The Experiment – Chapter 2: Girls, Bullies, and the Number 13

David quickly found Sarah in the hall. Sarah was a girl with saddened blue eyes, yet they always shined with a glimmer of hope. She dressed in black with long dyed black hair. The black she wore only emphasized the beauty in her face, yet most people didn’t see this. They couldn’t get past the dark style of dress, and her lack of socializing with others. Many titles were pinned to her; such as “gothic witch,” “Hell’s maiden,” and even “Satan’s bride.”

Sarah had begun her “dress in all black” style five years before. Even though the insulting comments hurt her, she refused to change. This wasn’t the only thing that separated her from other people. The fact that she was a practicing Wiccan in a school whose population was generally Christian, further distanced her from her peers. She was often ridiculed for her beliefs and treated as an outcast by students, parents, and teachers alike.

She boldly wore her necklace with a Pentacle on it, which she said represented the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and most importantly Spirit. Her other necklace she referred to as the “Triple Moon,” which was a symbol of the Triple Goddess. She always explained the Triple Goddess as being three aspects of the Goddess. There was the Maiden, which represented youth and purity. Then there was the Mother, which represented fertility and growth. Finally, there was the Crone aspect of the Goddess, which reflected wisdom, old age, and even death. David didn’t really believe the same as Sarah, and never took the time to understand her beliefs on a deeper level.

The halls were full of students getting things for their next class and talking at their lockers. David could sense the sadness that hung in the air. He hoped the murders would end. There had been times between classes where a few people would break down and weep because they were close friends with a victim, a murderer, or both in some cases.

“So how was your visit with the ‘shrink’?” Sarah asked; not hiding her distaste for the counselor.

David shrugged, “It was OK…I guess.”

“What did he have to say this time?” Same Sarah; always straightforward and to the point.

In all honesty, David did not want to answer this question, so he tried to give a vague answer. “Not much. Just talked about the murders,” he said, as he shrugged his shoulders trying to pass it off as if it was no big deal.

“David, I know when you are hiding something. Just come out and say it.” She stated, but with a smirk as if to say, “ha-ha, nothing gets by me.”

David hesitated for a minute and cast his eyes on the ground. He knew there was no getting past her; she knew him too well.

At last he responded, “He thinks that I should stay away from you.”

“And…what do you think?”

“I think he is full of crap!” The smile on Sarah’s face put him at ease. The two of them spent the next few minutes telling jokes about Dr. Loran.

It was then that David noticed a bruise on Sarah’s jawbone. To see Sarah with a bruise of some sort was not unusual. However, to get an honest answer from her about how she received such bruises was like trying to set ice on fire. She would always make up a story of how it was some accident, or how she tripped, but David knew that she wasn’t that clumsy. He never liked her dad from the moment he met him. Something just didn’t set right.  Sarah’s mother seemed as harmless as a dove, and David believed she would never harm Sarah in any way.

Ever since David knew her mother, she seemed rather melancholy. He didn’t see her parents very often, but she also rarely got to see his mother since she was not allowed in their home. His mother was troubled ever since Sarah started practicing Wicca, and thought that if she was allowed in the house, she would bring demons in with her. David stood by her though, not because he had a crush on her, but because he knew her for who she was: a caring person who hurt inside. David never really understood why people would completely reject others based on faith, especially Christians like himself, who should be showing compassion rather than rejection.

He knew deep down that Sarah was abused by her father. He once anonymously notified Child Protective Services after Sarah came to school with a black eye and a welt on her cheekbone. Yet, they couldn’t prove where the black eye came from, and David guessed that Sarah had been forced to lie. He decided that he was not going to bring it up today because he knew it would only upset Sarah more.

David’s attention was instantly distracted away from Sarah. Lauren, a girl David had a crush on for years, walked by. Her hazel eyes caught his eyes. She walked past him, and her light brown straight hair seemed to fall perfectly, reaching slightly past her shoulders.

David held his breath, wishing he could muster up the courage to talk to her. As she reached her locker, another male student met her there. They gave each other a quick kiss, and David could feel the jealousy well up inside. He knew the guy she dated; Mr. Jock himself. His short brown hair was spiked with gel. He always walked the halls like he expected everyone to bow down to him and worship him. David sometimes wished that Evan would be choked by his own turtleneck sweaters he always wore. He was a football and basketball player. His father was a physician and his mother was a surgeon, so David knew they were quite well off. He knew he didn’t have a chance with Lauren with Evan in the picture.

“Do you want me to grab some paper towels to wipe your drool off the floor?” David snapped back to reality, and it took him a minute to register what Sarah had just said to him. “You’re pathetic to continue to chase after that girl. You’d be lucky if her brain is bigger than a pea. She is so snotty that I feel like wiping her with a giant tissue.”

“Hey, go easy on her.”

“I am.”  Sarah had that defiant look in her eyes. David decided not to press the issue, and changed the subject.

“Oh, and Dr. Loran told me that I can’t help with the investigation.”

“That’s dumb, you probably could do better than our clueless police force can. You’re not going to listen to Dr. “Know-it-all” Loran, are you?”

“Of course not. You know me better than that.”

“Yes I do, and I’ll help as much as I can.”

“What do you think you could help with? I mean you research conspiracy theories and alternative viewpoints of history. How could that possibly help?”

Sarah looked offended, “You don’t think there’s some kind of conspiracy here?”

David was never keen on conspiracy theories. They were theories, and that was it. In fact, there wasn’t enough evidence in David’s mind that the Illuminati still existed, or that the Fraternity known as the Skull and Bones are trying to control the government. Sarah needed to stop reading that crap as far as he was concerned. “Conspiracy is never the logical place to start an investigation of this sort.”

“But many murders take a conspiracy to some degree.” Sarah shot back.

“Yes, but you tend to look at larger conspiracies, like it is some secret society or something of that nature.”

“You have to admit; these murders are…um…rather bizarre!” Sarah made her sarcasm obvious.

“True, but that doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy…but I’ll get off your case and let you do your own research.” He knew there was no winning an argument with her.

“Thank you,” Sarah said with a smile. “As long as we can combine research.”

