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In an old apartment in the rundown, shanty town Dax was tuning his bass guitar while Sanchez was getting stoned. Sammy was asleep upstairs, or perhaps he was practicing his death growls. The octaves went unheard what with Dax playing “Scream of the Butterfly" really loud. This was a dusty apartment. The neighborhood was archaic and hardly anyone was ever seen walking around. Sanchez had occasionally complained about the social atrophy in this place but he knew that Dax was dedicated to the band and wanted to take them in a different direction but tonight, what with all the pot in his bloodstream, he was hoping to spot some signals of disillusion from Dax. Dax had not spoken a word after their jam session in the morning. Sanchez tried to coax a response out of him now that six hours had passed but Dax just grunted without even looking at his lead guitarist. Dax had completely submitted himself to the closing riffs of “Into the Void” so Sanchez snorted some more dope. Tony Iommi’s chord play resonated unusually in the cobwebbed quiet of the basement. The venetian blinds were all shut and outside the apartment, a full moon was rising, its light slowly illuminating the ageing trees. Dax replaced the vinyl and snorted some cocaine and Sanchez heard the noise of a motorcycle pulling up to the curb in the distance and the sound unsettled him. The band had decided to make an experimental concept album, a break from their usual style of generic stoner doom. They had set their sights on artistic greatness but once they embarked on this adventure, what they had started to realize was that they were chasing a thankless and masochistic dream and now, a seemingly impossible one. When they first came to this small town in the swampland, Sanchez had sworn to himself that he would not become cynical of the band’s aspirations as the others were. He knew he was an optimist at heart but now he felt that he had overestimated his strengths. Sammy was beaten up again today by Dax and last week Sanchez had assaulted Dax in a drunken stupor. Sanchez became moodier by the minute and wanted to escape from this rotting hellhole as soon as possible. He had delivered an inspirational speech to his bandmates before coming here and now felt his words lingering powerlessly in the claustrophobic atmosphere of the town. Their apartment was an insulated haven that was beyond the contamination of the mundane lives outside. Now he felt the banal chatter of the townsfolk transcending the physical barriers, imposing itself inside the apartment and constricting the band’s creativity. Sanchez sensed the dull shadows of the town fogging the band’s vision. He had had a long chat with their new drummer earlier in the evening. She was an incarnate example of the pernicious evil in this place. Worse than a rabid beast. She was demented and her blind aggression was manifest when she started drumming and it had terrified Sanchez during their jam sessions. She had responded to a flyer Dax had put up after their old drummer had left the band a year ago. She had introduced herself as The Drummer of Timpani and since then,
although he was often accused by Dax of naiveté and Pollyannaish flights of fancy. treat the bandmates to a nice vacation. But this did not dilute the potency of his nightmares which sprung from an old house in a deserted bayou. misanthropy. But Sanchez reasoned with himself that his mind was playing tricks on him and these visions were not real. Sanchez was a strong believer in rehabilitation. he had hidden these concerns from the others and was scared of asking the Drummer outright. She had done a lot of time in prison for molesting children and although Sanchez was not able to verify any of these incidents. Barely sixteen. One of his weightiest fears was that at any moment of the day or night. Dax wanted to give up working on this album. existential nihilism and pagan worship. She even read some of the more morbid passages aloud once in a while and poetry of the prematurely dead was never one of his strong points. He wanted to leave these marshes and move back into the city. Dax was mixing two fresh drinks and handed one of them to Sanchez. up the stairway and peeked into the eyehole of the door where Sammy had locked himself in. Dax took the glasses back and began pouring another round. Sanchez stumbled across the hall. one where anything could happen as long as it approached the grotesque. This anger had morphed into resignation and died a quick death with indifference taking its place. nightmarish visions. drug use. Sanchez had enquired about the new drummer to his friends and the locals and so far he had heard only rumors. They started looking out for a new drummer and after roping in The Drummer of Timpani. He imagined all this as 2 . who had impressed them at her audition. Sanchez was profoundly uneasy with the books the drummer kept reading and handing out to the band members. Their record label had forced them to churn out radio-ready hits and the tepid response to their previous album and a fast declining fan base forced Sanchez to consider changing the band’s musical style drastically. careful not to make a sound. replete with race riots and ugly skyscrapers. But rumors can often reveal more truth than facts and the word on the street was that the Drummer of Timpani was an ex-convict. They both gulped it down without a word and after draining the whisky until the ice cubes rattled. they decided to write their new material away from the distractions of the mega structure that was their city. the Drummer might burst in and try to kill him with a knife. It was his idea to move away from the city. He saw Sammy masturbating the dead orchids and repulsed at the sight. pick up some girls. and black humor. he retreated quickly. Their lyrics were peppered with references to animism. his idealism had kept the band together despite several setbacks last year starting with their old drummer’s exit and Sammy’s drug problem. Sammy had a great vocal range and he had added a whole new dimension to the band with his melancholic Goth vocals. The band’s music was lately obsessed with death. far away from all the corporate sharks and manipulative managers who claimed to have the best interests of the band at heart but gave themselves away when it was time to collect the paychecks after the shows.everyone called her by that moniker. To distract himself from the spiral of despair. Or to any other place for that matter. and party hard. Sanchez went to check on Sammy. who was the youngest member of the band. When he returned to the basement. Someplace sunnier. At first he attributed his decision to his ineffectual songwriting which quickly turned to self-loathing and anger.
