The following excerpt from Audio Addict appeared in Challenge 6 of the Next Great Horror Writer contest (Episode 142).

alice-moore-192521.jpg

Audio Addict

Daphne Strasert

In a world where music is as illegal as heroin and just as deadly addictive, Cadence and Lorelei share music hits in the privacy of Cadence’s family hunting lodge. After paying for hits for months, Lorelei share a secret with Cadence – she can sing. Cadence and Lorelei spend lovely nights together as they binge on Lorelei’s gift, but when she decides she wants to stop, Cadence can’t control her addiction.

“Cadence wasn’t a square, but she’d attended freshman health class just like everyone else. She’d had the dangers of experimenting with music burned into her brain along with the grainy photos of ear infections. Poetry was okay, as long as no one drove under the influence. Even her parents kept a little Tennyson in the locked cabinet by their bed that they thought Cadence didn’t know about. Rap was a greyer area. Audioheads in Colorado were always going on about helping soldiers with PTSD and legalization, but that was a long way from any sort of federal recognition. Cadence’s parents would flip if they knew she’d listened to a small hit to unwind after last semester’s finals.

Lorelei always brought the hits. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who sold rap, but music was harder to come by. She said her brother got them from a DJ in the Shallows and Cadence was glad for it. She didn’t want to go to the huddled ruin of buildings where the shadows never fully receded and the sounds of sirens were always a few blocks away. It was a place that existed across America, simultaneously unique yet exactly the same in every city. And it was never somewhere good girls wanted to be after dark. Of course, a good girl wouldn’t be plugged into a guitar hit—sharing headphones and everything—in the middle of the afternoon.”