“Sure, anything helps I suppose.” David sounded doubtful.

Just then, another student by the name of Luke Dilton and some of his buddies walked up. Even though Luke was only eighteen, he was a youth pastor at a local church. He always carried a Bible with him along with a stone face. His blonde hair along with his icy blue eyes, sent chills up and down a person’s spine that had just met him. His attempts at being hip and trying to fit in seemed rather “fake” next to his fire and brimstone Old Testament attitude. He looked over at Sarah and said, “Hey witch, will you be having some snake stew tonight?”

Sarah was quick; “I’d rather save them, so they can bite you. I want to see if your holy flesh can handle it.”

“At least when I die, I’ll be in a better place…unlike you!” Luke taunted.

“Unlike me? I’d rather not enter Heaven if people like you reside there!”

“Ha, you’ll be burning as the maggots eat through your body; for eternity.”

“That’s why I don’t follow your god. He is cruel. The words of Thomas Paine, ‘belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.’”

David decided to step in. “Come on Sarah, don’t go too far.”

“Yeah Sarah, why don’t you listen to David?” Luke and his buds walked away. David looked at Sarah and was taken back by her angry glare.

“What did I do?” David retorted.

“Isn’t it obvious, or are you too stupid to realize it?” With that Sarah turned around and stormed off.

“Well, looks like I’m alone on the investigation.” David said aloud, but Sarah was already too far away to hear him. He just wanted the arguing to stop. Luke was the one attacking her, not him. She shouldn’t be mad just because he asked her not to go too far. David felt Luke was a poor excuse for a Christian with his bullying tactics. Perhaps if he actually read the Bible he carries around, he would realize that loving others and doing good was at the top of the list of things Jesus taught.

*          *          *

David was sitting in physics class, not paying attention to anything the teacher was saying. It was easy to drown out Mr. Jenkins’s monotone voice. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for some students to fall asleep in this class. Sometimes one of the students, named Jake, would start to drift off to sleep. David would get his amusement out of watching Jake’s head tilt down and suddenly jerk up to wake out of his sleep, only to repeat the process. David was thinking about the murders and trying to see a pattern. He wrote down all the dates that the murders occurred, and just stared at them blankly.

“David, who invented the electroscope?” David snapped out of his daze at the sound of his teacher calling his name. He hesitated trying to recall what exactly the question was. Once he did that, he recalled the answer, “Michael Faraday.”

“Correct.” Mr. Jenkins said, and continued his lecture. David sighed in relief, as he was able to return his focus to the dates he was gazing at.

As he looked at the murder dates, he saw a pattern: April 24th, May 7th, and May 20th. Then it occurred to him…all the murders took place exactly thirteen days apart.

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The Experiment Chapter 1: Dr. Loran

“So, how is it affecting you?”

Typical counselor question, David thought to himselfEveryone has been affected by the three murders. No one can forget the first murder, which happened on April 24th; about a month ago. Jennifer Alden was found strangled to death in her own apartment. The murderer? Jack Dixer, who was a champion football player and class president.

Soon after Jennifer’s body was found, they located Jack who had hung himself in the local park from a tree. The same rope used to murder Jennifer, he used to take his own life. Shock stung the community since Jack was known as a cool-tempered, good student. He seemed to be continually upbeat and happy. Being that he came from a well-to-do family, no one in their wildest dreams could ever picture Jack as a murderer.

The connection between Jack and Jennifer was uncertain. According to fellow students, they barely knew each other.  In fact, there was confusion over how Jack even knew where Jennifer lived.  The local police couldn’t gain any leads.

Rumors circulated that Jack had been secretly stalking Jennifer and killed her. Supposedly he had a secret crush on her, and she had turned him down. David believed this to be false. He reasoned that people were just looking for excuses to explain the murder.

Almost two weeks later, another bizarre murder had taken place. Michael Johnson, a quiet student, broke into his father’s gun cabinet, walked two miles to Trudy Calihan’s house, and gunned her down. The next-door neighbor heard both a shot and scream, and the police were on the scene quickly. They were able to pin Michael as guilty and arrested him at his own home. He made the claim that he had spoken with God, who had told him to do what he had done. Within minutes, a mysterious sudden death overtook him, and no further information was given.

A few days ago, the murder of Eliza Grant by her best friend, Geoff Zimmerman, took place. They found her dead in her parent’s kitchen in a pool of her own blood. Geoff was later found in a nearby woods slashed to death with his knife. Evidence seemed to indicate that it was a suicide. Some people couldn’t picture Geoff going through with such a task, but others thought guilt may have overwhelmed him when he came to his senses. The police had no leads on any of the murders. There seemed to be no patterns at all, aside from the fact that all the victims were female, while all the murderers were male. Some people thought someone was using hypnosis on the male students or some form of brainwashing. Yet to be able to brainwash three students to the extent to commit murder seemed virtually impossible.

Carthage, NY was a fairly small town situated in the Northern part of the state and experienced a very low crime rate until now. Immediately, parents looked for scapegoats such as rock music and TV shows.

Most professionals like the Sheriff, Detective, and the new School Counselor, believed that there wasn’t any connection with rock music, TV, and the murders.

A local punk band called Jaguar Sunday was being tagged as a scapegoat. They played at several village dances, and some parents believed that their influence played a part in the murders. Jaguar Sunday’s lyrics were not violent, so David believed that these particular parents were just trying to find someone to point the finger at.

“David?” David snapped out of his daze and looked up at the counselor. The room seemed overly silent, as David searched for an answer. The only sounds that could be heard were the ticking of the clock, the filter in the counselor’s aquarium, and the occasional footsteps in the hall.

The counselor’s office was cozy. It was adorned with brown furniture, and the counselor brought in his own overhead lamps as if to avoid the piercing fluorescent lights that occupied every other room in the school building. David always felt that his eyes were extra sensitive to fluorescent lights and wished the school would use something different.

When it came to Dr. Loran’s office’s atmosphere, only the plain white walls felt drab. The entire school had the same walls, and David would feel more enclosed as a result. School was more like a prison in his mind. Some days he wished he could quit school, but he knew if he did, he would likely wind up like his Uncle Vinnie who struggled all his life just to make ends meet.

