31 Somebody That I Used To Know

Babar Bar, Kingdom of Khura’in – July 11, 2026


Lady Gaga’s songs are fine and all, and I recall reading a while back that her stage name was at least inspired by that epic Queen song, “Radio Ga-Ga” but yeesh, some of these other artist names… I always figured if I ever went to a record store and asked for 50 Cent, they’d kick me out for panhandling!

Maya had been kept away from civilization, and consequently, (save for the Plumed Punisher), nearly all forms of divertissement for the past seven years. Ergo, she was unfamiliar with a lot of today’s so-called “modern” tunage that’d been playing all evening.

However, based on that night’s spinning selections of the clearly tasteless/hearing impaired DJ, she didn’t seem to have missed out on anything worth mentioning in music development, anyway!

What is the deal with some of these ridiculous artist names?! Moreover, what is up with these nasally boy-bands and all their cringy boo hoo hooing about heartache?! They all sound as bland, uninspired, and autotuned as all the others! Jeezy Pete, if lawyers like Nick are disbarred, clergymen are defrocked and electricians can be delighted …logic would make it evident that most of today’s ear-sore, caterwauling balladmongers who’re posing as musicians have been…denoted!

As if whiny crybaby, cookie-cutter groups weren’t abysmal enough, based on the ceaseless gibble-gabble about “bitches and ho’s”, there wasn’t much distinction in the world of rap music, either. In between all the lurid sexploitations and profanity, the lyrics always entailed the nonstop jactations of the recording artist’s unapologetically hedonistic lifestyle, too!

All the rappers’ excessive self-aggrandizing about the luxe thug life, along with how much money they had, only made Maya snarkily resolve to just download their albums for free!

It’d be a purely spiteful move though since I’m not even into that type of so-called music. Generally, I like R & B, but I’d always determined that nearly all R-A-P music should be spelled with a big, fat “C” in front of it!

It wasn’t just male rappers with inane, lewd verses, either. At the moment, the village leader desperately wished she had a cell to Google the meaning behind the presently bawdy blarings of Nikki Minaj. Seriously, did the female vulgarian legit kiss her mama with that crude mouth of hers, which would easily make both truckers and sailors blush?!

That does it! She thought grimly. Detective Badd promised me that my new relocation would reflect the changes in technology Khura’in has developed while I was trapped in that hellhole, which he swore would include cable TV and internet! This means I can spend at least a good month catching up on all the latest trends in music, and discover exactly what the hell “truffle butter” actually is!

The musings of her newly awakened, inner music critic were merely an attempted distraction method, stemmed from the fact that she was presently trying to suppress the universal “pee-pee dance!”

It’s time to let it go… I can’t hold it back anymore! I need to water the plants! If the universe is bigger and stranger than I can imagine, it’s best to meet it with an empty bladder.

Not that it would’ve mattered if she had begun to twitch and shake, as she’d have been in good company. The number of swaying and bouncing women in the unmoving queue for the ladies’ room, all in identical need to make an offer to the porcelain throne, far outweighed the number of people on the actual dance floor, where all the movers and shakers either looked like they were being attacked by bees and/or having some sort of seizure!

Huh. Evidently, the quality of modern-day “boogying” is on par with current Top 40 music …

She was readily cursing all members of the male species at that moment, as in grand global tradition, the men’s room had zero lineups whatsoever! It just wasn’t fair that guys didn’t have to twist themselves into knots to go to the whiz palace!

The psychic also cursed herself for needing to “break the seal” and use the bar restroom located within the lobby of Holly Muh’Dar Mahal … now, of all times!

After enduring infinite hours of the DJ’s horrendous noise pollution that passed for modern beats, Murphy’s Law had, naturally, decided she’d need to succumb to the call of nature only after the torture had finally ended! Just as Maya had been drawing the foregone conclusion that most of today’s artists had Van Gogh’s ear for music, the music man had suddenly switched to karaoke… and the recognizable patron-selected tunes were starting to get downright decent!

Dammit! It figures I’d be missing the good stuff now – all because of my stupid, untrained, teeny bladder! I knew I shouldn’t have had that second glass of fermented yaks’ milk! Nrrrrgh! FML!

