[] Dark Mode

What Happened to Jade

(posted in fiction)

Jade fell off the map in ‘94 after releasing her third album.

In ‘89 she had been working as a human resources specialist at a software company. She turned to song writing after being molested by a co-worker at a convention in Las Vegas. A year later, she released her debut album, Spoiled. Critics lauded the album, saying that it perfectly combined pop harmonies and dark, passionate lyrics. Each song effused the terrible damage and pain that sexual assault can weave through a victim’s life.

Many of Jade’s fans commented on the music’s uncanny ability to induce in them the sadness, rage, depression, and entire range of emotions that Jade must have been feeling when she wrote the songs.

She became an underground hit in her hometown, and in local interviews that followed the album’s release, Jade made it clear that she fully intended to be a one-hit-wonder. She proved herself wrong a year later in ‘92.

The circumstances of her life when she wrote her second album Humbled were drastically different from those surrounding her first album. She was happily married, pregnant with her first child, and financially secure thanks to the money she made from Spoiled. Word of her talent had spread to neighboring towns and a burgeoning, rabid fanbase had evolved. The second album outsold the first within the first week of its release.

Once again, critics praised Jade’s ability to translate her emotional state into music. Many fans claimed that listening to the album would send them into a state of contentment bordering on euphoria. In interviews following her second album, Jade discussed how this talent seemed to come naturally to her.

While she was on tour to promote the new album, Jade appeared on the Canadian radio show Diana at Night, where pop psychologist Diana Raskin postulated that Jade may suffer from a rare form of synesthesia—a condition where certain words or thoughts are experienced through a secondary, unrelated cognitive or sensory pathway. For example, someone with the condition might see words as different colors, or experience sounds as taste. Raskin suggested that Jade’s synesthesia allowed her to experience her emotions as music. She theorized that Jade’s music could very well be the physical manifestation of pure emotion.

In ‘93, less than a year after the release of Humbled, tragedy struck Jade’s life once again. While Jade was in her sound-insulated basement recording studio, her husband was murdered and their two month old son was taken from their home. Police never caught a suspect, but her son’s body was found a week later. There had been no ransom demand and the motive for the crime remains a mystery to this day.

Jade disappeared from public life after her loss, and for a time it seemed as though her career in music may have been over. On the one year anniversary of her husband’s murder, she surprised everyone with the release of her third album, titled Vengeance.

Vengeance was even darker than her first album, and Jade’s feelings of anguish, anger, and despair were almost palpable in the music. Despite being less radio-friendly, the album still sold very well. This is likely due in part to a boycott of the album that was launched and publicized by American Family Association, a right-wing Christian organization that took offense to some of the atheistic themes of Jade’s new songs.

Following the release of Vengeance, Jade really did disappear—and not just from public life. There was a brief media frenzy after her agent filed the missing persons report and the police got involved, but no progress was made on the case for several months and mainstream media’s interest waned.

The story became fodder for the tabloids. Every week a new person would come forward with a tale of spotting Jade, often accompanied by blurry photos. Most were clear fabrications perpetrated as a ploy for notoriety, and many others were later outed as hoaxes.

In August of ‘96, a person going by the name of Jade9Lives posted an MP3 album to the underground music forum Roadie’s Railroad. Jade9Lives purported that the collection of just three songs was titled Hell, and had been obtained from a now-closed studio where Jade had recorded it a few months earlier, more than a year after she famously vanished.

The forum post was met with violent skepticism and angry reactions.

The distorted sounds contained within the album could barely be classified as music. Jade’s alleged voice could clearly be heard, fading in and out of the surrounding cacophony, but the sounds she made seemed nonsensical. Linguists would later isolate her vocals and classify them as clearly having a Germanic influence, but either she was just imitating the phonemes, or speaking in a long-dead dialect that could no longer be deciphered.

The forum members who investigated Jade9Lives’ claims found that the recording studio in which the album was purported to have been recorded had indeed existed, and had closed in May after the owner committed suicide by jumping from the building’s roof. When this news was revealed on the forum, the tone of the discussion quickly softened, with many participants starting to believe that the strange sounds really could be Jade’s latest work.

Members of the forum organized a gathering, to take place in the now-abandoned recording studio a few days later. The plan was to play the new album and hold and continue the debate on its authenticity in-person. Being a local underground music forum, the vast majority of the humble member-base lived in the area, and most of them showed up for the event.

Authorities later described the scene as a blood-bath. What was supposed to be a simple music listening session and civil debate had somehow devolved into a massacre. Human feces, blood, and entrails hung from the walls and ceiling. It took a team of three forensic investigators over a week to piece together the eviscerated body parts into collections that could be given to the mourning families. The small town was in shock.

Nobody alive knows what happened on that dark evening, and the families did their best to bury the story. The only accounts we have are from the first-responders; they tell of making their way through the dark, blood-soaked halls of the abandoned studio, all the while hearing the muffled voice of a crazed woman, muttering in an ancient tongue.

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