Summary: It’s a week before Halloween, and Rocky has a gig to prepare for.
Word Count: 2,931
Notes: This was my Halloween fic that I was working on, but unfortunately had to postpone due to reasons.
This is very Rocky-centric, but Spooktre and One are in it also.
I highly suggest listening to this song by Strung Out, since it’s the main song in the story.
This is how it ends.
The lights on stage turn on.
The music starts.
A seventeen year old boy stands on stage with a gold-colored guitar in hand. On his right stands his best friend and on his left is their current bass player. The drummer in back is practically hiding in the shadows.
All eyes are on him.
The lights shine down on Rocky like he’s a rock god. He gives the crowd a wicked grin.
“One more time, then I’ll know. One more lie, then I’ll go away. Pour another drink and I’ll ease myself into the comforts of your fool-lie-sophy~!”
It starts with a scream.
Rocky’s not sure if it was real or a dream at first.
It makes him jump awake to find himself drenched in a cold sweat.
He hears it again a few minutes later. It sounds like it’s coming from inside his own head- and it’s so loud. Almost deafening.
He crawls over his bed and pulls back the dark curtains to see if there was anyone outside. After all, it couldn’t be from inside his head. Shit like that wasn’t possible.
There’s no one outside.
“Try to understand your friend in need! And I’m here to make it easier.”
“You and I are one in the ssame. We’re built alike in sso many wayss!”
Rocky’s unloading his guitar, Nancy, out of his car when he hears someone behind him. He ignores it at first- thinking that it must be one of his neighbors going for a walk.
“Excuse me? You’re Rocky, correct?”
Rocky turns around to look at the tall man who somehow knows his name. He has slicked back blond hair and dark, deep set eyes. He looks like he’s dressed to go to a conference meeting, or should be in some kind of mafia movie. The collar on his dark suit has a single black pin with a blue wing on it.
“Yeah, and who’re you?”
“Just call me Steedman. I’m a… messenger of sorts.”
“Alright. No offense, man, but you’re kinda creeping me out. How do you know me?”
“Lucky guess.” This guy- Steedman- gives off a tiny chuckle and shakes his head.
“Have we met before?” Rocky wonders out loud at the weird feeling of déjà vu buzzing around this entire situation.
“No. Not in this story.”
“The story of our lives. Everyone has a story. Possible multiple ones.” Steedman hands Rocky a little card. “Take care of yourself, Rocky. You never know what goes bump in the night.”
Rocky stared down at the blank card. He turns it over to reveal something scribbled in red pen.
It says ‘Stay Away.’
“Hey, dude, what’s this me-?” Rocky looks up and the guy is gone. He frowns down at the little white card as he makes his way towards his house. “Tch. Stupid.”
He flicks the card away somewhere behind a bunch of black trash bags.
He doesn’t look back.
“You can’t understand and you won’t accept! Your secrets are all safely kept here!”
“I lovve lisstening to tthis guy.” Spook says as he holds an album booklet in his hands and leans back on his chair. His mask was pushed up on the side of his head. “The way he ssccreams into the mic remindss me of a bansshee.”
“That’s oddly specific.” Rocky’s sprawled out on the couch with his legs dangling over the edge of the armrest and staring up at the ceiling. In his mind, he was trying to isolate only the guitar parts and mentally putting cords to it. It was a little exercise that he would try every once and a while.
“That’s tthe only way to dessccribe it. It’ss like sccreaming with ssuch inttensse feeling that the lisstenerss can ffeel it, too. A death cry. A warning call.” Spook lifts his head to glance over at Rocky. “I mean, it’s not like any of tthat stuff is real anywayss. Demons, bansshees, dullahans, fae creattures… whatevver. They’re all tthings people made up to exxplain sshit they couldn’t undersstand. Ssome people jusst like to keep believving it.”
“Yet, you seem to know a lot about it.” Rocky lifts his arm and rests it over his eyes. “Stuff like that is for people who write fanfiction.”
Spook laughs at that, and Rocky tries to suppress a smile.
“Inside we’re so lost. I can be the one to find you.”
Rocky was never one for ghost stories.
A lot of them were full of clichés, cheesy lines, and cheap scares.
He finds that things that happen in the real world are definitely scarier than any dumb ghost story he’s ever read.
That Steed-guy only stands to prove his own point.
Yet, he can’t shake those words out of his mind.
“Everything that you deserve. No request will ever go unheard!”
He steps out for a smoke and is greeted with the familiar scent of cigars.
An old man with coarse white hair and bushy mustache is sitting outside on the corner of the sidewalk. He’s humming an unfamiliar tune as he blows smoke rings up into the dark sky. He glances back at Rocky as he closes his door behind him.
“I haven’t seen you in a while, Pops.” Rocky greets him slowly as he walks down the few steps from his porch to stand beside the older gentlemen.
