Chapter 55 - Monster
The heavy guitars crashed through the speakers, and the drums began to thump. The vocalist followed up with a scream, and in response the crowd cheered. Kale stood next to him and nodded his head. The vocalist handed Kale the microphone and started counting down with his fingers.
Kale bobbed his head with the rhythm.
“I never know what to expect from Kale...” Natch said.
“This should be interesting,” Saraiya nodded her head.
Kale held the microphone with both hands and spread his legs evenly apart. His chest moved up as he inhaled as much as he could, and he released his breath, spreading a reign of terror.
Like a majestic lion calling to intimidate all other species in his wake, a beast of a roar rumbled the bar. Everyone fell silent for a few seconds, looking at him in confusion. Even a couple of the band members slipped up on what they were playing.
Before the awe of silence could feel awkward, the crowd exploded in an uproar. The vocalist gave a nod of approval and a high five as Kale made his way off the stage.
“What the hell was that?!” Natch shouted.
“Holy shit, I didn’t know he could do that!” Rhett said.
What was that? Not only was he great at dealing with lions in the zoo, he could also speak their language? Rhett couldn’t help but laugh. Kale sure was mysterious, which was why Rhett needed to get to the bottom of his investigation.
Saraiya stood there blinking in awe.
Grant stood, not showing a reaction.
“You didn’t want him to share this talent, Ambri!?” Rhett shouted.
Just who was Kale? Rhett felt something off about him, he always had. However, the closer he grew to him, the more he pushed it off, but he couldn’t afford to any longer. Tonight he had to ask questions, and he almost had had enough alcohol to feel confident about the confrontation.
“Well, I guess, it’s no big deal. I am just used to him being embarrassing.” She continued mixing drinks.
Kale left through the backstage and made his way back to the backend of the crowd, finding himself an isolated spot to watch the rest of the show from. But, it was futile. People were surrounding him, patting him on the back and cheering him on. Rhett, Grant, and Natch made their way towards Kale, but did nothing to help with his admirers. He somehow managed to escape from his new crazed fans after some time though, and made his way over to the others.
They all stood next to each other, drinks in hand, watching the stage from a distance. Cops and security were still on watch looking for anyone suspicious. The atmosphere was still a little a bit different than it was earlier but everyone continued to have a good time.
Something was bothering him.
The band continued playing as Rhett, Natch, and Kale jammed out together.
Grant stood still, just watching the band. Rhett could tell something was wrong and kept trying to get him to join in the fun. But, the expression he wore was heavy, he wouldn’t budge from his current mood. He finished another drink. And another. And another.
Rhett kept up with the drinks as often as he noticed Grant getting one, if he were in his normal headspace he would have stopped him by this point. He had never seen Grant drink this much before.
“Okay, we’ve got two songs left! I hope you guys had a great night! Er, well, besides that one guy….” The vocalist said.
“Grant, I hope you were able to have a good time tonight!” Rhett turned to his right. “Grant?” He twisted his view to the bar and expected to see him grabbing another drink. But he wasn’t there, maybe he was in the bathroom?
“You can’t find Grant?” Kale asked.
“Yeah… Have you seen him?”
“Nope. I’m sure he’ll show up soon.” Kale’s head was bobbing up and down, showing no signs of worry.
The band played through a song and Grant still didn’t return. He probably went back to hang with Saraiya.
For their final song the band chose their most popular one. The room shook with everyone shouting the lyrics.
When the song ended the room frenzied into a minute of cheers, and everyone began to scatter away from the stage. Rhett, Natch, and Kale went to the bathroom and then made their way back to the private table, still not spotting Grant. Only Saraiya was seated there.
“Hey, Saraiya, do you know where Grant went?” Rhett asked.
“No… I haven’t seen him. Maybe Ambri has?”
Rhett went and asked Ambri, but someone else answered the question instead.
“What’s this Grant look like?” someone asked, their speech slurred.
“Blond hair, a bit shorter than me, light skin, he seemed to be a bit down today,” Rhett answered.
“Yeah! I saw him about fifteen minutes ago I think, he was stumbling out of the bar mumbling to himself. He kept calling himself a monster. If you ask me, he’s had way too much to drink.”
“Oh no…” Even in Rhett’s inebriated state, panic flourished inside him. He should have tried more to slow down his drinking. Instead, he drank alongside him.
Now Rhett had two problems. He still had yet to investigate anyone, and now no one knew the exact whereabouts of Grant. It seems he just headed home by himself, but why was he calling himself a monster?
Blackness covered the highway except for speeding headlights of cars. The world was jumbling before Grant’s eyes. Grass swayed as if welcoming him to take a rest. Drops of tears fell into the tall grass as he wobbled his way back to Lyros. He didn’t want anyone else around.
I did it.
I’m a monster.
Why did it have to end up like this?
I thought I could hide it.
Just for one day.
WHY DID MY NAIL HAVE TO STAB HIM?!
Grant’s body fell over into the ditch. As he laid in a puddle of water, his tears added to the volume. The tall grass peeked out of the sides of the puddle, softly brushing his face. All he wanted to do was lay here. He kept his body on the ground, smelling the fetid water. He had no motivation to escape from this torturous stench.
How much time has passed? Is the concert over now? Grant thought, while half his face still laid in liquid.
Eventually, he rolled himself out of the water and onto his back, staring up at the sky. The stars seemed to dance side to side as his world spun.
Grass rustled behind him and his body tensed up.
The sound of a beast galloped through the land and he brought his hands to a fighting stance.
There was no way that lions would come out down here, right? Grant noticed his nail got longer.
He brought himself to a balanced position the best he could, pointing his nail out like a dagger. “Who’s there!?”
A small gruff was heard a short distance away. Grant stood uneven. He tried to calm his breathing. If this was the end, so be it. He already hurt someone today, and he didn’t even feel human anymore. He felt he deserved whatever came at him.
“COME ON OUT! I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU!”