“Dude, turn it down!” Lorna shouted at her brother’s closed bedroom door.
The maniacally gleeful sounds of the pop hit of the summer blared from inside Ishan’s room. Lorna rubbed her temples before slamming her fist against the door.
“Ishan! It’s seven in the morning! Please!”
But the song continued. Lorna stood at the door, waiting for some response, waiting until the vapid song with its plastic, manufactured joy, ended. Then, a second of blessed quiet before the music resumed, this time somehow even louder than before. Lorna turned away, rubbing her temples. The headache was coming on again.
The song had been inescapable for the entire first month of summer, and it seemed to be getting more popular every day. And now it filled her family’s tiny bungalow. She had to get out.
Lorna arrived at her favorite coffee shop still dressed in her pajamas, hoping some caffeine would dull her throbbing head. She pulled up to the drive-thru to place her order. Instead of a chirpy voice asking Lorna what they could get started for her, the loathsome song blasted out at her through the tinny speaker, sounding like it was being broadcast from some distant dimension.
“Dammit!” Lorna huffed as she sped through the empty lane and around to the front of the building, wondering where the usual morning rush was. She slammed the car to a stop and gazed inside. Disbelieving her own eyes, Lorna hopped out of her Subaru and pressed her face against the glass storefront with her hands cupped around her face.
Unlike the parking lot, the coffee shop itself was jammed full of people, and they were dancing, every single one of them. Dancing, and bleeding.
Tears of blood streamed down the faces of patrons and employees while wide smiles stretched across their blood-drenched visages and a song, the song, the soundtrack of the summer, blasted at a torturous volume inside the store.
Behind Lorna cars careened and crashed and filled the street, the drivers spilling out of their vehicles, dancing while crimson tears poured over their cheeks. And the song, the feel-good hit of the summer, filled the air, blasting from every stereo.
Suddenly, to her horror, Lorna felt like dancing, and a rivulet of blood seeped from the corner of her eye.