“It’s scary…and tragic. I hope they catch whoever is behind the murders.” David always felt a little awkward expressing his feelings toward any adult. Especially over a situation so delicate.

The counselor was a middle-aged man. His eyes were continually unreadable as if he was able to hide his emotions from the best of psychologists. If one were to see him for the first time, they would probably write him off as a computer nerd with his overly thick rimmed glasses and evenly parted dark hair. Normally he wore a sweater, which he kept perfectly neat. He was never seen with a wrinkle or a stain on his clothing.

The counselor, whose name was Peter Loran, nodded his head while saying, “I see.” He stared at David with a thoughtful look. David twitched a little under his gaze. He hated being stared at, as he felt Dr. Loran was analyzing his every move. At last Dr. Loran spoke; “So, you want to be a detective?”

Oh no, David thought, here comes a lecture on how not to be involved with the investigation. He decided to still be honest. “Yeah I do.” He had been down to the police station a few times to offer any help he could give them. However, he was told that the investigation was too dangerous.

“Good…good. There needs to be more of that around here the way things are going.” Dr. Loran said, with a sarcastic hint in his tone. “Yet, I’m sure you know what is best and to leave this to the professionals.”

David felt a little irritated; he was really concerned and wanted to help. However, it seemed like no one wanted his help. He was trying to puzzle everything together in his mind to no avail. “Yeah, I’ll stay out of it.” David lied. He didn’t like lying, but he felt pinned in a corner with this one.

He had always been interested in solving mysteries. Scooby Doo had been his favorite cartoon growing up, and any mystery show that appeared on TV never failed to lure his attention. Solving riddles and puzzles were a specialty of his.

“OK, now that we got that settled, I believe it is time to bring up your friend Sarah. I have received complaints from your mother…”

David knew at some point in time the counselor would bring this up, so he was somewhat ready. “Listen, I’m not going to stop being friends with her!”

“But she’s the type of girl who is going to bring you down. You’re a good kid David, and good kids need good friends.”

David was annoyed. He had been best friends with Sarah since childhood. She had changed, but David didn’t see anything wrong with her. Sure, she wore black clothing, dyed her hair black, wore black lipstick sometimes, but she was still his friend. It was sometimes difficult living in a relatively religious town. It felt like everyone watched everyone else instead of minding their own business like they should. “I don’t know why you people have to always judge others…. You don’t know her like I do!”

Dr. Loran sucked in a breath. “I know her better than you think…and she may be a little paranoid, as you have said yourself. That is the last thing you need right now with what’s going on. You have told me before that her conspiracy theories are getting on your nerves. I think it would be best if you step back and take a break.”

David wished he hadn’t blurted that from his mouth when he was angry. He always would tell the wrong people the wrong things. Then he felt like he couldn’t go back on it. He remembered the incident when Sarah brought up the idea of ancient aliens and how they might still have influence in the world. She loved talking about UFOs and secret societies.

That day he was frustrated with Sarah and ended up blurting it out to the counselor. Sarah had shown very little frustration during the conversation. However, she was bothered by the fact that he stormed off and mentioned the ordeal to Dr. Loran. Now it was being used against him.

“Yeah, I don’t agree with her on some things, especially when it comes to conspiracy and religion, but we usually get along pretty well besides that.”

“I can’t tell you what to do David. I just think it would be for the best. I’ll let you decide though.” Knowing Dr. Loran, this would not be the last time he would push this issue with Sarah. He had a tendency to bring up the same subjects over and over.

David looked at the clock and was glad that this session was almost over. He hated being told what to do and was nowhere near thinking about ending his friendship with Sarah. He looked at her as the sister he no longer had.

He recalled the night his sister died. At age thirteen, the doctor found a tumor forming on her brain. They attempted to remove it, but during the operation, the doctor slipped and did fatal damage. From that day forth, David had a hatred for doctors. He was fourteen at the time. Even his parents attempted to reassure him that it was a mistake, but David could read the anger in their eyes. They couldn’t hide their own hatred toward that particular doctor from him.

From that day on, David did his own research into homeopathic medicine and natural healing. Sarah shared this interest with him, and they researched it together. It never ceased to amaze either of them how dangerous mainstream medicine can be when improperly used.

This time period also created an unhealthy fear of death in David. Sometimes he would second guess his decision at being a detective, but his passion pushed him on. He hoped to one day get over this fear. Sometimes he felt afraid to ride in a vehicle because an accident could happen at any moment. He was scared of visiting the doctor because they could find that something was wrong with him and he was going to suffer and die. Sometimes the thoughts would send him into a panic attack.

The session ended and David walked out and down the hall. An adult he didn’t recognize was walking toward him. Something felt strange about this person, as it seemed that he was trying to look away. David decided to pass it off as nothing but as they passed each other, David thought he caught an unnatural yellow in the man’s eyes.

The Experiment: Prologue – God’s Will

I will be posting my book in blog posts starting with this chapter and going right through. I hope you enjoy.

“Geoff, what has gotten into you?” Eliza yelled, terrified of what was once her best friend now was holding a knife and chasing after her. Her parents were out for the evening. Eliza thought it was strange since their marriage had been on the rocks for the last two years, and they did their best to avoid each other. Tonight, was different. They both dressed up as if they were going to a fancy restaurant. Eliza had no idea where, but she was glad for them. She had spent hours in prayer hoping for them to reunite.

“I do what I must.” Geoff stated with a matter-of-fact tone. There were no hints of emotion in his voice. It was a dark starless night out. Eliza wanted to scream, but she knew no one would hear. Her neighbors were a quarter of a mile away, and even if they did hear her scream, they wouldn’t be able to make it in time to save her.

Eliza stood at one side of her parent’s glass table, while Geoff stood on the other side. She hoped the table would work as a barrier to protect her. Geoff had shut the doorway to the kitchen, so she wouldn’t be able to escape using that route. “This is insane, have you lost it?”

