A jagged gash opens in the air, silent and sinuous, first slashing a rough curve through reality and then spreading open farther as though grasped and pulled by some vast alien force. It twists through space, shuddering and pulsing like a creature in pain, wider and wider until—at last—a person tumbles through and it snaps shut all at once with a thunderous crack.
“Works for me.” (His accent is American; his voice is notably though not entirely monotone.)
The second person in is the masked man who she has a mutual-killing relationship with! “I still have no idea how you killed me,” he complains.
“I dunno, Dream, seemed kinda straightforward to me. She stabbed you with weapons and you died.”
(He also has an American accent. Floating over his head is “Dream”.)
<Kite> Is anyone else on the way?
And indeed, not long after, a group arrives together! There’s an anthropomorphic fox, four teenage boys, an adult man with fancy clothes and ruined-looking black wings, a girl with dark hair and bleached bangs, and a semi-transparent grayscale ghost wearing a yellow sweater. They’re very loud.
"Thank you all for coming," she says. "Please observe the fire exits located on the sides of the theatre." (And indeed, there are two side doors, each neatly labeled: a sign on the wall to the left of the door reads EXIT, and mirroring it on the right, IN CASE OF FIRE.)
<Kite> Last call. If you don't tell me you're coming, I can't hold the show for you.
<BadBoyHalo> I’m coming!
<The_Eret> me as well
More people trickle in: a woman with sheep ears and exceedingly fluffy hair, four men who look to be in their early twenties, and a group consisting of:
- a strange fluffy green being
- a 9-foot-tall demon
- a man who looks to be made entirely of diamonds
- an anthropomorphic cat
<Dream> george u coming?
“He’s probably asleep,” someone says. There are general murmurs of agreement.
“I think that’s everyone, then.”
"Welcome, welcome. My first song is an old favourite from the college where I grew up."
And she steps forward into the best-lit spot on the stage and takes a deep breath and sings.
Her voice is, if not professionally trained, definitely competing on a level playing field with ones that are. The song itself seems to be... some kind of operatic treatment of a drinking song? There's a catchy tune that's easy to pick up, with all sorts of unnecessarily pretty embellishments around it; and clever lyrics doing wordplay and double entendres that are about half straightforward and half totally incomprehensible but still manage to be pretty hilarious even when it is deeply unclear what exactly is dirty about a mouse taking tea with a mongoose. Her tone of voice does wonders to bridge the gap.
The teenage boys are so entertained by the double entendres. (So are some of the adults and nonhumans, but it's less universal.) The seating is fairly sparsely used; some people are trying to do parkour to get to various places in the room, some are pacing around, and some are using the provided boats to chase each other around very slowly.
Everyone claps and whoops at the end, though.
She grins and bows for their applause.
"Thank you, thank you—and the next one is—"
Her repertoire is pretty varied, ranging all over the place from the operatic drinking song to a sappy love ballad, a song about growing old that's full of bittersweet nostalgia, a really raunchy love ballad, and a peppy little tune about going for a walk on a spring morning. Her voice is great and her stage presence is fantastic but where she really shines is in mood and expressiveness; from the humour of that drinking song to the sweetness of the sappy love song, she pours her heart into everything she sings and makes the feeling of the music come alive.
(She's paying close attention to how her audience reacts, keeping tabs on their patience and which songs they enjoy. And which idioms they find baffling, although it's harder to edit a tracklist on the fly for that.)
Anything funny is a major hit, and the high-energy songs do better at keeping the audience's attention; their patience is extremely low, honestly, although it's clear that they're trying. They do have clear individual preferences: the nine-foot-tall demon (labeled BadBoyHalo) covers his ears when anything gets too raunchy, the grayscale ghost (labeled WilburSoot) seems to have unlimited patience but prefers happy songs to sad ones, and the man with the ruined wings (labeled Ph1LzA) tears up a little at the bittersweet song about growing old. (Dream, with his mask, is the hardest to read.)
Her final song lures them in with a happy, high-energy first verse about a boy leaving home to seek his fortune and a catchy chorus about marching down the road ("with not a thought in the world of where to go from here!"), then takes the boy on a vividly described journey to manhood where all his innocent optimism is worn away by loss and betrayal and the disillusionment of realizing that the army he joined fights for nothing but its lordly general's personal gain; each rendition of the chorus gets a little slower and sadder until at last she draws it out like a funeral march as the wounded soldier limps off the bloody battlefield "with not a thought in the world of where to go from here..."
She holds the note as she bows and leaves the stage; it echoes mournfully all around the room.
After the first verse, Dream stops doing parkour around the room in order to listen. The ghost keeps putting his hands on his ears, taking them off, and then putting them back on. The demon is openly crying on the shoulder of Diamond Man (who is labeled Skeppy); the teenage girl with the dark hair and bleached bangs (labeled Nihachu) is also openly crying. A tall blond teenage boy (labeled TommyInnit) wipes aggressively and repeatedly at his eyes like he's trying to hide his tears from view. A few other people--Thunder1408, The_Eret, and awesamdude--have to brush away at ear at the finale.
There's a moment of silence after it ends. They clap, but there isn't really any whooping for this one.
The ghost takes his hands off his ears. "That was really fun! You know, she's a really good singer."
"Fuck you too, man."
"What did I do?"
"Nothing, it's fine. You alright, big man?"
"Definitely. I am ALWAYS alright. Nobody's ever heard of TommyInnit crying, and it's because he simply doesn't. Crying? Nah. That doesn't sound like something I would do." He wipes fiercely at his eyes again.
Elsewhere in the room:
"Pretty good concert."
"I enjoyed it. I--"
"--Miss Wilbur, I guess. Even though he's still kind of here." He glances over at the ghost and sighs.
There are a couple of other conversations happening as well-- the fluffy green man says "I wish they didn't-- I wish they didn't understand. I know that it's not how anything works, but I just... wish I could make pumpkin pie for everyone and... make it better." ; the tall demon is slowly calming down but still hiccuping a little with crying-- but it's hard to follow them all at once.
Eventually, people start trickling out.
<Kite> I'm glad the concert was a success!
<Kite> I'll have to think about planning my next event.