F3: Carried Out to the Sea

Here’s this week’s Friday flash fiction: enjoy! I think it’s thematically a bit too similar to We’re Never Going Home! I’m a bit too caught up in the musical side of my life right now for much else to penetrate; so it goes. Oh, and my good friend Greg H may be joining the F3 posse… I’ll keep you posted! No links as yet, because the absent-minded indie fop doesn’t remember where his own blog is. See, he was born to be a writer.

Hopefully over the weekend I will be bringing you some live and recorded music reviews; we’ll see how that goes. Also, somewhere out there are two book reviews for Vector. I’m puzzled that the latest issue hasn’t appeared yet. Semper fi, eh?

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CARRIED OUT TO THE SEA

The moon is high in a cloudless sky, and the reflected light of that thin crescent jostles with the hundred thousand twinkles of citylight to illuminate the streets below. Some of the competing light bounces off the surface of the river that splits the metropolis in two, wavering as the water is stirred by a chill night breeze.

The Axeman is walking across the great bridge, instrument slung diagonally across his back by the shoulder strap. Its strings are naked and cold in the night air. The pickups glow momentarily as the instrument’s bearer walks beneath a streetlight. People used to call him FR. People used to shout his name.

He stops at the centre of the bridge, slim hands fingering his companion’s strap. There are rings on his fingers and in his dreadlocked hair.

He remembers parties where laughing kids danced and fought in every room, the floors strewn with the detritus of good times: beer cans, empty cups, cigarette butts and well-trodden trash. There were always couples kissing in corners, there were always the dedicated circling the stereo and arguing over records.

He remembers shows where a hundred people thrust their fists in the air, eyes squeezed tight shut or ecstatically wide as they roared and sang in unison with the song. Feet stamped to the rhythm of the drums and bass; guitars and sometimes pulses of synthetic sound sang over the crowd, keeping heads and hearts aloft.

He remembers walking streets at 4am, hand-in-hand with strangers, heading out for food or sex or both. The band sank beers and shots on nights off, getting drunk or high with friends and strangers alike. They spent long days and nights in vans and living rooms, snatching sleep where he could.

He remembers the parties started lovely, but then things got druggy and then they got ugly. The white spectre that has ruined so many bands before reared its head. An intervention saved the band but left relationships fractured, almost sundered.

He remembers the crowds and music turning ugly, the camaraderie vanishing like the hopeful dream it always had been. Violence began to characterise the stage as well as the pit. Fists swang, drinks were thrown, harsh language exchanged. Blood was spat, literally and metaphorically.

He remembers the day the dream finally splintered, when everything fell apart in calamitous intensity. The tour that never was, the suffocating disillusionment; awareness of disappointed fans and the realisation that the band was gone, that reality had finally pressed its fingers through the cracks and wrenched the artifice apart.

He remembers, and thinks, and watches the river flow by.

He throws that damn guitar over the rails, watches as it tumbles and turns toward the river below. Its lacquered red finish catches the light as it falls, but finally it vanishes from view when it meets the darkness below. No sound reaches the bridge bar a soft and distant splash, which is soon drowned out by the passing traffic.

Comments
5 Responses to “F3: Carried Out to the Sea”
  1. neil says:

    Very visual, I really liked this piece, particularly liked the last paragraph where I could actually see the climactic action.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Justin says:

    Fuck thematic similarity! You might as well accept it, dude – this is what you do best. ^_^

    (It might be another one for that ludicrously titled anthology I proposed a while back…)

  3. GLP says:

    They say “write what you know” – and you ARE a musician…

  4. Frogory says:

    Like it – there’s something nicely mythical about the opening lines, and it captures that alone-at-midnight surrealness we all know and love perfectly.

    In other news, I have remembered where my blog is, but it’s completely devoid of content. Will shout as soon as I conquer my foppish indie laziness and actually put something on there…

  5. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. :)

    Justin: I remember talk of this anthology, but my poor memory seems to have discarded the details… mind you, we were probably at the Gladdy when we were talking about it, so this might not be such a great surprise.

    Greg: I’m looking forward to seeing it!