Love, Spirits, and Rock and Roll

(WP) Love, Spirits, and Rock and Roll

               This
whole mess started a few years ago, when my best friends kicked me out of our
band.

               The
concert hall where they’re playing is packed; the thick scent of sweat and
perfume clouds everything. A girl with hot pink sunglasses bumps into me, and I
nearly drop my beer bottle. I open my mouth to tell her to watch it. But the
crowd roars as my friends step out onto the stage.

               And,
true to the old man’s word, they look different. Seth is standing in front of
the microphone, smiling out at the crowd. His hair was a brown so dark it was
almost black, but now it is white, a shocking contrast to his skin. His eyes
glow an icy blue, and he steps up to the mic, smiling out at the crowd. “Are
you guys ready for some killer music?” Even his voice sounds different, the timbre
colder and deeper.

               Everyone
around me shouts their approval, but it’s as if I’m underwater: Everything is
muffled and muted, and I only have eyes for the people that used to be my
friends. Emilio is at his usual place in the back, warming up on the drums. But
he, too, is changed. His eyes look green, glowing with an unearthly light, and
he is dressed in earthy tones, a complete 180 from his usual vibrant, colorful
palette. His hair is braided, and I look for the other two.

               The old
man’s voice rings like a warning bell in my head: These spirits are wily,
and older than time itself, including the ones that you hold inside of you. Be
on your guard, son, or it won’t just be your friends you’ll lose in the
bargain.

               And
still, I can feel them moving inside of me, restless and furious at being
locked away inside of my body.

               But
hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

               I don’t
see the other two, and that’s when I start really worrying. If my hunch is
correct, the spirits of Winter and Summer have taken Seth and Emilio. But what
of Autumn and Spring? Where are they, and where have they taken my former
friends?

               Because
it’s the evening, the spirit of the Night has awakened, and it bares its
sparkling teeth, made of bright stars.

               Its
hiss is seductive music that I can barely resist. Foolish human boy. Who are
you to attempt controlling the night? I was here before your kind so
much as opened your eyes and took your first breaths.

               I
ignore it, resisting the urge to punch the wall in frustration. This had all
been complicated enough before the otherworldly forces came into play. Everyone
in the concert hall is absorbed in the music, barely noticing as I shove
through the crowd, closer to the stage.

               Soon
your friends will be mere vessels for the seasons. You will not emerge
victorious from this battle.

               It’s
all I can do not to scream at the stupid spirit to shut up, be quiet so I can
actually think.

               And
then I see Seth, crumpling like a wilted flower behind the mic.

               **