Imagine a club for vampires…
club for vampires…
I whimpered in confusion again as he went over and over that thought, tasting it, probing at it, interrogating it. I felt like I was in two places at once, two times at once – squirming in the chair, walking across the dance floor, dazed and exhausted in the wee hours, bouncing excited while the night was young. Finally, he nodded, satisfied I didn’t really believe it – yet – and his gentle fingers swept my mind back down.
It was obvious the first two booths were empty. The third had heavy curtains drawn around it. I put my hand on one to open it, but two voices objected (was there a third, whispering? No, couldn’t be), and I backed away, stammering apologies. Next one empty, then one with the curtains open a little and four friends drinking and laughing together – Jen wasn’t here.
“You’re looking for someone. Could it be…me?”
I spun around, startled. “I, um,” I tried to meet his eyes, but wound up blushing at his chest instead. “No, I uh, I’m looking for my friend. She said she’d be back here, but I can’t find her anywhere.”
Look in my eyes a whisper in the music stood out from the rest. I blushed harder, ashamed it was such a struggle for me to make eye contact, feeling the pull of social obligation, but too anxious to do it.
“Maybe I could help?” Trust me, feel safe, feel calm, the whispers urged. I shivered, a little turned on. But fear won.
“No thank you!” I fast-walked through the crowd toward the bar. Maybe Fae knew where she went.
Got a resister. Eyes on… I lost track of the whispers; there were so many blending together. My eyes scanned for my friend’s long, wavy, dark hair. Relieved, I spotted her, and weaved across, dodging people to reach her.
She was sitting next to a tall blonde, and leaning in toward her. The stranger had pale skin and full, red lips under sparkling blue eyes. Fae held a wine glass, half drunk up, but the stranger hadn’t touched her own glass. I felt immediate suspicion.
“Hi Fae!” I greeted her as brightly as I could manage. It was a little quieter over here, somehow, so at least I didn’t need to shout. “Have you seen Jen?”
When Fae looked up at me, I saw her eyes were glazed over, much more than half a glass of wine could make them. “Didn’t she get a booth? I was going to…” Fae trailed off, looking confused.
“Yeah, you were going to come sit at the booth with us. What happened?”
The stranger chimed in, her voice languorous, “Nice to meet you, too.” I felt guilt at failing to greet her properly, then shoved that thought aside.
“Sorry, worried about our friend. I can’t find her.”
“Oh, I’m sure she’s alright. This place is very safe, you know. Why don’t you relax and sit with us? I’ll buy you a drink.”
My brow furrowed. “No, I –” just then, I noticed Jen’s fiery red hair out of the corner of my eye. A man in black leather pants and vest was pulling her toward a door marked “Employees Only”. He had her by the wrist, and she was stumbling. My suspicion flared into alarm.
“Fae, I see her! Drink some water, ok? I’ll be right back!”
I started dodging people, getting to that door as fast as I could.
He chuckled, a dark, rich sound that sent shivers through me. “What did you think you were going to do, once you caught up with them? Would it not have made more sense to tell security, and let them handle it?”
“Yeah, prob’ly. Din’ thin’ of that.” I tried to think about why I, a skinny little enby, would rush to confront a large stranger. “Jen’d say people like me… well we’re why, you know, first aid classes teach ‘Firs’, make sure sitchiation’s safe for rescuer t’enter’.”
He chuckled again. “Yes, and ‘Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting another passenger.’”
Forgetting all about being his prisoner, I smiled. “Yeah, tha’ too.” My voice sounded strange, slurred like a drunk’s. “I’m um… I’m gettin’ all… confused?”
“That’s right, you’re doing great.” I beamed at his praise, and his fingers reached for my face again. “We’re almost there. Just let go.”
I felt a strange impulse to turn around and sit at the bar, to let someone else handle it. Who? I ignored it easily, determined to save my friend.
Unfortunately, the door was closing behind them by the time I caught up. I barely got my toe in before it could latch.
I pushed through into total darkness. Blinking, willing my eyes to adjust faster, I realized that I couldn’t hear any footsteps. Where had they gone?
I heard a whisper, James, the resister followed you. I looked around, but couldn’t figure out where it could have come from.
Thanks, Lily. I’m busy taking Jen for her treatment; can you handle it?
I’m busy keeping Fae calm. Apparently the resister got in on her pass tonight.
I’ll handle it.
I heard footsteps coming toward me now, soft, unhurried. Panicking, I realized I was somewhere I shouldn’t be. I tried to get back through the Employees Only door, but it had locked behind me.
Ok, she doesn’t have a keycard.
Wait, there’s more than one?
No. Fae tells me her friend’s name is Felix, and uses they/them pronouns.
Ah. Thank you.
Something was clearly very weird. I wasn’t waiting around to be found. My darting eyes spotted another door, and opened it quickly. It turned out to be a supply closet. I hurried inside and shut the door behind me.
Poor thing is scared. Hid themself in the supply closet. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. They knew I was in here. I looked for a broom to wedge in the door handle, then realized it had a round knob. Wait! Their heart sped up when I mentioned where they were. I think our resister might be a Listener.
Radio silence. Immediate radio silence.