(Continued from chapter one, below)
It was getting to the point where I was almost afraid to go to bed at night, and it wasn't just because of those footsteps on the stairs, self-opening windows, and screams coming from my daughter's room. That Native American shaman that kept turning up in my dreams and glaring at me was seriously starting to bother me, especially since I had no idea who he was.
Eventually, however, in my dreams I was somehow given a name to go with the face: Tlaloc
At first I mistook the identity, confusing the names "Tlaloc" and "Tlesca". I thought that perhaps my imagination was conjuring up an image of Tlesca jealous of my devotion to his woman (Wahluna). Considering how obsessed with her and her story I had become as a result of the composition, it only made sense. That thought actually brought me some comfort. It was clear now that my own mind was playing tricks on me.
Then, one night, I had a dream that was both very vivid and very troubling. I was walking through a town that seemed like a confused mish-mash of Kashima, Corvallis (my college town), and...something much more fantastic. The buildings, the people, and the streets were as if someone had taken those three places and combined them at random. Meanwhile, over at the lake/river(?), a huge bridge was under construction. I went to a nearby tourist information center for information, and the Japanese-looking woman at the desk glared at me and said, "It's about time you made it here! Do you have any idea what's happening?"
"Um, no," I replied. "That's why I came here!"
"Hasn't Tlaloc spoken to you yet?" asked a calm-looking caucasian woman standing nearby. She gestured at the bridge. "You're
the one building that!"
"Don't you see?" railed the Japanese woman. "It's not supposed to be there! You've brought the worlds too close together, and now they've joined!" She gestured at the town. "Bad enough that you can't decide between your old home and your new one! Now you've brought another
world into the mess! This has to stop!"
"What should I do?" I asked, still not sure I understood.
"Tlaloc will tell you," replied the Japanese woman, her eyes boring holes into me.
"Tlaloc will come to you," continued the caucasian woman with a gentle smile, "and he will tell you everything!"
"Tlaloc...Wahluna's husband?" I asked.
The Japanese woman sighed irritably and rolled her eyes, and the caucasian woman giggled.
"No, that's Tlesca!
" spat the Japanese woman. "Better hope Tlaloc gets to you first!"
"Tlaloc is the one who knows the way of bridges," added the caucasian woman. "He's coming now! Talk to him, and do what he says for all our sakes!"
our sakes," hissed the Japanese woman.
Then I woke up, or at least I thought
I did. It was kind of hard to tell. In many ways it was like that experience I described in the "Family Ties"
story. There was that same eerie light, that same almost liquid quality to the air...the fact that I couldn't move anything but my eyes...
The old Native American shaman standing at the foot of my bed was definitely different, though. I could only figure that Tlaloc had arrived.
I must have dozed off again (if I had ever woken up in the first place), because next thing I knew I was sitting on a log next to a campfire...still in my underwear...and Tlaloc was facing me from the other side.
"You put all of your heart and all of your soul into your music," said the old shaman. "This is good...if it is in the right measure."
I couldn't help noticing that his mouth didn't move as he spoke.
"Did I go too far?" I asked, feeling strangely calm.
Tlaloc set his jaw. Then he replied, "You still don't know what you can do. In the passion of your muse you called out to Wahluna, and she answered you. She was moved by your devotion, and she came across the bridge you made."
the one causing the trouble?" I asked.
"To your wife, yes," he went on. "You brought her to your side, and now her jealousy makes her attack your wife."
"But what about..." I started.
Tlaloc smiled for the first time. "By winning Wahluna's heart, you've won the wrath of another. He, too, is moved by jealousy."
"Yes. He is not an evil man, and he wishes you no harm. But you have wounded his pride. We have two spirits brought here by love and torn by jealousy. You've upset the balance."
I guess it did make sense...in a twisted sort of way. "What should I do?"
Tlaloc's smile faded again. "Tlesca is a very proud man, even vain. Honor him as you have honored Wahluna, and they will both be at peace again."
