The Faces of the Crying Girl Edited by Jessica West
Cover Copy: “A collection of short stories all based on another short story … makes total sense, eh? The Crying Girl tells the story of a girl, crying at a metal concert right before heads start exploding: literally. No really, I mean literally blowing up. Not, like, metaphorically. Literally exploding. Anyway, The Faces of the Crying Girl is composed of thirteen authors telling their tale as to why this girl is crying. Who is she? Where did she come from? Where is she going? Who ate my sandwich? Find out all this and more inside the pages of The Faces of the Crying Girl.” Available on Amazon, with all profits going to a literacy charity.
The Blue In Her Eyes
She should have known better, but she just had to see. She knew it would be beautiful, if only for a moment. All around her, the masses throbbed with the drug. For this short time, they would see the world as she did. See the music as she did. Before it killed them.
She never thought it would come to this. When they had come to her, the idea seemed extraordinary. A chance for others to see the music as she did. They quickly found it was not as easy as they expected and she slowly found out why they had offered.
The drug was impure. They just couldn’t get it right, no matter what hell they put her through. Or maybe because of that hell. She knew she shouldn’t be here, and her eyes began to water. So many lives. Each one added to the effect. The drug they had created never should have been so widespread. They knew that from the tests they had done. The drug thrived in mobs, became insidious. By the time the song was done, she knew they would all be gone. She couldn’t bear to think about it. A girl bumped her aside and she couldn’t help but notice how much the stranger looked like her little sister. How could she have let it happen? There was blood on her hands, staining her very soul. Like Lady Macbeth, she knew she could never wash it off.
The speakers amplified the beat to soaring heights, and the colours flew out with it. Deep reds brushed through her hair, blues dried the tears on her face. Screaming vocals came from the stage. She couldn’t make out the words, but the colours were sharp punctuation to it. It wasn’t the kind of music she would normally enjoy, but the crowd moved excitedly to the beat. The pressure built until the vessels in her eyes burst, sending warm trickles down her face. She knew what came next, felt the pressure build and release in the person next to her. It would all be over soon. She should leave, but the crowd was pressing in too tight to find a path. Part of her felt an obligation to stay till the very end. This was her fault.
They had first noticed it in the “guinea pigs”, the doctors had told her. The college students who thought they’d make a quick hundred in a drug trial to cover the cost of one of their textbooks soon had no need for those very books. Alone the test subjects seemed fine, but when put in the same room things got …. weird. The music affected them more strongly. The colours were more vibrant in their minds. When enough of them gathered, it brought destruction. Seeing that once was enough for her to beg the researchers to give up on the project. Sharing what she saw when music played was not worth anyone’s life. She never wanted anyone to be hurt. She wanted to share the beauty and hope that the colours of music could be.
They didn’t listen. There was money to be made. If not as a recreational tool, then as a weapon they could sell to the highest bidder. They knew the perfect place for a test run. It would be a big gig for Throat-Slit Six, a chance to make themselves known to the world. They would be well paid. Well, their families would be.
The crowd stilled all at once, as if on cue. She could tell it was nearing the end. The band put their all into the song, and it was beautiful. The music changed profoundly when the singer stopped screaming the lyrics and actually sang with rich melody. The sky lit up like the Northern Lights in her eyes, each tortured note shining like a star. She glanced at the people around her, saw the rapture on their faces. They could see it too. For this short time, they were as one. This was what she had always wanted.
The crowd began to fall. Slowly at first, one person here, one there, but picking up speed until no one was left standing as the guitar continued to crescendo. A metallic taste mixed with the heavy metal sounds, and the steel grey sky. The pressure continued to build in all of them. She kept her eyes closed. She didn’t want to see this part, not again. It would all be over soon. Blood splattered against her. Warm at first, it quickly cooled, sticky and wet. She fell back onto the grass and stared up at the sky, watching the colours fade as the song came to a close.