Excerpt from Rock Star

       Sebastian Roe lived for nights like this one.

       The roar of the audience echoing in his ears, the wail of Nick’s guitar making his body vibrate, the pounding of Trevor’s drums pulsing like a living heartbeat.

       In concert, Sebastian gave every ounce of energy to his fans, every drop of sweat, everything he had. They loved him for it, and he fed off that love. Hell, he mainlined it. It was a fucking beautiful symbiosis, like a massive orgasm shared with thousands of people.

       And this moment of anticipation before each song started was like delicious foreplay, a breathless excitement that danced along his nerve endings.

       The first recognizable notes of “I Can’t Live Without You” launched into the air and the roar of the crowd became thunder. A solid wall of sound. Sebastian could hardly hear Nick’s guitar to listen for his cue to start singing. But he knew this song as well as he knew his own name so he strutted to the front of the stage, throwing open his arms in a show of embracing them all. Every single person out there in the audience.

       The roar got even louder.

       “The sands of time run through my hands,” he sang, his gaze intently scanning the crowd, his head moving side to side, unable to see individual faces with the bright spotlights trained on him but knowing his fans would think he could. Would believe he could.

       “My dreams and hopes and all my plans,” he crooned, his voice intentionally cracking to convey the sad emotion of the song. “I can’t live without you.”

       It was his biggest hit. But more than any of his songs, Sebastian’s favorite music was the sound of the crowd’s deafening approval. He wasn’t disappointed now.

       He grinned widely, and then felt an odd sting in the vicinity of his left shoulder. Weird. It pushed him back on the stage a few steps, as if a ghost had just shoved him. He looked around, but clearly nobody else was onstage except him and the band.

       The sting became a burn, but he ignored it. Had he just pulled a muscle? No time to deal with it now. He straightened and then noticed a commotion in the seats near the front of the stage. A fight, maybe. People were running, shoving each other, climbing over chairs.

       Whatever the problem, the band knew enough to keep playing. Sebastian took a breath, readying for the next verse, but he was distracted by an odd warmth now spreading across his chest. He looked down and tried to make sense of what he was seeing – a stain on his shirt where he’d felt that stinging burn. As he watched, the stain got larger. It was a dark shade of red.

       Dear God. It was blood. His blood.

       His head started to spin and he sank to his knees. The wail of Nick’s guitar stopped. The pounding of Trevor’s drums stopped. Everything went eerily quiet in a venue built for sound.

       Sebastian was aware of the heat of the spotlights still trained directly on him, and as his vision started to fade his last thought was that he’d lived his life on a stage and tonight he was going to die on one.

 

                                                                                                                                              © by Leigh Court

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