Life Flasher

The lights clicked on, blinding the thin man standing before the hundreds of people in the audience. The cheering and screaming swelled but was drowned out when his pick ran over the strings, blaring out a long, wavering note. From this moment on, adrenaline took over. It was only him, his guitar, and the wail of music in his ears. He could have been standing there in his underwear with no one around, and the feeling would have been the same.

Before he knew it, he was being ushered off the stage by his drummer, his guitar still slung over his shoulder, a grin plastered to his face. "Dude, that was awesome!" he exclaimed, tripping down the stairs that led to the back of the stage where dressing rooms lined the wall.

"Yeah, yeah…awesome." The drummer replied, not really paying attention. His eyes were roaming the back. A sly grin spread across his face when he saw a small band of groupies standing nearby, autograph books in hand. He clapped his band mate on the shoulder. "You enjoy your… post concert attitude, Vi. I have hotter fish to fry." With that, he sauntered over to the girls, who let out squeaks of excitement.

Vihalen sighed and handed his guitar to one of the stage assistants. "The limo is ready, Mr. Dolentz." he said officially.

"Tell it to keep waiting." he replied. "I'm going for a walk." The assistant nodded and bustled off to have the guitar taken care of. Vihalen glanced over at Jeon, his drummer. He had his arms around two of the girls while the other two hung on him awkwardly, fawning. He shook his head and walked in the other direction, his Chelsea boots rolling silently on the stone floor.

The alley at the back of the concert hall was dark and quiet, only the hum of the crowd in the front could be heard, but compared to the backstage, it was silence. He leaned against the wall and stared up at the half moon. Post concert attitude. He laughed dryly. Jeon didn't get it, he really didn't. He was one hell of a drummer, kept perfect time and everything. His beats pulled the music along nicely, but Vihalen always said it had no soul, and it didn't. Jeon only laughed when he would tell him though. No sentimental talk with him.

That post concert attitude was only the remnants of what he felt onstage. When he would play that first chord…that first note to start it all...he would lose sense of everything around him. The music and he, that's all he noticed. It was a special kind of euphoria that no drug could provide, he knew for sure, and the hangover wasn't quite as brutal as a drug. Critics often wailed on Vihalen's stage presence, said he looked "as if in a daze" or "on some unknown high". Honestly, while another guitarist would take this as an insult he would only smile.

He reached into his denim jacket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and his lighter from the back pocket of his long dark brown, form-fitting pants. He pulled a stick from the pack and shoved it back into his pocket. He placed the end between his teeth and lit the tip. He took a long drag and leaned his head back against the wall, his denim John Lennon hat falling off.

Nope. The euphoria wasn't the same. This euphoria was… lame.

He stood there for the longest time, one foot against the wall and his eyes closed as he finished off the cigarette. Halfway done with it and he was already tired of the smell.

A gust of wind swept through the alley, strong enough to blow the cancer stick from his mouth. He looked up, as if expecting to see what had caused the wind. Instead, he saw a blur of gold and flesh flying towards him before the color black invaded his vision.

Gold-sprinkled, green eyes were slowly revealed from behind heavy eyelids, but were quickly covered again as the bright light stung them. Vihalen pushed himself up, his hand sinking in something soft, but grainy. He looked down to see golden sand squeezing between his fingers. Confused, he looked up, right into the afternoon sun. Groaning, he stood on his feet, wobbling, and stumbled forwards a few steps. His head was aching horribly and his right cheek stung. Putting his fingers gingerly to the place, he pulled them back with a hiss and looked at the bright red covering his prints. Cursing under his breath he looked around.

His heart plopped into his stomach, still beating rapidly. All he saw was constantly rolling dunes of sand. The sun beamed down on him, causing him to sweat. The heat was unbearable, but the sand was cold.

"What the hell…." he muttered to himself. He pulled his jacket off and rolled up the sleeves of his short, black knitted polo shirt. He scratched the top of his head, realizing that his Lennon hat was still perched there. He could have sworn that it had fallen to the ground, but that was the least of his worries at the moment.

Unenthusiastically, he started forwards, dragging his boots through the thick sand. He trudged on, staring at the horizon hoping to reach it soon, but knowing that he would just see more sand.

It felt like hours…days, since he started that long walk. The only thing that changed was the patterns in the sand as the sun slowly sank towards the horizon behind him. At least he had one sense of direction.

"Hya! Hya!"

He stopped and turned swiftly, the sun blinding him. He caught glimpses of a man in flowing black robes riding towards him on a black horse. The dark color contrasted greatly against the light colors of the sand and the sky, making him an easy target to follow.

He reined his horse in front of Vihalen, who only stood there, staring up at him with a blank expression, one eye closed because of the sun. The man stared at him through a slit in his headwear before pulling a rifle from the inside of his robes. Vihalen stumbled some as the man grabbed the barrel and swung the butt at his head. The handle barely missed him and he fell backwards, tumbling heels over head down the dune he had just climbed.

Groaning and feeling as if he were suffering a major hangover, he pushed himself up once again. But this time instead of sand between his fingers it was shag carpeting. The strange smell of incense wafted strongly under his nose, causing him to cough. He sat back on his heels and looked around him.

Holy shit, it was the Beatles. He could have sworn to that. Through the thick smoke of different incenses and marijuana, he saw four guys with similar haircuts and hippie clothing. It was the mix of their 60's and 70's look with the late 60's drugs.

