Vibrations: Harmonic Magic Book 1, page 1
About the Author
Harmonic Magic Book 1
Crimson Cat Publishing
To Mom, who always believed I could do anything I set my mind to do.
This book is a fictional story and as such names, characters, and events are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons, either living or dead, is coincidental.
The reproduction, sale, or distribution of this book without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.
Published by Crimson Cat Publishing
Copyright © 2015 P.E. Padilla
All rights reserved.
Gone. They’re all gone.
Grayson Wepp tried desperately to suck air into his lungs. With each gasping breath, he knew he was going to die. Just as the rest of his expedition party had just died scant moments ago in a flash flood that ripped through the shallow valley they were traversing. Scrambling through the vegetation, searching for higher ground, he stumbled and fell, picked himself up, and carried on, breaths coming in stuttering gasps.
“Have…to…find higher…ground.” He forced the words out through gritted teeth.
The opening in a nearby rock formation beckoned him, and he slipped and slid toward it, crawling on all fours like some kind of lost, pathetic animal. His salvation, the opening was large enough for him to enter standing almost erect. While it wasn’t necessarily high ground, it did appear to slant upward a few feet from the opening, making it higher than where he currently was. He would take his chances here.
The wind was a beast on the hunt, the rain tiny meteors flying at him at such odd angles that they seemed to curve upward into his nose and mouth from below. Staggering, sputtering, and spitting water, he plunged into the darkness. He stopped just inside the cave and fished his headlamp out of his backpack, the one remaining possession he had. With trembling fingers, he snapped the strap to his forehead and turned it on.
The world spun dizzyingly as, by the wavering light, he made his way deeper into the cave. Tiny stars danced in front of his eyes and for a moment, he tottered, dangerously close to passing out from exhaustion and lack of oxygen.
From where he stood, the cave did not seem to slant upward as sharply as had appeared from below. In the back of the chamber, at the very edge of the headlamp’s beam, Grayson saw only the shadows of four dark openings, darker than their surroundings. Their blackness was so complete, it devoured the headlamp’s light, causing the beam to shrink and flutter as the darkness battled with the light.
Grayson stumbled, the wind ripping at him. It was a banshee come to steal his soul, pursuing him, trying to trap him. His ears pounded with every heartbeat as he wrestled to draw in air thick as molasses.
His voice was meager and almost unheard in the gale. “Must…go…further in…above water.”
Fighting toward the back of the cave, he lurched through the opening on the far right side. I’ll choose the right fork every time so I don’t become hopelessly lost.
As he made his way deeper into the cave, the level rose, then dipped, then rose again. Am I above the rising water level, or below it? Four times he had to backtrack because the passage he took shrank to a size that was impassable. After almost an hour, he finally reached a dead-end and stopped to think.
Now that the immediate danger was past, his breathing more normal, he noticed for the first time the intricate crystalline formations in the cave. There were web-like structures, fans, pillars, and fantastical shapes that he could, if he cared to, imagine as likenesses of animals or people, even faces. At the moment, these things were not important.
The wind was whistling and rushing through the passageways still, even this deep in the cave. In their journey from the cave mouth to their unknown destination, the winds began to pick up speed, started to create a different sound. This new sound was not so much the howl of wind rushing through a passage, but more of a hum. Grayson heard several different humming sounds, coming from all directions, but that soon changed. The humming became more unified, as if being made by thousands of people just beyond the headlamp beam. People who were trying their hardest, and finally succeeding, to get in time with each other to produce a harmonious humming of some unknown, and unknowable, tune.
Ears buzzing, Grayson felt more than heard the pitch change in the humming, the intensity increasing. The sounds began to vibrate his bones. He felt like he was going to shake apart. The feeling was what he had felt at concerts when he was young and got as close to the massive speakers as possible, but this was much stronger. It was, he thought off-handedly, probably the result of the wind channeling through the intricate crystal designs and the spaces in between. It was hauntingly beautiful, but it was also chilling. Even wet from the rain and chilled from the cave’s underground temperature, he felt colder as the sound grew, as more goose bumps raced up his back and neck.
The sound and the vibrations began to cause him pain with their intensity. He stumbled, found the wall, and slid down it to sit, leaning against the stone. Covering both ears with his hands and closing his eyes, he prayed that the sound would stop. The pressure from it continued to build and change, making the pain jump from one area of his body to another, but always remaining strong on his head and brain. For a moment, he again believed that he would die, but this time he believed it would be from his being shaken apart. Huddling against the wall and whimpering, he waited for death.
