From Writhe’s journal:
It was cold and wet and confusing with a forest of dark boots. Chaotic flashes of colored lights blurred and blinded. The forest moved and shifted in the strobe lights. The beat of the music pounded through the speakers and into the floor and it was discordant and much slower than I remember.
Was I really that drunk? I didn’t think I had that many drinks. I was still conscious, I hadn’t even been close to blacking out. Had someone put something in my drink?
There was a high-pitched synth playing that didn’t belong in the track. It didn’t match the beat.
My jaw hurt. I reached my left hand up to touch it and realized I was lying on my right side, the wrong side. I was confused about the position of my body when the forest got darker and came toward me, engulfing me, reaching its branches down to grasp my arms and haul me to my feet. I was dazed and everything was slow and blurry. The trees had white faces with green and yellow and blue and red constantly shifting patches. They were all looking at me.
I turned to my left to see if there was anything I could grab on to to hold myself steady, like the bar. I’m in a bar, a dance club. I’m in Berlin and Anke should be right… here.
I barely see her face. She’s turning to look at me from somewhere else with an expression of surprise and fear. Then I see what she’s so concerned about coming straight at my face and I have no time to react.
For as long as I can remember, I have never liked getting punched in the face. I’m sure no one does, but it’s been one of those things that seems to keep happening to me and I hated it every time it has occurred. I should be used to it by now, really. I should be used to to blinding hot flash of pain. I should be used to the warm blood flowing over my lips and chin from out of my nose. But I never will be.
Fortunately, this second sucker punch doesn’t knock me to the ground. It spins me around and I hunch over to put my hands to my face. It hurts just as much as it ever has and I expect to be tackled from behind just like so many times before. It never comes.
Most of the crowd moves away, yet some place their hands on my shoulders. There is commotion behind me and I think my attacker is being prevented from coming at me again. Shouts, loud music, crying, some people laughing and talking in German. I’m shown to the bar and given a wet, off-white dish towel for my nose. In all the confusion and fuss and pain, I wonder how dirty it is. The blood just keeps coming. It’s on my hands, it’s on my pants. There is blood on the dance floor.
I look up to see that some of the patrons have started to dance again. Does this happen often or something? Are they used to this sort of thing? Ah, who cares.
I also see Anke. She has her back to me and her hair had some new color in it. She is yelling at some guy. That guy… I’ve seen him before… It was the guy that came banging on her door that morning I stayed in her apartment. Was it her boyfriend? Her husband? Just some random guy that has a crush on her? I have no idea and I’m not sure if I cared at that moment.
I tilted my head forward and pinched my nose to stop the blood. It doesn’t hurt too much. Good, not broken.
I am handed a drink. People pat me on the back and asked me if I’m okay in German and in English. I nod and mumble thanks to assure everyone that it was all good. A short while later after the blood had stopped, Anke came back to me and grabbed my arm. She tried to pull me into a hug, saying something to the effect that she hoped I was okay and that she was sorry that it all happened like this, but I leaned away from her touch just enough to give her the hint that I didn’t want a repeat performance. She sniffs and absently rubs at her nose. She assured me that the guy was gone, that he had been kicked out by the bouncers, and that he wouldn’t bother us again. I looked in her face to see if I could find what I had been seeing in my head since I first met her, seeing if I could find what I had been dreaming about all these months, seeing if I could find what brought me to this continent in the first place, the whole reason for my trip. And I’m not sure if I did. I saw a beautiful girl, one whose eyes were red from crying and whose nose was runny. I saw the girl who I had been dreaming about, but made it seem like my mind put her up on a higher pedestal than she deserved. I saw a girl that was having some of her own difficulties in life, some of which were a higher priority than me.
She was speaking to me again and I couldn’t hear her over the music so I got up and headed to the door with her. We stopped at coat check while she explained that the guy was crazy and that this was the third time she had broken up with him.
She had broken up with him just a few hours ago! And then she comes out to the club to meet me!
The coat check girl hands Anke her pink gorilla jacket. Her hands are shaking so much that she fiddles with her jacket to get it on properly. Something falls out of the pocket and on to the floor, something plastic and small. I bend down to pick it up and see what it is. It’s some white powder in a little plastic bag. I hand it to her and she looks kind of embarrassed. She gives me a smile and I see that her pupils are dilated. She sniffs again and wipes at her runny nose with the back of her hand.
I close my eyes slowly and open them again. “Perhaps we can do this when we get back to my place?” she asks while I hand her the packet.
“I’m sorry. No, we can’t. I’m not going with you. I have to leave now. I hope you have a good life.”
She looks at me confused, then hopeful, then pleading.
I put an expression on my face that leaves no argument. I don’t want her now and I never will again.
She looks upset, then angry.
I shake my head. “Good bye.”
She turns abruptly, one pink gorilla arm of her jacket swinging unfilled, and walks out the door, out of the club, and out of my life.
I look at the bloody rag in my hand. I feel the caked and crusty blood on my chin and in my nose. I turn and head straight to the men’s room to wash my face and rinse out the rag.
On my way there the girl from earlier in the night, the one who asked if she could drink my blood, says to me with a devious look on her face, “You lied.”