You Will Remember

Being a ghost means a lot of things. It means that everything you loved about life... warmth, love, compassion... it all goes away. I suppose the thing that makes most ghosts so angry and eager to take it out on others, is knowing that those still living have what has been forever lost. Not many people think about the fact that all of us ghosts were once alive. Even I, Ember McLain, had a life once upon a time.

Wow, I sound so damn somber and melodramatic. Well, I'm recording this more for myself than anyone else anyway. Because I don't want to forget my life like most ghosts do. It's a ghost's curse to forget their lives, and simply live out what they became for the rest of time trapped within the infinite purgatory of the Ghost Zone. Bet you didn't know THAT, did you? Humans never think about anything but how our presence affects you. I'm not one to talk though; I was the same way when I was alive.

I'm getting off track damnit. I need to concentrate. I can already feel the memories beginning to blur. Alright... I guess it started when I was seventeen, with a different life and a different name. We were kids dreaming of a time far away when we were playing alongside the greats of the 80's. Aerosmith, Metallica, Megadeth, these were our Gods. And we wanted to join them in Godhood. A popular dream I admit, but one we had a passion for.

"Are we ready to rock this house?" A girl screamed and bounced around in her parents' garage, holding a guitar tightly in her hands like it would leap away from her if she would let it. When she didn't hear a response she turned to glare at her three bandmates, who looked at each other and raised their instruments.

"Yeah!" They responded in kind. With that encouragement the girl turned back to the garage door.

"Then let's do it!" The girls slammed the guitar picks onto the chords and they began to play. The noise echoed through the garage at a deafening volume and didn't actually sound comprehendible, but in her ears it was perfection. Of course, that didn't mean much to her mother, who stormed in through the garage door and promptly unplugged her guitar before turning to march back inside silently, slamming the door behind her.

"She's just jealous." Her drummer said proudly once the instruments fell silent.

"Hah. Yeah. She'll see, I'll become the best rocker the world has ever seen. James Hetfield has nothing on me, baby." Angelica McLain laughed as she pulled the guitar strap off and set her guitar on its stand like a precious jewel, stretching once she was free from its weight. "Let's go grab a burger or something. I think that's enough practice for today."

Her bandmates agreed, so they turned to leave the garage, stretching and laughing companionably until they reached a nearby McDonald's, their way lit by the golden light of dusk beginning to fall over Amity Park. They went inside laughing and ordered their food before sitting down to wait.

"So, now that that's out of the way, I have a surprise for you guys." Angelica smiled, leaning across the table toward her bandmates. "I managed to get us a real gig."

"No way!" Her bassist exclaimed in surprise. "Where?"

"The Firebrand Saloon across town." Angelica grinned. "They agreed to let us use their stage as long as we paid to get in the saloon."

"So... we're not so much an act as we are a bunch of random patrons who happen to drag our instruments in." The drummer grumbled.

"Hey! It's something!" Angelica slammed her fist down on the table. "And if we can wow the crowds there, word will start spreading. We've got to start small, but I think this is our big foot-in-the-door of the music industry." Angelica heard the clerk behind the counter call her number, so she went to gather their food before their conversation resumed.

"I think it's more like a boot in our ass once they actually hear us play." The bassist smirked.

"Hey, are you saying we stink?" Angelica demanded.

"Well, we've only written two songs, and we barely ever practice them. All we do are your 'jam sessions'."

"Then why are you even here?" Angelica growled. "If you're not serious about this, what's the point of continuing?"

"I'm not saying I'm not serious, I just-" The bassist began before Angelica interrupted him.

"You DID! Neither of you really gives a damn about the music... well I AM serious about this!" Angelica stood up. "I will become the greatest Rock star you've ever seen! Without you!" Angrily she tossed her burger and fries at her band mates and turned to stomp out of the McDonald's, fuming with her fists clenched at her sides. She didn't need unserious losers tagging along dragging her down, she could wow the crowd at the saloon on her own.