Being impeded from any hard beverages while in forced captivity meant that a mere two glasses of alcoholic libations had sent her scampering towards the inevitable mile-long lineup – right when someone had started to croon a decent karaoke version of the Peabo Bryson song, “If I’m Ever In Your Arms Again.”

There are some songs that sound the way falling in love feels like. This was surely the defining one for me.

There was no escaping the sharp pang of nostalgia as she heard the beginning verse of her venerated melody. It momentarily allowed her to disregard the fact that her back teeth were floating as she felt herself falling back in time. Another lifetime ago, she’d listened to this ballad countless times with Phoenix, for whom she’d felt the exquisite torment of unrequited love, even back then.

We were alone one night in People Park when we heard this song playing from the stereo of a passing car. It was cold outside, but neither of us cared. He was speaking about something I didn’t understand, but he was so passionate. I couldn’t focus on anything other than how his eyes were sparkling like stars and I could just feel my face moulding into something like fondness and all I could think about at that moment was how much I loved him.

Maya recalled the first time she and Phoenix had been separated. It’d been when she’d first gone back home to Kurian, to train herself to become a better and more useful spirit medium for him. It had only been six months, which would have been a cakewalk compared to the better part of a decade they’d now been apart, but she would never forget how during that half-year, time would slow to a trickle and even the sunny weeks were an age.

She would have given anything to go back in time and find a way to spend more time by his side, savouring those moments instead of taking them for granted since they’d had the luxury of living together at his flat and seeing each other daily.

He was like the King Midas of the courtroom. Everything he touched turned into gold, and I loved basking in the gleam; I thought I’d look good in that shade. But he never touched me, not in the way I wanted, that I craved. To this day, I doubt anyone will ever look as good as that zaffre-eyed dork when he smiled. I still can’t believe I never told him how much he meant to me. It’s tragic, really, because I know that nobody else will ever leave the lingering taste of love in me as he did.

She bit down hard on her lower lip. The stinging sensation was nothing compared to the anguish of her memories.

Nothing hurts more than to love someone in silence. Feel him smile until your cheeks hurt. Eyes glinting and happiness. Warm and hearty laughter passing through your ears. And knowing you’re not the reason for those things that happen. Oh, Nick. You never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives; in their hearts

She clenched her eyes shut as the ever-present tormentor clenched her heart in its unyielding Arctic fist.

He loiters around inside me whilst I helplessly try to shut him out, scratching and aching my every bone, he crawls around in my stomach and fires spears at my heart. He pokes at my brain and plays with my mind. He whispers acidulous words inside my ears and bites at my tongue. He climbs up my spine, crushing my bones with his unbearable, unbeatable strength, demanding to be felt. He’s the type of person to knock on your door and even when you so nervously refuse his company and say there is no room for him to stay, he will tell you not to worry because he has brought his own chair, the only difference is he is not human. He is a never-ending emotion and I call him pain.

“Hello, darkness, my old friend!” She muttered softly under her breath. “I’ve come to talk with you again.”

Since she was not wearing a wristwatch, Maya had no idea how much time had passed before she finally got through the seemingly endless queue and was next in line, although she was positive by that point her eyes surely would appear to be jaundiced, since they were undoubtedly yellow by now!

If I ever end up looking for a new line of work, I’ll need to ensure that I list bladder control on my résumé under the list of transferable skills!

As the Peabo Bryson song came to a close, the necromancer attempted to thwart her agonizing reflections by clearing her mind of all thoughts and simply focusing on the undervalued, sublime bliss of relieving herself. While she was washing her hands, Maya’s ears perked up as she suddenly heard the ariose baritone.

Someone was belting out an incredible Whitesnake song. She instantly recalled it from the time Mia had taken her to see the stage play, Rock of Ages, called “Here I Go Again.”

The karaoke performer was doing great justice to the classic tune by the 80s rock band. He was singing the poignant lyrics with all his heart, and Maya was humming them along with him as she hurriedly exited the bathroom, eager to see who the golden-throated vocalist was.

