One thing was for sure: Elise couldn't be Robert's void wife. On the day the void was scheduled to hit San Francisco, she hid from him in the ruin of the Sutro Baths. She gazed out at the Pacific while behind her, the void consumed Oakland. The void had appeared six months ago in a slender belt around the globe near the 90th meridian, slicing through Detroit and New Orleans, Bangkok and the Kirov Islands of Russia. Since then it had expanded in both directions on both sides of the planet at the rate of seventy miles a day, like two immense pairs of lids drawing over the eye of the earth.
It’s late on a Saturday night and Metalhead is at some kid’s basement party. The kid got the new Slayer album that afternoon and has it blaring because his parents are not home. Rockgod holds both hands up in the air like he is prey for bandits, but the rest of his body convulses, his head shaking back and forth, up and down and windmilling along with the drum beat. Metalhead laughs and then there is a body careening into him, pushing him into another kid who is jumping and shimmying against the wall because heavy metal is the stuff that binds kids together, the fray that keeps their blood inside them. When Metalhead’s sister has her friends over, they dance in the living room to Madonna or Culture Club while his father complains that the music is too loud. Metalhead can feel the guitar in his teeth, can feel the speakers’ rumble deep in his chest.