She looked up at Sanchez and her pupils dilated and then she grinned. a vista of possible futures were opening up and he wanted to choose wisely. The door was wide open and they could feel the cold breeze coming in from the open window of the room. But let that wait a little longer…. Moonlit alleys where the children scream from abandoned houses and the mirrors laugh. Sanchez had slumped to the floor and was now heavily stoned. Her pubic hair was white. Her hands stayed put. the way she spooked him with her subtle hints of physical danger. The nagging stains of necrophilia refused to leave him however and he stamped the cigarette butt and he opened another bottle of whisky and flopped down. her twisted cleverness. He knew that he would be infinitely more comfortable without her playing with them. The quite was no longer a sign of despair and stagnancy but an inspirational prelude to the more promising days in the offing. Dax and Sanchez heard the sound of glass breaking upstairs and they both jumped up and crossed the hall. I didn’t stop hitting her until the guitar broke. His jeans were in shreds. He wanted to banish the different tones of her voice. He could sense that she was beyond him in some way. In the other she was squeezing her nipples. Dax struggled and switched on the light.he mixed the fourth round of drinks in the eerie stillness of the basement. She had described this as the poetic cartography of her interior dreamland. The Drummer had told Dax that she always dreamt of a gig at a grotty bar playing to an audience full of decaying corpses. 3 . He remembered that the Drummer had given him a gift after they had fucked last night and searched for it in his jacket. bounding up the stairway. a broken-down realm of horror. and the different expressions on her cruel face forever. The formless happiness throbbed inside him along with the alcohol and he started prophesizing. I picked up Sammy’s guitar and smashed it against The Drummer’s blonde skull. where chaos and uncertainty is the norm. secret face’ these were scrawled in a loopy and crude font. She straightened up and and reached back to feel her head. His reverie was broken once he heard “Enter Sandman” bellowing from the LP player and he lit a cigarette and tried to shake off the feeling that he had fucked a corpse last night. She fell back against the floor. bound with rope. I drew the guitar back like a baseball bat and hit her again. Sanchez burst in and found Sammy spread-eagled on the bed. a ghetto of an indifferent and cosmic slum where even the most placid streets transmogrify into a ghost’s kingdom. Across the room the window was shattered and the pale curtains were torn and flowing against the chilly wind. Seven drinks down and Dax plunged into new depths of sobriety after falling from a steep alcoholic vertigo. The Drummer of Timpani was naked and was kneeling on the side as if praying over Sammy’s dead body. The clay skull head was hideously painted in red and it radiated an extraordinary and intense ugliness. There was a note in the box that bore the words ‘Say hello to your hidden. Perhaps it was time to marry his sweetheart. mouth open and nipples wilting. It was a small oblong box and when he pried it open he found a string of beads that was held together by a skull made of clay. One hand fisted across a knife plunged into Sammy’s stomach. This time drawing blood. He had decided to ask the Drummer to leave the band.
and in the distance I could hear Dax screaming as if he was a passing banshee from some obscure hell. I threw away the remnants of the guitar and tossed them on the floor beside the drummer. The old house was no longer quiet. for a minute. 4 .Sammy saw the whole thing from the floor. mouth gagged and eyes wide open. When I looked up at him our eyes met.
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