The Nick Of Time
(and other Abrasions)
Tombs Of The Blonde Dead
Resurrection In Pink
Al Bruno III
From the very moment the four members of the band Severe Tire Damage took the stage things started to go wrong. Half the attendees of the Garden of Duchesses' rock and roll wake started to rush the stage at the very first drumbeat and and Audra Dimico was part of the first wave. She managed to stay on her feet and reach the stage but only after she had been shoved, nearly trampled and surreptitiously felt up countless times.
The lead singer of Severe Tire Damage was slurring the lyrics of every song, the lead and base guitarists were glaring at each other murderously and the drummer was obviously coked out of his mind. As far as Audra was concerned this was exactly what rock and roll was all about and the show was already worth the miserable journey from the wonders of Olathoe to the sun-bleached excesses of LA.
The first song dwindled out and after a few sour chords and miss-timed drum beat a new song began. Audra cheered a looked around for someone to share her ear to ear grin with but there was no sign of Lorelei. The must have gotten separated in the crowd; Audra started to worry but then she thought better of it, she knew they could take care of themselves.
They all did, after all there wasn't a member of the Seventh Circle of Greater Easter Council of Mystagogues that didn't have an outright murder or two to their names. It was almost a rite of passage, an unwanted and terrible one but a rite of passage all the same.
The concert continued, and the audience crowded closer and closer to the sage as Severe Tire Damage started the work their way through their roster of hits. There were no well known faces in the crowd, just aspiring models and their failed cage fighter boyfriends. To Audra it was like drowning in a sea of steroid acne and breast implants. It was getting hard to breathe and she was starting to taste her own sweat and growing panic. Crowd control was failing fast as Gurlich manor security and roadies alike where pushed further and further back until they had to retreat up and onto the stage.
Audra was close enough to reach out and touch the leg of Severe Tire Damage's long haired front man Harvey Whitstien but her arms were pressed tightly to her sides. She was starting to feel faint and sick to her stomach but even if if there had been the strength in lungs her to scream no one would have heard her over music thundering from the oversized speakers on either side of the stage. She considered an incantation but didn't think she had the strength to pull it off, she had only just managed to get them here in one piece, if she overdid it she might end up plunging herself into the heart of the Maelstrom.
Better to scream her head off and hope for the best.
Of course screaming was only an option when you had breath to spare and by the time Audra had managed to make the decision to call for help she was already swooning. As always whenever she lost consciousness she saw a parade of faces pass before her eyes, all the people she had wronged by loving them.
At first there was only blackness, timeless, peaceful and empty of promises.
Then commotion all around her, tossing her this way and that until she was flat on her back, she blinked and found herself dazzled by bright lights and a straggly curtain that swept to and fro over her face.
The roadies had pulled her up out of the crowd and onto the stage. They had laid her at the very feet of Harvey Whitstien like she was some kind of a not-quite a virgin sacrifice. He was singing to her, whipping his hair over her; there was an uncharacteristically mischievous look in his eyes. Audra tried to say something but she suddenly had a mouthful of drool.
Once she started trying to stand a roadie bustled her offstage and gave her some bottled water, he asked her what her name was and where she was from. Audra gave answers she knew he wouldn't find surprising and then went about the business or re-hydrating herself and enjoying the show from some of the best seats in the house. She was starting to feel better around about the time Larry Gurlich and a half-dozen burly pallbearers brought a pink coffin onto the stage.
The band and the crowd fell silent. Harvey Whitstien said, "This next song is one of our big hits, and it goes out to a very special lady that left us way too soon. She was a beautiful lady and one Hell of a piece of ass."
Severe Tire Damage started to play their top ten hit 'Lady Snakeskin', the crowd went wild, Audra was on her feet jumping up and down in time with the drumbeats. From her vantage point she saw the pallbearers starting to sway in place, at first she thought they were just doing a bad job of rocking out but then they fell over like dominoes. Larry Gurlich grabbed his chest and fell to his knees. The music stopped as the pink coffin lid cracked and fell open.
The crowd thought it was part of the show at first but once the members of Severe Tire Damage and their roadies started to drop dead one by one panic set in. Audra felt the strength draining from her limbs all over again as the woman in a nightgown-like burial robe rose from the coffin and began to shimmer with ghostly energy. Bit by bit she drew the souls from those nearest to her and with each one she consumed she became more life-like and beautiful.
Audra felt an unnatural arousal stirring in the pit of her stomach and everything was starting to go black all over again.