Mudcat Café message #2433715 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113933   Message #2433715
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
07-Sep-08 - 08:49 PM
Thread Name: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Subject: RE: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Michael rose from his bed, for he didn't want whatever was trying to come through his door to come at him while he lay in his bed clothes. He felt his knees trembling, and then he heard the laughter again, and then a voice, in a low tone that was familiar and filled with evil intent, said "Michael?"
He had somehow grown used to the fact that the guitar played of its own volition, and it was a sound once bothersome and strange, but now warm and comforting. He was aware that when he sat playing it, that sometimes he felt his voice altering, and that strange words seemed to come from him when this happened. He had taken to writing these songs down and had a handful of them stuffed in his suitcase. The voice he sometimes adopted, consciously and for effect, was the voice he now heard from the hallway. He wiped from his eyes some sweat that had tumbled down his forehead, and again it said "Michael?"
"Who is it!" He nearly shouted. He heard a thin rattle and strained his eyes to see if the door knob might be moving. With a step, he reached the guitar, held it behind him like a club and said "you're not coming in here!"
The laughter came again, and the voice said "really? I can't come 'in there'?" and the laughter continued.
Surely, thought Michael, this is all loud enough that others will be awakened. After all, the hotel was full. He glanced at the LED display of the alarm clock. 3:36 am.
"Michael," the voice continued, catching its breath and speaking with difficulty against the urge to laugh again. "I thought you knew. I'm already in there!"
He staggered back toward the window, saw something moving against the wall, yanked the shade up and let the lamplight spill in. He was alone in the room. What he had seen had been his reflection in a mirror on the wall.
He sat down heavily into an upholstered chair, the guitar lying across his lap. He was shaking as if in a fever. The guitar felt strangely comfortable and right as he held it. Gradually, he put the voice out of his head and began to strum the guitar with his thumb. Outside, above the street lamp, the moon was near full, white behind the lamplight, the craters in it preternaturally sharp and defined. He hadn't been sleeping. The specter, or whatever it was, had bee brought on by his exhaustion, and the trauma of Sheila's affair with David. Or was that true only in the dream he'd had?
"She's with him now," he said and started, for it seemed the voice was the same he had heard in the hall.
The chords he was playing resolved into a sort of melody, and the words came to him as he sang

I'd rather go to some Dark Hollow
And meet an evil end
than to see you lying naked
in the arms of my best friend

He felt a tear start from his eye and laughed in recognition. This was not sadness. This was what he had heard described before as tears of rage.
His fingers were shaking, but he composed himself by singing the words over and over again as he sat in the dark room and wound the big E string off of the guitar.