The demons drove the people crazy, into deliriums and dreams, breaking apart the fabric of our world. Unseen, unknown, mysterious, they conquered without weapons, soldiers, spaceships or mercy.

“How was it done?” the king asked, and told the wise men to find the cause and cure.

A year later a man in a white coat visited the ruins of the palace. He found the king sitting alone, strumming on a broken lute. The king looked up, his eyes glazed as if drugged. “At last? Can you make me well?”

The sage took the instrument from the hands of the king and smashed it over his head, dislodging the crown.

“What’s the meaning?” blathered the king, though his guards were long gone and there was little he could do.

The wise man knelt and took his hand. “I meant no harm. I found them, creatures hidden in the songs. Lifeforms that are waveforms. Strange to tell. They burrow in your mind. Banish music, close your ears, forget all tunes.”

“I can’t,” the king wailed.

“I know,” the wise man said, “but do it, all the same.”

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