I watched the crew unload the instruments onto the stage. I had slunk my way through the audience and wedged myself between the lip of the stage and a tall woman decked in black leather and chains. I pressed against the edge of the stage, refusing to move while the bald crew member tested the guitars. As the lights dimmed, I heard the woman behind me complain about a chill—how they should turn down the air conditioner—and I rolled my eyes, knowing it’d warm up as soon as the show began.
The band, Hearse Meat, stalked on stage through the darkness and fake fog while the audience cheered, roaring for them to play. The first chord was struck and a wave of electricity bounced through the crowd. The lights rose. Hearse Meat took off, playing their wailing guitars and heavy bass. The drums pounded away and my chest shook with each beat.
Janie, the lead singer, ran over to our side of the stage and put out her hand, her magenta hair washing over her wolfish face. I reached for her, but our fingers just missed as the woman behind me jumped to get a chance at a high five. The singer smiled and winked, then pranced to the other side of the stage.
Five more songs played and I fell into a music-induced coma, swaying to the pulses like a boat riding waves. The excitement and adoration for their skill and performance hit all at once and exhaustion pulled at my eyelids. But as the final song ended, I promised I’d sleep like the dead—as long as I got to meet them afterwards.
Janie gave her thanks and the rest of Hearse Meat took a bow. As the crew hurried on stage, she hopped into the audience and squeezed through the sea of star-struck fans, leading them to the merchandise table. I followed, stuck among those who’d flooded to the front for the headliners. I pushed through and found myself on the fringe of the line, watching as the band mingled with various audience members. It was finally my turn and Janie turned to me. I hopped forward for a hug and fell through her, landing on the floor. I looked up and saw her hugging the young boy who’d stood behind me, unfazed. I shouted, hoping to catch her attention, but she only shivered before smiling for a photo.
Standing, I looked over the crowd gushing over the band, posing, laughing. I sighed and retreated to the back hall, then mounted the steps leading to the second floor. I glanced back once more before climbing the stairs, shrugged, and whistled the final song Hearse Meat had played as the abandoned floor swallowed me into the darkness.
Samantha is a current student in Arcadia University’s creative writing MFA program and an associate editor for Marathon Literary Magazine. When she’s not working on her fiction, she also works as a journalist for the Aquarian Weekly, the oldest music magazine in New Jersey. Her fiction can be found in Microhorror, Witch Works Magazine, Jotters United, Calyx Literary Magazine, and Humor Press.