“Ya’know how I am, Rocky. Always goin’ where the wind leads me.”
“Psh, you could have called or something instead of showing up and sitting outside in the dark like a creep.”
“Guilty as charged, like always.” The man replies before he offers Rocky his lighter.
Rocky picks the lighter out of his hands slowly. His thumb gently moves over the engraving of a beetle on it (he vaguely recalls Pops telling him it was a death-watch beetle like that poem his cousin was fond of), before he flicks it open to light his cigarette. He hands it back to the other man.
“You ever hear of Devil’s Pitch?”
“Devil’s Pitch?” Rocky raises an eyebrow skeptically, “Nope, but it sounds like it would be an awesome band name.”
“I’m surprised. I guess that I jus’ figured that most youngin’s these days were into spooky stories. The story of the Axe Man wit’ the mask was always my f’vorite.” The old man sighed as he absently twirled the end of his mustache between two fingers.
“The Axe Man?”
“Nevermind, nevermind. It’s a dumb ol’ tale like Bloody Mary.” The man shook his head and waved his hand dismissively.
“Is it around here?” Rocky asks before he took a slow drag of his cigarette.
“It’s at the edge of town. There’s a tree stump on the corner between 12th Way and Gerard Drive. I wouldn’t recommend going there, though.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“There is something about it that screams stay away to me. It always has, or else I would have tested the place out myself!” The man looks out across the dimly lit street for a moment, before looking over at Rocky again. “That, and sometimes there are reported bodies being found around that area. I wouldn’t recommend anyone going.”
“Heh. Sounds like only weirdos would go there anyway.”
“You’re better off without me now. But without me here, you’re just better off alone.”
Rocky can’t get the place out of his mind. He keeps replaying that conversation with the old man over and over again.
He tries to distract himself, but his mind keeps leading him back to the same point.
A few days later, curiosity gets the better of him.
It was almost like something was calling him there.
By the time he realized where he was going, he was at the edge of town and standing at the crossroads of 12th Way and Gerard Drive.
The last thing he remembers is getting his guitar out of his case and turning around.
“Just wait and see! You’re just like me, yeah! Conversation’s getting stale. A penny for your thoughts- one small betrayal.”
He thinks he sees fire and gold and hears a dark laugh-
Wait, no, a whisper-
In his ear.
He thinks he sees dark eyes and spikes like spines-
The sound of guitars and music and-
Lights with spots of darkness behind his eyes.
What the hell is going on?
“Does no man know what he’s good for? Does no man want what he’s asked for? It’s all lost- filling spaces~”
Rocky wakes up to a headache and a dog panting putrid breath on his face. He groans and reaches out to push the animal away- but is greeted with nothing but cold air. His blue eyes open to find that there really is nothing there. A cold sinking feel settles on his shoulders as he quickly tries to push himself into a sitting position. He hisses through his teeth and looks down at his hand to figure out why it hurt so bad-
The fingers on his right hand were cut and bleeding.
Looking around, he spots Nancy on the ground by his feet. He notices that her strings are bloody as well. One mystery solved. Next to her, is a gold-colored v-neck guitar. It appears shiny and never been played before.
Rocky pushes himself up to his feet using his non-cut up hand and stares down at the two very different guitars. He picks up the new one and moves it around to get a better look at it.
On the back of the neck is an inscription written in dark blue.
It reads, ‘Soon, Rockstar.’
A cold chill shoots up Rocky’s spine as he stares at the words- taking them in and memorizing them. He’s not sure what it’s supposed to mean, but an ominous feeling settles in his stomach. He picks up Nancy slowly and turns to walk in the direction of his house.
There’s nobody out there but him.
“It takes our design- I’ve spent a life time waiting for the chance to chase these devils away! But they always come smiling when you need’em the most.”
Rocky wakes to static.
Normally, his alarm clock would go off and play whatever happened to be on the radio that morning.
Today, no music was playing to wake him up.
He slowly sat up and moved to the edge of his bed. His bandaged fingers slowly turned the dial until he came across the first station that wasn’t boring or had some kind of talk show on.
Later, he’s in the middle of getting undressed when he hears it from the radio. It comes to him as clear as a sunny day.
“The devil bowed his head because he knew that he’d been beat, and he laid that golden
fiddle guitar on the ground at Johnny Rocky’s feet.”
Johnny Rocky said, ‘Devil, just come on back if you ever want to try again. I done told you once you son-of-a-bitch, I’m the best there’s ever been!!’”
“Did… did I jus- No, no. That’s crazy.”
He could have sworn that the lyrics had changed.
No, he’s just hearing things, he decides as he pulls his shirt up off over his head. It had to be, or maybe it was some kind of glitch. Sometimes things like that happened, right?
It still makes him glance over at his new and unnamed guitar uneasily.