Though I keep searching for an answer 
I never seem to find what I’m looking for 
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on

Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams…

Unfortunately, it appeared she wasn’t the only one to be impressed by whoever was on stage. A small throng had clustered around the microphone platform, obstructing any view the petite brunette had hoped to gain of the songbird. Taking a brief peek at the singer was impossible, even though Maya tried everything from ducking under arms to standing on her tiptoes, and even jumping up and down to see over the heads of the other patrons; a particularly impractical feat in itself, considering she was wearing sling-back wooden sandals!

Praying she wouldn’t get her bare toes crushed amongst the drunken, unwashed masses, she discreetly murmured a polite series of “excuse me’s” while trying to nudge her way through the crowd. By the time she’d managed to squeeze her way forward and gotten about 10 feet from the stage, she was able to take advantage of a small clearing in the pack and finally able to get a brief glimpse of the canorous crooner.

Here I go again on my own 
Going down the only road I’ve ever known 
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone 
And I’ve made up my mind 
I ain’t wasting no more time

Maya stared at the man, utterly transfixed.

Within that bustling pub of exotic Khura’inese men, he was the only male who’d somehow caused her to take even remote notice of his existence – never mind make her stomach do a queer, inexplicable series of somersaults at the mere sight of a man she didn’t know from Adam!

Her unexpected reaction surprised her, although, in retrospect, she supposed it made sense. Although dressed in nondescript sweatpants and a baggy hoodie, he was a handsome devil, she’d give him that. The sweatshirt was unzipped, allowing a view of the fitted black T-shirt beneath, which showed off a long, lean torso, tapering into narrow hips. Any woman with blood in her veins would give him a double-take.

Hell, even a triple-take in this particular case would be understandable! This guy’s got an unapologetically raw, virile masculinity simply radiating from his every pore!

The fine specimen was clearly a fellow outsider, as indicated by the smoothly shaved skin on his face, which was more of a bronze color rather than the golden hue of a country local. He had the sort of strong, square jaw a man should have, and the long, mobile fingers clutching the microphone caused her insides to dance just looking at them. She couldn’t ascertain his hair color because of the snug beanie on his head, but even from her distanced view, she could make out the dark, piercing eyes, deep-set beneath fierce slashes of brows.

Maya was hardly well-versed in encounters with the opposite sex, and despite now being in her late 20s, still couldn’t quite put her finger on exactly what features in a man appealed to her. Nevertheless, she knew now, staring at the man who was captivating the crowd around her, that he possessed them. And not just by his physical appearance, but with those mesmerizing, euphonious chords of his.

The mystery singer was now wrapping up the song.

I’m just another heart in need of rescue 
Waiting on love’s sweet charity 
An’ I’m gonna hold on for the rest of my days

Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams…

The entire bar burst into a loud chorus of applause when he was done, some people even chanting for an encore, but unfortunately, Maya was elbowed out of the way amidst the standing ovation of the herd, closing her brief viewing window entirely as he then appeared to get lost amongst the gaggle of assembled consumers.

Crapjacks! Where did he go?!

Her next course of action was as completely baffling as her uncharacteristic magnetism toward the singer, yet Maya’s feet had a mind of their own as they shuffled through the noisy bar while she craned her neck, compelled to find the stranger and let him know touched she had been by his wonderful performance.

After all, it wasn’t like she had anything better to do!

After I gave Badd and Thunderwolf my exhaustively long statements about the whole Natasha and Violet ordeal, I do believe the suddenly succinct detective’s exact words, when he dumped me off here like unwanted baggage, were to sit tight and that somebody would arrive eventually to let me know where I would be transported to next. In the meantime, I’m just supposed to sit here and scratch until further notice, like a good little girl! Maya puffed out her cheeks in frustration. Yeesh! A brusque man of few words would be an understatement – Tyrell Badd is just downright cryptic! I feel like I got released from one hostage situation and right into another, except now, instead of a hovel, I’m stuck in a hotel bar!