“I do the will of God. Ask no more questions.” His usual gentle blue eyes were empty, as if there was no soul living within. There was neither hatred nor anger visible on his face. It was almost as if he was a zombie. The emotionless glare ignited more fear within Eliza. Geoff usually kept himself neat, but now his dirty blonde hair had the appearance of just being removed from under a powerful fan. His red shirt and blue jeans looked as if he just grabbed them from the bottom of a hamper of dirty clothes. Eliza never knew Geoff as a religious man, so even his response seemed bizarre. In fact, it was Eliza who was the religious one. Many times, she had talked to Geoff about God, and that he needed to be saved. Geoff was an agnostic, as he wasn’t sure what to believe.  Even among her youth group, Eliza was considered a “straight-laced” person, as she did not date, kiss, or lie.

“It’s not God’s will that you kill me! It’s one of the commandments that you don’t murder!” She said hoping this would place some common sense in him, or at least stall him giving her more time to think.

Geoff did not flinch. “I met God face-to-face. Do not question me about God’s will.”

Eliza yelled back, “You are making no sense! Are you losing your mind? Tell me what the heck happened to you!” Eliza knew people didn’t meet God face-to-face, but obviously, something happened that deeply affected her friend. Yet it seemed impossible that a face-to-face encounter would change a person to this extent. Something evil was going on in this town. She had heard about the other two recent murders, and now she might be the third to die.

Geoff gave no response. Panic was taking over Eliza’s mind so much so that she could no longer think of how to stall him.

After avoiding him for a minute behind the table, Geoff grabbed the table’s end and flipped it over. The sound of glass smashing on the wall and floor was deafening. She loved living outside of the town and in the country, but now she would give anything to live in the village near neighbors.

Quickly, Eliza scanned around the room for a weapon she could use to defend herself. She was disappointed when the only thing she could find was her parent’s antique vase sitting on the windowsill. Geoff stood between her and the silverware drawer; therefore, sharp knives were not an option.

The vase was worth thousands of dollars, but Eliza knew her parents would gladly see the vase destroyed if it meant saving her life. It was a silver vase standing a foot high. Anyone looking at it would see a grim out-of-shape reflection of herself due to its rustic appearance. Her parents had won it at an auction before Eliza was even born…back when they were young and not careful with their finances.

She grabbed the vase and Geoff lunged at her with the knife. Hating the fact that she may severely injure her friend, she aimed it right for his head. He quickly brought his arm up for protection, and the vase cracked falling to the ground in a worthless heap.

He was thrown off balance giving Eliza a moment to dodge for the silverware drawer. Her parents would be home any minute now, and she hoped she could hold Geoff off long enough.

She opened the drawer and scrambled for a steak knife. In her haste, she was having trouble finding one. Normally she could open the drawer and find one when she wanted. With adrenaline pulsating through her body, she could not hold still like she needed. A hint of relief came over her as her hand grasped a hold of one, and she began to pull it out of the drawer. I hate having to do this, but I need to save myself, she told herself. However, it was too late, as cold steel pressed against her throat. She tried to stab Geoff, but the pain of her own throat being cut paralyzed her. Blackness took over.

Interview with the band Alveole

Alveole are a modern rock crosser band (their style is undefined and unique) from Nürnberg (Nuremberg, Germany).  

You can see their video for “Do you Use a Knife” here.
Like Alveole on Facebook.
Follow Alveole on Twitter.
Visit Alveole’s Homepage.
Silvia: lead Vocals/Lyrics

N. A. Foy:How old were you when you decided to pursue a career in music and was there any particular musicians or singers that inspired you?

Silvia: Since my father plays piano and is a huge music fan I got into contact with music quite early in my life. In my teenage years I was inspired by Nu-Metal bands like Slipknot and Mudvayne, so I decided to take drum lessons at the age of 14. Besides my love for percussion instruments, I started singing and was inspired by Nightwish and the Guano Apes, but I’ve  never had the courage to sing in front of an audience or in a Band before I founded Alveole. I kept my music skills pretty much to myself, and secretly worked very hard to become a better musician. As the singer of Alveole, I suddenly took a big step forward and started noticing that I do not only love Music, but I also love performing. But it is not the idea of a career that gives me motivation – I simply want to create something I can be proud of.

Sebastian: Music has always been a major part of my life and since I’ve started playing instruments, the wish of turning my hobby into a career just grew bigger and bigger. The band that has inspired me the most over the years is In Flames. I love their guitar playing and also the amazing way they’ve evolved as musicians.

Marvin: Pursuing a career in music has been my biggest dream since I was about 12 years old. That’s when I picked up a guitar for the first time. I’ve always worked hard on my skills as a musician and I played in many bands, but I never got to the point where I could say that music was more than just a hobby. Now, being a part of Alveole, it’s different. For the first time in my life, I am convinced that we can achieve something truly amazing. There are a lot of great bands and musicians that inspired me, but it was Klayton from Celldweller who reinvigorated my passion for playing in a band again after I’d been on a kind of hiatus for a few years.

N. A. Foy: What background do you have in music? Did you go to music school or play in bands before Alveole?

Silvia: I love Music and I am passionate for it. Yes, I had some professional drum and singing lessons to get more knowledge about the techniques, but I think this is not what counts as an artist or musician. You have to love what you do, to go your own way, to create your own style and to be persistent. It is much more than a “career” or an “education “. No one can teach you how to become an artist. Be courageous, accept failure and try again.

Sebastian: I started tthe guitar in my youth and joined my first band “The Deputy Pimps” when I was about 17 years old. After moving away from my hometown for my studies, I founded the dark metal band “Adjust the Sun”, but we split up. Finally, a few years ago, I founded “Alveole”, which is supposed to be a band that gives me the limitless creative freedom that I thought I was lacking in my former bands. From time to time I also work on a few solo projects, but they don’t take high priority.

