(Note: this is the beginning of a novel. We eagerly await further chapters...)
"This has been a week from hell". That's the only thing rumbling through my mind as the realization of it all finally hits the nerve. I stared blankly up at the ceiling while the weeks events played over and over like a broken record in my head. It all started with the break in at my studio, well my apartment actually. The only things that were stolen were my artwork and my answering machine tape. Why on earth would someone steal my work? Its not like I'm famous, far from it. What sickens me most was that I was in the process of sealing a deal with a gallery who was willing to show my work. My first showing, and its all gone. The gallery called and gave their condolences, and said whenever I have more work done they would be more than happy to work something out. Gee, that's great. It took me almost two years to achieve all the work that got plucked from under my nose. I don't even want to think about why the asshole took my answering machine tape, that's just plain creepy. My friend Jasmine said that maybe I have a stalker. A stalker. That's a laugh. I never thought of myself being a stalked type. I mean, I don't have blonde hair, and I don't end every sentence with a giggle. Besides, I normally don't have men coming up to me asking my sign or anything else. I guess I'm an acquired taste. The second turn of events was purely my fault. My boss at this rinky-dink retail office holds me for contempt for something I don't know what. Maybe it's the fact that I have a life outside this shitty job. Well, she was getting on her high horse and me being freshly scarred of having my world snatched before me, I lost it. I told her vivid but not pleasant feelings I have for her and this job, and quit. So now I have this reality stop dead before me. I'm broke, I'm unemployed, and even if I want to paint, I have very few supplies to do even a simple still life. I've hit rock bottom. Jasmine talked me into going out tonight. Actually it didn't need much persuasion. I needed to get drunk. We decided to check out a new club that opened in Tremont called the Syphen Pub. I told her that I would meet her down there since I only live a few staggering blocks away.
The Syphen Pub was on one of the small alleys off Literary. It was a brick building with no windows or lights except for a small wooden sign above the door, I almost past it up with the alley being so dark. Walking in the door, you would notice that the only illumination was by candlelight throughout the whole place. On most of the brick walls were tapestries of coat-of-arms, and old landscapes. The tables, chairs, and even the bar were all wood and ornately carved. It was like I walked into a time portal and it took me back to the renaissance period. Yeah, I liked this place already. I sat myself at the bar and ordered a beer and a double shot of Yager. The place was pretty busy. As I look around I recognize one or two people from the neighborhood, but that's about it. Everybody is pretty much dressed in black and most has dyed black hair. I guess this is going to be the new Goth hangout, which is fine by me. I get stereotyped as a Goth myself. The front door opens and a few more black clad people start filtering in. I watch to see if Jasmine was in the mix to no avail. The last guy who walked in sat next to me at the bar and ordered a white viteassa. The bartender seemed to the drink and him because he gave him an acknowledging nod and grunt. I've never heard of such a drink, but it looks like some sort of wine sprizter. Must be offbeat import. I must admit, my new neighbor at the bar was very pleasing to the eye, a bit short, but pleasing. He wore a semi long black leather jacket, black pants, black shirt, short black hair that is slightly spiked up, thinly trimmed goatee, and round sunglasses. Sunglasses, well, looking around the place that seems to be the trend. I finished my shot and beer and ordered another round while I keeping an eye at the door. As I was drinking my shot, my neighbor spoke. "The blonde girl across the bar is very upset. Her boyfriend is trying to break up with her because he is seeing the girl sitting next to him. I expect her drink is going to be flying in his face right… about… now." Just as he finished his sentence the blonde girl got up and threw her drink at the boyfriend's face and stormed towards the door. I looked at him; he had a very pleasing smirk on his face. " That was very observant," I said. " But how did you know he was seeing the girl sitting next to him?" " Because when the blonde went to use the restroom, the boyfriend put his arm around the girl next to him and kissed her on the cheek as if he was consoling her. It seems like the very jealous type. I bet she goes after the blonde, even though she did take him away from the blonde." And as if on cue, the girl gets up and starts charging for the door with the boyfriend yelling in tow. "Wow, that was pretty good, but how did you know that the girl next to him was after? What if the boyfriend was cheating on her with the blonde? " I asked slyly. " That is a secret. Its just something you pick up watch people as long as I do," he said. "Is that your profession? Watching people?" I asked. " No, just something to pass time while at the bar, besides people are very interesting. Take you for instance, I've been sitting here for a while and I'm still trying to figure you out," he said. " How so? " I asked. " Well, you've been sitting here by yourself drinking double shots as if they were nothing along with a beer, you just don't seem the type that would. The way you've been checking