The Psychoacoustics

The Psychoacoustics

A Story by Caelum

This is a story that is set in the future and how a new invention translates music into physical pleasure.


The Psychoacoustics

10:07 pm; Tom

Right now, I’m walking down Soulard street, New York, and I couldn’t feel better. I had just used my device beforehand, however the effects are now beginning to wear thin. As I turn the corner I see the man that I have come to find, he is my supplier. I walk up to him and pull out a wad of money, he accepts without saying a word. Handed a package containing a disc I walk off without a backward glance. I can’t let anyone know about these meetings and my connection to this man, so I make sure no-one follows me. As I am jogging through the streets and back alleys I think about how I have changed. A few years ago, I was an A-grade student and now I’m here, addicted to this life. Adventure always chased me, and I was always longing, craving that feeling of excitement. I have often found that adventure comes with a price, I have lost all family connections in pursuit of a higher paying job so I could afford this life. I put my hand to the cold surface of the device at the base of my neck, and sigh.

Arriving at my apartment I immediately unlock the door and walk inside the familiar feeling of butterflies returns. I take a deep breath in anticipation and begin to make my way up the stairs. I walk into my bedroom, turn on my computer and open the package. I pull the disc and find myself staring at the perfect aluminium surface, no scratches, no indents- perfect. After I finish admiring the gleaming surface I insert it into my computer, it begins to read the disc. I get a rush of adrenaline as I put on my headphones, my computer flashes and tells me it’s done. I open the folder and click on the first file, which reads, music folder one. Knowing that the folder is only good for one use, I click. It begins to play and I feel the device buzzing, then the sudden rush of endorphin floods my brain as the music continues to play. Suddenly I am not in my room, I’m not anywhere, I begin to relax. Minutes later, as the song ends, I slump into my chair breathing heavily. What can I say? I only wanted to make my life exciting, to add something I couldn’t reach in this mundane world, just like the millions of others.


10:07 pm; Agent Turner

I was looking at the statistics of the use of the most recent invention, the Endorphin Implant. The device was the best and the worst invention of all time. It was a device that was surgically implanted into the base of a person’s neck and used to stimulate the brain to release endorphin whenever they heard music. The use of it had increased by over 40% in the last two months, even though they are now illegal. Research had been done that proved its effects were more potent than any substance. The government banned them when people began to treat it as a drug, using it again and again. At first, the music industry was revolutionised, people would pay more and listen to more music, boosting profits and resulting in an economic boom. Then as people began to use it more often, they experienced long periods of depression, anxiety, mental breakdowns, and in many cases, suicide. What most people don’t know is that the device also manipulates the brain, its control gained with each use.

The Endorphin Implants were banned and deemed illegal three and a half months after their release. Music was then banned one month later, in an effort to stop the use of the implant. Now, the economy of New York was experiencing an all-time low, with 12 percent of the population using the device. It was a race against time, we had to make sure that every device was destroyed before the economy was affected any further. A new company had been created; Sonforce, a task force of over 500 agents were recruited to deal with the problem, I am one of them. And so, it’s my job to see that every single implant is disposed of, at any cost. 

9:32 am; Tom

After I have eaten a hearty breakfast, I decide to watch television. I’m still in a high (surprisingly), regretfully knowing that it won’t last much longer. I scan through the channels, constantly flicking through them to find something worth my time. I switch it over to the morning news, just in time to catch the daily warning about using the device, blah blah blah. Today there is even a special segment about these Endorphin Implants, then I catch something that makes my jaw drop ‘A company called Sonforce has been recently created in New York to remove the remaining implants due to an increase in usage over the past months…’ I almost break the remote as I hit the off button, I lay back, temples throbbing as I try to think. I have heard rumours about task forces being employed to wipe out the implants, however I never believed that they were true. I realise that I need to do something, and fast if I am going to try and avoid these agents.

I am still thinking about what I could do when I hear a noise upstairs, I stay seated until I hear several thumps. I look at the darkness above the stairs and call out, the thumping immediately stops. I gingerly walk up the stairs, heart racing, blood pumping, alert. The stairs creak with every step, each one sounding like a punch in the dim light. I reach the top and immediately sense something different, then I see it, the window, the broken glass, curtains flapping in the wind. My heart leaps up into my mouth as I take a step closer to the glass, then I see it, a single rock. My mind is whirling, thoughts go through my mind faster than I can register them. I make a mental note of my surroundings, before looking out the window. My face reddens, directly below the window, are two kids laughing their heads off. I ditch the stone at them, missing by a hairs breadth then begin stomping downstairs, not noticing the creaking.