Days passed and I practiced, trying to write a guitar solo. I didn't have time to find new band members before the Firebrand Saloon gig, so I had to go it solo. I was so convinced I could do it... I was such a little moron. And since my band owned almost all of the equipment, I was left with nothing but a guitar, an amp, and a dream. But I was a dreamer kind of girl, so I still made my gig even without them or a solid solo song to play.

Angelica approached the saloon with her guitar slung over her shoulder, her small amplifier clutched in her hand, and a dream burning in her heart. She'd practiced nonstop for the last week on this one song she was given time for. One song was all she would need to wow this crowd. She approached the bouncer and paid her way in before heading to the stage to set up her equipment.

"Hey." Angelica looked to the side when she heard a voice speak from right behind her. "You in a band?" He was a rather handsome boy around her own age, with a pair of glasses perched awkwardly on his nose that did nothing to mar the chiseled nature of his jaw line and the confident smile on his face. His deep brown eyes stared into her own blue ones, and she felt a blush creep across her cheeks.

"Yeah. Well... I was. But they weren't really serious... not that I'm gonna let that stop me." Angelica raised her guitar. "I don't need a band if I have a guitar in my hand and a fire in my heart baby!"

"That's the spirit!" The man grinned. "Now go knock us off our feet! I'll be watching!" The boy replied with a grin. Angelica grinned back and approached the stage with newly renewed spirits.

She placed her amp on the front of the stage and plugged it in before plugging her guitar into the amp. She lacked a microphone for her singing, she would just have to try to yell above the sound of her guitar. She approached the front of the stage and cleared her throat before shouting.

"Are you ready to hear an angel sing?" She shouted enthusiastically. A few people glanced in her direction as if she'd just escaped from a nuthouse, then turned back to their private conversations. Only the boy she'd met before applauded vigorously and hooted for her to begin. She cleared her throat again. "Okay! Let's rock!"

She began to play, strumming on her guitar harshly. The sound blared across the saloon like a thunderclap. Glasses shattered on the floor and people shouted in pain as the thunderous sound reverberated through the room. Angelica stopped and quickly turned down her amp, flashing the crowd an apologetic smile. "S... sorry..." She gulped, red-faced.

She returned to the front of the stage and coughed before playing again. This time the sound was softer but still audible, so she kept playing, picking up on the lyrics she'd written the first day after her band mates had left. "A life lived once for another. A destiny, to be apart. Life hates to see lovers. Come together when once apart..."

Her voice faltered as she saw the crowd glaring in her direction. Her hands were sweating on the guitar, as her hand began to slip, resulting in sour note after sour note. She closed her eyes and tried to keep singing.

"A love unknown forever lost... a destiny... destiny..." She stuttered. Oh man, she couldn't remember the lyrics. And she now realized her hand had slid off the fret board, resulting in a series of unimaginative unyielding noises as she kept strumming her pick across the strings. "Destiny... shining..." Some of these people were staring at her with pity in their eyes, shaking their heads at the disgraceful display.

She gasped when she felt the strong hand of the Saloon's owner grab her arm. "Come on girl, that's enough." He pulled her toward the exit to the applause of the rest of the patrons.

"Hey! Come on, I wasn't finished!" Angelica pleaded. Her cries fell on deaf ears as she was physically thrown to the street outside, where she fell on her side with a grunt. "What about my amp? ACK!" She shouted when the amp flew at her, slamming into her stomach. She doubled over on pain and rolled to the side, clutching her stomach as her head rested on the street.

She lay there for a while, waiting for the throbbing pain in her stomach to subside as the sun disappeared beyond the horizon. She looked up when she heard a pair of footsteps approach in front of her. The boy from inside was looking down at her worriedly. "Are you okay?" He asked.

"I'm fine..." She growled and tried to stand up, keeping one hand on her stomach as she climbed to her feet. "I don't need this stupid place..." She quickly reached up to wipe away the tears that had leaked out of her eyes.

"If it helps... I thought you were good." The boy told her. "I mean, sure it wasn't technically perfect... but you have a lot of spirit."

"Thanks..." Angelica replied as he plucked her guitar from the ground and held it out to her. She took it in one hand and he grabbed her amp.

"Come on, I'll walk you come." He said with a smile. "I'm David Arnolds, by the way."