Alan: I started taking piano lessons when I was 6. I joined my first metal band as keyboardist at the age of 16 (I also had a Keytar to play shitty solos!). The drummer of my band was a really talented and I also met other young musicians at our shows, who played more than an instrument. That was very inspiring to me, so I decided to play the drums, but just for fun in the beginning. I founded my first metal band as a drummer with 17 and thanks to my previous musical experience and a lot of practice, I started to focus exclusively on drums. Since then, I have been in a lot of different bands in Spain. Then I decided to move to Germany with 23, where I joined “Adjust the Sun” and where I met Sebastian. After ATS split up, I decided to play with Sebastian in ALVEOLE and here I am, having an awesome experience!   Interview Question #3: Out of the lyrics on the first album, is there a particular one that you like the best? Is there a story behind it?

N. A. Foy: Out of the lyrics on the first album, is there a particular one that you like the best? Is there a story behind it?

Silvia: I can’t say that I like one of the lyrics best, but I can say something about my lyrics in general:

The lyrics I wrote for “Rhythm of Absurdity” have a very intimate character. They mirror the personal feelings and problems I had during the time we worked on the album. I sing about feeling sick, about feeling helpless, about problems in relationships and problems I have with myself. I think these lyrics are very sensitive and emotional. One exception is the Song “Do you use a knife?”. It’s lyrics are powerful, stubborn and rebellious. They can be seen as a foretaste of the lyrics I am currently writing for our next album. The lyrics for our new material will mirror a certain kind of anger – the feeling of becoming strong and healthy enough to defend oneself against the injustice and unfairness of our society.

But in the end, I want my audience to feel free to have their very own interpretation of my lyrics. I’d love that people feel like I am telling their own individual story while I am singing.

N. A. Foy: What do you like to do with your free time when you are not doing music: 

Sebastian: I don’t have much free time between work and music, as well. My favorite leisure activities are also watching movies and TV series, playing Play Station or doing sports, like cycling or longboarding.

Silvia: I am not only passionate for music – I am also a self-employed artist and designer. So I spend all of my time on music, design and arts – . When I need some leisure time, I do sports and I am deeply in love with my two Chinchillas ❤

Marvin: I barely have any free time between music and work. But If I have the time, I love playing video games or watching TV Series and movies. I love RPGs, such as Baldur’s Gate 2, The Witcher series and the Mass Effect series (except for the ending of ME 3, which was garbage and destroyed the meaning of the whole series, haha). As far as movies go, I really dig the Marvel Cinematic Universe and my favorite TV series are The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

Alan: I love to build huge Lego Sets! I also love to travel (for example: I regularly fly to Spain to visit my family and party there). And I like to see other bands or musicians and get inspired by them!

N. A. Foy: What are your top 3 favorite CDs of all time?

Silvia:

#1: HIM – Razorblade Romance

#2: Slipknot – Slipknot

#3: System of a Down: Toxicity

 

Sebastian:

#1: In Flames: Reroute to  Remain

#2: Enter Shikari: The Mindsweep

#3: Bring me the horizon: Sempiternal

 

Marvin:

#1: Machinae Supremacy: A View from the End of the World

#2: Celldweller: Wish Upon a Blackstar

#3: System of a Down: Toxicity

 

Alan:

#1: Wintersun: Wintersun

#2: Scars on Broadway: Scars on Broadway

#3: Leprous: Bilateral

N. A. Foy: This question is for the band members individually. How about some favorites. What is your favorite color? Number? Foods? Movie(s)? Book(s)? Aerobic Exercise? Or any other favorites you want to mention?

Silvia:

Color:  #008989

Number: 666

Foods: Chocolate & Pasta

Movie(s): The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, Pan’s Labyrinth

Book(s): Orhan Pamuk – The Museum of Innocence,  Paulo Coelho – Veronika Decides to Die

Aerobic Exercises: Running

Sebastian:

Colour:  White

Number:  my EC-PIN

Food: every fast food

Books: George Orwell – 1984

Aerobic Exercises: nothing

 

Marvin:

Color: Purple

Number: None

Foods: Pizza

Books: A Song of Ice and Fire Series

Aerobic Exercises: various (going to the gym)

 

Alan:

Color: Purple

Number: 9

Food: “Enblanco” (Spanish Fish Soup)

Books: The Shadow over Innsmouth

Aerobic Exercises: Jumping Lunges

N. A. Foy: If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?

Sebastian:

I think Europe is a great place for touring. You don’t have to travel great distances to reach different countries, compared to other continents, and the music scene is very active everywhere in Europe.

Silvia: I like the Arabian culture – I’d love to go to Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Marvin: I’d love to go to Japan. I’ve never been there and I would love to see the country, meet the people and experiencing the culture while I’m there. I’d love to perform with Baby Metal. They are one my new favorite bands in the world.

Alan: Japan would be really awesome!

N. A. Foy: Before hearing the band, I have never heard the word “Alveole” before. Is there a story behind the name?

Sebastian:

There is in fact  a story behind the name, not a happy one, but one with a hopeful prospect for the future. Right before founding Alveole, I had been lying in a hospital bed for some weeks with an injured lung. Several of my alveoli bursted. Luckily, the story had a happy ending and I recovered. But from that moment on, I realized that every little alveole in the human lung is crucial for us to be able to breathe and to live. All these little alveoli work together and form one much bigger organ, which makes human life possible. You see, even the tiniest things have an immense effect on our lives. This new perspective on life eventually led me to name my band “Alveole”.

N. A. Foy:  What is the main message you want to give to you fans through your music and example as a band? Is there anything else you would like to tell everyone before we finish?

Silvia: We mix different genres and styles – we rock, we rap, we dance and we love to mix electronic elements with metal . All in all, we love to create something new and don’t want others to put a label on our music. Don’t let guidelines or genre-limitations restrict you while working on your own unique style.

I am a female Singer in a rock band – still I don’t want to fall into any clichés. I walk my own way – some may like it , some may not.

My message is: Do what you love . Have the courage to go somewhere no one has ever been before.

Storm Moon – February Meditation

Tomorrow is the full moon.  Here is a meditation I wrote for the February Storm Moon.

Breath in to the count of 6, hold for 4, and release for 6 and continue this throughout the meditation.  Visualize yourself outside walking toward a castle.  Feel the rain as it is pelting down on your face.  At this moment, the clouds cover the moon and you can see lightning flicker in the clouds lighting up the area and hear the crash of thunder.  This storm represents the difficulties that you are currently facing in your life and they appear to be overwhelming you. 

