Hello From The Other Side

“Yeah I’m falling from cloud nine…”

Cass shivered as the strong notes slowly fell to a sweet pitch, and then quavered out. It was entirely not fair that Delta had gotten all the singing genes and Cass had been left with a mediocre alto. Cass was always silently stewing about the unjust prank heredity had pulled on the two sisters. But still, it was inspiring to listen to her belt out the newest trendy lyrics. And besides, once Cass learned that she had a knack for playing the piano, the sisters’ relationship improved dramatically. They now had a growing list of Youtube subscribers. Cass grinned as she remembered how stunned their friends had been when the sisters made their debut on the internet world with their first cover: Maroon 5’s “Payphone”. And since then, each song they recorded were instant hits.

“Cass! The song you’re working on… done yet?” Delta’s eyes fairly sparked with impatience as she peered around the corner.

Cass grunted with frustration she hoped sounded authentic. “I told you, I gave up on it! The melody was generic and the words didn’t sound right.” She covertly tried to sign out of her account on the computer, but she wasn’t fast enough.

Delta pounced on the keyboard and brought the document back up. Cass groaned and covered her face.

“I knew it! You little liar, you’ve been working on it all this time!” Delta smacked Cass’s shoulder as she devoured the words on the screen. “It’s perfect!” She exclaimed with delight. “I’m printing it out right now!”

“No!” Cass’s sharp protest froze her sister. “It’s not ready yet. I have some stuff I need to… edit.”

“Oh, like, let me think… that verse about a certain guy?” Delta perched on the desk and drummed her fingers on the keyboard. She cocked her head and smirked at Cass.

Cass turned red. “It’s nothing.” She muttered and rapidly shut down the computer.

“I think Tyler would be intrigued to know that you admire his green eyes so much.” Delta taunted.

“Shut it, Delta!” Cass yelled and stalked out of their bedroom, too embarrassed to endure any more teasing and too angry too admit there was some truth to Delta’s teasing.

Delta laughed carelessly and swung her legs off the desk, then reached over to the radio on her nightstand and switched it on.

“Hello from the other side

At least I can say that I’ve tried

To tell you I’m sorry

For everything that I’ve done

But when I call you never seem…”

Delta stopped singing as Adele’s voice over the radio seemed to falter, then the station fritzed unexpectedly. Startled, Delta yanked her head away from the radio and stared at it. It had never done this before. She cautiously laid her head next to the speaker and barely heard the lyrics to the song still playing.

“To tell you I’m sorry

For breaking your heart.”

She started singing again softly, her cheek still against the speaker. A blue light wavered around the radio, enveloping Delta. She pulled back in astonishment but it was too late. In a blinding flash Delta screamed as she felt the electricity pull her body. Her scream rattled the house, then stopped abruptly. The radio was silent, and Delta was gone.

 

“Did you ever get out of that town where nothing ever happened…”

Delta jerked her head around in astonishment. She was in a small dark space. The walls quavered with electricity. She touched them out of curiosity, but it didn’t hurt. A small tingle started at her fingertips and shook her entire body. Adele’s voice fell silent. Surprised, Delta began to sing softly.

“Hello from the outside

At least I can say that I’ve tried

To tell you I’m sorry

For breaking your heart

But it don’t matter

It clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore.”

Her voice gathered strength and the walls trembled as the electricity danced. She repeated the chorus.

“Hello from the other side…”

As she finished the song, the DJ’s voice pervaded the room. Delta sat down trembling as the DJ chattered jargon about the newest celebrity screw-up.

What happened? Delta covered her face with her hands and tried to make sense of what had just occurred. She poked the wall with her foot and watched the electric waves ripple up the wall. She leaned against the wall and rested her head against it. The substance was slightly soft.

“Not solid like concrete, but not vapor like a cloud.”

Delta jolted upright. Had she just heard her thoughts being spoken?! She suspiciously put her head to rest against the wall again.

“I wonder if there is a way out of here. Oh my gosh, it actually spoke my thoughts! Where on earth am I???”

“No way.” Delta breathed. She was actually speaking this time.

“Music! Music is playing!”

Her brain leaped into overdrive.

“Do I have to sing every song that plays on the radio?”

It was “Shut Up And Dance With Me” by Walk The Moon.

Delta shied away from the walls and stood in the center of the room.

Yes, it’s his voice! So I don’t have to sing all the songs!

Delta stared hard at the walls. They didn’t move at all. She pressed one finger against the electricity and sang the next lyric.

