• Jill Marie Denton

Corey and Emmi - Part I

September, 1995


He skimmed the crowd, the strobing lights highlighting hundreds of faces as they gaped up at him in anticipation. There was a low roar, summer thunder on the horizon, as the onlookers pressed themselves forward in an undulating wave toward the stage. A row of men thick as barrels held up the waist-high fencing, keeping the crowd at bay as he stepped past the floor speakers toward them, one foot on the edge of the plank stage.

Stooping forward, the wireless mix gripped hard, he let out a bellowing, guttural scream. Guitar kicked up, lights peeled toward the ceiling and the concert began as the crowd leapt in unison, their screams mirroring his.

The cursing bouncers fought mercilessly, elbowing back on-rushing metalheads as they ricocheted like pinballs. Among them was a petite blonde, pressed between the fence and the sea of bodies behind. Sweat pulled down her mascara, dampening from hairline to collarbone, and her body already ached from the opening act’s mosh pit, but her eyes never left Corey. He paced left, right and back again, the mic nearly down his throat as he bellowed out the trademark growls that made his music so enrapturing.

A crowd surfer easily twice her size and reeking of beer grabbed a fistful of her hair as he tumbled backward. She wailed, her chin tossed upward and eyes clamped as the house lights shone brightly on her spot in the crowd. When he finally let go and she could regain her senses, she took in the sight of that front man with his eyes dead on hers, the spotlight on her glistening forehead.

His hand tightened around the mic, a rigid scowl on display. The music coursed around him, the crowd rioting as the drum solo peaked, but he was fixated, frozen on that spot as she reached out for him, smiling and screaming, the joy of recognition and of the connection overwhelming her.

The moment lasted a few seconds though her heart stopped for every bit of it. And when he resumed his vocals, the band keying off him, she couldn’t catch her breath.

It was all the encouragement she needed to pursue the life for herself.


“Jailbait,” Rai teased, her arm tucked around Em’s as they escaped through the venue gates. They were tucked so tightly in the crowd that she had to shriek the word into her friend’s eardrum.

Em, her voice a distant memory, only smirked and shrugged. Invisible needles pierced inside from tongue to sternum, but she’d enjoyed every moment of the show she’d been dragged to, more than she’d ever admit to her friend. And Rai hadn’t missed a single second of her connection with Corey, of that look he gave her. She knew it’d be gossip among her group of friends the following day.

She’d caroused Rai into a Dead Kennedys show, so seeing Stone Sour with her was only fair. The mosh pit hadn’t been the best idea and her scalp still stung where that asshole had grabbed on. Safe in the car, seated behind Rai’s dad, she touched her crown, surprised to not feel some dried blood lingering there.

“How was the show, girls?” Harold asked his passengers.

“So great!” Rai elated from beside him. “I almost lost a tooth and Em got wrecked.”

Her friend could only nod, her larynx on fire.

Harold snickered knowingly into the rear-view mirror. “Bruises fade, but those shows, man, they live forever up here.” He tapped his temple. “Getting old sucks so bad. Gotta send my kid in there to mosh for me. Tell me you murdered someone. Make an old man proud.”

Rai laughed uproariously as Harold pulled into the endless line of evacuating cars. “You know it! And I surfed for maybe five seconds, but it was awesome. So awesome. Way better than pogo dancing or whatever she had me doing last weekend.”

Em rolled her eyes at Rai’s glare, croaking. “You had fun, don’t lie.”

“Sounds like you tried to keep up with Corey. Can’t do it, kid. No one can.”

“He looked right at her!” Rai squealed like a stool pigeon, making Em’s face flair.

Harold was just in time to see the cherry cheeks in the mirror but held his tongue. Instead, he passed back a bottle of light blue sports drink. “Here, nurse that voice before your hatchet-wound-of-a-mother catches on.”

She tried to laugh, the squeak like a trapped mouse. He’d handed over the exact same flavor the weekend before when she’d screamed her head off at the punk show. She didn’t deserve Rai’s family’s kindness but was endlessly grateful for it.

Rock radio was bad enough. Seeing it live? Not a chance she’d get permission, not in a million years.

The threat of her mother’s retribution kept her silent the entire way back to Rai’s.


<Part II Coming Tomorrow, July 16, at 1p EST>


*This is a work of fiction. Any details, characters, situations and circumstances within are works of fiction and are not reflections of true events. Story is copyright protected – use, dissemination or distribution of this work for personal or commercial use is prohibited.


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