stomach twisting around, trying to return my pancakes
to the open air. Kyriio sat down, and I watched as the drumsticks came crashing
down in slow motion onto the first beat.
"One, two, three…"
Nagru's guitar came in on the fourth count.
He played a few chords, with Ledra underlining him on the bass. Zarath played
a couple of notes at a time on his harmonica at measured intervals. After four
measures of introduction music, Ledra began to sing.
What did I tell you
Things will never be the same.
What are you thinking
As you turn your head in shame?
Some things just aren't meant to be.
But we can change that,
Or forever disagree.
Nagru executed the accompanying chords perfectly.
Kyriio was playing her drums with a fevered passion while Zarath blew into the
harmonica. He had set up some device in front of his microphone to change the
sound it gave. Ledra continued to multitask playing the bass and singing. She
stopped for a moment and they all played for a moment before Ledra began to
speak rhythmically into the microphone, her voice down in volume but up in emotion.
Why are you so determined to hate me?
Am I destined to hate you too?
Why can't we just work together,
And maybe see this through?
For a moment the music stopped, picking up quickly
after a moment's rest. The sound grew, the adrenaline pumping through the veins
of the players and the audience. After a minute of playing, Zarath dropped out,
followed by Kyriio and then Ledra. Only Nagru was left, playing the last measure
solo, and letting the final note ring off his guitar.
Everyone was roaring with applause. The small
number of guild members created noise suitable to have been given off by hundreds
of grarrls combining efforts. I found myself clapping with them, smiling broadly
and cheering on the ones that were dearest to me. In my happiness, a single
tear found its way down my face.
Author's Note: This story is dedicated to my guild and all of the wonderful,
giving, caring, and special people in it.