"Angelica. Angelica McLain." Angelica shook his hand as they turned to walk down the street toward her house. She glanced over at him occasionally, and when he looked back she blushed and looked away. He had actually called that mess of a song 'good'. Of course she knew he was lying through his teeth, but there was something sweet about that. And she needed something to latch onto... something to keep the wounds of this night from destroying her dream.

Yeah... my foot-in-the-door was cut off on entry. I deserved it I guess, I would have at least had company in being thrown out if I'd kept my band around. After that I didn't have the courage to play any music for a long time, but I did have other things to focus on. My parents got more and more annoyed that I was almost 20 and still living with them, and then there was David...

"Just give me a little more time!" Angelica shouted angrily. "It won't be too much longer! I'm looking for a job, but nobody wants to hire me yet! I can't just storm in and demand that they give me a job!"

"Because you waited too long to give up that silly dream of yours!" Her mother shouted back. "If you'd gotten a job at sixteen like sane girls, there would be no problem now!"

"It's not a silly dream, and I haven't given up on it!" Angelica screamed angrily. "I'm only looking for a job to appease YOU because YOU don't believe I can make it!"

"I just don't want you to fool yourself!" Her mother shouted. "Every teenager dreams of that life, do you know how many truly make it? You need to accept reality Angelica, and the reality is that you won't make it! You need to get a job, get a place of your own, and work your way up the corporate ladder like your father did!"

"Or I could just marry into money like YOU did and be a married whore! But I won't, because I have both self-respect AND a dream! And if you don't understand that dream, then I don't need you!" Angelica turned and stomped to the front door of the house, slamming it behind her. She stomped down the street, her ever-present guitar slung across her back.

She looked over when she heard a car pull up to the curb, rolling to a stop right beside her. "Hey there Angel." David smiled and gestured her over to him. "I know that expression. Hop in, I'll take you somewhere." Angelica didn't have the focus to say 'thank you' as she hopped into the driver's seat of the convertible and he took off down the street with her. "Want to talk about it?"

"What's to talk about? I'm a stupid girl with a stupid dream and no future." Angelica growled under her breath.

"Oh come on you don't believe that." David replied.

"Forget it... I just need to relax. Take me somewhere relaxing." Angelica leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes, rubbing her forehead. The guitar pressing into her back was almost comforting in a strange way, it reminded her that she did still have a dream, no matter what kind of horrible setback she'd had on her first night out.

She kept her eyes closed, letting David drive them along wherever he pleased. It was a rather long time before he pulled to a stop and she heard him put the car in park. She opened her eyes to find that they were sitting at the Drive-In Theater on the edge of town. She smiled slightly and looked over to see him smiling broadly at her. "You always know how to make a horrible day decent."

"Just decent?" David asked. "I was aiming for wonderful."

"Mmm, we'll see how the rest of the day goes." Angelica smiled. David smiled back and put one arm around her shoulders, turning to pay attention to the movie as she leaned against him. It was a decent movie she supposed... but she didn't pay attention to it for very long. Weeks of pent-up frustration had cemented into energy that needed to be released... a release she found in his arms.

In the darkness of the growing dusk, passions flared that had been building for some time, releasing emotions and feelings that she'd never felt before. A touch so gentle and yet so powerful it made her soul quake in response. She gave herself to this touch, confident and comfortable in its embrace, never regretting nor looking back as the evening wore on. The movie was almost over by the time their passions were spent, and they lay in each others' arms, open and vulnerable and yet uncaring.

"Man..." David said as he relaxed with his arm around her. "You're like an ember... so small it can be missed, but so hot if you dare to touch it." He smiled down at her.

"An ember huh?" Angelica smiled teasingly. "I love you..." Angelica said softly, leaning her cheek against his shoulder as sweat dripped down her forehead. He didn't respond, merely turned to watch the credits scroll across the screen in front of them until they ended. At last they separated and David drove her back home, pulling up outside her house. Angelica leaned back and gave him a kiss before climbing out of the car.

"See you around Angel." David waved as he drove off.