Ahead you can see a bridge that leads to the castle and you draw close to it.  You walk into the castle and notice that it is not in good condition.  Rain is pouring through the window openings.  Tables are broken and the floor is a mess.  This represents your life and how everything seems out of order at the moment. 

Above the fireplace, you look and see a wand on the mantle.  You walk over and pick up the wand and feel the power flow through you.  At this point, you realize that despite the problems you are dealing with, you have the strength to overcome them.  Visualize yourself holding out the wand and a bluish white light comes out from the end.  Use the power to fix the broken objects that are surrounding you such as the tables and windows. 

Once you are done the castle feels like a cozy homey place.  Use the light from the wand to light the fireplace.  Feel its heat fill your face and allow that energy flow through you to cleanse you from negativity. 

Now walk back outside of the castle and notice that the storm is gone and the full moon is shining brightly overhead.  Raise your wand in hand and feel the moon’s energy flow though you and let calmness take over.  Know that everything is going to be ok as you slowing come back to the present and open your eyes. 

Character Building Blog 2 (Culture)

So in my first blog about character development I discussed race.  Along with race it is important to establish the culture of those involved in the story.  Fantasy writers have to work especially hard at this, but all writers should have an understanding of the culture that their characters are involve in.  Sometimes it is easiest to write a story based on your own culture, but involving cultures outside of your own with help put depth into your story.  I live in upstate New York, but if I want to write a story based in the New York City area, I should seek to understand the way of living there, as it would be different than here. 

If you are writing a historic piece you will want to read what the culture was like during the time your story is set.  What was the technology of the time?  What were the primary religions?  Was it an insult if a man wore a hat in a restaurant among other seemingly small things.  This is also good to figure out if you are writing supernatural books.  In one of the stories I am working on there is a ghost of a man who died in the 1920s so I have been asking myself questions such as:  What kind of slang was used?  What was the town like when he was alive?  What did he listen to for music?  What kind of vehicle did he drive?  And other things as they pop up?   Even with futuristic writing it is important to set up what the culture will be like.  This will take some creativity but having an idea what the culture is like that the characters are placed in will help the story to move along.

You may have to do some creating for non-human races such as vampires, zombies, and others. 

Fantasy writers especially can have a lot of fun with this.  You can create races right from scratch.  The Hobbits in J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings had their own little culture up in the Shire. 

Here is a list of things when looking into culture

          Government Style

          Most Widely used language and minor languages

          Religion and its influence on culture

          Various ethnic groups

          Modes of transportation

          Sources of entertainment

          Dress Style

          Food and drink

          Various jobs and occupations

          Money system (Bills, gold, silver, trade)

          Appropriate greetings (Handshakes, bowing, cheek kissing)

          Gender roles

          Education system

          How the military works

          Law and order – What is legal and what isn’t

          Taboos (What kind of things are rude and offensive)

Websites

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/08/11/the-best-sites-for-learning-about-the-worlds-different-cultures/

Cross Culture guide http://guide.culturecrossing.net/

Books that may be helpful (Affiliate Links):

World Cultures: A Global Mosaic, 5th Edition

Book of Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures

National Geographic People of the World: Cultures and Traditions, Ancestry, and Identity

Meditation with the Goddess Abundantia

 

Abundantia

 

As the name suggests, Abundantia is the Roman Goddess of Abundance, prosperity, and luck. She often is pictured with a cornucopia which is a horn shaped container usually containing produce such as fruit and vegetables. Abundantia’s cornucopia distributes food and money. Just as the produce in the cornucopia is to improve one’s health, one should only ask for prosperity that will improves one’s spiritual self. In other words, be sure to not approach Abundantia with only greed in your heart. This is not to say you can’t ask for money and physical things. We all struggle, and many of us seek to improve on our current situation in life. Bills need to be paid, basic necessities need to be bought, and so on.

 

Thoughts Before Meditation

 

Abundantia is good to meditate with in order to help focus on the positive side of life.  Before you do the meditation, think of what you want and need in your life for improvement whether it be financial peace, a positive attitude, a job or a better job, or just direction in life.  Know what it is you seek before doing the meditation.

 

The Meditation

 

Go to your meditation space and do a minute of your breathing technique that helps you relax.  After a minute or two, visualize that you are in a lush forest. The green from the grass, trees, and other plants seems to stand out. The sun’s heat beats down, and you feel comfortably warm. Let yourself hear the sounds in the forest such as the wind blowing through the trees and birds chirping. The plants and flowers give off a pleasant smell.

You follow a path before you that is relatively thin and covered with grass. Take in your surroundings and feel at ease as you walk along the path. Keep walking until you feel calm.  Now imagine the path getting wider before you. It eventually widens into a small lawn area. At the end of the lawn, there are large trees and between you and the trees stands the Goddess Abundantia. She holds a cornucopia with various items inside. You might want to visualize fresh produce, but also visualize the needs you currently have being in the Cornucopia. If what you need isn’t something you can visualize, then picture a piece of paper in the cornucopia with words on it to describe what you are looking for.

Walk up to the Goddess and bow your head in respect to her. As you approach her, she reaches her hand into the cornucopia and hands you the item that you are seeking. Tell her “thank you” and take the item in your hand. Visualize this item manifesting in your life as you bring yourself back to the present moment. Believe that you will receive what you need, and then let go and do not worry about it. If you find yourself stressed out by lacking what you need, then return to this meditation in order to help you relax and reinforce your belief. Otherwise, it is good not to dwell on it.

Interview with Aline Happ from the band Lyria

The following is an interview with Aline Happ, the lead vocalist and founder of the symphonic alternative metal band Lyria.  For short, MP is for Minerva’s Portal and AH is for Aline Happ.  Enjoy.

MP: How old were you when you decided to pursue a career in music, and was there any particular musicians or singers that inspired you?

AH: I’ve tried to play in bands since 2013 when I was only 13 years old (laughs). But professionally, I started in 2012 with Lyria.  I was 21 to 22. There are many bands and artists who inspired me such as: Evanescence, Epica, Nightwish, Sarah Brightman, Linkin Park and many many others.