In the meantime, perhaps she could strike up a friendly conversation with the sexy singer. It would be a welcome change from sitting all by her lonesome, with nothing else to do but peck away at the pub fare and nurse some drinks, which Detective Badd had assured her would be taken care of by the bar if she just let the bartender know who she was.

I’ve been cut off from the universe, and its regressive musical industry, for far too long! I’d kill to have some sociable conversation right about now! Hell, since I have a bottomless tab here, maybe I can even offer to buy this guy a drink, as a thank you for such a heartwarming show. I hope I don’t seem like some sort of sexually aggressive man-eater by approaching him so blatantly like this – I’m certainly not trying to get into his pants, I’m just starved for human conversation! As a stranger to the land myself, I can at least break the ice by asking this foreigner about his travels and share some common ground that way. Thus, I’d be killing some time by making his acquaintance, as well as anyone he might be here with. The more, the merrier!

Raising herself on her tiptoes again, Maya at last made out the unmistakable aqua beanie over by the bar, and feeling ridiculously nervous for some reason, made her way over.

The man was by himself when she finally made her way across the room, leaning over onto the bar with one arm stretched upon it, and his head down. Not wanting to startle him with her sudden appearance, she stood a few feet behind him and cleared her throat several times, hoping he would be able to hear her in this boisterous atmosphere.

“I must commend you on the ability to take a classic rock song and perform it as a perfect melic of poetry.” She hoped her complimentary greeting didn’t come across as overly gushy or effusive – no doubt a man who looked like him had women throwing themselves at him constantly! – but was unable to hide mask the admiration in her tone nonetheless. “Truly a bravura performance and an aesthetic rarity. Care for an encore?”

Lifting his head, the man turned around to face the person who’d spoken – then felt his heart lurch as it quickly morphed from the feeling of grief, to utter shock, and then surprised joy.

At first glance, the identity of the speaker didn’t register; he was too spellbound by the sirenic beauty standing there. Her face was heart-shaped, void of any artifice, with flawless skin that was so fair, that it was almost translucent. Her long, obsidian hair was slightly tousled, and under gracefully winged brows, her dark eyes were huge, slightly slanted at the corners, with classically sculpted features; high cheekbones, a small, straight nose, and lush rose petal lips. She was wearing a long white garment that fit her slender body to perfection, outlining her subtle curves, but was otherwise modestly covered, with a long-sleeved, purple cloak worn over the sheath. Both materials were plain, with no hint of lace or any other feminine detail. Hers was an ethereal pulchritude, not what would’ve been considered jaw-dropping sexiness by modern society standards, yet he couldn’t have torn his enthralled gaze away from that visage if his life had depended on it.

Because, even after all this time, there was no mistaking those unforgettable dark brown orbs. In those earthy hues was her soul, not in the way of cheesy romance movies, so obsessed with lust, but with the kind of beauty that expanded a moment into a personal eternity, a heaven one wished to be a part of. He would have recognized those eyes anywhere; he’d been seeing them in his dreams.

Phoenix stepped from the shadows, stealing her breath and the heat from her skin.


Upon hearing her name whispered in that familiar voice at such close range, her lips parted in a gasp of shock as she stared disbelievingly into those unmistakable sapphire jewels, blinking several times to ensure she wasn’t imagining things.


The male that stood across from her resembled an aged version of the one she remembered – not so much the older appearance of someone now in his early 30s, but the weary look of a man many lifetimes older, whose familiar youthful appearance belied his backstory. His symmetrical mien still bore chiseled cheekbones, deep blue eyes, and tanned skin, but his formerly slim build was now more muscled and toned despite his years, not at all stooped. Around his eyes were subtle lines, in just the right amount. It was hard to determine if they were lines of age or laughter because at that moment he was deadly serious.

All she could do was stare up into that visage, unable to speak, while helplessly captivated by those eyes.

Suddenly, his comely face split into the grin she’d imagined him to wear often. Then he strode over in fast, easy strides and engulfed her trembling fingers, shaking and squeezing, even though he held their clasped hands a foot away from his body, as if unsure if it would prudent to be allowed closer proximity.