"Hello?" he asked cautiously. He wondered if they had even noticed him.

He wondered how he had even gotten there to begin with. First the desert and now he was back in the 60's with one of the greatest rock bands of all time, one of his own major influences.

He stood up and walked over to them when he received no response, waving away the smoke as he walked. Sand sprinkled from his clothing, slightly dosing some of the incense that he stepped over.

"Hello?" he asked again and reached out, touching the shoulder of the guy on the end of the row of four chairs. It was like their thrones and he understood how Micky Dolenz could call them "the four kings of E.M.I." ever more.

But the king he touched fell over to the side heavily, his head popping off and rolling to Vihalen's feet as it came in contact with the royalty next to him, this one repeating the same process causing the domino effect. Vihalen stumbled back, staring at the head of George Harrison at his feet. With a deep wave of relief he realized that they were mannequins. He sighed, his disturbed feeling growing.

"Oh how horrible…."

He looked up to see a girl entering the room. Her long blonde hair fell in gentle waves to her waist and her crystal blue eyes surveyed the scene calmly. "It seems they've fallen to pieces again."

She walked forwards gracefully, her defined hips swaying with the movement. Her brightly colored, tight mini dress immediately caught his attention and he watched her slowly sit the mannequins back on their chairs and replace their heads. Once her task was complete she turned to him, a sly smirk on her lips. "You did this?"

Vihalen swallowed, beginning to feel nervous. He nodded.

Her smirk only grew and she walked slowly up to him, almost teasingly. "Good job." She said lowly, leaning over and pressing her hands lightly against his chest. "You brought down the kings." she breathed into his ear.

Vihalen involuntarily shuddered at feeling her warm breath and her touch. She turned her head to look him in the eye. "You have gorgeous eyes." she said quietly, moving one of her hands around to the back of his neck. She lifted herself up slightly and pressed her lips to his. The kiss started out gentle but then she began to deepen it, pushing him back. He stumbled against a couch, almost falling, but she grabbed the beads around his neck, pulling him up.

Suddenly he was no longer in the smoke filled room, and the blonde was gone. In her place was a vicious looking dark haired man with large, white eyes. He yanked on Vihalen's beads-gone-dog tags and threw him to the ground. Vihalen scurried away, struggling to his feet. He looked himself over quickly. He was wearing the olive drab that adorned the military men of the U.S. of A.

He heard a frustrated grunt and looked up to see the man preparing to charge at him. With a yelp, he dove out of the way and the man rammed head first into the tree behind him. Vihalen took this chance to take off running, dodging trees and bomb blasts. He ran straight, not caring how lost he was getting; he didn't think it could get any worse.

He ran and ran until suddenly the cool rain forest temperature turned to searing heat as he was in the desert again, and then he was running through the smoke filled room.

He collided with something strong, obviously made of wood. It busted and he forced his way through, running as fast as he could only stumbling a little. He no longer saw his surroundings. He was aware of a crowd chasing him though, mixed sounds of shouting and callings of his name filling his ears. He ignored it and trucked on. Suddenly the ground left him and he was aware of that nauseating falling sensation. The shouts began to grow fainter as he fell farther and faster, until he finally hit—

"VIHALEN!"

He sat up with such a sharp gasp that it robbed him completely of his breath. He sat there, staring straight ahead of him as he panted heavily, trying to get his breath back and regulated. Sweat rolled down his brow and he slowly became aware of a steady beeping. The room he was in was white and sterile… the beeping came from a machine next to him. He felt a little sting his hand with he moved and looked down. An I.V. was running from his hand to a bag hanging by the bed. Sitting next to him was Jeon and his manager, along with a few other important persons. On the other side of the bed were his mother and father, along with a doctor. He was holding a clipboard and watching him over it.

"Vihalen?" his mother asked softly, laying her hand on his. "Are you all right?"

Vihalen honestly couldn't answer, even if he had had an answer to that question.

"W-What… happened?" he croaked out.

"Well…." Jeon began, his noble accent thick, "I found you lying in an alley, a joint lying next to you still smoking."

Vihalen stared at him in disbelief. "What?"

"Mr. Dolentz, do you know what was in that joint?" the doctor asked him, his tone official.

"I didn't smoke a joint…." Vihalen replied in bewilderment. "Only a cigarette… and only half of it. And then I think I was mugged…" he paused, everything rushing back in one bang. His head ached horribly and he held it in his hands, feeling his stomach acids bubbling below the surface, threatening to rise. "The deserts… the Beatle mannequins… the girl… I was in a war!" He looked around at everyone. They were giving his looks mixed with surprise and sympathy. A few on the people he didn't recognize whispered things to each other, Vihalen caught the words "mental institution."

"You overdosed on mixed drugs, Mr. Dolentz." The doctor reported. "You almost didn't make it. You're very lucky." He laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder before leaving, Vihalen's manager and the other assorted peoples following, leaving only Jeon and Mrs. and Mr. Dolentz.

"I really hope that wasn't my life flashing before my eyes." Vihalen said in a mutter, staring down at his pale and shaking fingers. The people around him were obviously still confused, but they remained silent and offered him the most comfort they could.


Author's Note: This was inspired by The Monkees' movie Head.