Excerpt from 1.8 “Already Gone”
The music fugitives are running into the woods, being pursued by dogs and men with shotguns. Isaiah (Iz) and Damien stop at the treeline, armed only with their guitars and use music to block their pursuers.
Damien had to repeat himself, because Isaiah evidently missed it the first time around. “Gimme power!”
Isaiah didn’t remember Damien arriving at his side—in fact, he wasn’t even sure who’d stuck the plug into his own solid, but Damien’s was jacked up to the amp and waiting for Isaiah to spark it into life.
“What about them?” the boy asked, referring to the few stragglers running at them from the train.
“You give me a chord; I’ll worry about them!”
So Isaiah started with an A. A crackling, popping sound emerged through the mesh, and then a comfortable whir—soon silenced by Damien’s scale. It didn’t sound quite right.
“Go to G!”
Isaiah’s fingers switched before his brain had figured out what he was doing. He struck out the new chord and the grass ahead rippled; the stragglers winced against the wave; the dogs were still too far away to feel it. He looked to Damien. Damien repeated the scale, and the air around turned sharp and prickly—like the pin-and-needle feelings you get when a suffocated nerve gets signal again.
“Keep it up, and I’ll play the break!” Damien shouted.
Isaiah kept a rhythm going with the chord. The last of their band of runaways had nearly reached the woods, but the dogs were quickly closing the distance.
“Now!” called Damien. Isaiah strummed, Damien rattled up a minor scale, one last viber dove between them to beat the wave, and the dogs charged forward—a Doberman and some kind of mix that must have had bull in it, both barking through bared teeth. Isaiah imagined they hadn’t been trained to show mercy. Luckily, Damien had never learned mercy either.
He sent out a wave that actually seemed to lift the dogs off the ground. One was pushed up onto his hind legs and then onto his back, where he yelped—more in confusion than pain. The other kept lower to the ground, but the loose skin of his face shook against the man-made wind, which forced open the eyelids that would have otherwise guarded against the dirt and debris. The leader of the men, who was still a good hundred feet away, had to pause and brace himself to keep from being knocked back.
Damien tried to yell something over the din, then tried again, “Switch to minor!”
“What?” asked Isaiah, on instinct, though he’d heard the question. He didn’t even know if he knew minor chords. While Damien slammed out another wave, Isaiah tried to figure out how to concoct whatever it was Damien needed. He knew that several people—including Damien—stood behind him, waiting, hoping for the boy with the special solid to hold them off, but he couldn’t think of another chord to play. Isaiah sent out another G to keep the amp from losing power, but Damien’s slams were getting smaller and smaller; the dizzied dogs were readying for another charge, and the man toting the shotgun looked about ready to voice his demands.
Suddenly someone reached over Isaiah’s shoulder, took hold of his fourth finger, and moved it down one fret. “Play it!” she hissed. So the boy played.
The charge in the air was visible for a second—like a small, localized bolt of lightning. And then the air ripped forward in ripples, tearing into the soil, and driving the men and dogs off of their feet. The blowback, though smaller, was a riptide all its own. Isaiah was nearly launched backward, but someone or someones caught and held him upright so he could play the chord again.
The Doberman started tumbling backward and collided with the bull mutt, ridding it of any claim to the ground. Beneath them, the earth rose with the shockwave—a sight exaggerated through the billowing fish-eye of a sound blast. The ground wrenched one, two, then three men from their feet, the first two accompanied by yells; the third man’s voice was cut short by a shotgun blast, which was fired at a lofty angle by its surprised and displaced carrier. The weapon flipped backward in the air and landed impotently behind them after everyone else had fallen.
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