So I have these two characters that I can’t stop writing about. They have such fun chemistry to work with but NO plot that I can work out yet. I can’t ever do straight up contemporary, so it’ll need to take on a weird fiction/horror vibe for me to really get stuck into it, but… They’ll get something one day. It’s a dual narrative too, which I have never tried before, but both characters are fun to write, so… Enjoy!
The deep, pulsing thrum of music that echoed into the cold night told me that obviously the first band had already started, I weaved my way through the smokers out the front of the club and got my hand stamped ‘No Alcohol’ by a mountain of a bouncer whose skin seemed more faded ink than actual flesh.
Inside, the venue was hardly packed; odd clumps of people hung like driftwood here and there, nursing drinks in plastic cups and nodding in time to the frantic beat half-heartedly. The place was cast in darkness and carried an odour of sweat, beer, and weed that mingled into my nose, an intruder.
‘No wonder people drink so much at these things…’ I muttered, my words totally absorbed by the overwhelming crash of cymbals and the rumble of bass.
The band, though loud to the point of distortion , were half decent at least – complex riffs were punched out tightly along with some seriously intricate drum work. When the vocals finally kicked in, they were cracked and strained with years of use and passion. For a second, I was confused; neither of the guitarists or the bassist had microphones. I’d never seen a band with a drummer on lead vocals before, and I crept up on to my tiptoes, eager to get a peak.
It was her. The girl from the café.
Under the stark stage lights her dark skin shimmered with perspiration, her face a mixture of intense concentration and ecstatic freedom as she barked into the microphone with energetic aggression. Her long toned arms worked in complex patterns with what seemed to me like effortless precision. I stood absolutely transfixed during their set, occasionally moving further forward but always with my eyes fixed on her. Right at the edge of the stage were the die-hard fans – a handful of impossibly attractive indie kids in skinny jeans and vintage dresses. I hung back as they bobbed and weaved in time, shouting along with choruses and throwing their hands up.
They only played a few songs, and when they were done, she climbed onto her stool and blew an extravagant kiss into the audience. I found myself letting out an enthusiastic cheer that was much louder than I intended, and I was sure she met my briefly across the gloom. She sauntered confidently off the stage to the right, and after a quick chat with her bandmates she slipped outside through a side door. Not quite sure what I was planning, I manoeuvred my way through the steadily growing throng of people and headed outside. Wandering around the building, I found her leaning against the brickwork, wrapped in a long fitted coat, a bottle of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. As she spotted me, her purple lips twitched with what I hoped was a smile.
‘I thought that was you yowling like a sick cat at the end there’ she said coolly.
‘Well, it was yowl worthy playing’ I replied. It had sounded a lot more like a compliment in my head.
We stood in silence for a few seconds, me shifting awkwardly with my hands stuffed in my pockets against the cold. She seemed distracted, blowing smoke out into the misty night leisurely.
‘I didn’t know you smoked’ I said, inwardly berating myself for struggling to find words.
She fixed me with a hard look, ‘I smoke, I drink, hell – I even get to choose my own boyfriends. Isn’t that just terrifying?’ She answered dryly.
‘I didn’t mean-‘ I faltered, ‘I wasn’t disapproving, I was just saying…’
She sighed, and took one last drag before stamping the cigarette out under her heavy, heeled boot.
‘It’s a social thing’ she said.
‘You’re out here alone’
‘Well not anymore I’m not, am I?’ She smiled.
I managed to hold her eye contact for at least two heartbeats before the heat flushing my face became too much to bare and I had to shift my gaze to the wall to the right of her head.
‘Tell you what, let’s go inside and drink to excess’ she concluded, grabbing my hand and leading me back into the pounding darkness.
His palm was warm and a little clammy in mine, but a little part of me was sort of enjoying just how nervous holding his hand could make him. Maybe it was mean of me, but boys are far too fun to mess with.
The Ruin were on stage as we tried to squeeze our way the try-hard scene kids, delivering their special blend of bland four chord emo-pop. Like a constant sledgehammer to my soul, the drummer smashed his kit just off time, managing to be unimaginative and yet somehow incompetent all at once. Their vocalist, a self-absorbed cockwomble called Eric was screaming abject misery, which lost its charm when you’d seen him stacking the shelves in Tesco on a Sunday afternoon.
Eventually, we managed to angle ourselves in front of the bar. Old Mike, a leering greasy Guns ‘N’ Roses fan who’d been serving drinks to underage teens for at least half his life, stood disinterestedly behind the sticky counter.
‘Mikey Mike!’ I called above yet another by-the-numbers song ripping off Good Charlotte, ‘a drink for me and this young fish out of water?’
Mike grunted, ‘young’s about right. You even old enough to drink?’
The boy shifted uncomfortably under the older man’s cynical eyes boring into him.
‘Oh come off it Mike,’ I yelled, ‘You served me for at least two years before it was legal.’
‘Yeah but you were a hot girl,’ he sleezed, ‘count don’t it?’
‘I were a hot girl?’ I feigned outrage ‘Have the years truly withered my once glowing good looks?’
Mike rolled his eyes at me, but I could tell he’d given in, ‘What’ll it be, chief?’
‘Um…’ The boy struggled, his eyes nervous and constantly moving.
‘Tequila, Mike!’ I squeezed the boy’s hand to try and reassure him, ‘One bottle, two glasses and somewhere to fall down please.’
We didn’t finish the bottle, but we’d probably drank enough to kill a small elephant. I didn’t remember the main act being on at all, but eventually the house lights kicked Iin, revealing the dank, dismal interior in all its glory. The tables were littered with glasses and bottles with varying levels of alcohol remaining.Yet more sticky liquids pooled on table tops themselves, as well as across the floor. The whole atmosphere was infused with a sense of desperation and escapism.
‘Take care of him, love’ Mike called to me, as I shouldered the boy to the door ‘If he ends up in the sea, they’ll have my bollocks.’
‘Don’t you worry,’ I winked at him, ‘I’ve got him in hand.’
‘Lucky boy. Need any more?’
I gave Mike the finger as I left.
I hope you enjoyed that! I do always like feedback.
Thanks for reading!