Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
Photo by: trublueboy
Mom glanced at me as she grabbed her coat, heels clicking on the hardwood floor. “Samantha, you’re not wearing that out tonight. Go change.”
I stared down at my holey jeans, vintage rock t-shirt, and Dad’s old camouflage jacket. God, she’d forgotten what day it was. Too busy worrying about her new husband and his dinner party.
Snatching the bouquet of flowers from the chair, I glared. “I take it you’re too busy to go this year.” The red roses waved in the air as I gestured.
Her face paled. “Oh, Sam, I’m sorry. I forgot.”
Forgot? How the hell did someone forget the day their husband died? Three years without my dad.
“Yeah, well, I didn’t.”
“I’ll go myself. Don’t wait up for me.” I jerked the door open, stepping into the misty rain. Tears streamed down my cheeks. It’d been a shitty week. Moving into my step-dad’s house, starting a new school, my best friend (or maybe I should say ex-best friend), stealing my boyfriend. And now this.
Thunder rumbled, joining in my chorus of misery. I settled into my car, tossed the flowers on the passenger seat, and headed for the cemetery.
Dad’s headstone was easy enough to find, even in the dark. I unwrapped the flowers and scattered them over the ground, apologizing for Mom’s absence. I told him I loved him then managed to hum a few verses from one of his songs before leaving.
Windshield wipers, thwacked against the window as I pulled into Hot Brew, the local coffee shop. Chilled, I hurried inside and slipped into one of the booths, the heavy scent of coffee and vanilla blanketing the air.
“Thought you’d be in tonight,” Glory, the gray haired waitress said. “The usual?”
I smiled. “Yeah. Extra whipped cream.” Dad’s favorite order. Cocoa. If I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine him sitting across from me. My fingers traced the dents in the coated wooden table.
A moment later, Glory came back with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and set it down in front of me. “You won’t be able to stay long. Tonight is open mic,” she whispered.
My eyes widened, heart crashing into my ribs. “Who’s playing?”
She pointed to a table in the corner. A guy maybe nineteen, sat, holding his guitar, baseball cap tipped forward. He looked sad. But when he glanced at me, I saw the same haunted eyes my father always had. The eyes of a Musician.
“His name’s Caleb,” she said, with a shiver. “Stronger than your father was too. Just you wait until you see the crowds coming in to hear him.”
Oh God. Not again. I stood, grabbing my cup of cocoa. Father had told me to stay away from here. But even knowing what I knew, I couldn’t. This was my last connection to him. It wasn’t his fault that they made him do it.
Caleb raised his hooded eyes at my approach, then glanced back to a beautiful man who stood near the stage talking with a woman in a cloak.
“Hey, mind if I join you?” I asked, gesturing to the chair across from him.
“You know, you don’t have to play tonight,” I said.
His wild eyes glowed in the dimness. “Yes, I do. It’s all I can think about. The sound of the chords, the music…”
“Then play for me,” I whisper.
He glacial eyes searched my face, then he reached across the table, catching my hand in his. A jolt went up my arm and through my body. He gasped and pulled his fingers back, allowing me to see the cuff around his wrist.
“If I could take away your pain, I would,” he said. “But you need to leave, before they realize you’re his daughter. They’ll imprison you, like they have me.”
“Play for me,” I said again.
“No. I won’t hurt you.” Caleb leaned forward, grasping my face in his hands and kissing me.
“You’ve found a friend. How nice,” the beautiful man said, standing over us. “Is she staying for your concert?” He pointed toward the door where people were frantically trying to get in.
“No, she was just leaving.” Caleb stood, still holding his guitar and ushered me out.
My fingers gripped hold of his shirt. “Caleb. Please, come with me. You don’t have to do this,” I whispered. The same thing I told my dad.
“Wait for me in the lot,” he said. “And lock your door.”
With that, people streamed around me into the café. Glory ushered them in, stepped out beside me, then locked the door. “Get in your car and go child. Don’t you dare look back.”
I hurried to my vehicle and just before I climbed in, I heard the undeniable sound of screams. Lights flickered out and I covered my ears. It was my fate to end this, again. But that only meant they’d find someone else. Another Musician.
Long minutes later, the door opened and Caleb stepped out, his guitar strings dripping blood. His face was calm, eyes wild. He’d just played a killer riff.
“End this,” he said. Already, the beautiful man moved toward us. He’d take Caleb back to his land and hold him hostage until next Samhain. Then it’d start all over again. Collecting souls.
“You can’t have him,” I said, throwing open my door for Caleb to climb in.
“You think you can stop me?”
A smile formed on my lips and I hummed one of my father’s songs. The man doubled over, holding his ears, blood dripping from between his fingers.
“I’m my father’s daughter. A Musician.”
His eyes widened and he crawled back. But it was too late. I’d already begun another song. My dad had been right. There was power in a song.
Caleb kissed me when I slid into the car next to him. “They’ll come looking for us,” he said, pulling away.