Angelica sighed in contentment and turned to walk back to the door, fumbling in her pocket for her keys. She pulled them out and jammed the house key into the lock... but it wouldn't turn. She tried several times in either direction with no success. "What the Hell?" She pulled the key out and knocked on the door. "Hello!" She shouted. "Hellloooooo! Yo, mom!" She didn't hear a response.

"Okay, I get it, I shouldn't talk back to you. Lesson learned, now open up!" She banged on the door with all her strength, growling in increasing frustration. "Open this Goddamn door! This isn't funny anymore! OPEN UP!" She stopped banging and stepped back several minutes later, her breath coming in heavy gasps. The car was in the driveway... she knew they were home. But it didn't look like they were going to let her in.

"Fine! Forget you both! I have a place to go!" Angrily, Angelica turned to stomp away from the house, clenching her fists and fighting back the tears of betrayal. Sure she'd fought with her parents... but to actually have them kick her out of the house. Well, forget them. David would give her a place to stay, at least for a little while.

It took her two hours to walk across town to his apartment. She approached his door tiredly and knocked, rubbing her eyes. It was after midnight by now, she needed to crash badly. When David opened the door his eyes went wide. "Angel? What are you doing here?"

"My parents changed the locks on my house." Angelica replied tiredly.

"Ouch... that is harsh." David winced.

"You think I could stay here for a while?" Angelica asked.

"Stay here?" David blinked. He looked around, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "Well I don't know... that's kind of fast."

"Come on, I have nowhere else to go." Angelica said.

"I just don't feel that way about you. I'm sorry." David said. Angelica's house fell open as she gaped at him in shock, her arms hanging limply at her sides.

"D... don't feel that way about me? But... David... the... the Drive-In... I mean..." Angelica stuttered in shock.

"Sorry... I'll see you around." David closed the door, leaving her staring at the wood as her heart shattered like a fragile glass figurine. She turned away from the door and walked away, stumbling down the stairs to the street like a zombie with a hangover. She stumbled down the sidewalk, not really going anywhere. She had nowhere TO go...

She stopped when she saw red and blue lights flash from the road as a police cruise pulled up to the curb beside her. She covered her eyes as a flashlight's beam emanated from one of the windows. "Do you know what time it is? It's way past curfew. You should be at home." Angelica growled and lowered her hand, glaring at the officer in the car.

"I don't have a home to go home to!" Angelica shouted.

The police officer merely sighed as he climbed out of the car and grabbed her arm. "As if we haven't heard that from every disgruntled teenage runaway. Come on, who are you and where do you live?"

"Ugh..." Angelica grunted. "Maybe you can talk some sense into my parents anyway... I'm Angelica McLain, I live at 3509 Dreary Drive."

"Come on, we'll get you home." The police officer put her in the back of the car and climbed back into the passenger's seat while his partner drove them back to Angelica's parents' house. They approached the door and the officers knocked. It took only a minute for the door to open and Angelica's mother to look out at them from inside. "Excuse me Mrs. McLain, we seem to have found something of yours."

"Something of ours?" Her mother asked. "What would that be?"

"Uh... your daughter, Angelica McLain." The officer said.

"Oh don't be silly officer, there is no Angelica." Her mother stared straight at her as she spoke, her eyes narrowing darkly. Angelica didn't respond, but could feel her heart twisting and seething in unfathomable rage.

"Oh, I'm sorry to bother you then." The officer smiled and turned to lead Angelica back to the squad car. Angelica heard the front door close after they'd left, leaving her alone with the two police officers. "Would you care to tell us the truth, girl?" The officer demanded. Angelica didn't respond, glaring at her feet as if she wanted to rip them off. "If you won't tell us who you really are we'll have to take you to the station until we can figure it out."

"You heard the woman, there is no Angelica." She growled darkly. "Throw me in prison, I don't care. It'll probably me more comfortable than the cardboard box I was planning to sleep in." The police officer shook his head and pushed her into the back of the squad car again before sitting up front with his partner. The girl didn't look at either of them, glaring at the ground, her eyes stinging with turmoil and hatred. Was there no one she could really count on...?