Then I woke up, and this time I was CERTAIN I was awake. I also knew exactly what I had to do. The next day I immediately got to work on a composition called, not surprisingly, "Tlesca"
. Instead of a classical piece, I made it modern, using guitars and lots of different synthesizers. It was a very complex work, but I finished it far more quickly than I had "Wahluna". Soon I had it recorded and burned onto a CD.
I guess that did the trick. Even despite the minor screw-up in the opening acoustic guitar passage (not to mention crappy sound quality because my studio gear was still not working right), after I finished "Tlesca" all of the weird goings-on came to an abrupt halt. The footsteps, the self-opening windows, the disappearing items, the malfunctioning appliances, the attacks on my wife, even my daughter's nightmares stopped completely. Soon life was back to normal, or at least what normally passes for it.
So now I have to wonder...was it just a lot of imagination and strange coincidences (probably)
, or was there really something to all that? Oh, well. At least I got some good composition work out of it.Epilogue#1:
After I finished "Wahluna" and delivered all the sheet music to Mr. Ogawa, he had the school orchestra try it. I wasn't there at the time, so I never heard it. He said it started out really well, but then it went right over the kids' heads. It was clearly too difficult for the kids to play without a lot of rehearsal, so he shelved it until further notice. He hasn't touched it since. Recently he has suggested that I use the Sibelius program to make a revised version, but I told him I'm probably better off not touching it.Epilogue#2:
"Tlesca", on the other hand, has had much better success. Not only has it gotten a lot of favorable comments (Some have called it my best work...even despite that acoustic guitar at the beginning)
but it has apparently even gotten both some airplay and some regular use by at least one club DJ thanks to friends of mine. I guess Tlesca has no more reason to be jealous.Epilogue#3:
Then again, I could be wrong. There was one last bizarre encounter. "Tlesca" was the last tune on the album I was working on at the time and remained that way for about a month. Then I decided I had enough space for a couple more tunes, so I got to work recording a mainly acoustic number called "Dizzy Dreamer". I stayed up really late working on it on a Saturday night. Then, while I was mastering it, my multitrack recorder and stereo suddenly started acting goofy again. It took a while, but I eventually got the tune finished and burned onto the CD.
It was almost 3 a.m. when I finally started up the stairs to go to bed. Suddenly I heard my daughter shriek from her bedroom. Then I heard what sounded like muffled footsteps heading quickly across the bedroom carpet in my direction.
Right when I got to the top of the stairs something
bumped into me. How can I describe it? There was nothing there, at least nothing physical. It was like I was jostled by a chill draft that was a bit denser than the surrounding air. It knocked me slightly off balance, and as I regained my footing I could hear the stairs creaking like someone was going down. I immediately turned and headed off in pursuit.
I got as far as the living room, which was lit only dimly by the feeble moonlight coming in from outside, and it was then that my better judgment gave me a kick in the crotch. I stopped and wondered what the HELL I was doing. Just then I heard a loud CRASH
from my studio. That was enough for me. I ran back upstairs, shut all the doors, crawled into bed, and failed to sleep.
The next morning I ran to my studio to investigate. The guitar that I'd used to record "Dizzy Dreamer" was on the floor on the opposite side of the room from its stand. It looked as if it had been kicked or flung there. I guess that was Tlesca's last spurt of jealousy, his parting shot so to speak, because there have been no strange phenomena like that anymore. Apparently neither he nor Wahluna have been back since.Epilogue#4:
Incidentally, I did a bit of research to see if I could find anything on the name "Tlaloc"
. It turns out that he's the Aztec god of rain
. Apparently created by other gods to fill a gap in their ranks, he was ruler of the 4th level of Heaven. He was also a scary-looking and ill-tempered buggar known for bringing droughts and floods. The Aztecs lived in fear of him and used to sacrifice children to keep his temper down. I'm sure it's probably a coincidence, but if it is the same Tlaloc we're talking about, is that saying something about my Western Oregon (i.e. scads of rain) roots? At any rate, I haven't seen "Tlaloc" since, either.