What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

They are one of my favorite artists. Their albums have stories to go with each of the songs and they make up an entire novel, basically! My favorite song by them is The Palace. I'll place its part of the story below the video.


“Think back to when you were a child, Luma,” says a voice. “Did you believe that monsters lurked under your bed at night? Did you lay awake in bed with your eyes shut tight against the dark? How long did you wait to open them and confront whatever shadows resided there? And what is the difference between the darkness of your eyes closed and the darkness of the night?”


Luma coughs herself awake. How long has she been asleep? Or has she been awake, but living in darkness for too long to know the difference? She can’t remember the last time she saw light, and hesitates to try, but a blast of memory manifests itself—the crystals! She tries to draw back, lose herself in the darkness that she’s been sleeping in, unaware of who she was — but the crystals shine on her mind through the darkness like the thought of a terror underneath the bed. She opens her eyes to confront it. Is this a memory, or is there a real crystal shining brightly before her? Or is she blind, her mind grasping at bursts of hallucination to make up for her useless eyes?

“This is not in your mind, Luma…

The crystal speaks! She cries out in disbelief.

“You hesitate, Luma,” the crystal says.

Luma gives a bestial wail, positive now that she’s lost her mind and her sight.

“See yourself, Luma.”

And suddenly the crystal is not the only thing shining in the darkness. Floating before her are small rivers and streams, far away but pulsing with a strange glow that shows the pull of their current. It is like watching millions of candle-lit funeral processions, some branching out from others and more branching out from them, but all flowing in the same step. Luma gasps at their beauty and they pulse as if in response. She waves her arms to snatch at the light and realizes that she is looking at her arms, the paths of her veins glowing just like the crystal that hovers patiently before her.


Luma waves her arms through the darkness and takes delight in the glow of her body. She looks down and laughs at the tiny streams of light that make up her toes, the thick arteries of her legs, and beneath her breast, the searing center, that estuary of light which pushes and pulls all the light that tides through her.

“I thought I’d gone blind!” Luma shouts with glee.

“You have gone blind,” the crystal says. “At least in the sense that your eyes have ceased working.”


Luma blinks. No matter how tight she closes her eyes, the light of the crystal and her glowing body remain. The crystal dissolves and morphs into a huge glowing eye, as if reflecting the topic of their words.

“You’ve been falling through the darkness for so long that you had no need for your eyes, Luma. They stopped working when there was no light for them to work with. But there are different kinds of light, Luma, as you are no doubt able to see now. Not all light is perceived by the eyes alone.”


“Yes, like a spirit! This light is my spirit!”

“Not quite. The light within you is not necessarily yours, Luma. Witness all the other forms it takes.”


All around them appears an empire of stars and constellations, more infinite than the glowing veins in Luma’s body, which now seems like a plankton in an ocean teeming with light.

“Each one of these stars represent an entire world, Luma. Worlds in which there are billions of people, each flooded with the energy that you see in yourself now. Who are you to say that this energy is your spirit when there are so many others who share that light?”


Luma’s mind does a dance. She’s never had a conversation like this before, and can’t remember ever even having the time to think about such things.

“So it’s in all of us, and its not ours to control,” she thinks aloud. “Then it must be like fate or God, or —”


The eye explodes, its light reassembling itself into the form of a skull, glowing and ethereal like Luma’s veins. It gives a roar that shakes the stars around them, and Luma worries that she will be snuffed out by its breath.

“Not God!” the skull growls. “Many call it that, hoping to prescribe their beliefs upon others. Many who believe in God look at Him as if looking at a vanity mirror. No, Luma, there is no fate or God that pulls a willful string. Only humans would hope to have such power. I prefer to think of the light that you see around us as a machine.”


Luma shudders at the word. Machines are the foundation of the dark empire that she’s grown up in. She’s toiled under machines for most of her life and has known neither happiness nor enlightenment under their rule.

“Not like the machines that you know, Luma, made by men for one trite purpose. No, the machine that I speak of is far larger, far more intricate. Imagine a device like a mousetrap.” The light of the skull vanishes and reappears as a glowing mouse confronted with a piece of cheese upon a block.


“In this machine there is an action and reaction, Luma. The mouse takes the bait and the snare is sprung.” The mouse before her is suddenly halved by the mechanism of the trap before dissolving and transforming once again into the glowing crystal.

“Every pinpoint of light that flows through us is connected to one another, and each has the capability of being a mouse or a trap, an action or a reaction. When one becomes action, they trigger a change that can spring forth and effect all other energies of the universe. The bait within us is not always apparent, Luma, because it is an energy that we cannot see with the naked eye. Yet once you recognize the potential of the light that you see in yourself and how you are connected to the machine of the universe around you, then an entire course of events can be sprung from your action.”


Luma hovers in space. A moment of silence and darkness to take it all in.

“Okay,” she says. “You’re telling me I have the power to change the world, that there’s this potential inside me, but what exactly am I supposed to do?”


The crystal falls silent and suddenly all the stars in space around them are slowly moving towards it, gathering inertia and light and being pulled into it as if it were a black hole. The crystal glows more luminously as it draws the stars into itself, then grows to the size and intensity of a sun, shaping itself into a shape that Luma can’t quite make out. She gasps and shields herself weakly from the heat and brightness, then sees the shape for what it is—the letter M, so powerful now that there is nothing else in the universe except for Luma and the giant M, crackling with energy.

“Look for the M, Luma.” it says.

“I will!” she screams, so blinded and burned that she wishes the thing would go away.


“Harness your energy, Luma. Look for the M. It is the mechanism that you must trigger. You will be the mouse that sets the workings of the universe in motion.”

“I will!” she screams again. “Oh, I swear that I will! Please, just—” she fights a wave of nausea. She is being scorched. “Just tell me one thing! I know what happens to the mouse after it triggers the trap! It dies, doesn’t it?”


The light of the M is snuffed. Blackness again. But the voice of the crystal remains.


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