I spent a few months in jail after that. It wasn't so bad really. I hadn't committed any crimes, they just had nowhere else to put me. They didn't know who I was, and I didn't know what to tell them. I wasn't Angelica McLain anymore... I wasn't anybody. But my eighteenth birthday was that December, and they couldn't hold me as an underage runaway anymore, so I was released back onto the streets. I don't know what I thought I was doing, but I decided to go back to David... it was better than going back to my parents.

The now eighteen year old girl approach the apartment door that belonged to the only boy she'd ever given herself to... the only boy she'd ever dared hope for something more with. She hesitated a moment before knocking, and the door opened a few moments later. His eyes went wide when he saw her.

"Hey! You!" He exclaimed in surprise. "Wow... you. It's been forever. Uh..." He struggled a moment, looking around and rubbing the back of his head, as if struggling to remember her name. "An... A... E... Ember, right?" He smiled. She just stared at him drolly, her eyes narrowing. "So, how've you been doing?"

"Goodbye." She turned and marched away from him suddenly.

"Hey, hold on! It's been forever!" She ignored him and made her way back down to the street, walking down the sidewalk with her hands jammed in her dirty pockets. A light snow was falling across Amity Park as Winter claimed the world in the middle of December. She still had her guitar, the only possession she still had since her parents had kept everything else. She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and pulled her guitar off her back, leaning against the wall of a nearby store, strumming it lightly. She'd gotten a lot of practice in her time in jail... it was all she'd been allowed to do.

She closed her eyes and began to play, the notes streaming out of the instrument in a beautiful harmony that echoed through the street. People glanced in her direction as they passed, but didn't pay her much mind. She picked up the tempo a bit, the frustration of a shattered life pouring out of her in music form, storming through the streets like a herd of wild animals charging through a forest.

One by one people began to stop and listen, watching her pick flash across the guitar strings blindingly fast. She played randomly, the notes flowing on their own until her arm grew tired and she was forced to stop. All the muscles in her arm were sore, but when she opened her eyes she saw that a huge crowd had formed around her. As the last note of her performance died out, they broke into applause.

"Wow, that was amazing." A girl stepped forward from the crowd with wide eyes. Who are you? Do you play professionally?" She asked.

"I'm An..." She stopped, looking around and thinking. That name didn't mean anything anymore... but there was a name she could turn into something. "I'm Ember. Ember McLain. And no, I don't play professionally. Never have..."

"Well you should." The girl told her. Ember looked at her in surprise. "You're very good. I know you could make it." She smiled. "It's your choice though. See you around!" She waved as she ran off, dispersing with the rest of the crowd. Ember watched them go, then looked down at the guitar still clutched in her hands. She didn't have a life anymore... her parents never understood her, David never cared about her. Nobody ever understood her... but she could still follow her dream and make them understand her.

She spent the next few days writing a song, sleeping in an alley between Burger King and McDonald's, using some cardboard boxes for blankets and eating remnants of food she could find. She didn't care about the living conditions as her anger poured onto the paper she'd scrounged up, notes and words combining into the embodiment of her frustration. When she was ready, she made her way back to the Firebrand Saloon, where her stardom should have begun months ago.

She paid her way into the door and made her way through the crowd. There was already a band up on stage, playing a slow beat that the patrons were nodding their heads and tapping their feet to. Ember pushed out of the crowd and walked up on stage, pushing the band's lead singer out of the way.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing? This is our gig!" The man exclaimed angrily.

"I want to play a song." Ember told him darkly.

"Well too bad!" The singer countered. "We worked hard to get this gig, we're not going to let some hack push us out of the way!" Ember growled at him, then looked back as the owner of the Saloon grabbed her arm, looking pissed off. "Get her off our stage! And out of our lives."

"I'm GOING to play! And nobody can stop me!" Ember swung her guitar, slamming it into the Saloon owner's stomach. He doubled over in pain, and she kicked him off the stage, where he collapsed with a heavy thump. The band stepped away from her in surprise as all the patrons turned their stunned gazes on her. "Screw the authority! I'm not going to sit by any let anyone keep me down anymore! I'm going to play!" A few of the teenaged patrons applauded her ambition, though others still looked stunned at the assault.