“She took my hand

I don’t know it happened

We took the floor and she said…”

Delta sang and watched the walls pulse to life. She yanked her finger away and stopped singing. The real singer began singing again and the walls fell flat.

“Wow. Man, it must sound weird for whoever is listening to Magic 105.3.”

“Cass!” Delta leapt to her feet. She placed both hands against the wall. “Cass! Can you hear me?” The walls crackled violently. “Cass!”

 

The radio came alive with the sound of Delta’s voice. But no one heard it. “Cass!”

 

Delta felt the dark fingers of despair begin to clutch her heart.

“Am I going to be a prisoner here forever? What about my life? I have a life to live! A family to be part of! A career to enjoy!”

“Hey. It’s going to be okay.” A voice spoke from beyond the walls.

“Who are you?” Delta leapt to her feet. “Where are you?”

“That was some incredible singing.”

“Who are you?” Delta called again, desperate to see another human.

“Chill out. You can’t see me. All we can do is talk. Let me guess. You sang too close to the radio.”

The voice was young, male.

“Yeah. Is that how I got in here?” Delta strained to hear his reply.

“Yep. That’s how all of us got in here.”

“Us? There are more people here?” Delta pressed her face against the wall and tried to see past it. All she could see was the blue electricity, than darkness.

“There have been many people that have come and gone. The way you leave is when the song that brought you here plays again; you sing it all the way through, and at the end you will get returned to where you came from.”

“Really?” Delta tingled with excitement. Or electricity.

“You bet. You came in on Hello, right? Then you should be able to leave pretty soon. It’s an insanely popular song.”

Delta tried to process this new information. “Wait, what’s your name? And how did you get here?”

“The name is Mark. The one time I decided to sing Story Of My Life, my face was too close to the radio. I’ve been here for a while. I’d say, about two weeks. I guess One Direction isn’t that popular.” His voice was tinged with sarcasm.

“What?” Delta was shocked. “How are you still alive?”

“I soon learned that here there is no concept of time. You don’t get older, hungry, thirsty, nothing. Except for bored. I get really bored.”

Delta laughed.

“Man, you have a really nice laugh. Everybody that comes here is too freaked out to be happy about anything. And a lot of them can’t sing either. I heard you sing. You’ve got some pipes, girl.”

Delta blushed. She had never sung in front of a guy before, let alone been complimented by one. “Thanks.” She whispered. “Mark, can they hear what we’re saying on the radio?” She was eager to change the subject.

“Nope. Not unless you’re touching the walls. Then everything is transmitted. Hey, here is Give Your Heart A Break. Sing it for me. I bet you’ll do it better than Demi Lovato.”

Delta shrugged. “I don’t know, but I’ll try.” She stood up and put her hands against the wall. She waited for the cue, and then sang softly.

“The day I first met you

You told you’d ever fall in love

But now that I get you

I get that fear is what it really was…”

She stopped singing, afraid of what Mark would say.

“Keep going!” He urged.

“Don’t want to break your heart

Want to give your heart a break

I know you’re scared

It’s wrong

Like you might make a mistake

There’s just one life to live

And there’s no time to waste

So let me give your heart a break

Your heart a break

Let me give your heart a break.”

She paused for a breath.

“Let Demi do the rest.” Mark laughed. “I can tell you don’t like that song a whole bunch.”

“It’s okay.” Delta shrugged.

“Ha ha, I just realized I don’t even know your name.” Mark commented.

Delta smiled. “Delta. I’m 17.”

“Awesome name, dude. I’m 17 too.”

Delta was deep in thought. “Mark,” she called quietly.

“I’m here.”

“What about my family? Will they miss me?” Delta waited anxiously.

“I know you’ve been hurt before

I can see it in your eyes

You try to smile it away

Some things you can’t disguise.”

She lifted her head in surprise and listened eagerly.

“Don’t want to break your heart…” The singing stopped and Demi Lovato took over.

“Mark, that was really cool! You sing really well!” Delta felt a new interest in her fellow prisoner.

“I… don’t know. My voice teacher never told me. I’ve never sung in front of anybody before.” His voice was a little shy, almost like he was admitting something he was ashamed of.

“Me too! I sing around the house all the time, but I can’t bring myself to sing in front of anybody else. Unless we’re recording a song. It must be a self-esteem issue.” She confessed.

“Yeah. And I don’t know if your family will know you’re gone or not. I’ve never had anybody come back here.” Mark’s voice dipped into sadness.

