Evil guitars will give you the blues.
Eddy hissed, yanking his hand back from the slick, glossy neck of the guitar.
Damn thing bit me, he thought, as the blood welled around his fingernail, where the mean little B string had slipped beneath and stung.
The store clerk, who looked like Bruce Dickinson, if he had swallowed Ronnie James Dio, slapped his considerable belly and laughed. The bellowing guffaw echoed down a wall off Acoustic Guitars and hummed within them.
"See," the clerk flashed a gold tooth from within his crooked grin, "you're shreddin' already!"
Eddy smiled grimly. There was an ache in his hand and blood on the guitar. But that was okay. That was Rock n' Roll.
"Sorry I got blood on this thing, man."
The clerk waved away the apology and Eddy noticed a small scorpion tattooed on the back of the man's hand.
"You're buyin' it anyway," he said, like it was already paid for.
"I guess I am." Eddy reflected, as he once more inspected the guitar.
He had no business wanting it. Eddy never would have imagined himself jamming on a clunky wood grained eyesore, like this. It belonged on a guy wearing Buddy Holly glasses and a string tie. But it's price tag, like the contents of Eddy's wallet, was on the low side of three digits; the very low side. And there was something he liked about that wood grain finish. The knots looked like faces. Faces that were screaming.
As he handed over his cash, it occurred to Eddy, he had no idea what type of guitar it was. The clerk had said something about it "finding its way into the shop" but that really meant nothing. The space on its head, usually reserved for the maker's tag, was blank.
"So is this a Fender? Gretsch?" Eddy asked, "I mean, what is it?"
The clerk lifted his Scorpion tagged hand, scratching his chin while he considered. The gold tooth flashed once more.
And so it was.
Within 30 minutes of getting home and plugging in, Eddy was seriously regretting having bought the guitar. It sounded so full and crisp in the shop but now it was toneless and cutting out. He figured the pick-ups must be defective because they seemed to be getting some radio signal; he could hear voices, distorted and distant issuing from his amp. It wouldn't stay in tune. Again it had sliced his finger, this time tearing his pinky on the fat, low E string.
When the D string opened the tender flesh at the crease in his pointer finger, he cursed and threw the guitar down on the couch beside him. He rose to his feet and stormed across the room. He wanted a refund. He was getting his money back.
Eddy was half way to his car keys when a loud PANG! stopped him in his tracks. He turned and saw the B string had snapped. It swayed like a drunken cobra, a drop of blood dripped down its length.
PANG! ... PANG!
Two more popped as he watched dumbfounded. Then another.
The last one snapped with such force it slashed the couch cushion, opening a cotton stuffed wound.
The instrument crashed to the floor as the lasts string broke.
The body of the guitar swelled, became distended. Enamel cracked across the surface, the wood breaking out in what looked like scales. All six strings went rigid and stood straight up, pointing at the ceiling. As Eddy watched, they began to curve, their needle-sharp tips pointing down towards the floor. Three went to one side, three to the other. With an abrupt violence, the strings darted down, into the floor, and began to push the guitar up, off the carpet. It rose like a bloated insect, struggling to its feet.
With his heart in his throat, Eddy turned to flee. He made it two steps before he tripped and went sprawling. A tangle of chords snagged around his ankle, yanking his double stacked amplifier down on top of him. The impact of the falling speaker shattered his knee, its weight pinning him to the floor.
Eddy screamed himself hoarse. The agony of his ruined bones, the hideous abomination transforming before him, these things broke something within the young musicians mind. His guts rolled in his belly and it felt like John Bonham was stomping on a double bass pedal in his heart.
The thing crawling across the floor was a guitar no longer. It was engorged, had doubled in size, its mass expanding and contracting. Expanding and contracting.
It's breathing! The realization dawned with equal parts fear and revulsion.
A throbbing, atonal screech brayed from the amp. The twisted faces, Eddy once admired, were opening their mouths and screaming along with it. He saw their tormented expressions in the wooden flesh of the monster dragging itself towards him.
The creature's neck gave a sickening crunch, and snapped. Putrid bile-colored foam oozed from the fracture and there was another crunch. Then another. And another. The neck was breaking in segments at every fret, curling up like a scorpion's tail. What was once the head of the guitar was an amorphous, jagged knot of swollen wood and rusted chrome. What had been tuning knobs became serrated barbs, green puss dripping from their sharpened points.
Eddy tried to dislodge his leg and failed. Screaming seemed like the only thing to do. So he did. Right to the end.
The grinding buzz and howling shrieks rose to a crescendo. It was quiet after that.
Jenn and Steve admired the instruments hanging throughout the store. Their six month-old son squirmed and wailed in his father's arms, the infant's plight unknown. Steve was rocking and soothing the child when his eyes caught a modest, wood grained guitar with a price tag he could afford.
He reached out without thinking and brushed the strings. The open chord sighed in pleasant dissonance and the child was silent at once.
Jenn smiled at her husband. "Music soothes the savage beast."
"Sometimes, music is the beast," the Clerk's gold tooth sparkled from behind the counter as he spoke. "Why don't you take that down, strum a few chords. See if it grows on you."