Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"The Girl with the Teardrop Tattoos on Her Guitar"

A new YA paranormal thriller

by the formidable team of Inky and Peequeat

(this is our first official effort at live-tweeting a story. hope you enjoy it!) 

(if you'd like to follow the next one, keep an eye out for the hashtag #YAMwow, like "Shamwow," on Twitter. it stands for "YA Masterpiece - wow!") 

(also, we can hold 12 times our weight in adverbs!)

   It happened every year, was almost a ritual. Taylor Swift looked out across the empty arena and smiled. She picked up a rag, wiped the traces of blood off Strum's strings, and settled onto the stool at the center of the deserted stage. 
   "Why couldn't they see you belonged with me?" she said sadly. Backstage, someone - something - nodded.
   Her rough fingers caressed the strings and picked out a single minor chord. The teardrops inked onto Strum's body started to glow. She hadn't wanted to play Stockholm, but her manager had insisted. Something was happening...something bigger than Ticketmaster.
   "Who's there?" Taylor called out nervously. Her delicate voice sounded even smaller as it echoed through the Tealight Thunderdome. No one spoke, but a strummed chord roiled through the stadium. It was a D... a D minor.
   Taylor jumped up, clutching her guitar. "Really, pal? A D minor? Try out a diminished B-flat sometime, and we'll see who's scared!" She, for one, was not afraid. She may not have been cheer captain - may have spent her life on the bleachers - but she could jam. 
   "Seriously, man," she yelled as she stepped up to the mic. This specter, whoever it was, was messing with her ritual. "SPEAK NOW!"
   She let loose with the rockingest country-pop love ballad Sweden had ever heard, only stopping when she heard screams. The painful shrieks echoed from the rafters -- literally FROM the rafters, Taylor realized. "Who's up there? Are you all right?" 
   A pair of sunglasses dropped to the ground. "Special Agent Berg," the spy gasped. "Your chords are...killer."
   She tossed her perfectly tousled ponytail over one shoulder. "So I've been told," she said casually. 
   With a zipping noise, the spy dropped to the stage and pointed an unfriendly-looking machine at Taylor. "You're going to have to come with us," she said.
   Taylor sized up the spy. This one was no tougher than the suit they'd sent after her in Oslo. It was time for a diminished B-flat. 
   "Imma let you finish, ma'am," the spy said impatiently. "But I'm not here for the concert. I'm here to save you." 
   Taylor paused, ready to strike the fatal chord. Could she trust this spy? "Save me from what? I don't want to go back to December."
   "It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you," the spy said, and as an explosion sounded in the distance Taylor understood.
   "Fine, Agent Berg, I'll come with you," Taylor said. "But we're traveling my way." She braced her feet and blasted a wicked G major.
   Strum wasn't just the beloved guitar of an independently wealthy pop star. It was also a weapon. Lucky, because when they landed on the muted, decrepit outskirts of Stockholm, after flying past the site of the explosions at a reckless, Fearless pace, a horde of popular girls were waiting. They had never understood Taylor. They didn't even try. And there, in their midst, stood Drew.
   Taylor froze. She couldn't just play a C minor with Drew there. HE was the reason for the teardrop tattoos on her guitar. Not only that, something was strange about him. He didn't look sheepish at all...and he was levitating gently.
   "Taylor," Agent Berg said, "I think you've already met Drew, Kristen, Kirsten, and Gibby. But... meet your new special ops team."
   It had been easier back in her lunchbox days, but she'd really done it this time. Taylor was still an innocent, but she knew that a vicious guitar battle with Axl Rose himself would hardly compare to a locker room showdown with these divas. But there was Drew. The teardrops on her guitar glowed eerily as she stared him down, and then she nodded. It was showtime.
   "All right, Berg," Taylor said, brandishing Strum at the rude girls. "I'm already missing GOSSIP GIRL tonight. What's the op?"

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