Surprises

Her darkness enshrouds every bit of her nature. From the ebony shine of her hair to the shimmering nail polish on her toenails. Her movement through the gyrating throng in the club could hardly be noticed; black satin dulled by the years of exposure. Indeed, if not for the pale of her skin and the stark glimmer of her blue eyes, one would assume she to be of the goth-culture the crowd around her subscribes to. Yes, it would be easy to mistake the girl-not-dancing as yet another misanthropic member which frequents the night scene of the venerable Limelight club. It is for this reason alone she stands now in the center of the dance floor, all alone.

She is not alone though, at least in her mind. An army of apparitions march around her mind-scape, toting placards of decisions made, choices past, bridges crossed. Not all are nice ghosts. Some are downright wicked. For example, there’s the one to remind her of her leaving the family home. Tender innocence in full rebellion over a boy she wanted to cavort with. In spite of her father’s orders, she slipped out of her bedroom window to spend a cool, summer’s evening with that boy. Ah, the terror she experienced upon her  return home!

And now, another shade gloats past, waving the banner of her second, and final act of teen defiance. Then she had lured her mother’s favored stallion from its paddock. When she got him near a bench, she quickly scampered upon his back. She never believed her parents when they said the horse was still wild, hardly tamed, never ridden. The wild gallop from the stable area through the fields and finally into the woods would never be something soon forgotten. Nor would the horrific ending to her uncontrolled ride. The screams of a broken horse still makes her shiver – as she did upon that moment of remembering.

Someone outside of the milling dancers around her did notice the girl’s presence, and the shiver that made its way down the dark girl’s spine. A small, wicked smile forms upon the face of the predatory male who decides to stalk the dark-dainty around the club. He spies her dark satin dress and long straight black hair, deciding she is a new gothy-girl overwhelmed by the awesomeness that is the Limelight. After all, she is just standing there in the middle of the dance floor! The lanky clubber kicks himself from the bar, straightens his shoulders, and begins the task of elbowing his way toward his target.

She knew one of the club regulars would eventually come after her. She felt his predatory gaze upon her moments before he bumped into her. Shooing the ghosts from her immediate attention, she turns her cold blue eyes toward him.

“Oh, I’m sorry luv,” he grins a mouth full of crooked teeth at her as he slurs his fake Brittish accent. “I didn’t see ya there! How come you’re not dancing?”

A momentary pause, and she simply shrugs her shoulders.

“Well, how about you and me go someplace and talk about why you’re not moving? Or would you rather dance with me?” he leers as his hips move in a rather vulgar fashion toward her.

Taking a hold of his wrist, she turns, yanking him after her through the crowd.

“Hey there luv,” he laughs, and follows. “Eager, eh?”

Effortlessly, she moves through the mass of bouncing bodies, although the man is jostled in her wake. He notices the dancers seem to move away from her, and he chuckles again a bit nervously. Before he could say anything else though, they are away from the dancers, in a hall that leads toward the back of the club.

“You sure know your way around here!” he exclaims.

Still gripping his wrist, the girl navigates around drug dealers and users who hardly notice the pair as they pass.

Leading the man onward, the girl turns quickly into a side hall, then through a door. Did that door open by itself? Hard to say – but it did shut after the twosome passed the threshold with an audible click. The room slowly fills with a faint, amber glow.

“I’ve never been back here,” mutters the male. He looks around, noticing a sparse decor: a rather plain wood table surrounded by several straight back chairs, the rest of the room encased in shadow. Before he can utter another word, his wrist is let go and the girl moves toward the table. “So, what is it we want to do in here?”

The girls turns around, her cold gaze eyeing up the man with an empty hunger. He steps backward, suddenly feeling vulnerable as she slightly tilts her head to one side. “Your name is Mike, right?” her soft voice trills at a high pitch.

Taking another step back toward the door, Mike nods his confirmation. “How did you know? What is this about?” His voice losing that imitated accent.

The girl now smiles broadly, tilting her head the other way, allowing her straight, black hair to fall before her eyes as she answers, “Oh, I was told.”

Mike reaches for the doorknob, now not so sure he wants to know this girl much longer.

“After all,” comes her little-girl voice, “I was told you’d seek me out.”

At this, Mike’s hand freezes upon the doorknob – which is somehow now locked – and turns to look hard at the girl. “Really, by who?”

An eternal moment of silence as the gaze between the pair is flipped. Where he was the hunter and she the prey, now she is the stronger and he the meek. For a moment he wishes he had brought his pocket knife, but something deep inside him insists that would do no good against this female. His muscles tense instinctively, sweat beds upon his brow. The atmosphere charges with an energy about to burst as the girl straightens her head, flipping her hair from her face and….

“SURPRISE!”

About fifteen of Mike’s closest friends leap out from the shadows beyond the table, shouting in exuberance and glee. “Happy Birthday Mike!” They chant in unison.

For a stunned second, Mike feels his bladder want to let loose the booze he’d been drinking earlier to celebrate his twenty seventh birthday. Valiantly, he controls the urge and releases his death grip from the doorknob. Sheepishly he steps forward, shaking his head as his closest friends gather around him, patting him on the back in celebration.

“You guys are too much!” Mike exhales with evident relief.

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