“It… it must be really lonely.” Delta tried to find something comforting to say. She had never been good at this sort of stuff.

“It is. This sounds terrible, but I’m glad you’re here.”

Delta didn’t know what to say next. She listened to the song that was playing. “It’s Dark Horse. Do you like this song?”

Mark hesitated. “Umm, will you judge me?”

Delta chortled. “It matters if you like it or not.”

Mark laughed nervously. “Well, it’s time for my big confession, I guess. I love this song.”

“Yes!” Delta shrieked with delight. “I love it too! Not a lot of my friends do though.”

“You want to sing it?” Mark grinned. He wanted to hear this.

From the other side of the wall Delta sounded hesitant. “Oh, I don’t know. I could never hit all the notes.”

“You can try. Come on, I want to hear it.” Mark coaxed. He was rewarded with her voice replacing Katy Perry’s.

“But you’d better choose carefully

Cause I am capable of anything

Of anything

And everything

So you want to play with magic?

Boy, you should know what you’re falling for

Baby, do you dare to do this?

Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse

Are you ready for

Ready for

A perfect storm

Perfect storm

Cause once you’re mine

Once you’re mine

There’s no going back.”

 

Cass turned in surprise and stared at the radio. That didn’t sound like Katy Perry. She moved closer to the radio and listened carefully, but it sounded normal again. Cass shrugged and turned off the radio.

 

“Delta, that was amazing! When you get out of here, you need to do a cover on it!” Mark sounded elated. “I’ve never heard anybody who was able to sing it like that!”

Delta bit her lip. “I don’t know. I’m not that good.”

“Not that good? Are you kidding me?” Mark was amazed that she couldn’t believe him.

Delta stared at the ceiling. “I guess.”

“I wonder if I’ll ever have to go to the bathroom in here.”

Delta jolted with embarrassment. “Shut it!” She whispered to herself.

“What if Mark heard that?”

“Agh!”  Delta screamed, then clapped her hands over her mouth.

“I wonder what Mark looks like…”

Delta was beyond frustrated with her traitorous thoughts. She glared at the wall and tried to think of nothing. It didn’t work.

“Why can’t I think of nothing? This isn’t working!”

Even her inner self was frustrated.

She groaned and dropped her head in her hands.

“I thought that I’ve been hurt before”

“Oh, Mark is singing again.”

“But no one’s ever left me quite this sore

Your words cut deeper than a knife

Now I need someone to bring me back to life

Got a feeling that I’m going under

But I know that I’ll make it out alive

If I quit calling you my lover

And move on

You watched me bleed until I can’t breathe

Shaking, falling onto my knees

And now that I’m without your kisses

I’ll be needing stitches

Tripping over myself

Aching, begging you to come help

And now that I’m without your kisses

I’ll be needing stitches.”

The radio fell silent.

Delta took a deep breath and realized that she had been holding her breath when he was singing. She shook her head.

“Delta, do you have a boyfriend?”

The question was unexpected and Delta scrambled for words. “I… I did.”

“What happened?” Mark’s voice was soft.

“He showed up at a party one night with another girl and told me didn’t need me anymore.” Delta ran her fingers through her long brown hair.

“Seriously? Dang, that sucks.”

“Yeah. He was a jerk.” Delta shrugged, but her eyes filled with tears despite her nonchalance.

“You try to smile it away

Some things you can’t disguise.”

Delta forced the droplets to not fall. “It really shouldn’t hurt anymore.”

Mark stared at the floor. “My girlfriend did the same thing. Some people just suck.”

Delta tried to say something but her restraint crumbled and she ended up sobbing instead. “I’m sorry, Mark.” She whispered through her tears. “It really hurts to be told you’re not needed anymore. Kinda like you are of no importance… just something to be thrown away.”

Mark bit his lip. “Yeah. It was a long time ago. I’ve learned to live with it. I just stayed away from dating after that.”

The DJ’s obnoxious voice cut through the heavy emotions. “And now we have Adele’s new song after Bruno Mars!”

“That’s it.” Mark muttered. “You’ll be gone soon.”

Delta wiped away her tears. “I have four minutes.” She whispered. “Can I sing one last song to you?”

Mark was surprised. “Sure.” He said, wondering what was going to happen.

Delta pressed her hands against the wall and silenced Bruno Mars. She began to sing, softly at first.

“Never mind

I’ll find someone like you

I wish nothing but the best for you

Don’t forget me

I beg

I remember you said

Sometimes it lasts in love

But sometimes it hurts instead

Sometimes it lasts in love

But sometimes it hurts instead.”

