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Like the World Is Ending · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Louder Than Hell
Monica looked up from her menu at the sound of a raucous screech from an electric guitar. She brushed a strand of her platinum-blonde bangs out of her eyes and squinted at the stage on the far side of the darkened restaurant. There, spotlights illuminated a young guy with a mop of brown hair and a leather jacket, squatting on a stool, throttling his guitar like it had committed a crime.

The guy shifted from aggressive strumming to some kind of pure feedback-y noise. Monica joined most of the rest of the crowd in hunching down and covering her ears. She turned to her sister, April, who sat with her at the small square table and sported a perplexed grimace beneath blonde curls. “Who is that idiot?!”

April winced. “It’s Joe from school… but this song sounds like the end of the world!”

Monica frowned. “I thought Deidre was next in line for the mic!”

As if in reply, Deidre plopped down on the chair opposite April. “There was a mix-up,” she said, tossing her spiral-bound notebook down on the table. “Guys, I’m… I’m sorry. I guess they wrote my name on the walk-in list instead of the pre-registration list when I called earlier… now I don’t know if I’ll even get the mic tonight…”

Monica studied Deidre’s round face. It was hard to read the girl’s impassive expression at the best of times, but she spotted hints of stiff-lipped disappointment.

Deidre shook her head. “I’m sorry. I… really wanted people to hear this.”

Monica’s lip curled into a snarl. It didn’t matter if Deidre’s stories were never any good. She was a friend, and her readings were one of the few ways she managed to open-up to others.

“They will,” Monica barked.

April blinked. “Will, what?”

Monica stood, then snapped her fingers at Deidre. “Notebook.”

Apirl and Deidre looked at each other, then at Monica. April took her hands off her ears for a moment, but winced at the sound of the boy’s horrible guitar. “Sis, whatever you’re thinking…”

Monica growled. “I’m thinking this loser picked the wrong open-mic night to stage his little thrash-noise revival! Deidre, are you gonna give me the notebook, or am I…”

“Here,” the girl said, flipping it open and handing it to Monica. “It’s actually an epic poem of sorts…”

“Whatever!” Monica took it in a death-grip and set off toward the stage. She threaded her way between tables full of displeased-looking teens and young adults, some of whom were gathering their things and trying to hail a waiter so they could pay their check and escape the cacophony.

As she approached the stage, Monica noticed the actual mic-stand had been set off toward the edge; the kid’s guitar was plugged-into the restaurant’s sound system, and he wasn’t singing. Monica’s lips curled into a grim smile as she hopped up next to the kid, grabbed the mic, switched it on, and looked down at the notebook.

She scowled at Deidre’s “epic poem,” and rued her forgetfulness that, for a mousy little introvert, Deidre could sure write a surprising amount about anything phallic.

After a sigh of resignation, Monica breathed deep and made her scratchy voice belt out:

I wanna feel your thunder
I don’t care if we both funder
Gimme all your magic wonder
Tear my loneliness asunder

Long and hot and running hard
Don’t you fear, I won’t be scar’d
Sink so deep that no lifeguard
Will never find your jagged shard…

Monica turned her eyes to the floor as she forced herself to scream the whole ungodly thing. At some point the music stopped, but Monica kept on going until the end.

She looked up, breathing heavy from the exertion of belting out the “poem,” and met Joe’s eyes. He sat on the stool, cradling his guitar, and smiling.

“What?!” Monica shouted at him.

His grin deepened. “That was awesome!”

Monica raised an eyebrow and sneered. “You’re kidding, right?”

Joe shook his head. “No way. You’re the real deal. The voice, the stage presence… and those lyrics! Can I get your number? We’ve gotta jam sometime!”

A strange feeling washed over Monica as she turned and looked out at the crowd. Most everyone who hadn’t already been trying to leave was now doing so. Only Deidre and April sat motionless… until April saw her looking, and smiled back, and gave her two-thumbs-up. Somehow the girl just knew.

Monica sighed. “All right,” she said. “I guess… we could give it a shot.”
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