When I Died

When I Died

A Story by BBlade
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Posthumous memories of a deadly business.

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I remember when I died. A bloody skull glared up at me. With every gulp of wintry air, my ribs, raw and numb, ached. As I stared at the skull, I gasped at the sharp pain stabbing through my side and into my back. When I coughed, blood bubbled up my throat along with the memories. I had been afraid. But I knew the day would come eventually.

***

            “Will, you needa slow down on Crazy Train.”

            “Yeah, just gotta little excited, sorry.”

            “That’s what practice’s for!”

            I remember November, the month I died. My band, Provoking Purgatory, rehearsed for an upcoming show. Mutually, the five of us hated the last show. But while the others found time to complain, I tried to find a silver lining. Of course, when I kept thinking about the last show, I locked up, but not because I was embarrassed by my performance.

            “I vote taking a break,” our vocalist, my best friend’s girlfriend, said on her way out. “I’ll be back in ten minutes. Gunna get somethin’ to drink.”

            We waved as she disappeared behind the door and, then, reappeared in front of us through a large pane of glass. Our rehearsal space was a sort of recording studio set up by our drummer’s father. We were lucky enough to use it, especially after our previous drummer…

            “Will,” my best friend, Ian, said, “what’s wrong? You look kinda spooked.”

            “It’s nothing.”

            “Was it her singing? It was pretty awful…”

            “No, your girlfriend’s singing’s just fine.”

            “Really? I think we need to…um…find a new singer.”

            “You say that whenever someone doesn’t meet your expectations.”

            “It’s only business, man.”

            I shook my head. “I’m goin’ outside to get some fresh air.”

“You sure? It’s pretty cold out. You might get pneumonia and die.”

            “So it goes,” as I slipped on my skull cap and leather jacket. “I’ll only be a couple minutes.”

            Setting down my electric guitar and stepping out into the cold arms of Mother Nature was what I needed. My hands, and, more embarrassingly, my armpits, were damp with sweat from both band practice and something else. I walked through our drummer’s garage and emerged onto a gravel drive. The house was set in a normal, suburban-type of town. Maybe the houses were a little less handsome than usual, and the people living there were less than well-to-do, but they didn’t bother me. No, as I walked down the drive, nothing bothered me. I looked down the road and saw a truck. As it drove towards me, I still felt less than bothered.

            The truck got close and closer. Who sat behind the wheel? I could hardly see through the tinted windows. Nostalgia crawled out from the pit of my stomach. My head was soaked with sweat. I stepped forward.

***

            “So, what song should we learn?”

            “I like Animals. Y’know, that song by Nickelback?”

            “That’d be a good one. Especially since, y’know, we’re beginning guitarists.”

            “And I’m a…not-so-beginning drummer.”

            I remember July, before November, when I died. We were sitting in a carpeted basement, half-littered with parts and pieces of musical instruments, photos, DVDs, and tattered clothing. Our then-drummer, Sonya, Ian, and I sat on the other half. I liked Sonya. And, at first, Ian had liked her, too.

            “You’re more than not-so-beginning!” I said. “You’re a stupid-good drummer! I mean, you transcribed that one drum part by ear!”

            “You just hafta use ‘em,” she grinned, leaning back in her drum seat. “Besides, you two aren’t half-bad beginning guitarists.”

            “Will’s the better,” Ian chuckled.

            “Thanks,” I blushed.

            “Well, it’s time to go, Sonya. I’ll be over later to…figure out a time for next week. Our usual time won’t work out.”

            “That’s cool, I guess.”

            Ian and I packed up our guitars and ascended a flight of stairs that led to Sonya’s garage, the home of Sonya’s Ford truck. When we were to Ian’s car, he started talking to me in a hushed voice.

            “We have to get ridda her.”

            “What? Why?”

            “She’s…weird.”

            “So? I’m weird, so are you.”

            “She smokes, and is, like, underage! And we’re not crazy like her!”

            “Crazy?”

            “Her stories are freaky. She’s a freak.”

            “She’s a stupid-good drummer. I’ll admit, her stories about death and God kinda weird me out, even though I’m Christian. What else does she say?”

            “Um…nothing. But I know a better drummer! My girlfriend has a brother…”

            “The thirteen year-old? Yeah, he’s good, but he’s a bit younger than Sonya, don’cha think?”

            “Whatever. All I know is that we’re not staying with Sonya. It’s only business, man.”

***

            I remember the tail-end of October, before November, when I died.

            “Hey, Will, have ya heard?”

            “What, Ian?”
            “Sonya…tried t’kill her boyfriend!”

            “What? Are you serious?”

            “Yeah…well…ex-boyfriend. He tried t’tell her that he was bi…”

            “What? I don’t think…that doesn’t sound like Sonya.”

            “I wouldn’t put it pass her.”

            “Whatever, man, I jus’ think you wanna get ridda her.”

            “She got put in juvie! How is she gunna drum for us there?” Ian grinned, and blood started flowing from his crown. “Don’t worry, man. It’s only business.”

            Ian’s head turned into a skull, an angry skull that glared at me. My eyes focused in on the shadow standing above me. I pressed my hand against my side, covered in warm, thick blood. Sonya, I found out, did try to kill her boyfriend, but because Sonya was bi-sexual, not her boyfriend. It was easier to pin the “crime” on her. He didn’t want her unless she was straight. He tried to hurt her.

***

            I remember the first Saturday of November, two weeks before when I died. The crowd was satisfactory for Provoking Purgatory’s first outing. Around thirty people, I think. We were excited. When we took to the stage with our opener, Crazy Train, I thought we would rock the crowd to the ground. And, then, I saw her.

Sonya stood dead-center of the crowd. Ian had never mentioned her release. I remember how angry she looked. But she didn’t look at me. She was looking at Ian. Then, I realized how foolish I had been to let Ian lead me, as if in a waltz.

***

            “It’s only business,” I gasped, the shadow above me grinning.

            “Is it really?” replied the shadow.

            I heard a gunshot and scream overhead. Tires peeled out. An ambulance later came. But, before that, I remember my head swimming in the crimson pool when I died. Darkness, a stalker from birth, closed in upon me, then-vulnerable. Strangely, as everything began to fade, the shadow began to illuminate. And, as Death wrapped his cold, harsh hands around me like a blanket, I realized who stood before me was not Sonya, not Ian, not even Death, like I had imagined.

            “Is your life, your sanity, just business?” replied me, fading away from view, to myself.

© 2012 BBlade


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BBlade
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Added on June 4, 2012
Last Updated on June 9, 2012
Tags: Memories, Death, Guitar, Regret, Anger, Revenge, Band, Rock, Crazy Train

Author

BBlade
BBlade

Des Moines, IA



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I'm a young author. Not much more to say than that. Well, I guess I could mention my book. You know, it's a young adult, fantasy adventure. I spent nearly all of high school finalizing it, and, no, it.. more..

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A Story by BBlade