• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 03
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Difficult Second Album

She has taken to loading the rifle before going on stage. She ditched the replica weeks ago, walked into a gun store with sunglasses on and hair under a baseball cap.

The gun hasn’t gone off yet during the tour, but the delicious possibility is enough to get her through the two-hour show.

She used to be a folk singer, pouring her heart into the words, winding them round intricate melodies. After years of isolation in her bedroom, she emerged into the world with a clutch of songs that were starting to explain who she was.

The record company man had fallen in love with them, championing the songs all the way to the boardroom. She was on the road before the ink had dried.

The sales grew larger and the venues cavernous. Why not try on these clothes, said the record company.

I don’t like them, she said. It’s not me.

Go on, just try them on. And we want to turn your hair orange-red and style it like this. You know, like flames.

Don’t be ridiculous, she said.

We’ve spent a lot of money on this. On you. Go on.



Difficult Second Album

Put them on and do your hair, they said.

The second album would be called The Huntress. That’s a terrible title, she said, and it’s my decision anyway. But the album had already been constructed behind her back, using a different vocalist. And they had released it already.

Saves you the bother of writing that Difficult Second Album, they said. And we don’t have to stop the tour – it can just keep rolling on, city to city. Oh, and we’ll have to put this dark mask on you, to cover your face.

Why, she said.

Come on, drink this. The whole arena is chanting your name.

That’s not my name, she said.

Every night identical, the same huntress poses, the same words that are not her own. Nobody wants to hear those old songs anyway, they tell her.

But tonight will be different. The crowd is waiting for The Huntress. Dry ice and drums signal her arrival.

The loaded gun feels heavy in her hand, like a resolution.