Friday Short Fiction: Where She Belongs

This here is a little taste tester for everyone. It’s a short fiction piece I wrote a little while ago now. I hope it brightens your Friday and takes you to another place for a few moments today.

This was the world he belonged in. Black t-shirts, devil horns made with hundreds of fingers in the crowd, and amplifiers loud enough to make the wooden stage under his feet vibrate. Dark-clothed, tattooed skinheads and people with long dreadlocks looking up at him. He smiled and raised an arm, giving the crowd a reason to applaud. They hadn’t seen what his band was capable of yet but he was a frontman, getting the crowd going was in his job description. First Prize – Ten Thousand Dollars, he read the banner, black with big gold letters, on the back wall of the room… it wasn’t much if you were Slip Knot but to them, it would be a big step towards getting their first album recorded.

His dark eyes fell on the crowd and then stopped on a little girl. The apple of his eye. His little sister, they’d been kept apart here and there, between foster homes and him couch surfing at his mate’s houses but he’d always made sure she was alright. She was fortunate enough to have found Doug, her foster father, who also happened to be a metal-head. She sat high up on his shoulders waving madly at her big brother. He blew her a kiss. He had no doubts, that one day, she’d be doing this too. His lips upturned as he thought of her latest YouTube video. She’d dedicated it to him and perfectly imitated a song he’d written only a month before. She was eight and already more talented than he was. He imagined scooping her up after the show and hugging her, hopefully celebrating a win.

He took a deep breath, positioned his legs in a lunge, ready to fling himself into their first song. He glanced behind him, to make sure his band was set. His attention was caught by his guitarist. The colour had drained from his face, his eyes were wide and his fingers were pressed hard into his black denim covered thighs. The guitar hung by its strap around his neck. He walked toward him but could not jag his attention.

“Jimmy!” He shook him by the shoulders.

“I can’t do it, man.” He heard a shake in his voice.

“What?” He put his nose close to Jimmy’s, they’d awaited this day for more than a year. How could he wig out like this now?

“I can’t… I’ve forgotten the whole set.”

“We practiced this a hundred times… it’s just nerves, man. Snap out of it.”

“I think I’m gonna be sick.” He dropped his guitar, making the amp scream and the crowd cringe. He rushed off stage, disappearing from sight.

The crowd mumbled into confusion. He eyed the base player and then the drummer. They both looked toward the exit. He knew it as well as they did; they couldn’t do their set without a guitarist and there were other bands waiting to be given their turn to play. He shook his head at them, silently begging them not to leave him there. They had to play. They needed that money.

“It’s alright all,” he smiled wryly into the microphone. “Our man, Jimmy is feeling a little under the weather. Luckily, I have a back-up plan.” He eyed the drummer and then the bass player, who frowned and shrugged his shoulders. “I’d like to invite my little sister, Evie, up here. She knows our songs and I’m sure she won’t mind filling in for him.”

He watched his little sister get closer, as Doug weaved her through the crowd, still on his shoulders. He noticed Doug’s big fingers, carefully wrap her thin legs so she wouldn’t get knocked off while he squeezed past bodies. He was thankful that Doug had space in his heart for an adopted daughter, it was only luck that he loved decent music too. He bent down and reached for her outstretched arms, as Doug lifted her as high as he could. He cradled her, then set her down on the stage. He knelt down and looked her in the eyes. They were bright and her cheeks were rosy, a complete contrast to the black, oversized, Led Zeppelin t-shirt Doug had encouraged her to wear tonight.

“You think you can do this for me?” He whispered. She nodded keenly.

She walked over and slung Jimmy’s guitar on, he could not help but grin at how tiny it made her look. She widened her stance, put her fingers on the strings then raised her other arm, like her brother had moments ago, making the crowd cheer even louder than he had managed. Any other child would have shied away from the noise but not this one, not his sister. He watched her face, he could tell she was listening for the drums. She belted out the first chord, with perfect timing and started headbanging along with her band. He’d always been proud of her but in that moment, she seemed magical, not of this Earth, the one thing in his life that had no flaws. It was clear to him now that this wasn’t only where he belonged, she belonged here with him, right by his side.

Author: benandleahscamper

I'm a freelance writer and blogger who loves to travel with my husband, Ben. We normally choose our off road camper for adventures but sometimes we'll take a different path. I am also a veterinary nurse. I am also available for content and copywriting jobs.

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