The little dog boy watched the images flash across the screen, sound rattling through tiny speakers.
“Repeat stuff, repeat stuff, repeat stuff.” The singer purrs, sliding across the stage.
Entranced, Luke Walker follows their movements with greedy eyes, hearing the crowd scream, fascinated by what it must be like to be famous. Off handedly, he twists a screwdriver until the screw is stripped completely. As the song ends, his attention returns to his work, and he sees the screw he just ruined.
“S***,” he exclaims to himself. With various plying tools he begins to replace the screw.
Then the next song begins to play. During the next half hour Luke alternates between absentmindedly working and attentively fixing all that was ruined.
This continues until Jayjay Big enters the room.
“Hey wassup, my man!” Jayjay serenades in his classic over-autotuned soprano.
Luke immediately perks up like the dog he is, “Jayjay, my bro, we should do this singer thing!” And points to the screen. “Look at that,” he says, “Don’t you, just want to be on that stage?”
Jayjay was silent for a moment, random neon pixels floating across his metallic visor, absorbing Luke’s newfound interest in singing.
“Okay,” he finally agrees, cold robotic body metaphorically warming up to the idea, “Okay, let’s do this thing. But first we’re gonna need some gear.”
Luke nods along with him, “Yeah....”
“Yeah…” they both mumble, neither of them knowing where to buy musical equipment of any degree.
After a little research, the two best friends reached an obstacle.
“Three million credits?” Jayjay statically shouts, “Where’re we supposed to get that kind of dough?”
All seems in vain, and the two sit dejectedly in silence for two whole days.
Then the two are struck with a brilliant idea, brought on by an advertisement for space-air-blaster shoes.
Jayjay is the first to speak up, robotic fingers wiggling evilly, “Oh, I know, you can enter a competition.”
“Of course!” is Luke’s immediate reply, “Street race winnings can reach up to three million credits easy!”
With that announcement, it was decided. Luke would race for the right to become a musician.
They did everything to get ready. Lucky underwear was prepared, the racing machine, a three-wheeled red and white-striped camaro-hotrod-hybrid, was bullet-proof spray coated and outfitted with two double-nitro fuel-injectors, in case of an emergency.
A week later, the day came around, and the two prospective comrades-in-fortune roll up to the venue. With paper bags stuffed in their pockets to make themselves look thicker, they swagger over to the race manager.
“Hey,” Luke slurs, “what’s the competition look like?”
The manager simply stamps the registration papers and points over their shoulder. The race manager was female minority by the way, just to crush your stereotypes.
Struggling to get a look over the counter, because Luke is so short, Jayjay lifts him up by the scruff to see.
Instantly, Luke’s eyes widen.
“Castlecrook....” He mouths with pure loathing.
Somehow or another, the morbidly obese and fuzzy haired billionaire senses his presence, and their eyes meet, four fiery balls locked on one another like two statues caught in a staring competition.
After a century or two, they turn away, and pretend to ignore each other. Both are now filled with determination to crush their recently remembered mortal enemy.
Jayjay frantically tries to calm him down, get him ready for the race, but Luke hears nothing. He just remembers that day, that fateful day, when he and Castlecrook last locked eyes. Dead smack between the burning wreckage of a thousand suns, they could hardly see past the scent of blood in the air, like excessive deodorant. At that time, there were no weapons which to fight with, but now, they had a race, they had a finish line and a steering wheel in their hands, and nothing would get in the way of their revenge.
In a flash, or perhaps a daze, the starting gun is ringing, and the racers are blasting off, the air exploding from the starting line like a hurricane. After the initial explosion, Jayjay Big picks himself off the ground to see Luke racing into the darkness. It’s at that moment he fully realizes the meaning of the road name. Highway 666, is not just in name, but also in reality, the Highway to Hell.
A crimson moon hangs from the sky, the only light to be seen. Everything else is as dark as the abyss, blood raining from the sky and splattering across Luke’s tiny one-seat windshield and staining the edges maroon. Luke looks to either side, expecting to see Castlecrook among the racers, but his archnemesis is nowhere to be seen. There is only skeletons on ghostly horses. Four of them to be exact.
Vengeance turns to fear, but he does not dare lift his foot from the gas pedal, and accelerates deeper into the abyss.
Luke glances at his gauges, the speedometer slowly climbing above six hundred miles-per-hour. There’s a tapping on his side window. Luke looks, one of the four horsemen rides beside, holding a pocketwatch to the glass. He sees there’s only two minutes to midnight. Then the skeleton points behind. Luke turns his head, and there’s Castlecrook, a chain of seven keys wrapped around his neck like spiderwebs, seated on a skeletal throne of colossal sea creatures, propelled forward by a ring of sleek and serrated turbine engines.
Luke’s foot stamps harder on the gas, but his machine will go no faster. Castlecrook approaches. The horseman beside looks questioningly at him.
Luke screams in response, “F***ing do something before he catches up!”
The skeleton seems to understand. Then they punch through the glass and wretch him out into the open air. Luke’s racing vehicle careens off the road, falling off into infinite blackness.
His eyes bulge out of his skull, he’s sure he’s dreaming, all his effort lost, but the skeleton blasts him into reality by shoving him face-first onto the cold, rattling ground. The three other horsemen help Luke to his feet, also on the moving platform. Luke, screaming in his head to drown the screaming he feels inside, sees that the four horses have merged together power-ranger-like into a giant steed reined to a terrifyingly fast parade float.
The skeletons scatter across the platform, collecting objects. One of them hands Luke a microphone, then disappears behind a drumset. The other two come up with stringed instruments that seem more medieval than instrumental.
Luke turns his gaze solidly towards Castlecrook’s approaching shark menace. And then the speakers start roaring.
Deafeningly loud, the sound waves make the air vibrate and Luke’s ears bleed.
He screams with pure agony and rage. Amplified by electronics the scream echoes in his head until Luke knows nothing but the sound of his own pain.
The noise goes on and on and on until Luke’s furry skin begins to peel off. He screams because it hurts. He screams because he doesn’t want to die. He screams because Castlecrook is going to win.
He screams all of his insides out like his mouth was a blender and the blood spews into the air and forms pentagons that ripple in the shockwave of noise until little tiny demons swarm forth and cover his tiny humanoid canine body from head to toe.
And then he is reborn.
Castlecrook sees the whole thing, and it scorches his eyeballs all the way to his sockets. And then the noise hits him, and his heart explodes.
Luke’s new form is almost too much for the skeleton’s to handle. His bellowing voice cracks bone chips from their long impenetrable bodies, the echoes too fast for the band to keep up. Their long practiced arpeggios of flaming fingers would bring no justice to Luke’s soulfelt screams. And so, left with no other choice, they rocked harder than they ever had before.
Long story short, that’s how the metal apocalypse began.