Those beautiful eyes were deep and catastrophic as they stared searchingly into hers. They were as breathtaking as she remembered. This close, Maya could see the flecks of silver in his irises, reminiscent of stars that were drawing her in to explore the swirling emotion held in their depths. The black of his pupils was surrounded by a ring of jagged silver fire, swallowed by lazuline blue. At first glance, his gaze merely appeared to be shining as they took her in, but as she dared to peer closer, she could unmistakably see the sadness of heartbreak, underneath the surface of surprise; the joy of affection, the hope of the future, the pain of sorrow, and the fire of a spirit that would never give up.

7 years, 4 months, 25 days. That was precisely how long it had been since she had last seen those eyes. She had only laid her sights on them for a matter of moments, but every second was imprinted within her brain as though she had been branded.

When I realized that I loved you, I just knew it. There were no ifs or buts. I was just so sure. It was a sure truth. I was madly and deeply in love with you. I still am. I always will be.

Time had begun to dissolve into itself, as shapeless as the rain.

Maya’s brain couldn’t formulate a thought, at least not one based on any language, but she knew if she didn’t touch him back soon, her atoms would tear themselves to shreds. How the ground between them was erased, she couldn’t recall, but one moment they were several feet apart, with only their hands touching. Then, before she could draw in the air her body needed, she’d somehow melted into his form and they were morphed into a single being.

I can feel the warmth of his firm torso and the heart that beats within. I can feel my body shake, crying for the missed time we will never make back, crying to release the tension of these seven long years.

The welcoming heat of his body met her cold skin, filling her with hope, as he always had. One of his hands clasped around her lower back, the other stroked her satiny hair. With each soft touch, her tears continued to fall; tears she didn’t bother to wipe away.

After so many years we have the chance to make new memories and wasting time isn’t on the agenda.

Phoenix’s hands folded around the tiny psychic’s form, drawing her in closer. He pulled back and wiped her tears with a calloused finger, the gentle roughness bringing more relief than her heart could hold. His starved gaze devoured her with his eyes, running his free hand through her tresses as if he couldn’t quite believe she was not part of an almost forgotten dream. When he tried to draw back slightly, afraid he was crushing her with his ardent embrace, she could only cling to his shoulders and choke out the plea.

“Don’t let me go, Nick. Please. Please. Don’t let go.”

His mouth formed a soft smile and he nodded once before folding her in his arms again. She was the only woman who had ever touched his heart and made him feel fulfilled in every way, with just a mere hug and innocent caresses.

It is an art of the most exquisite kind to touch someone’s soul before touching their skin.

“Nick!” She whispered against his chest, soaking his shirt with her torrent of tears as she clung to him like a newborn. “Oh, Nick!”

Hearing his name on her lips was the sweetest sound he’d ever heard in his life.

Unable to speak, Phoenix released a shaky breath as he struggled, then failed, to contain the single droplet that rolled down his cheek.

He wished time could simply stop moving forward and they could just exist at that moment together. Not thinking. Not apart. Just breathing dreams like air. He wanted this moment to last forever, to revel in the feel of her body heat nestled against his. He brought his head down and stroked his chin on top of her head, the intimate gesture one of pure instinct. It felt so good. It felt so right.

The contented murmurs coming from the spirit medium as she receptively rubbed her head against his jaw indicated she felt the same way.

He pulled her even closer, fearing that if he didn’t hold her tightly enough against his ribcage so he could feel her heartbeat, she’d somehow disappear again.

I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. But you, Maya, you are the sweetest sight for these journey-bated eyes, you are a soothing balm for my battered heart and mind. I could wrap myself up in your arms and sleep more soundly than a baby. I guess I’m feeling extra fervent from missing you for so long, but it feels so deep; as if this were the start of a song that plays on and on, something so soothing to my soul. So, I’m wishing on every rainbow, I’m wishing under skies of velvet cloud and acres of blue, that you are the soulmate I’ve needed for so very long.

Phoenix Wright was finally holding Maya Fey in his arms once more, and he would never, ever let her go again.

Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (chapter title)

Whitesnake – Here I Go Again



Filling The Void Copyright © by JordanPhoenix. All Rights Reserved.

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