I let her hand fall to the cold concrete stage. I turned to look at Lucifer. He was laughing. The monster was laughing. “Foolish.” He said. I got up and was about to go to his side of the stage when I felt someone grab my arm. I looked back at Braidy and she pleaded with those eyes. “Don’t. Lets win the right way.” She said. I sighed, then nodded. Who knew if I would even make it to his side anyway, with all the goons and the demonic powers I could feel on the stage. Lucifer played something in response to our Barracuda but you could tell he wasn’t winning the crowd over as much as we were. I looked at Braidy and decided to finish this. I took Annabelle off and then slipped off my blood soaked shirt. I used it to cover Gabby’s face. Braidy gasped. “Mike, you’re back.” She said. I felt her touch my shoulder blades. It hurt, a searing pain building just below the skin.
I shook it off and stood up. I didn’t know it at the time but even Lucifer was watching me. Playing whatever riff he had to answer for Barracuda. I could feel the end coming. Braidy took a picture of my back and showed me. I looked, the bruises had changed. They must have been changing this whole time. Radiating from the two hand marks on my back, my skin was dominated by two massive wings that went up to my shoulders and down to my jeans. I knew they were Gabby’s hands. She’d been there when the truck was supposed to hit me. She must have pushed me out of the way. Somehow, her touch had given me wings. I looked at Lucifer. My torso glistened with sweat. My muscles flexed and I was ready. I slung Annabelle back over my abdominals. I looked back at Braidy and nodded. She knew what I was thinking as the drummer came back into my head. Again I felt that something from him, but when I searched for it I couldn’t quite catch it.
I sent the drummer the same signal I sent Braidy. There was a pause. I took the time to caress Annabelle one last time. If this didn’t work, he’d shatter her, and then kill me and my friend. I didn’t know what I’d do to protect Braidy, but no matter what, she was walking out of here. I pondered this thought as my fingers stroked up the fret board. Annabelle had always been good to me. My mom had always been good to me too. Braidy had always been good to me. I couldn’t let all three of them down now right? The drummer waited. Braidy knew what to do. I looked down at my hands. They hurt and had blood on them, Gabby’s. I flexed the fingers. “Help me mom.” I asked.
I looked over at Lucifer a moment then strummed a few intro notes. Playing around, letting the crowd watch as Annabelle and I started to become one. Two halves became a whole. I thought of my time in college, all the schooling, the different types and styles to learn. Every niche had something, something to teach me. I bit my bottom lip and started. “Through the Fire and Flames” starts strong and never stops. It was 7 minutes of complete speed, and for 4 years I’d honed my skills just to cover it. Just as the vocal lines started I heard her behind me. Braidy opened up with that powerful voice of hers, much better than mine ever was. The drummer slammed into the set, doing his best, but I could tell I was starting to push him to his limits. It took all my concentration and for a moment I thought Annabelle had started to glow. She radiated heat against my skin, and I closed my eyes. The notes and cords flying through my head from memory. Three minutes in and I hadn’t made a mistake yet. I slammed the chords and continued the rifts. My fingers were heating up, my hands almost threatening to cramp. I WILLED them to keep going. At 4 minutes in the most intense parts of the song hit. At 4 minutes all my energy went into Annabelle and her voice strained at the abuse. The solo at 5 minutes almost drove me into1 the ground, I fell to my knees. This was for Gabby.
There is a brief moment at around 6 minutes where the song slows down enough to insert some lyrics. Again I heard Braidy’s voice ring out behind me as she took over. Her bass straining to keep up. The drummer too was starting to falter but I was flawless. I could almost feel Annabelle join. Her energy was something I’d never felt before. She burned in my hands. There were a few moments where I thought I might have made a mistake but somehow got the chord in, or the plucked the string just in time. I was skating on the edge. The entire time I felt my companions struggle to keep up. Braidy was better than the drummer but both of them were pushed by the sheer intensity of the song. My eyes were closed, I was blind to whatever was going on. At the end of the song I let the last cord resonate for a long time. I was left, kneeling down, eyes closed. I didn’t even open them before I knew. It was over.