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A Short Horror Story

By Em StarrrrrPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Vale Arellano on Unsplash

Volume was important to Judas.

In a glam rock world it could make or break you, and lately he’d been more than a little flat. Discounted tix at the door, pissed off punters demanding refunds, empty barstools in the last set–and he knew it wasn’t the music. His riffs were tighter than the faux-leather pants he still managed to twist up his varicosed legs—one at a time so as not to rip the seams—and certainly better than anything Painted Mullet had released lately.

"More volume," he told his hairdresser, Suze.

He watched her work in the mirror, methodical, her spiral perm bobbing in slow-mo bounces.

“How’s that?” she asked.


Painted Mullet were selling out every night. Painted Mullet had volume.

“If I take it any higher, you’ll get a headache.”

“I don’t care.” He leafed through a magazine of flips and blunt cuts.

Suze lowered the can of hairspray, picked up the teasing comb again, went to work. “Did you hear about Jimmy Bangs? The poor bugger was murdered in his sleep."

“I think I heard something about it.” Judas closed the glossy mag, reached for another one. “It’s a shame. Kid had real potential.”

But not volume, he thought.

He’d always envied Jimmy—good looking rooster, forever thrusting and grinding against the mike-stand, his mess of wild blonde like a blessing from the hair gods. How disappointed Judas had been when he crept into that hotel room to slice it all off, and found only limp brown tufts. He'd scalped him anyway, stuffing flesh and locks into his pocket with disgust.

“You know he wore a wig, right?”

Suze kept back-combing. “Well yeah. I mean, don’t they all?”

“Not all. Some of us have standards.” He turned the page, tapping at a picture of Tina. “Can you get mine this high?”

She sealed his coiffe with a flourish of lacquer. “Nobody can get theirs that high.”

She was lying, of course. Typical hairdresser, offering fake pleasantries and shallow excuses. Painted Mullet had hair that high. Painted Mullet had volume.

Judas waved the spray away. “Not too much, you’ll weigh it down."

He examined his ‘do in the salon mirror, turning from one side to the other. Even as he looked, his hair fell flat and lifeless. Wet seaweed clumped against ageing cheeks, dead rabbits down his back. He picked it up, let it flop.

Suze hurried for the comb. “Maybe we could section it off, get some of the weight out of it.”

Judas watched her desperate reflection, little curls springing as she tried to invigorate his sagging mop. Lift, tease, drop. Lift, tease, drop. The motion began to play in rhythm, like that glam-poppy bullshit Painted Mullet played each Friday night, and soon it filled his head, his ears, all those angry places that he tried to keep so quiet.

Lift and tease and drop me, baby! Lift and tease and drop! He could see Bobby Shaker prancing across the stage, Painted Mullet sign flashing above in neon glory, his halo of purple frizz defying gravity.

Judas snapped Suze by the wrist. “Stop.”

“It’s ok,” she said. “I think I’m getting somewhere.”

He tightened his grip, relaxed when he saw that old familiar fear. His scalpel burned cold in his pocket. “I have a better idea.”


Judas stalked onto the stage in red vinyl strides, Fender at the ready. They ignored him as usual, that old desperado in the too-tight pants, but he didn’t mind so much. Tonight that would change.

Tonight he would dazzle.

He rose his right hand in classic rock pose, waited for semi-quiet. And then he let it drop.

First strum, second strum, third strum, fourth, arm spinning like a pinwheel in a hurricane. The power chords gave way to a wailing riff and he imagined he was in a stadium, far from stale beer and wet carpet and disinterested patrons. He swooned, he sashayed, and soon they started to notice him.

And one by one, they gathered to watch, jaws slack, eyes wide. The punters, the bar staff–even the boys from Painted Mullet. Drinks stopped pouring, pool cues paused.

Holy shit! Judas has volume! they said.

He played on, music intensifying. Even as the crimson sweat trickled down his forehead, and stained his vision, he played.

And when he finished there was stunned silence. The room was flat, submissive. The crowd was his.

He adjusted his crown of spiral perm and severed scalp, wiped the blood from his brow, and introduced the next song.

This short horror was originally published behind a paywall. Shared here for your reading pleasure.

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About the Creator

Em Starrrrr


~twisted fiction~

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

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  • Rodney Roberts5 months ago

    Haha. Love it! A homage to all the ageing rockers out there!

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