Songs of the Monsoon
Lyric is long inured to the crappy bands that cycle through Faerie's Hollow, the club where he works as a bartender. He fully expects the latest Local Band Night to be another night of ear-bleeding hell—until Fierce Monsoon takes the stage and blows him away. Even more intriguing are the beautiful twins on bass and drums...
Lyric Thornberry yawned loudly, hand covering his mouth briefly before he finished up his section of the middle bar. His boss and owner of the club, Zane McCauley, wanted all three bars and the backroom restocked before Club Faerie’s Hollow, a club that catered to Abnorms of all kinds, opened. It was that time of the year again—the semi-annual local band talent show. Lyric hadn’t heard of any of the participating bands, so they were all probably newly formed or had no fans who would spread news about them. Seriously, who would name their band Kells & Bells? Idiot newbs, that was who, or one of those “single” performers.
He rolled his shoulders several times, loosening up some tension in them, and got back to placing the last of the bottles away in the top and bottom shelves. Finished with his tasks, he checked his watch and saw that he had time to kill before the club opened. Good. He was going out for an early dinner, then. Lyric was craving some Thai, and there was a good place a block away. Stretching, vertebrae cracking, he stepped out from behind the bar and walked over to where Brenna, Zane’s wife and the head bartender, was sitting.
“I’m going out to get some food from the Green Lotus. Do you want me to grab anything for you and the others?”
Brenna glanced up through her glasses, setting down the paperwork she had been going over—accounting from the looks of it. Her light hazel eyes were lined by heavy kohl, though it did little to hide the small bags under her eyes. She grinned. “Sure. You know what I like. And I know Rikki, Kale, Nolan, and Ellie will want something too.” She grabbed her purse from where it was resting by her seat and handed over some bills.
Lyric grinned back before sauntering out of the club and making his way to the Green Lotus. He nodded at the owners. They knew him by name—he’d eaten there so many times.
“Evening. I would like to order to go, please? Make it the usual for the Faerie’s Hollow group please,” Lyric said clearly. “Oh, and six large to-go cups of sweet mango tea as well,” he added, which earned him a snort of laughter from the cashier, who was used to him forgetting the drinks until the last moment.
“That’ll be $46.83,” she said.
He handed over the correct amount and went to sit down in the little waiting area for customers with to-go orders, and he watched some of the customers in mild interest to pass the time.
While people watching, Lyric noticed there was a group of six young men, somewhere in their mid- to late-twenties, sitting near the corner in a booth. They were all dressed in clubbing outfits: leather pants, fishnet or ripped shirts in various shades of blue, green, and gray. Hmmm, he vaguely remembered Zane saying that one of the bands playing that weekend had six members, all male and all some sort of Abnorm. Lyric pondered if these six could be them, as he could sense they weren’t human.
He watched them a little while longer before pulling out his phone and tapping on a game app to pass the time while he waited for his order. He occasionally looked up from his game, eyes catching on two members of the group. From where he was sitting, he could only see shades of red hair and flashes of blue or purple mixed in. Shaking his head, Lyric went back to his game. Then he heard one of the redheads laugh at something one of the others said over the low roar of the restaurant, and he felt something in his chest warm at that sound for some reason. He was still watching them when he heard the cashier call out that his order was ready. Nodding in thanks, he grabbed the food and walked out of the Green Lotus back to Club Faerie’s Hollow.
The food he brought was greeted with cries of happiness and promises of return payment. Lyric wasn’t concerned about it. He knew they would make good on their promises by the next paycheck, although Brenna was the one who technically paid for the food. Grinning, Lyric broke apart his chopsticks and started eating, sipping his tea every now and then, and chatting with his co-workers. Zane came out from his office and snatched a bite from Brenna’s plate, prompting her to slap his hand away.
“Hey! Don’t you go stealing my food; get your own!” she tried to scold him, lips trembling from withheld laughter. Zane just smirked at her and kissed her cheek before grabbing a plate and filling it up. Time passed quickly, and before Lyric knew it, the club was open and club goers were filtering inside.
Then he kept busy making drinks and chatting with customers, regulars and newcomers alike. Once ten o’clock hit, the DJ stopped the music and announced the bands.
“Tonight, we have several local bands playing for us—those who passed Zane’s insane interviews for these spots! Give it up for: Dawn of Stars! Sacred Waters! Luminescent! Kells & Bells! Three Dragoons! And Fierce Monsoon!” The crowd shrieked and wolf-whistled in response. Lyric shook his head. What ridiculous-sounding names.
The first to come up was Dawn of Stars: a group of four girls that all seemed to be part- or half-Siren and looked to be in their late teens, all dressed in bright, skimpy clothing and with bottle-blonde hair. Their singer was mediocre at her best and went flat and off key numerous times during their three-song set. The other girls were not much better, at times missing their cues and playing off beat. It was painful for Lyric to listen to, and he just knew the other bands were likely to be about the same—if not worse.
The rest of the night went on, each band sounding slightly worse or just slightly better than the previous one. He focused on his job, giving one vampire her Three Bloody Fools, a drink mixed with donated blood from the local blood bank, and went back to refilling orders. He also ignored Brenna. She worked middle bar with him during the weekends and was sniggering to herself. Bitch, he thought fondly before he rolled his eyes and made a ridiculous expression back at her while he mixed a drink for another customer. Okay, so everyone and their dead grandmother knew how Lyric felt about garage bands and their terrible voices, and that he went to college and had a degree in Music Theory!
He ignored the rest of the sets until it was the last band’s turn.