When he had first gotten Nancy, her name came to him right after the first few notes. It was like they were meant for each other, except without all the drugs and murder scandal involved.
He tried to think of a name for the new guitar on the way home from Devil’s Pitch, but nothing seemed to fit. It was even worse after he fiddled and played around with it. The closest names he thought of were ones that seemed to fit- Puck, Mephisto, Gabrielle – but he’d mess up the song he was playing right after uttering it.
It was almost like the guitar was disagreeing with him.
By the time he showered, dressed, and was ready to leave his house, Rocky completely forgets about the song and the odd guitar leaning against his desk.
“So, I’ll end this night alone again with nothing to offer and nothing to give- conversations spoken in vain alone~”
“You guyss wouldn’t ssurvvivve one moment in a dumb horror fflick.” Spooktre says as he crosses his arms over his chest and leans back on a grave stone- practically sitting on it. It has rounded edges and is made out of gray thick stone. In huge, thick letters it said ‘LORELI.’
They had gone out to wreck shit and mess with people’s property. Originally, they had wanted to try something that involved water, a tide bottle, and dry ice- only for them to realize, where the hell would they get dry ice anyway? It was probably one of the only things they had learned in class that week.
Not that the teach knew, anyhow.
But after tagging a garage, fucking up some poor sap’s car, stealing their license plate, and knocking over a vending machine- they had somehow ended up here in the local cemetery.
One was sitting back against a tree and smoking, while Rocky’s standing between them and rocking on his feet like a kid on a energy high.
“Wasn’t there a movie that had rules for that kind of thing?” Rocky asks as he turns his head to look over at Spook. “I mean, I heard it wasn’t very good, so I never went to see it, but it had rules or something?”
“Yeah, it was alright.” One shrugged a shoulder passively. “But why do you say that, Spook?”
“A hunch. Rocky would be tthat dumbasss that hearss a noisse or a rumor and decidess to go out alone to ccheck it outt.”
“What? No way!” Rocky frowned, “I’m not that stupid, man. Strength and numbers and all that when in a horror film.”
“No, then it’ss eassier to pick them offf and plant doubtss in people’s heads.”
“Spook would be that guy in the beginning of the movie who doesn’t believe in whatever’s happening- murderer on the loose, a book called forth a demon, zombies? ‘Zombies aren’t real. That’s just prop make up.’ The first one killed. The skeptic.” One grins widely over at their masked friend.
“Man, you’d totally be the killer.” Rocky grins as he turns his head to look over at One.
“Maybe. I’d definitely survive better than the two of you that’s for sure.”
“Hell, you’d probably get bittten by a zombie and would sstill be around livving in your own right mind.” Spook laughs before pushing himself up off of the tombstone.
“Yeah, I can see it now. Blood dripping down your face and on your clothes and stuff. But then, you’d wear a top hat or something to make you look classy or dapper.” Rocky says, shaking his hands out in an imitation of ‘jazz hands.’ “I bet it would look fucking rad.”
One’s mouth quirked upward into a tiny smile, and Rocky considered it a huge win. He silently added onto his mental tally.
“So, go away! It’s easier if I stay!”
It starts with a scream.
Rocky awakens- only to realize that it isn’t coming from inside his head…
It’s coming from him.
He can’t see anything, but he can feel it.
Its agony and he’s not sure what to do.
He tries to roll over and force himself to stand up- to move and do something!
He tries to grab his throat to make sure that he’s still breathing, because he honestly can’t tell if he is or isn’t!
Fuck, he can’t move. It’s like there’s something bearing down on his chest- sinking into his chest and yanking at something.
But there’s nothing…
Rocky isn’t sure what’s happening anymore, only that he feels pain that radiates up from his fingers into his brain and throughout his entire body.
He feels like his entire nervous system is on fire.
He screams until there’s nothing.
Until he cannot feel a thing.
“So, go away! It’s easier this way!”
That morning, Rocky meets up with Spook and One to hang out before their Halloween gig. They play video games and listen to music throughout the day, but something is off. One notices it more than Spook does, but tires to ignore it until it starts to annoy him more than it should.
“Hey, Rocky. Are you okay, man? I mean, you seem a little off…” One asks him as taps then end of his cigarette into an empty pepsi can.
One and Spook’s eyes are on him.
“Of course I’m okay, dude. You’ve got nothing to worry about.” He flashes a huge grin at his two friends.
But it’s just a little too wide.
Rocky faintly smiles to himself as he walks away from the stage. He feels more alive than he has in a long time. He feels untouchable as he swings Luce around to hang off his back. There’s fire in his veins again.
He wonders if this is how Rocky feels all the time, or if this feeling was created especially for him.
He wonders why he had never thought about this before.
Boy, was he going to have some fun in this body.
The music stops.
The lights on stage turn off.
This is how it begins.