MP: I have watched you perform musicals and also saw the video of Lyria doing “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen.” You seem to have a very diverse voice. Prior to Lyria, have you done voice training of any sort?

AH: Yes, i started singing classes when I was 13. I had 3 different teachers, but now I am on my own.

MP: You seem to keep very busy with music. What do you like to do with your free time when you are not doing music?

AH: I like taking photos, modeling, cooking, going to the mall, spending my time with family and friends, talking to fans whenever I can, taking a walk, making handcraft items…. I also like to try different makeup styles, and I also like to decorate.

MP: Sounds like there are several things you enjoy. i know I am curious, and I am sure other fans would be curious. What is the story behind the name Lyria?

AH: I was attending Greek Mythology classes at the University which inspired me. The name Lyria was inspired by the Greek Mythology and the lyre which was an important musical instrument for the Greeks. It is also related to the flower lily and to the word “lyrics.”

MP: That is awesome that you have taken Greek Mythology. Do you have plans to release a second full length album within the next few years?

AH: Yes, we already have some songs, but we are currently focused on promoting “Catharsis”. In fact, we will release a new music video very soon.

MP: I really look forward to seeing your new music video. Can you tell us what song you will be doing a video for, or would you rather us be surprised?

AH: Unfortunately I can’t. It is a surprise. [🙂].  We created a Facebook event to promote it and we will be live to answer questions.

MP:  Surprises are always fun [🙂] So us fans want to know more about you as a person. How about some favorites? What is your favorite color? Number? Foods? Movie(s)? Book(s)? Aerobic Exercise? Or any other favorites you want to mention?

AH: (Laughs)! So, I like black, green, blue, and purple. I don’t have a favorite number. Talking about food is complicated because I like a variety of things. I could be here making a list for a long time [😛] So: meat, potatoes, vegetables, chocolate milk, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta and chocolate cake. Movies: The Disney ones and White Chicks (Hilarious). Books: The Harry Potter Series and Sherlock Holmes’. When it comes to exercises, I prefer dancing and a running/walking simulator (transfer). I also practice Pilates.

MP: Where do you hope to be 5 years from now? 10 Years?

AH: This question is difficult. Do you have another? (Laughs)  I imagine Lyria gaining more and more success. I want to be playing at big festivals and concerts around the world. I want to help more and more people through music [😊]

MP: What is the main message you want to give to your fans through your music and example as a person? Is there anything else you would like to tell everyone before we finish?

AH: To be a good person and never give up. You can overcome bad moments, you can be stronger, successful, and kind at the same time.

Thanks for the interview. For whom doesn’t know us, give try and check it out our stuff [😊] For the fans, thank you!

Wicca – Lesson 1: “What is Wicca” Part 2

While we believe in working with the supernatural energies around us, we do not believe magic works as it does in fiction such as Harry Potter and the Wizard of Oz.  Many of us love Harry Potter, but no, he is not a practicing Wiccan.  Working with these energies does not replace mundane activity.  If you work magick to lose weight, this doesn’t mean you avoid diet and exercise.  Do not stop taking meds if you work healing magick without consulting a doctor first.  Being that we generally believe that the divine energy exists in all things we are not opposed to using medicine and other mundane methods to work Magick.  Remember that the use of these powers are sacred and shouldn’t be used for entertainment.

Wiccans consider it to be important to treat our earth with love and respect as it is sacred.  It is in our best interests to keep the earth healthy.  We do not have a sacred book as in other religions, but view nature itself as our holy “book.”  Many of us strive to make a difference by:

  • Recycling
  • Cut down on driving
  • Avoid littering
  • Conserve water
  • Reuse plastic bags and other items
  • Volunteer at a food or animal shelter
  • Clean up local areas such as lakes, rivers, parks, and areas cluttered with trash
  • Take in animals that have been neglected or abused
  • Working to live in harmony with others.

Not all of us do all these things, but every little bit helps.  Wicca is often about connecting with nature by doing things as simple as taking a walk in the woods or sitting by a lake.  You may want to focus on the sounds of nature such as birds, or the smells like plants and flowers, and the beauty that surrounds you.  If you are in a city see if there are any parks you can visit.  Perhaps you could enjoy the stars and moon at night.

 

Many Wiccans believe in reincarnation in that we go through many life cycles to learn various lessons.  Summerland is a place in the afterlife, which some believe we go after death to rest and reflect before continuing our next journey.  Some Wiccans believe that we may spend our time there reflecting what we have learned in our last life and plan out our future life.  Perhaps it is here that we are able to clearly see all the past lives that we have lived.  We do not believe in a hell where sinners are punished for eternity.

The Wiccan Rede “An ye harm none do as ye will” is generally universally followed among Wiccans.  This can refer to physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental harm.  For example, it may be harmful to attempt to de convert a Christian because perhaps that person needs to follow that path in order to grow (There also may be cases where it is beneficial if the religion is causing the person harm but I won’t go there with that right now).  It is unrealistic to expect a person to never harm anything.  There are times we may hurt someone’s feelings, step on a bug, etc.  It is more realistic to seek to cause as little harm as possible.  The Wiccan Rede is another item that is a whole discussion of its own which I hope to write more about.

Spells should end with “With harm toward none, and the greatest good of all.”  It’s also necessary to overcome behaviors that are harmful to self such as cutting, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.  Doing our own will refers to doing the will of our “higher self,” in other words, do what wisest and most loving.  The Rede is difficult to follow at times because it requires deep thought and weighing the situation.  Sometimes there are situations where harm cannot be avoided.

We celebrate the phases of the moon referred to as Esbats and also celebrate 8 Sabbats throughout the year.  Coven witches often come together for these celebrations.

The Law of Three, or Law of Return means whatever we send out in the universe will return to us threefold. If we do negative it will return to us stronger and the same with positive.  Some believe that the Law of Three doesn’t have to be exact but can vary due to such things as intention.  If one unintentionally harms someone and regrets it later this may help to cancel out the Law of Return.

