Dawning of the Knuckle Duster by Andrew Davie

Flash Fiction, Horror

“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT NOISE??” Someone yelled from behind me. The singer had thrown the microphone to the ground; it sounded like gunfire. “The Van Damned,” had just finished a blistering song, which had revved up the crowd and sent them at each other like particles in a collider. Now it was over, and everyone looked around confused their orgy of sound and fury cut short. 

            “Fuckin great set, huh?” 

            Some kid with an “I’ve got VD” T-shirt said and wiped blood from his nose. He had a medically induced thousand-yard stare and a crooked smile. 

            “Oh yeah, you’ve got to love the Sturm and Drang,” I said. 

The kid gave me the once over, and I felt the heat radiate from his body. He wiped his nose again. His eye twitched slightly.

            “You sure you’re s’posed to be here?”

            Before I could answer the next band, High Yield Bombs, had already begun to play the first riff from “Punching Through a Mountain with our Bare Fists.” The kid bolted forth into the maelstrom of bodies at the center of the ballroom. I remained on the outskirts of the circle but could see just enough through the zoetrope of flailing limbs.

            The kid with the bloody nose and “I’ve Got VD” shirt was spit out of the circle, saw me, and ambled over with a few new bruises. He still had the medically induced thousand-yard stare.

            “Fuckin great set, huh?” he said and spat blood on the ground. 

The next and final song was their foray into sludge metal. Much like how Black Flag had been influenced by bands like Saint Vitas, High Yield Bombs were testing the waters. The kids in the crowd who wanted a faster tempo funneled outside of the circle.

            Before the kid with the bloody nose and I could continue our Abbott and Costello routine, he had re-entered the melee. The music swelled to a fever pitch, and the circle converged onto itself like a dwarf star imploding. For the first time that evening, I saw true fear register. The kid stopped moving and looked for an exit, but the circle had closed behind him. He tried to climb out over the wave of bodies and yelled something profane. Hands reached out from beneath him, gripped his shoulders, and pulled him down. It had been reminiscent of any of the “Living Dead” movies in which an overconfident anti-hero meets their end. The crescendo hit with a furious double kick drum, and the song finished. 

            “Thank you,” The lead singer said, “that was ‘Dawning of the Knuckle Duster.’ Have a good night.” The musicians unplugged their instruments and there was a brief piercing wail of feedback. I quickly scanned for the kid with the bloody nose, but he was gone. He’d been completely swallowed up and possibly transported to another dimension like the villains from Krypton who’d been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.

Andrew Davie has worked in theater, finance, and education. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant and has survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He is currently pursuing a clinical mental health counseling degree. He has published short stories at various places, a memoir, an essay collection, and crime fiction books with All Due Respect, Close to the Bone, Alien Buddha Press, and Next Chapter. His work can be found in links on his website https://andrew-davie.com/