Banshee

A story by Kris Bowser

Onstage, she jumped and thrashed, and shrieked lyrics to shred the air with obscenities, backed by rapid drums and throwing knife guitar chords. The bassist struggled to keep up, landing clusters of notes when fingers managed to find string. The guitarist shot him a glare filled with judgement at past failures, at uncleaned vomit, at his lack of seriousness, and at the fact that he’d had to be stopped from trying to inject paint fumes into his arm before the show.

Two minutes and eleven seconds later, the band completed the song in a final assault of drum and guitar and sluggish, pudding-thick bass. But when the song ended, the singer kept going, her cutting shrieks now a single, cutting wail.

The guitarist and drummer exchanged glances, uncertain. “Corporate Orgy!” the guitarist yelled. The singer didn’t spare him a glance, while the bassist nodded and bobbed, grooving out to the nonexistent beat of her sustained note. With a shrug, the drummer counted down the song, and half the band began to play.

The crowd yelled. “Get off the stage.” She drowned them out, cradling the mike, so the guitarist pulled the mike cord from the wall.

With no power flowing to the mike, the wail only grew louder, howling and escalating to other planes of existence, sharpening to crescent moon points.

Beer bottles, thrown with casual violence from the audience, exploded around her feet, glass shrapnel ripping clothing and skin.

Her shriek shot past humanly comprehensible decibels. With the drummer’s countdown ignored, he and the guitarist tried to drag her away. But she stayed rooted.

The bassist dropped his bass, and it hung from his neck like a dead weight. Staggering, the bass making an awkward pendulum at his knees, he went to the microphone, ineffectively unplugged, and tried to wrench it away. Leaning his weight into the tug, his already tenuous balance teetered.

His own pull against the mike threw him from the stage, and with a sickening sound, his neck snapped.

At the same instant, the singer’s death wail stopped.

She counted down the next song herself.


Copyright © 2015 Kris Bowser

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