at that door, as if waiting for a certain someone to walk through it, one must assume that you might have boyfriend problems," he said. "Ahh, but that's where your wrong, besides maybe I'm a lush," I said. "No not a alcoholic, you seem like you like to party from time to time but not to this degree so quickly. You seem to have some sort of problems in mind if it's not a boyfriend," he said. "Problems are an understatement." I said. "What's your name? He asked. " Well, people call me Cy." I said. "Cy? Why do they call you Cy?" he asked. " Cy is short for Cyanide." I said. "Cyanide? That's a strange name. Are you poison to the touch?" He asked slyly. "No that's just a artists pen name I chose and would rather be called that because my birth name is dull and ugly, thank you very much." I said very annoyed. He just looked at me and gave then gave me a little smirk, and at that moment I heard a whisper through my head. "Frances." The whisper said. Or did I say that to him? Oh boy, the doubles of Yager are starting to take effect. "Well, Cy, my name is Brock, and I'm pretty bored at this place. I'm heading to a friend's party, if you would like to partake. I'm sure there will be a lot of party favors there that would put you in the stupor you are looking for, and its not very far from here." He said. I look at him, and then look at the time on my watch. Jasmine would have been here by now if she were coming. She must have got caught up somewhere, even though it's not like her. I look back at him ad said "Sure." Like I said he was very pleasing to the eyes.
He was right. It was very close by. We walked on Literary and down the hill till we hit West 3rd. If we turned the other way we would go towards the Flats, but we turned the other way towards mostly a deserted warehouse area. We walked up to the door of an office looking building with a warehouse attach to it. Brock knocked on the door. I was about to say maybe you got the wrong address because I didn't see any cars, no lights, and not even a sound of a party going on here, until the door opened. A very big guy's head peeked out. We both looked up at his face looking for acceptance. It almost reminded me of the old stories about the speakeasies during the prohibition time. The big guy's gaze barely looked at Brock, but instead transfixed on me, as if sizing me up. Within about a minute it seems he finally opens up the door to let us in. I turned to Brock, " What no secret knock or password?" I said jokingly. " No he knows me, he was just wondering what I brought," he said. Huh? What was he implying? " Do you mean what, or whom?" I asked a little angrily. The big guy was hovering over us as we pass and nudging him to get his attention." Oh, I didn't mean it that way." He said distracted as he was looking up to the big guy to see what he wanted. The big guy leaned over to him and said, " A couple of them are here," in a burly voice. Brock just nodded and patted him on the shoulder like everything was ok and proceeded with me down the hall. We walked in a room that was filled with a small group of people. There was nothing much to the room. A couple of people were sitting on a couch conversing, and a table that was a makeshift bar. Brock turned to me and said " Why don't you make yourself a drink, and I will be with you momentarily." With that he headed towards another group that was standing near some steps. I did just that. While I was making myself a drink, I notice Brock and the others head down the steps. As I was taking a sip of my drink, I look towards the group on the couch. A couple of guys and a girl who look like they haven't change their clothes or taking a bath in quite awhile. They looked up at me, got up and also proceeded down the steps. That was fine by me; they didn't look or smell like someone I would want to get to know. So I stood there and finished my drink, no sign of Brock yet. Feeling very buzzed at this point; I'll make myself another drink and head on down where everybody else went. When I got down there, I saw Brock talking with the same group that he came down with. The other group that was on the couch where sitting in the corner, the girl holding a lighter under a spoon as one of the guys is shooting up and the other watching and waiting with anticipation. There was another guy with a very short mohawk making out with a very drunken girl in the corner, and another guy with almost the exact kind of mohawk watching very wild eyed. A drug den. Great, well this isn't my scene; I will just go and let myself out. Just then, the girl who was making out with one of the mohawks, started screaming while he was kissing her neck. As if on cue the other mohawk was at the other group who was shooting up. Or was he there, it happened so fast. I heard one of the shooters yelling, and then a basketball hitting the wall and bouncing on the floor. Was that his head? I'm not quite sure this is happening so fast. I see blood. A lot of blood. Before I could collect any sense of what I was seeing the one mohawk who was making out with the girl was standing in front of me with a wild grin. Blood was all over his mouth and shirt. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. I could not move, and in an instant he was on me and I felt a burning pain in my neck, then throughout my body. I fell limp, and started to lose consciousness. Before I completely lost it, there was a lot of screaming and fighting going on, but the last thing I heard as I felt someone grabbing me, "Drink this if you want to live." Then everything went black.
More prose by Cunegonde can be found here
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