9:32 am; Agent Turner

Walking down the corridor seems almost surreal as the red warning lights flash, blinding me. There are people running in and out of the main corridor, trying to understand the magnitude of the evacuation. Hundreds moving towards the exits, panic on each of their faces. Guards jogging against the crowd to get to the cause of the problem, knowing full well they won’t. I begin to laugh at the madness, the absurdity of the situation. Millions of dollars poured into this project to stop the use of the Endorphin Implant, all for this, all for… nothing.  I exit the building which is now beginning to smoke, and pass through the crowds which are situated a safe distance back. Staring back at the building creates an overwhelming sense of fear, its polished dark grey surfaces interrupted by a network of gold yellow lines. I guess they were trying to create a sense of optimism and hope for the future, something that had been a struggle in the past few months.

Our job had been hard, obstacles at every turn, I think everyone knew we would never quite get there, close, but never close enough. I reach into my pocket all the while trying to resist, but in the end its futile. My hand presses the remote control, and suddenly the building explodes with an Earth-shuddering crack. Before I know it, I am flung backwards as pieces of shrapnel begin to impale the crowd before me. In seconds, what was once a crowd, were now no more than dead, lifeless flesh. I stare in horror at the scene before me, eventually forcing myself to tear away before I take in any more of the picture. Knowing that image will stick in my mind, I get up and begin to walk away, still trembling at the thought of the crowd. Everyone underestimated these implants, including me, and now I pay the price. I was one of the many lives these people ruined, hundreds were chosen to have the implant surgically attached. This meant that the scientists could begin to understand the full effects of the device, and how it manipulated the brain.


 11:22 am; Tom

My breathing is heavy as I lay back in my chair, the device had given me my biggest hit of endorphin yet. The device was still tingling against my skin, weird. Shaking the thought off, I rise unsteadily to my feet and decide to go for a walk. My head clears as I step outside, the sun shining, a light breeze, and a lullaby from the birds. A wide smile breaks across my face, realising that today, I feel invincible. The feeling surrounds me, completes me, restores me. My head twitches slightly and my vision becomes blurred, then everything turns black.

I feel nothing and everything, immobilised by fear. The concrete is cold against my cheek, the sun disappears, replaced by clouds. The light breeze now a gale, a rumble of thunder sounds in the distance, followed by the light pitter-patter of rain. Clothes stick to my skin, and soon enough I begin to shiver. My fingers begin to numb, as I feel my lips turn blue. Slowly, feeling floods back into my limbs. First my fingers, then hands, suddenly I can move, no longer paralysed by fear and the cold. I get up on one knee, feeling every tiny movement as a stab. Walking feels like hundreds of bullets constantly piercing my skin, however I eventually reach my apartment. After I have shut the door, I instantly collapse on my gritty carpet. Suddenly I’m not in my house, I’m not anywhere, then I begin to panic as everything turns black.


11:22 am; Agent Turner

Still trembling from what had occurred beforehand, I continue to walk away from the scene. Each step becomes a regret for all those people, however I know it was not my choice. Still, I end up hating myself more with each and every step, finally deciding to sit down to hopefully calm my nerves. Leaning back as far as I can in the seat, I take a deep breath and close my eyes. My breath catches in my throat as I see patterns dancing on the back of my eyelids, then I realise that it’s the implant. The lights, the crowd, the building, all there laid out before me. I get up before I know what I’m doing, I know what has to be done.

My pace quickens as I begin to walk towards my destination, the device spurring me on. Thoughts fly past, my regrets, angers, guilt. I know It wants this, to destroy my life, and more importantly, me. This was what I was doing before the evacuation, unwillingly letting the implant control me. This was my punishment for everything that I have done wrong, and now, it stops. I realise that I am now standing atop my destination, Eads bridge. Looking over the edge is daunting, and soon I am going to take the plunge. I put my hand to the base of my neck, feeling the implant for the last time and jump.


­­­­2:18; Tom

Groaning, I roll over, feeling every tiny grain of sand and dirt stuck in the carpet. My head still hurts from collapsing onto the carpet, so I blink a couple of times to try to make the pain go away. I slowly climb to my feet and instantly collapse again as an electric shock goes through my entire body. I lay on the ground wheezing and try to understand what is going on. After a few moments I know what it is, and I know how to fix it. As I calmly walk up the stairs, I feel the device tingling. However instead of feeling it against my skin, I’m feeling it deeper, almost at my spine. I begin to worry about exactly what this device is doing to me and why.

The device is urging me onwards, as if it knows what I am about to do. I reach my room and open the door, for a moment I become weak at the knees as the device injects me with a small amount of endorphin. I insert the disc into the computer and then put my headphones on. This is the last folder on the disc I remember, as I click play. My heart stops for a few moments as the implant overflows my brain with endorphin, the feeling is incredible, I feel invincible. And so here I am, addicted to the music, to the device, to this life. Then as the device feeds me even more endorphin, I forget, everything. Tomorrow I know I will awake only to get more discs, so I can continue to live this way. Regret consumes me, I begin to take off the headphones. Then the implant makes me forget, everything.


© 2018 Caelum

Author's Note

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Constructive feedback is always welcome.

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Added on May 6, 2018
Last Updated on May 18, 2018