With A Dream --
Excerpted from Book One of Beyond The Bridge, a Rock & Roll Trilogy

With A Dream coverThe young man with the long, graceful hands and serene aura held the audience captive with the sounds he seduced from his guitar. He had a unique style that made the instrument sound like a woman crying in either ecstasy or grief, depending on where your head was at.

Bending the strings, applying a glass bottleneck and manipulating the controls and whammy bar, he turned the blues, a flesh and blood music born of the misery of American slavery, into something ethereal and passionate at the same time. His nearly imperceptible, wordless singing mimicked the line he played. Or perhaps the guitar mimicked his singing. It didn’t matter because the effect he created was magical.

He had a vaguely singsong voice, an unusual quality that sounded as if he smiled as he sang, and his smooth tenor wrapped around the words and phrases that he occasionally finished with a breathy trail-off, a whammy guitarcharacteristic that he used to put across feelings of intense desire or despair. It was an effect that the girls felt all the way into their wombs, and they drew nearer to thestage, swaying along with the music, their eyes fixed on him as if he’d put them under a spell. There wasn’t one of them who didn’t want him, but there was nothing their boyfriends or dates could do about it.

His features were pleasant, with a sensuous mouth and a long, straight nose, but it was his skin—pale, clear, nearly translucent—that gave him a look of delicate, almost androgynous innocence. An unruly storm of guitar rockerbrushed curls, his coffee-colored hair partially obscured his face as he played and when he shook it back, sending drops of perspiration in all directions under the lights, the girls caught a breathtaking glimpse of his dark eyes and wished that they were the instrument in his arms, crying beneath his touch.

Sometimes his hands trembled as if he were touching a woman and, if you were a friend, he might tell you that he knew when he played well because he became aroused. But then again, he probably wouldn’t reveal something so personal unless he was pretty high.

His clothes were typical Carnaby Street fashion: skin-tight, wide wale corduroy trousers, a floral button-down shirt with white collar and cuffs, black boots, and a black silk scarf tied around his neck, the knot turned neatly to one side.

Steph Waller is an author and composer. Her novel, With A Dream, is available internationally in both paperback and for Kindle. Learn more at her book site or author blog.

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