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Jack & The Survivors Go to Hell Chapter 1

"It's time..."

By Andy Pratt-CoilPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

Midnight lonely her whisper’d cries,

We’re getting a bit short on heroes lately.

Sword snap fright white pale good-byes,

In the desolation of Valhalla.

Ian Anderson

It was their first set. They didn’t even have a name yet. But that didn’t matter. Above the low din of muffled voices and shufflings could be heard their terse, awkward introduction, preceded by feedback, and followed by silence. Our hero sat up on his stool in the corner and picked up his guitar. He took that first intrepid step toward fate—but stopped. He was not hesitating, maybe not so much. Jack turned round to his band mates and with a grin said, “Come on.” And after a short meaningful pause, he rejoined, “It’s time...”

The passage was dark and the ceiling low. One might have been put slightly at unease if they had seen the trio at that moment, moving with a sense of purpose; weapons of war in hand, toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our hero, Jack, reached the curtain at the end of the passage and paused once more, this time waiting. All the lights in the next room went out. K.C squeezed past and in the dark came out onto the makeshift stage of the basement venue and sat down at the keyboard, and with Floydian synthery began to set the mood. A slow but full tone began to rise up into hearing range as the audience seemed to shift about in anticipation. And as the sound grew fuller, and received from the fingers of its father direction and velocity, Daryl sat down behind him and with tremendous tension softly built a percussive theme that seemed to make its pair way up in the pathways and strata of unknown Heavens until; presto! all the lights came on and the rock show began with the force of six strings and ten thousand furnaces.

Immediately faces were melted. And those near the back, who escaped unscathed from the first onslaught of the sound, became by degrees thrall to the melody; swaying back and forth in time. And in a distant, though melancholy future, if the circumstances were just right their hearts would sometimes recall the theme; reverberating with the echoes of that first show. There was a sense of history being made. The birth of a new sound.

It was, however, short lived. The ground shook. Looking down, Jack seemed to see the earth beneath his feet opening up and a gigantic Bowie-esque hand reached up to him. Was it sheer fantasy? Not entirely. And again, an ominous rumble snatched away the vision of the Bowie-god. Our Hero’s attention was diverted from this vision. Still rocking; he looked round with a touch of sober and rational anxiety. He knew that it was not part of the show. The lights flickered and the dust, unclung, fell from the ceiling. The earth quaked, this time with feverish ferocity—throwing sparks out from the walls and sending a few of the bacchanalianly-besotted bystanders back onto their bums. The show went on and nobody seemed to notice what Jack and his band-mates could not ignore.

Outside, it was nothing short of a Zombie Apocalypse sweeping ‘cross the land. Usually, no one can pinpoint how these things get set off—or who the culprits are or were. By that time, it is more a matter of sheer survival, and bothering with what to any reader might seem the more important questions of the matter is really just an empty pursuit. And anyway, I must confess I don’t have all the answers and the time is not yet ripe for that Revelation. Let it suffice to say that even the Zombie Horde was drawn to the sound. But not in a blood thirsty or lustful way. The club stood as an island within a wide engulfing sea of chaos. The Zombies, like repulsed metal bits round a magnetic core, formed a kind of tranquil eye-of-the-storm. That would be if you could look down on it from above. But you can’t.

As the first song came to an end, the Zombies above were reanimated with a blood-lust more potent than before, reawaking within their very undead sinews. They began to tear apart the orifices of the building to search out the germ of The Sound. The early warning signs were felt but not heard by those below. And as the host of hosts finally gained entrance, they were suddenly stayed by the second song of the set. But fate was not entirely uncruel. It chanced that on the street above them a car was careening out of control and its path was destined to strike the club. It did so, in fact, it did so with such force and destructive effect that the floor boards gave way underneath it, surprising our Heroes and their audience with a moment that would have otherwise gone down in the annals of Rock History as legendary. However, it was only to get stranger and stranger, and those who were witness were soon to forget how lucky they were to survive the birth of the steel beast—which actually hurt no one except the luckless driver. However, those in the club's dirty basement were almost immediately beset with a situation direr, as Zombies swarmed through the hole and began devouring some of the more unfortunate onlookers. The first Zombie actually plucked the head of the driver clean off his shoulders like an apple from the tree and threw it at Jack striking him in the chest.

Jack’s guitar was wrested from his grasp in the doing and the others who were relatively unscathed beheld the Zombie-onslaught that teemed down and in behind the Zombie-leader with silent awe; letting the instruments simply drop from their dumbfounded hands. Jack regained the upright and looked up and saw the nose of the car poking through the ceiling, its driver’s arm being devoured by a Zombie. Jack’s eyes became like saucers of reflective light. Purpose or prompting filled his soul. Not knowing what it was doing, his hand reached out and he stooped to pick up his guitar. Staring his own imminent death in the face and the deaths of all or most of those round him—he could think of no better way of going out than with ax in hand. It proved a trusty, if not deadly weapon. A weapon of defense at the very least. Jack was no fighter, he was a singer of songs, a maker of melodies. If some were dark that was because he was channeling some other voice or emotion. He was gentle, and hadn’t the will to fight. Therefore, the first Zombie that came at him he brushed aside with the back of his guitar. Daryl immediately jumped on the staggered Zombie and stuck a drum stick through his eye. He was never to rise again, or trouble the world. Jack looked back to the breach in the ceiling, and with dismay struck a chord and uttered a battle cry—whose purpose was to herald the deadly fight that was upon him... one last flourish of the strings he told himself. But it was the first in a greater series of more meaningful songs that ever he had written before or thereafter.

With that one chord, the Zombies were slain. They teetered menacingly, as the sweet sound of the guitar was almost entirely drowned out by the primeval crow that proceeded forth from Jack’s lips. But as the chord was sustained, it far outlived the counter-potency of his cry. And the Zombies round seemed to fall into the placid sleep of The Dead.


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