You belong to me…
I own you…
The hypnotic timbre of Thane’s voice surged through my body making me tingle all over. Like a rush of heroin injected into my vein, soothing me, exciting me, I was completely and utterly hooked.
The bustling crowd in front of the stage swayed back and forth and I swayed with them. I was caught in the movement—the flow of people stirred like a whirlpool to the intoxicating rhythm and razor sharp lyrics of Malice.
Your life’s in my hands…
I’m sucking your soul…
My favorite band for the past year, I’d traveled, with my best friend Chloe, across Idaho and Washington in the past two months to see them play. My mom had been really cool about it, even lending me her car—an old POS, but a vehicle nonetheless—to drive to the shows just as long as I didn’t drive home trashed. I’d attempted it one night, but got scared when I couldn’t keep it on the road, and pulled over at a rest stop. Chloe and I slept in the car.
Thankfully no crazed psycho killer raped and mutilated us. The worst that came at us was a stray dog looking for some scraps. Chloe gave it the rest of her cheeseburger that we’d picked up a MacDonald’s drive thru after the show.
For eight gigs, I’d been entranced by the four member—three guys and one girl—band. My body responded to every aspect of their music. My head pounded to the constant heady thump of the drums, my heart thrashed to every guitar riff, and my thighs clenched with every word lead singer Thane uttered into the microphone.
Some songs he looked like he was making love to the equipment, running his fingers up and down the silver pole, uttering a lover’s words in its ear. I ached and throbbed wishing I could be that thin pole of shiny metal. If only he’d hold me like that, gripping me tightly, running his sweet lips over my face and neck. My eyes nearly rolled back in my head in ecstasy imagining what that would feel like.
That was when Chloe punched me in the arm starling me from my fantasy. “Salem?”
“What?” I grunted, peering at her between strands of black and blond hair hanging in my eyes.
“Do you want some of this?”
I glanced down to see her passing me some vodka. I took the offered bottle and tipped it to my lips swallowing down a good portion. It burned going down, but it was a good burn, telling me I was still sober. Which I needed to be if I was going to complete my mission of getting a back stage pass to meet the band. This was their final gig for the summer in my home city—Boise, Idaho—and I wouldn’t get another chance to offer up my virginity to Thane. I’d been holding onto it just for him.
My mom had always told me that virginity was a gift and the guy better be someone special enough to give it to. I figured Thane was extremely special. I mean, my mom had given hers up to some Rock God in the 80’s, I suspected it was either Keith Richards or Iggy Pop because she had signed pictures of them both thanking her for a stellar night and when she mentioned either one of them she got this little smile on her lips and a devilish sparkle in her eye.
Before I could hand the bottle back to Chloe, the couple next to us bumped into my arm and I nearly dropped it. I turned around to glare at them, but they were so busy making out that they didn’t notice. That was one thing I did notice about Malice gigs, there always seemed to be a lot of couples kissing and groping each other either on the stage floor or in darkened corners peppered around the venue.
In Spokane, when I went to the bathroom at the club the band was playing in, I happened upon two girls making out in one of the stalls. Although I was an equal opportunity snogger, that had thrown me for a loop. I certainly knew some people were gay, I didn’t have an issue with that—I had an uncle who was gay and a friend at school—it was just I’d never seen it so graphically displayed before.
Once I’d finally given the bottle back to Chloe, she wiped the top with the hem of her t-shirt—I guess she didn’t appreciate my spit—and took a pull, then tucked it back into the pocket of her army green jacket that swam on her lanky but scrawny frame.
“Did you figure out how we’re going to score backstage passes yet?”
Shaking my head, I set my attention on the security guards off to one side of the stage, handing passes on strings to a few big-breasted Goth wannabes. At every show I watched similar guards giving passes to similar types of girls. The two times I’d asked for one, they’d looked me up and down, likely taking in my black 10 holed Doc Martens, jeans-a few worn spots at the knees and on the ass—shaggy mop of black and white hair, and Betty Boop t-shirt that didn’t stretch out to a DD cup, or to a C for that matter and disregarded me in the time it took to do the bra calculations.