We do not believe in letting life get the best of us, but rather that if life isn’t satisfying that change may be necessary.  We are responsible for our actions, not some deity, negative entity, or other people.

Many witches are interested in healing and may take on professions that deal with medical and psychological healing. Many of us are also interested alternative methods of healing.  We also have no qualm with most technology as many of us own PCs

Below is a Link to the “Thirteen Principles of Wiccan belief.”

http://paganpath.com/study/library/trads/57-13-principles

Wicca generally doesn’t recognize the concept of “original sin.” Instead we believe people are basically good because we all come from the Goddess and God. While people become evil and do bad things, people were not born to be bad.  We focus more on the now than in the after life.  We do not deny ourselves pleasure nor suffer unnecessary pain. There is a lesson to be learned while we are here on earth.

Some Wiccans partake in various magickal training, which may include herbology, divination (Tarot, palmistry, Ruins, scrying, tea leafs, etc), crystal healing, Shamanistic practices, reiki, astrology, etc.

Creativity, freedom of expression, intelligent thinking are all important in Wicca. We tend to avoid dogma and hard rules beyond the basics.  We do not generally have a system of hierarchy such as a pope and bishops, however some traditions have become large enough where outside leadership does exist.

One of the important aspects of Wicca is coming to know yourself, why you think the way your think, why you do what you do, why you feel what you feel.  Here are some questions to ponder over.

One of the main ideas in Wicca and many traditions of Witchcraft and Paganism is to know yourself, however, this is something that is best done on your own so here are some questions to think about on your own.

  1. What makes you feel happy?  Depressed?  Angry?  Excited?
  2. What qualities do you have that you consider positive?
  3. What qualities do you have that make you feel negative?
  4. Take a look at your life and ask yourself how satisfied you are with your life?  What do you want improved in your life?  What changes do you want to make to live a more satisfying life?
  5. Have there been events in your childhood that played a strong part in who you are now?
  6. Do you love or hate yourself or somewhere in between?
  7. Take a look at behaviors you do that you don’t like?  Can you understand what influences these behaviors.
  8. How do you feel when you do something good such as helping a person who needs a ride as compared when you do something such as get revenge on someone?
  9. Do you act before you think or think before you act?  Would this be something you want to change?

Album Review: Lunatica – New Shores

New_Shores

Lunatica broke into the scene with their second album “Fables and Dreams” which I consider to be one of the best albums with female vocals ever. If you started listening to this band through this album you might be somewhat disappointed with “New Shores.” While “Fables and Dreams” was filled with power/symphonic hard driving metal, “New Shores” take a few steps in the lighter direction.

I do believe there are a lot of positive aspects that are over looked on “New Shores.” First the drummer lays down some solid beats throughout this album hammering out the double bass when appropriate and using fills without over doing it. The drums are what give this album the necessary power and drive needed to make this album strong. The bass doesn’t act just as a background instrument. There are many instances where the bass stands out such as with the intro to the title track and other places where he will rail out a bass line that makes the songs sound 20% better than if they just had a bass player who only followed the guitar chords.

The lead guitarist isn’t a shredder but more of a soloist who sticks with catchy lead riffs. The rhythm guitarist gives some variety throughout this album. The metal style scuffing after the title track’s chorus gives it that much-needed metal feel to bridge the melodic chorus and verse. Then there is the riff in “Two Dreamers” after she says “Nothing is impossible” that gives the song a strong extra kick.

Andrea’s vocals are sweet and unique. Thankfully she does avoid the cliché of attempting to sound like Tarja from old Nightwish, nor does she have a rough voice in the realm of Doro. I’m tempted to compare her vocals to the late Sabine Dunser who used to sing for Elis but even that isn’t a close enough comparison. Andrea is the type of singer that could sing 80’s pop however her voice works perfectly with this style of music.

This album does have its weaknesses. First, the two songs “My Hardest Walk” and “The Chosen Ones” kick into some hard driving riffs with the verses kicking in giving the listener a high expectancy of a kick butt chorus. However, the expected kick butt chorus never comes. Rather, in both songs they kick into something that sounds more like a pre-chorus and then go into the second verse. It drives me crazy because these songs would be prefect hard driving metal songs if there was a decent chorus the band kicked into. The songs aren’t totally ruined though because after the second pre-chorus sounding segment there is a guitar solo that comes in to save the day.

The other criticism I have is “Farewell my Love.” I mean, I like ballads and variety on albums and this song is well written and catchy. However, I do not understand why Lunatica keep pulling in a weak male vocalist to do songs like this. It didn’t work for “Song For you” nor harmonizing on the extra “Emocean” on the last album and it doesn’t work any better here. Yeah, they got away with it in the song “Fable of Dreams” but not since. They just need to fire whoever is doing the male vocals and hire someone like Marco from Nightwish or Tobias from Edguy/Avantasia. I mean, the guy singing “Farewell My Love” might sound decent doing a duet with Linda Ronstadt, but he doesn’t complement Andrea’s voice. Just give Andrea the whole song and it would be much better, I mean, it does have a good melody to it. The other two ballads on this album “How Did It Come to This” and “Winds of Heaven” are much better.

The best song on the album is saved for the last “The Day the Falcon Dies.” It is more of a straightforward power metal song more in the realms of what is found throughout “Fables and Dreams.” This goes to show that Lunatica still can rock it out even though they have been taking a different direction.

The lyrics vary. Some of them sound like they could be posted on Hallmark cards. Some are vague and I’m not sure what they are talking about. I really like the lyrics to “The Incredibles” as it speaks out against the corruption of people who lack in caring for our planet. “My Hardest Walk” seems to be about a leader who is leading a bunch of people into war and is struggling with inner conflict and worrying about the results. The lyrics aren’t bad and the band seems to try to put some positive meaning to them.

Overall, this is a good album if you are one of those people who grew up with 80s pop and still can listen to it, but also like hard driving music. If you want growls you will not find them here and if you want lyrics that are vulgar you won’t find them here either. This is the type of metal that goes well with putting your headphones on, walking along the shore watching the sunset.

Listen to “The Day the Falcon Dies” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR2Nt0-0Xe4