Whooommn! Whoooooomn! The sound oscillated at a faster and faster rate and became even more intense. Whooomn-whooomn-whooomn! He could feel his body shake violently with every boom and crash in the eerie song.
Grayson put his hands to his head and squeezed to keep his skull from splitting and his brain from exploding from the punishment. He saw a bright light flare through his closed eyelids, like he was looking at the sun. Thoughts of stories he heard about people seeing lights when they died flooded his mind. I’m dying. Oh, Stephanie! Why did I survive and you didn’t?
And then…silence. It took a moment for it to sink in, his body still trembling with the powerful vibrations they had been subjected to, but it was true silence. The sound, the pressure, the vibrations, they were all gone. Slowly, he lowered his hands and opened his eyes.
“Good, he survived,” a deep voice said, a voice like the growling rumble of s
Grayson saw twelve cloaked and hooded figures surrounding him in the chamber, which was now lit by candles and torches. The massive cavern, much bigger than he thought when seeing it by the weak headlamp light, contained beautiful crystal structures that were all reflecting the firelight and sparkling like red diamonds. The hooded figures, in a circle around a central area in the cavern in which Grayson was hunched, were motionless in their black cloaks made of some type of heavy woven fabric.
“Perform the transport,” the voice spoke again. Grayson could not tell which of the figures the voice belonged to because their hood-shrouded faces couldn’t be seen.
Rough, powerful hands grasped Grayson Wepp, tying his hands behind his back and gagging his mouth. They dragged him to his feet and pulled him into the very center of the chamber, where several strange implements that looked like bells of different sizes were arranged from largest to smallest. One of the cloaked strangers struck a series of them and then clasped hands with another of the figures, who clasped hands with another, all the way through the chamber, until the two who were holding Grayson were grabbed by the shoulders by two others already in the chain.
The figures emitted sound in perfect harmony. It was not quite a chant, but much more than simple humming. A few of them appeared to sway slightly, but otherwise there was no movement except for the one figure with the striker for the bells. When the figure tapped one more bell, a clear, perfect note sounded. And then the entire room lurched and spun and Grayson lost consciousness.
When he opened his eyes again, he was in a room with walls made of black stone block, warmed by a fireplace and lit by torches and braziers. A figure stepped forward and pulled down his hood. His skin was pure white, lighter than any albino Grayson had ever seen in a picture, and his shiny, completely bald head reflected the light from a nearby brazier. He looked like nothing so much as a worm. No, a maggot.
“I am Silicim Mant, of the Arzbedim,” the maggot said, “and you are our captive. You need not hope for escape because we will squeeze every bit of power from you before we toss your wasted, drained corpse to the animals of the forest. Cooperate with us and you will have a quick death instead of a long, painful one.”
Silicim Mant turned to leave the room, stopped, turned toward Grayson and looked him in the eyes. Red rimmed orbs with solid black pupils bore into Grayson’s brown eyes. “Oh, and welcome to Gythe.” He chuckled as he left, motioning for another figure hovering over an array of wicked looking torture devices to begin his work.
Grayson screamed as he had never screamed before in his life.
Sam Sharp floated in midair, surrounded by total darkness. He controlled his breathing: in through the nose—two, three, four, five—out through the mouth—two, three, four, five. Sam tried to clear his mind, but was having trouble. His thoughts were swirling faster than he could dispel them. But he kept trying.
Amidst the stray thoughts came images of a scientific symposium he had attended many years before. The topic was ancient cultures that had used sound as an energy source, even using it to move the great stone blocks used to build structures like the pyramids. Sound and vibration, atomic motion, harmonics…he pictured a mammoth block of stone vibrating and then a good portion of it becoming transparent, causing the rest of it to lift off the ground.
He forced his mind to focus. With great effort, he purged his thoughts of everything but the image of himself floating in the darkness, and then then removed even his own image, leaving him looking into the darkest black imaginable, a total absence of anything. With his breathing controlled and regular, he began to feel the calmness, soon followed by the familiar light-headed feeling.
An image of a statue Sam often used as a focal point appeared before him. It was in the form of a bald little man sitting with his legs crossed, hands resting lightly in his lap. Rotating the familiar object in his mind and seeing its detail and texture, his body relaxed even further.
Methodically, he caused the image of the statue to fade and disappear altogether, allowing him to shift his mental viewpoint to the depth of the darkness within his mind. He saw a single point of light wink into existence. It was a pin-prick of pure white in the inky blackness, shining like a tiny sun. He concentrated, bending the light to his will. It increased in size, resolving itself into a classic atomic image, with the electrons orbiting around the central nucleus. His mind wandered. The actual picture in his mind could have taken any shape. The current configuration was purely arbitrary. Why had he chosen this image? He wondered, but then he cast the thought from his mind, trying to clear it once again.