Ember plugged her guitar into one of the band's amplifiers and approached the microphone, looking out across the crowd. All eyes were on her, watching expectantly as she began to strum the guitar softly at first, singing her song. Her eyes closed as she sung softly.

"It was... It was September. Wind blows, the dead leaves fall. To you I did surrender. Two weeks, you didn't call." Her strumming grew fiercer as she played, opening her eyes and glaring at the crowd as she played on.

"Your life goes on without me. My life a losing game. But you should... You should not doubt me. You will remember my name." Suddenly she gripped the fret tightly as she ground at the guitar, but this time the notes were not random and jumbled. A chaotic but sound melody floated over the crowd, driven by anger and frustration.

"Ember. You will remember. Ember. One thing remains. Oh Ember. So warm and tender. You will remember my name." Her playing softened again as she continued.

"Your heart. Your heart abandoned. Your wall now perishing. Like bad dreams in cold December. Nothing but ashes remain." Her playing grew to a fevered pitch once again, building into a monumental chorus of one person's passion pounding at the ears of those in attendants, who watch the show with transfixed gazes.

"Oh Ember. You will remember. Ember. One thing remains. Ember. So warm and tender. You will remember my name." As the last thunderous note died down she fell to her knees after her entire body had been so tense it had physically hurt to stay that way. She panted lightly, watching the crowd for their reaction. It took just one person to begin applauding before everyone else burst into simultaneous applause, roaring above the level even her music had been at.

She stood up weakly, looking around at the applauding teenagers roaring and hooting. She stood in front of the microphone panting, but a broad grin split her face when she realized what was happening. "Who do you love!" She shouted into the microphone.

"EMBER!" The crowd screamed back. Her grin only grew wider until she saw a grown man in a business suit approach the stage. He walked up to the edge of the stage and beckoned her closer. She complied curiously.

"Who are you?" He demanded.

"Ember McLain. Now who the heck are you?" She demanded.

"Andrew Johnson, I was here scooping out these young men here for a potential record deal." He said. Ember's interest was piqued instantly.

"Record deal?" Ember asked.

"Yes. I was about to leave when you made your... ahem... entrance." He said. Ember grinned. "You've really connected with this crowd, I've never seen anything like it in my entire career. I'd like you to consider giving me a call once you get out of jail." He said as two armed police officers stepped around him and grabbed Ember's arms.

"Jail? For playing music?" Ember demanded.

"No. For assault." One of the officers pointed to the owner of the saloon, who was being attended by paramedics.

"Oh yeah... damnit!" Ember swore. Andrew slipped a card into one of her pockets and waved as she was escorted out of the building by the two police officers. "Let go of me! He was trying to keep me down! He didn't understand, and neither do you assholes! Let me go! LET ME GO! NONE OF YOU UNDERSTAND!" She struggled against them until she was thrown into the back of the squad car. The patrons from the Saloon watched, cheering her on until the police drove out of sight.

I spent the next few months in jail, but the promoter was true to his word once I got out. I got myself a record deal and they hired a band to play behind me. My dream was coming true... we made an entire album, simply called "Ember". The song I played that night made radio waves all over the country, they were calling me the next big thing. The queen of teenage rebellion. My life went from ashes to dreams overnight. It all happened so fast it's like a giant blur... but what isn't a blur is the tour that followed...

Ember McLain was sitting in her dressing room with her eyes closed, waiting for her makeup artist to finish applying the finishing touches. When she opened her eyes she smiled. She looked almost inhuman, with black makeup surrounding her eyes combining with the white facial makeup to give her an almost ghostly pallor. She stood up, already dressed in her stage clothes. A leather top with a shoulder-length glove on her right hand, and a pair of tight leather pants. Her black hair was done up in a ponytail on top of her head, flowing down her back like a waterfall.

"You're on in ten minutes Ember." A voice said from the door as her makeup artist scurried off.

"I'll be ready." Ember snatched her guitar off the wall. They'd offered to get her a new, better one. But she preferred to keep this one. She'd gotten it years ago when her parents were tolerating this 'rock and roll phase'. It was her most prized possession, being with her through the best and worst times of her life. She'd never even had to replace any of the strings on it.