This time I came armed. I’d shoved my mom’s silicone gel boobs into my bra under my vintage Sex Pistols t-shirt. That made me go from an A cup to a perky B. I was also wearing my extra special pair of worn jeans that made my ass look good. I’d considered also wearing my mom’s butt enhancer panties—she had real body image issues—but decided against it. I didn’t want to look like a complete whore.
“I’m going to ask real nice.” A trickle of sweat ran down the back of my neck. I wiped at it. I really didn’t want to have sweat stains on the back of my t-shirt. The heat in the club was nearly oppressive. Too many bodies packed into too small a room.
Chloe eyed me dubiously, black eyeliner starting to run down her gaunt cheeks. “You did that the last time. And the security dude was a real dickhead about it.”
“That was before I had these.” I stuck out my chest and cupped my boobs.
Chloe shook her head, her short cap of fire-engine red hair swinging. “Do you really think that’s going to work?”
“Duh? That’s all guys understand. Boobs. It’s as if they are actually communicating with them, the way they stare.”
“Well, then, good luck with hypnotizing these security assholes with your perfect B boobs.” Chloe laughed. “You should go soon cuz it sounds like they’re getting ready to wrap up the set.”
She was right. Devon, the girl band member, stepped forward to roll into her bass solo, her pink Tokyopop pigtails bouncing to the rhythm. It was the beginning of their song, Sin City, which they always played second to last. Straightening my shoulders, I made my way, by pushing and shoving, through the pulsating crowd toward the right side of the stage.
When I reached my destination, there were three bimbos standing in front of me giggling and jiggling at the two beefy security guys. It just about made me want to barf. I actually had to put my hand to my mouth just in case I did.
“Excuse me,” I yelled over top one of the girl’s bleached blond head. “Can I get a couple of passes?”
The blond whipped around to glare at me. She had one of those hoops in her nose that made her look like a bull. I wondered if I waved a red flap if she’d charge at me. She looked scary enough to do just that.
One of the security guys looked me up and down. “Sorry. I just ran out.”
I noticed the passes dangling from the all three of the girls’ hands. “They got some.”
“Those were my last three.” He shrugged and went back to ogling one of the three girls who was wearing a black fishnet top and nothing underneath. I think her nipples were even pierced. I managed to spy a glint of sliver when she turned to glare at me too.
Blondie continued to glare at me. “Why don’t you run along little girl? Go play with your Goth Barbie.”
I hated when people assumed I was so young. I was seventeen but short—five feet one—and I got mistaken for fourteen All. The. Time. It didn’t help that I was small too—a whopping size one—with petite delicate features courtesy of my mom who looked like a punk pixie most days with her short spiky black hair and colorful tattoos covering a lot of her tight compact body.
So it didn’t surprise me when my hands began to shake from the anger welling up. I despised confrontation but right now I hated not having a back stage pass even more. I glanced up at the stage and watched as Thane moved around with his long sinuous limbs and silky black hair falling in his perfect pale face making my stomach clench. I had to get backstage no matter what.
“I wasn’t talking to you.” I finally said.
She arched her pierced eyebrow and set one hand on her ample hip. “Excuse me? Who do you think you’re talking to?”
I took in her appearance, noticing she wore cheap purple hair extensions, I could plainly see one of the clips in her hairline at her temple, and her face was adorned with several piercings. She looked like she’d been put together with pins.
I smirked. “Skankenstein?”
The two security guys laughed at that, as did one of her friends but not the one with her nipples poking out.
“You bitch!” she shrieked.
I didn’t expect her to hit me. But she did. Hard. An open hand slap right across my left cheek. It stung like hell. I’d never been slapped before and didn’t realize how badly it could hurt. I think my lip was cut as well because I could taste blood in my mouth. I glanced down at her hand and noticed the solid silver rings on her hand. The bitch had turned them in.
