“Hey man - sweet gig!”
The metalhead guitarist looks up, bleary-eyed, from behind a stack of CDs. “Yeah, awesome.” A thick, rasping cough. “Merch? I got merch.”
“Nah.” The kid shakes his head, happily. “I already picked up all your albums. You're like my second favourite artist of all time. Actually… could you sign my copy of Black Tor?” He brandishes a cardboard slipcase generously embellished with grotesque maggots and gothic lettering.
The guitarist fumbles for a sharpie. “Second favourite? Wow. You listen to a lot of stuff, kid?” A pause. “Wait. Who's your favourite?”
The fan proudly pulls back his leather jacket to reveal a faded t-shirt. Within a stylised banner across the chest, it is just possible to make out the words: Dies Irae.
The guitarist nods approvingly. “Good answer. Pretty conventional answer, sure… but there's reasons for that. Honestly, I can't think of any metal artist who doesn't owe something to Vitreus. Course, some of us owe more than others….”
“I knew it,” the kid says smugly. “You can hear his influence, like, all through your work. The bass lines, the riffs - not that I mean you're unoriginal…” he adds, hastily.
“He was my idol, back in the day,” the guitarist sighs, apparently unperturbed. “If only you'd had the chance to see him in concert - it was out of this world, I'm telling you. Listen to Snarl or Demon Pact and you can instantly tell you're hearing something special… but you needed to be there to understand just what a revolution it was at the time.”
“Wait… you saw Vitreus live?”
“He's the reason I got into this scene,” the guitarist admits. “He pretty much single-handedly recruited a new generation of metalheads - you know that, right? Everyone wanted to do what he was doing. Course, I know I'll never be anything like the superstar he was, but hey - I can dream… and I guess I've got some time to get good….”
The kid frowns. “Yeah, I… - oh, cheers, man!” He accepts his freshly signed CD. “Um. Do you think I could get good? I mean, I know you haven't heard me play, but I've been learning bass for about a month now. Getting into Dies Irae - and your stuff, of course - it's just made me want to go out and make some noise of my own….”
The guitarist smiles, leans back in the chair. “It does that, yeah.”
“Yeah.” The kid nods, begins to walk away… and then turns back, one eyebrow raised quizzically. “So… I was wondering,” he begins. “I mean. Speaking of Vitreus… all that stuff about him getting hit by lightning… and fighting a lion out on the moors… and dying, only to rise again, full of demonic power - is that… true, or is it all part of the legend?”
“Yeah.” The demon formerly known as Dartmoor grins. “Yeah… that's right. But what a legend, you know?”