She took a deep breath to steady herself, staring into the mirror with a somber look in her eyes. "Okay Ember... time to stick it to everyone who thought you would never make it here." She grinned and narrowed her eyes, looking like she was about to rip someone's face off. "It's show time." She turned to leave the dressing room, making her way toward the stage. She could hear the opening act just finishing up their set.

"There you are! Come on, take your place!" Andrew said as he grabbed her arm and yanked her onto her black pedestal behind the curtain that separated them from the audience. Ember looked around at the musicians they'd hired to play the other instruments of her songs, making sure they were all ready in their places before she heard someone speaking in front of the curtain.

"And now enough with the amateurs! Here is the woman you all came to see! Ember McLain!" The voice shouted at the top of his lungs. Ember started playing a riff before the curtain even began to rise, and by the time it was up they had launched full-throttle into the first song of their set. Ember approached the front of the stage, grinning at the roaring applause she heard beyond the lights that blinded her to the crowd. She grabbed the microphone and launched into the son properly.

When they finished the first song she let the guitar fall to her waist, held up by the strap around her shoulder as she talked. "You all rocking with me out there?" She shouted. She heard a tremendous roar from the light-hidden crowd. "Who do you love?"

"EMBER! EMBER!" The crowd chanted back.

"YEAH BABIES!" Ember screamed and launched into the next song with her band mates joining her in a moment. They played for what felt like hours, until she felt her limbs beginning to weaken and her throat growing dry. When they finished the last song on their official set she turned back to the rest of her band. "Okay, you guys take five."

She watched the band leave, then turned back to the crowd. "Who do you love?"

"EMBER!" The crowd roared.

"That's what I thought. Haha." Ember laughed into the microphone. She heard chortles from the crowd as she strummed her guitar idly. "Our prepared set is almost over, but I have one more song for you people. A song that got me through rough times, and got me here today. And I'm betting it'll get me into the future too. So here we go."

She gripped the guitar and began to strum it in a familiar rhythm. She heard the crowd roar in approval when they recognized it, but she ignored them, focusing on the song. She leaned into the microphone and began to sing.

Yeah, Ooohhhhh
It was...
It was September
Wind blows, the dead leaves fall
To you I did surrender
Two weeks, you didn't call

Your life goes on without me
My life a losing game
But you should...
You should not doubt me
You will remember my name

Oh Ember
You will remember
One thing remains
Oh Ember
So warm and tender
You will remember my name

Your heart
Your heart abandoned
Your wall now perishing
Like bad dreams in cold December
Nothing but ashes remain

Oh Ember
You will remember
One thing remains
So warm and tender
You will remember my name

You will remember
One thing remains
So warm and tender
You will remember my name
You will remember my naaaaame

As her voice reverberated through the large stadium, the crackle of electrical power could be heard from the amplifier beside her. Before she'd even stopped singing, it erupted into a massive fireball that engulfed her body, coating it in a white-hot sheet of flames. The blast knocked her off her feet, falling with a heavy thud to the ground. Her guitar fell from stunned fingers beside her, the strings snapping in unison from the heat of the blaze.

There were no gasps or cries from the crowd, too stunned by the sudden display. A few people began to laugh, thinking it had to be part of the show. But all laughter was silenced when the paramedics reached the stage and ran to try to help her.

Ember just lay on the stage, too stunned and pained to even begin moving. She could see smoke rising from her body, and even a flicker of flames remaining in her hair. But it hurt to try to move, so she lay and let the paramedics do what they could. But she could feel her muscles giving out, her strength was fading. They were trying to get her outside to an ambulance when the darkness took her.

And I'm sure the rest is self-explanatory after that. I wound up in the Ghost-Zone, where all dead souls come to either rest or wander, depending on how they died. Me... I kept wandering. I still can't believe I was so close to the dream when some freak power surge cost me my life. I'll probably be wandering for the rest of eternity, looking for the life I should have had. Oh well, it's not such a bad afterlife. I can still rock with the best of them, and that's what I always wanted anyway. As long as I can do that, alive or dead... I'll be happy.

The End