Chapter 14:

Judgment Day Pt. 4: Secret Prose's Resolve

Purple Prose

Issei drew his head back and took a breath, not because he was about to sing, but because a fresh wave of stress hit him. It was a new song, one that drew upon feelings of the heart instead of complex tones or powerful riffs. To boot, his feelings were close by watching him sing it. Issei could deny it no longer: Light of Day was about Murasaki bringing him out of the darkness.

He strummed his acoustic guitar while Takao provided bass support beneath. Like before, the song would begin in Minor key to take advantage of the somber lyrics. The next breath was for real.

Fallen hopes had hit the ground,

bitter voices they pin me down,

but my flame will never wither away.

Time after time the failures pile on me,

all the while the memories run wild and free,

yet my flame will never wither away.

Something special happened within the crowd: lights winked and flashed ahead, lights not part of the stage show. They were flicking lighters and flashing their cell phone camera lights. Issei couldn’t help but grin as he watched The Montauk become the night sky.

Kanka came in next with subtle taps of the bass drum and symbol.

I hold my fire here for you,

I see you’re holding yours too.

My fire rises high with you,

arcing up and over you.

Secret Prose shifted gears and changed the key to Major: same rhythm, same melody, but different pitch. The agent was nonplussed as she merely stared unblinkingly, but as Kanka added snare to his attack, the crowd whooped with the joyous change. Good. That’s what it's all about, Issei thought.

Then I see you looking downtrodden,

meeting my gaze must have saved you then,

cause your flame will never wither away.

Secret Prose sang together softly; no drums, just a simple strum of guitar every half measure and three voices in harmony.

And your hand rose up and light cast down anew

And the truth came forth, you saved me so I’ll save you

In that instant, Issei switched guitars, and the venue was reinvigorated by the heart-pounding thunder that was Metal. The same core riff remained, but now strength and spirit gave life to the song, that sweet epilogue Issei hoped would come true. Murasaki’s face bulged against the glass, and he looked away for fear of laughing uncontrollably. Please don’t fall through the partition, he thought, the corner of his mouth twitching.

Issei had to concentrate now: it was time for the chorus and the stage knew it, too, because the laser lights had returned.

I hold my fire here for you,

that choking smoke you swept away

and in its place you came to stay!

My fire rises high for you,

my hands are longing for your rays,

I know you are my light of day!

With one last mighty strum, their second song ended to a deafening applause. The agent dropped her jaw. Issei even noticed the snack-chomping man was frozen in place, chopsticks holding a piece of karaage in midair. So far, so good. Beads of sweat collecting around his head, Issei threw his head to the glass partition: he had to see Murasaki’s face.

The lobby was empty.

Eh!? She’s gone!

He was disappointed, but it couldn’t be helped; Purple Lotus was likely preparing for their gig, which was after Secret Prose’s next song.

The stage went dark. Then, over the loudspeaker was the chilling sound of a beating heart. For a bit of fun, Kanka hit the bass drum alongside it. The heart beat faster, their drummer following suit, then, when the pace was like a sprinter’s footsteps, the bass guitar joined in with a choice solo. In anticipation, Issei took a breath and leaned close to the mic.

One more. One more day.

One more. One more day.

The intro repeated, and the crowd, clapping to the beat, joined in the chant. Flames on both ends of the stage vomited to the sky. Secret Prose let out all stops, and they jammed to the first song they ever made.


Spotlights hit the stage. Kanka went to work with a flurry of snare and bass as Issei and Takao both played a Groove-like riff, a series of accented rhythms jumping high and falling low like a rollercoaster.

Issei roared into the mic. “Give us all you got, Montauk!”

One more day and my dreams will come true.

One more day and it will all begin again.

One last try and they will all sing for me.

One last try, but I still won’t be free.

And all at once he falls down,

the boulder rolls around,

a tear falls from his eye,

but he just can’t say goodbye.

Takao was next to sing–his specialty was adding grit and power to his voice. While he belted out his lyrics, Issei crept in the background and sang open, clean falsetto.

Look at all the lords and ladies with their devilish little grins!

With mud and blood beneath our fingernails they claw away our wins,

and they love to pretend as they give us our daily bread,

they know we’ll hang our heads so long as we’re fed.

But one more day and they’ll be at our behest,

and Sisyphus can finally be put to rest.

Spotlights swarmed the venue, then Issei spotted her–Murasaki was right there, front-and-center of the audience, wearing the brightest smile he had ever seen, her bright blue eyes fixated right on him.

One last dose of nectar, one last thought of our kind,

I swear I am strong, I know I’m of sound mind,

I can prove it all, I just need more time.

But all at once I had fallen down

and the boulder in my mind just rolled around.

Tears fell from my eyes

Oh, the tears fell from my eyes

but no, it just won’t say goodbye.

Secret Prose swiped with bass and guitar as Kanka hammered the drums. The stage was chaotic, throwing laser lights everywhere, flames threatening to reach the spotlights.

Issei bellowed, trying to hide how tired he was. “Thank you Montauk! We hope you’ve had a fantastic evening! Good night!”

Their instruments rang out as Secret Prose took a bow. The crowd went ballistic. When Issei glanced up, even the agent had stood up from her chair and clapped. Murasaki never stopped cheering, even after they left the stage.