Sam willed the atom to begin to vibrate. It pulsed and emitted a slight whining noise and a barely noticeable increase in the light that was only visible because of the black background. The still-dim light rhythmically fluctuated in and out of view within his thoughts. From the the image of the single atom, he began to build upon it. He realized that he was sweating in the real world from the effort he was exerting, a very uncharacteristic thing in his meditations.
As his concentration increased and he exerted his will more forcefully, he called upon another atom to take up the synchronous vibration, then another, and another. As he built atom upon atom, the image formed a larger object. First indistinct, it became clearer as more atoms were added. Soon, it was stretching, becoming something else, doing so at a faster and faster rate. It became his body again, still floating in the blackness but this time wavering slightly, vibrating. He could feel his entire body resonating, not just in his thoughts, but in truth. The oscillations tickled slightly, but he ignored the feeling and became more absorbed in the process to control the timing of the fluctuations.
With his entire body vibrating, he discovered that he was able to modulate the frequency of his vibrations. He experimented for several minutes, changing the timing and intensity. When he felt some modicum of control over his body and its surroundings, he felt comfortable enough to leap for the next level in his experiment.
Sam Sharp took a quick breath and snapped all the particles in his body and those of his surroundings into a harmonious whole, vibrating at the same rate. As he did so, he felt his entire reality spin violently and then suddenly settle. He opened his eyes and looked around. He was in the same room as moments before, but it somehow seemed different. What was it? He stood and headed toward the door, absently rubbing the head of the statue of the bald little man, which was resting on a small table, still trying to figure out what was different about the room.
He stopped as he was reaching for the doorknob. A feeling washed over him, as if the knob was beckoning him in some way. It was just a light tickle, as if someone was brushing his spine with a feather while at the same time as if he was holding a magnet near a large chunk of iron. There was a force there that was pulling him, tugging his hand toward the knob. He closed his eyes briefly, concentrated on extending his vibrations along his arm, beyond his hand and toward the door knob. Then, he opened his eyes and jerked his hand ever-so-slightly to the right. To his surprise, the knob shook, twisted, and then turned with an audible click. The door swung silently open. He leaned hard into the wall, looking at his hand as if not recognizing it. After inspecting the doorknob, knocking on it and turning it this way and that, he confirmed that it was just the same old doorknob he had been turning for years. At least, that was what it seemed like now. He shook his head, doubting what he thought he saw and felt, and headed toward his front door.
Sam turned the front door knob in a more conventional manner and realized immediately that he was not in the same familiar surroundings. Instead of his quiet little street greeting his eyes, there was his solitary home surrounded by dense forest, with no evidence of other people as far as he could see. Which, admittedly, was not far. He couldn’t see the horizon because the trees were so d
Sam thought back to earlier in the day. He had spent the morning doing little chores around his house. His small house always had things that needed to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. It was, after all, over forty years old, so it was to be expected. The back door needed a bit of trimming so it didn’t stick just before closing, some paint was peeling in the bathroom over the shower, and that pesky drain in the master bathroom had to be cleared out because it was draining slowly again. Of course, there was yard work that needed to be done as well. All in all, it was a productive morning. He felt good that he had finished all his little self-appointed tasks.
While doing his chores, Sam’s mind wandered and he thought back, for some reason, to the scientific symposium he attended at a local college when he was just twelve years old. Back then, fifteen years ago, he thought he was going to be a scientist someday. He enjoyed—in fact, still did enjoy—learning all he could about anything and everything. Though much of the information at the symposium was too advanced for him, he had a good enough grasp of science that he was not completely lost as he listened. He was mesmerized by the theoretical physics and astrophysics presentations, wild fantasies filling his pre-teen mind.
His favorite part was a speech by a rather unlikely-looking fellow. Though his name was lost amongst all his memories, Sam remembered the man, and what he spoke about, clearly
The next speaker came up to the podium. He was tallish, thin, and slightly stooped as if he was constantly bending over to look at something and his body decided to remain in that position. His long, sandy-blonde hair seemed to have its own opinion as to how it would lie on the man’s narrow head, but the man seemed unperturbed by it. The ill-fitting glasses on his face slid down his nose often as he spoke and he slid them back up into position automatically. He reminded Sam of the toys he had seen, the lanky bird that could be placed on the edge of a drinking glass and nudged so that it bobbed up and down, miming drinking from the glass.