I set Annabelle’s case on the chair next to Gabby. She was looking pretty rough. More than exhausted, she was sick. Her skin was pale and even the ink on her body seemed to be fading as she sat there. “Are you ok.” She nodded. “I have enough to make it. Just. Win.” She said. I was scared watching her. I didn’t want to end up like her. Her body seemed to be wasting away before me. I looked over at my opponent and wondered just what he was going to open with. As the victor he had the option to go first or last. We’d alternate until a winner was evident.
I took a moment to look over at Braidy, how did I miss that she was attracted to me the whole time. I’d been an idiot. She was perfect girlfriend material. I had to put her out of my mind though. I had to focus. Calm, collected, and confident. I looked at my new case, Braidy had insisted on buying something strong. Something that would provide what it carried the protection it deserved. Light seemed to radiate off Annabelle as I opened it. Radiant burst wood finish shined perfectly polished even in the dim lights. She was unmistakably the most beautiful thing I could call my own. Professor Davis said she was worth 30 Grand at the drop of a hat. But right now, in this moment, my mother’s Les Paul was priceless. Together, we were going to take this bastard down.
I picked her up, ran my fingers along the smooth fret. Inlaid metal markers like ice on the finger tips. Well played, well worn, well kept. Annabelle was a 59′ Starburst, one of the most coveted guitars in existence. She had been restored completely by hand at my mothers supervision. My mom was an amazing musician and spared no expense. I ran my fingertips along the light hues of the wood body, they radiated to the darker edge. I traced one of the rays to the edge and curled my fingers around her. I lifted her from the confines of the case. She rested in my hands like she was made just for me. I put the strap around my head and across my shoulder. The bite of my bruises came to the for front and I adjusted a bit. I might die tonight, waste away or worse if I lose, but right now, I was lost in this moment. I closed my eyes and tuned out the world, searching for the void. I was alone in a sea of darkness, silent unending pitch. I ran my fingertips across her strings, and she sang for me. Each string, each coil in the pickups worked flawlessly. She was in perfect tone, perfect pitch. Her voice cut the darkness away, bringing me back to reality with the illumination of her song. I opened my eyes, I could feel myself, every piece of me melded with my baby. I was ready.
I turned slowly, and my eyes fell on Braidy. When we jammed she was often behind me so I never really saw what she did when we played. Now that she was part of the audience, I noticed with surprise that she was looking at me oddly. Her hand was over her mouth, her eyes deep with worry and awe. I looked at her somewhat confused. She looked at Lucifer and then back at me. I didn’t know what she was worried about. I looked over at Lucifer and found out. His weapon of choice had a snakewood body, blacked out magnetic and piezo pickups, and some led lights on one of the hardware knobs. I knew it instantly. The Gibson Dusk Tiger was the worlds most technologically advanced guitar. I looked down at my vintage, we had a fight on our hands. I looked back at Lucifer, and he looked at my guitar. I could tell he was thinking the exact same thing.