Two men watched the sun’s death over the horizon. They were comfortable against plastic beach chairs. Hot, brown sand cooled as the light faded into deepening blues. Silence filled the air. The sky bled a thousand colors. One man spoke.
“Love it out here.”
“Hot enough to fry your brains...”
A chilling gust howled. He continued.
“...and then freeze them for later.”
“Wouldn’t live anywhere else,” the other man responded.
A hum filled the air, a soft yet unnatural ambience. The shadows of the many saguaro dotting the desert elongated. One man looked over to the adjacent stretch of asphalt. An eighteen-wheeler carrying redwood logs from a faraway land rumbled along the road.
“Must be a lonely job.”
“Alone, but not necessarily lonely,” one man answered back.
They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, watching the impending night darken their features.
“Do you feel alone?”
“Not right now I don’t.”
The other man smiled. He took a breath, but no words follow.
Another gust of wind beat against the two of them. The men pushed their beach chairs together, embracing one another. A different hum sounded; they collectively focused their eyes back to the road, but there was not another eighteen-wheeler.
“Wonder what that could be.”
“It sounds like…”
A soft, sweeping pad of harmony breaks the dissonance. The sounds are wispy and soft, arpeggiating slowly. “...music?”
“Music, yeah,” the other man affirmed.
A hazy shadow manifested in the distance. It had arms and legs and a head, just like a human being. The men were inattentive to it. As the shadow crept close, the ambience changed, growing louder and warmer. Finally, they acknowledged it.
“Well, that’s interesting.”
“Maybe the desert heat’s getting to us.”
The men shivered.
“Yeah? Would we see the same thing?”
“Maybe this is it.”
The ambience was picking up noise as it aggressed.
“What do you mean?”
“This is how we die.”
“Nah, fuck that.” The man sprung from his beach chair, sprinting the other direction. His partner followed suit, gasping for heavy bursts of air. The sound faded as they ran.
Later, in a hotel, they watched the moon. Silence, once again.
“Hope nobody steals our camper.”
“Better play it safe and go check on it tomorrow.”
“What if there is no tomorrow? What if that thing comes back?”
“Look, I don’t know what that was, but maybe we were hallucinating. There’s no rational explanation to that. We probably weren’t going to die, though.”
“Yeah… yeah, I guess.”
They collapsed on the bed together.
Hours later, a hum awakened them both. Together, they peered out the window at their bedside. A tumbleweed blew across the sand.
“Guess we’re insane, huh?”
“Just unlucky, I think.”
“No outs, all here.”
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
The shadowy figure floated towards their window. When the men see him, only his face is visible. Indescribable, but fully exposed. Translucent, incandescent. As beautiful and horrific as the music he played. The sound turned into pure white static, as loud as a jet engine. The men curled in horror, their ears bleeding. The window shattered, death impending.Their hearts had beaten at the same time. It’s only fitting that they exploded together.
Written by Avenging Angel