It had a certain taste, blood sprung forth at its touch like zest from a lemon under a blade. Red mist. Someone had wanted to call it Vampire Music, but that was crass, and too blatant for the tastes of those who considered themselves higher-ups, and who would not have sullied their lily-white hands even if their own lives were under threat and defence seemed the sanest option.
Low impact weaponry was the dish du jour – turn the enemy against themselves, and your whole job was a hundred times easier. They had, of course, in the early days, used music to bludgeon people, turning it from something beautiful to something deadly. They had wanted something much more subtle though … something that would work at low volume; something that would agitate someone who couldn’t quite hear it into wanting to listen to it louder. Once the volume was turned up that would be it.
When Johann first heard it, and he realised that he was immune, but that there were others who were killing themselves as they listened, he did not know what to do. He did not know how to feel. What did it mean? When they handed him a boombox he knew. When he took it – he knew. A choice had been made.
Everywhere the note was heard there was someone who had to press play and make sure it was heard, and each of those people was somehow immune to the effects it produced in the majority. They started to call them Johanns when news of him as the Typhoid Mary of the epidemic became well known.
People did not know what the music sounded like until they heard it, and by then it was too late. People began to smash anything that might play music on it – why take the chance? There were some people looking for ways to permanently impair their own hearing. People were studiously learning sign language. The world went weirdly quiet.
There came a day when Johann stood in a place and he pressed play and no one heard him and his tune. No one heard him scream. All the Johanns were screaming, as the music played in the background. And the suicide note burned out; and it’s choir burned out. And silence reigned. They later called it The Era Of The Pin Drop.
It didn’t mean as much a few generations on. Silence started to ebb, and sound once more began to flow. There was a fear there when music first came back,but no one could quite remember why.