“Hey,” one of the security guards shouted, “If you’re going to fight take it outside.”
A little crowd started to form around us. The scent of blood always got teenagers’ attentions. We were like animals in that regard. I don’t know how many times I’d been in one of those crowds watching as two or three or more people beat the crap out of each other for pathetic and irrelevant reasons.
I could read the lips of the guys standing closest to us as they passed the word on about the bitch fight about to happen. What was it with guys wanting to watch two girls fight? I really hated to be in the middle of one, all eyes watching, ready for the scratching and hair pulling that usually entailed in a girl fight and hoping for blood.
Usually a loner, I didn’t like a lot of attention. Preferring to stick to my three or four good friends, I didn’t much like being in a crowd, except at a gig. But then when I came to a Malice concert, it was always just between me and the band. The crowds never bothered me. I just came to hear the music and watch the sexy guys on the stage—I came for the rock fantasy.
So standing in front of a fuming blond bimbo out for blood in a fighting circle surrounded by twenty or thirty people wasn’t making me feel all that good. Again, I felt like I was going to barf. I didn’t want to fight. I wasn’t big on violence; I didn’t even play fighting games on my DS. But I was not the type of person to back down either. My mom had always taught me to stick up for myself. Although I’m sure she didn’t mean that I should punch the shit out of this girl. Even if I wanted to.
Rubbing my cheek, I tried to appeal to the girl’s reasonable side, assuming she possessed one. “I think for that you should give me your backstage pass. We’ll call it even.”
She laughed. “Not likely.” Then she shoved me hard. I stumbled backwards into the murmuring crowd. Two sets of hands pushed me back into the circle. Hey, thanks guys!
It was obvious I wasn’t going to walk away from this easily. Or at all by the murdering look in the blond’s eyes. But no one ever said being a groupie was easy.
Not sure what to do, I glanced up and locked gazes with Thane. He was standing near the side of the stage looking down at me; the microphone stand gripped tightly, his dark eyes piercing me. Heat blossomed inside of me. I’d never been looked at like that by a guy before. As if he wanted to devour me from the toes up. I put a hand to my stomach where butterflies started to flip flop around like beached fish.
A rush of something I couldn’t name shot through my body. Adrenaline or lust, I didn’t know which, but whatever it was made me feel really good. Powerful even. Sexy. Like one of the female members of the X-Men. Storm maybe, or Rogue, maybe even Dark Phoenix before she went insane and killed everyone.
Whatever it was, I liked it.
Putting my attention back on my blond nemesis, I decided I needed to act if I was going to get out of the situation. Faster than I knew I could move, I reached up and snatched the bull ring from her nose.
She screamed and grabbed her nose with both hands. Blood seeped between her fingers to drip on the floor.
The sound of her skin and cartilage ripping made me shiver. Even above the music I had heard it ring in my ears. I felt bad for liking the sound, but she had it coming.
Her two friends gathered her in the safety of their arms but they both stared at me with a mixture of venom and apprehension. I suspected no one saw that coming. I certainly hadn’t.
In a daze, I looked around me, and noticed that she’d dropped her backstage pass onto the floor.
Leaning down I snatched it up and smiled. I finally got my backstage pass.
As I hung it around my neck, my gaze met Thane’s once again. He was singing the last lines of their last song but he was watching me. And he smiled.
I smiled in return.
Reviews and praise:
“You’re going to love Static — a deep, dark and sexy ride. This is a creepy and unique addition to the YA paranormal genre that goes a little bit further and gives a little bit more.” – Janet Gurtler, author of I’m Not Her and If I Tell, Sourcebooks Fire.
”STATIC is an edgy, dark, and delicious read! Tawny Stokes is a tasty new voice in YA fiction.” –Michelle Rowen, national bestselling author of Demon Princess series
“Static is an edgy, unique, whirlwind paranormal story with great action and amazing storytelling. This one leads you down a path you won’t forget. Don’t miss it!” – Denise A. Agnew award-winning author of Dark, Deadly Love