Mark bit his lip, and listened as she switched to a different song. Her voice wrapped around him like a soft breeze.

“It’s been a long day

Without you, my friend

And I’ll tell you all about when I see you again

We’ve come a long way

From where we began

Oh, I’ll tell you all about when I see you again

When I see you again…”

Mark blinked, and realized he was crying.

The first chords to Hello thrummed the walls.

“Hello, it’s me.”

Mark wiped away his tears and stood up. “Delta, you have to sing. Now!”

“I don’t want to go.” She sobbed, desperately trying to wipe away her tears.

“Delta, now!” Mark commanded, and ignored the painful protests of his heart.

Delta drew in a deep shaky breath and placed her hands on the wall.

“Hello from the other side

At least I can say that I’ve tried

To tell you I’m sorry

For everything that I’ve done

But when I call

You never seem to be home

Hello from the outside

At least I can say that I’ve tried

To tell you I’m sorry

For breaking your heart

But it don’t matter

It clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Hello from the other side…”

Mark closed his eyes and let the tears fall. The blue light throbbed wildly… and she was gone.

 

Delta lay flat on her bed next to the radio. She cried herself to sleep.

 

Mark stared at the ceiling. He thought he had cried every single tear, but they kept on coming. Waves of pain racked his heart.

“The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen.”

Mark leapt to his feet and pressed his hands against the wall eagerly.

“The story of my life

I give her hope…”

 

“I told you, I don’t want to take voice lessons. I don’t want to sing again.” Delta’s voice was flat.

“Come on honey, you know you love singing.” Her mom insisted. “Ah, here we are. Have fun, sweetie!”

Delta dejectedly climbed out of the car and up the stairs of the studio. She knocked on the door and shifted her backpack on her shoulders.

The door opened and Delta spoke quickly. “I’m here for the voice lessons…”

“Come on in, you are just in time for practice.” The fat old lady smiled cheerfully and led her into the studio.

Delta shuffled to the nearest chair and set down her backpack. She sat down and looked up into the eyes of the other student. He grinned briefly at her and returned to studying his sheet music. Delta self-consciously shoved her messy braid back over her shoulder. Oh, he’s cute. She sneaked one last glance at his brown hair swept carelessly aside and strong shoulders. And that smile… Delta felt a twinge of guilt as she thought of Mark, and fell to studying her sheet music with a vengeance.

The other student looked up at Delta with curiosity. He took notice of her Converse shoes first. He loved Converse.

The music teacher came waddling in and took possession of a chair. “Now deary, why don’t you go first? Just pick any song you like, I want to analyze your vocal strength.” The teacher leaned forward expectantly.

Delta took a deep breath and thought of Mark. “Okay,” she managed a weak smile at the old lady. The teacher nodded back.

Delta fixed her eyes on the floor and let the pain in her heart spill out into the song.

“Say you’ll remember me

Standing in a nice dress

Staring at the sunset, babe

Red lips and rosy cheeks

Say you’ll see me again

Even if it’s just in your wildest dreams

In your wildest dreams…”

The music teacher peered over her glasses. “Hmm, very singular.” She bustled out of the room.

A little surprised, Delta stared down at her shoes.

The other student leaned forward and gazed at Delta’s face.

“Don’t want to break your heart

Want to give your heart a break…”

Mark barely whispered the words.

Delta jerked her head up and stared into his eyes. They were as blue as a calm sea.

Mark’s hand found hers.

The sheet music fluttered to the floor.

Delta gazed at him as tears began forming in her eyes and her heart beat wildly.

Words swirled in her head but never found their way to utterance.

Mark drew her into a hug and gently wrapped his arms around her.

“Hello from the other side.” He whispered softly.

 

Photo credit: Etsy

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16 thoughts on “Hello From The Other Side

  1. I understand that. Almost every song starts out as my friend, but then I’ll make a parody, which will get stuck in my head and you know what happens after that…

    Like

  2. I get what you’re saying 😄
    Welllll…. maybe. It seems like it would be Paradise, but maybe we’d get tired of it. For me, every song is a friend.

    Like

  3. well, I would never be able to sing my way out, I would giggle halfway through and probably ruin the whole thing if you know what I mean. I guess I wouldn’t call it amazing. more terrifying?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know! I spend a lot of time just listening to music with my head next to the radio, and I thought it would be soooo amazing to be stuck in a euphoric music world.

    Like

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