I looked over to the boy I had followed from the club on Sutton Ave. in the hopes of a better party than a few frat boys trying to hit up the local girls. He had appeared almost like mist in a roadway, with no clear time in which he had materialized. One moment he wasn’t there, the next he was whispering into my ear, his lips brushing my hair.
I’d spun around, my drink splashing from my glass, thinking it was another frat boy. But what I saw was someone completely different. A boy with tanned skin, luminous under the pulsing lights eyed me with curiosity. His raven hair was swept in an effortless style and glitter was visible in it. He wore a tight fitting black silk button down, the top few buttons left undone, and he sported charcoal grey slacks that had a slight sheen to them. He looked like he’d stepped out from an Italian fashion magazine and he looked completely out of place in the crappy bar.
My astonishment must have shown on my face because he grinned in a way that made the glitter around his eyes twinkle in the lights. Taking a step forward, he plucked my drink from my hand and drunk it back in one go.
“This tastes awful,” he said, his expression puckering. He set the glass down on a nearby table. “I know where they make better drinks, if you’re interested.”
I glanced over to my friends who danced with each other a few feet away, their hair splaying like the arms of an octopus as they swung their heads around. “Um…”
He cocked his head to the side in amusement. “That is, unless you want to deal with those guys?” He glanced over to where a new group of buzzed frat brothers entered the bar noisily.
I frowned and made my way over to my friends. “Let me check with my friends!”
His eyes flashed and he crossed his arms, his forming disappearing behind me as I shrugged through a circle of grinding college girls.
“This club is lame,” I said into Alisha’s ear. “I met a guy who said he can take us to a way better party. Should we go?”
The makeup around Alisha’s eyes was smudged with sweat as she took a sip of her drink. “Naw. I’ve got my eye on someone here already,” she said, gesturing to a lusty boy seated at the bar.
“What about you, Karla?”
Karla was about to answer, when a girl in a skin-tight sequined dress walked up and started kissing her neck. She turned around and began kissing the girl back.
Karla made a ‘go away’ motion with her hand.
A surge of anger made my face hot. “Fine. You can get wasted here with a bunch of idiots. I’m going.”
Alisha didn’t even try to stop me as I stormed away, pushing through gyrating couples. I headed back to the spot where I left the boy, but he was nowhere to be seen. I craned my neck, trying to find him at the bar.
“Looking for me?” a voice cooed over my shoulder.
I spun around and there he was again, emerging out of the crowd like fog. “Uh, yeah. My friends are… busy right now,” I say sourly. “But I’m up for a better party.”
He leaned in, placing his hand on the small of my back. “You won’t need a fake I.D. to get into this one.” I could feel him smiling as his cheek brushed against mine, sending a shiver down my spine.
“How did you…?”
Ignoring my question, he pulled me by the hand and led me out of the club. We walked down the dingy streets of downtown as the breeze picked up now and then, scattering leaves along the sidewalk like confetti. I was surprised to notice that people that passed us paid no attention to this glittery boy I walked with. Surely he deserved at least a little glance for the peculiar way he looked.
He guided us to the left a few blocks later and the street narrowed into a claustrophobic alleyway.
“We’re almost there,” he said, his voice as cool.
“Where’s there?” I asked. A small bud of apprehension was being to unfurl in my stomach.
He didn’t answer, but a minute later, he stopped at a rusted door that was set into a brick work building. There was no lock, nor handle. I noticed a small cluster of stars spray-painted in the top left corner of the door. He knocked briskly against the metal twice and stood back. It swung open into darkness.
“I’m not sure I want to go anymore,” I hesitated, pulling my hand from his.
He turned on me and laughed. “Don’t be scared. You wanted to have fun and drink, yeah?” He threaded his arm easily around my waist and pulled me forward through the door.
Though it was dark, I could tell we were walking down a long hallway. There was a dull pounding reverberating off the walls. He stopped at the door at the end of the hall and pushed it open. The pounding wasn’t dull anymore, it was sharp and transformed into a synth pop sound with lots of bass.
The room we stepped into was large and dark, colored lights strung from the ceiling cast the writhing mass of partygoers in shades of red and blue and pink. The hypnotic music was blasting from speakers surrounding a DJ at a raised stage in the middle of the room. A group of women dressed in pale green strolled past us laughing, their skin shimmering under the lights.
“Do you like it?” He asked, his hands rubbing my shoulders.
“It’s awesome. What’s this place called?”
“The Constellation. You could say it’s exclusive.”
I looked around and noticed a boy about my age talking with a red haired women in a flowing gold tunic. Strange attire for a club.
“I’ll go get you that drink I promised. Feel free to mingle.” He melted into the crowd, leaving me alone.
The red haired women got up and the boy watched her go. I decided he looked the most approachable of all the people I’d seen here.
“Hi,” I said. “Can I sit here?”
The boy blinked slowly, looking at the empty space on the bench beside him. “Sure.”
“Thanks.” I sat down and listened to the music again. The beat had shifted into something slower. I watched the boy take a sip from the drink in his hands, the liquid inside resembling molten silver. “So… who’s that women that was with you?”
Again it took the boy a moment to respond. “I don’t know.”
“Did you meet her here?”
“No,” he said, his brows furrowing. “I met her… somewhere else.”
“Ok.” I noticed his plain checkered shirt and the kicks he wears. “Do you live around here?”
“Yeah. On Horton.” All expression slipped from the boy’s face.
I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Are you alright?” He didn’t say anything, and I watched as his eyes cloud over and turned into cat’s eye marbles.
“Hello,” the red haired woman said, sitting down beside the boy, her tunic billowing as she did. “I see you’ve met Oliver.”
“I think there’s something wrong with him. He won’t say anything and he looks spaced out.”
She chuckled at my concerned tone. “He’s fine. Who brought you here?”
I cast Oliver an anxious glance. “I don’t know his name. Black hair with glitter and expensive looking clothes.”
Placing an arm around Oliver, she said, “Jory. Hmm, typical.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Yes. He always picks the same type.”
“What are you talking about?” I demanded, my fear spiking.
She caressed Oliver’s cheek with her fingers, looking at him with something like adoration. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Sorry about the wait, it’s busy tonight,” Jory said, handing me a drink. It was the same kind Oliver was drinking.
I took the drink and set it down on the table in front of me. “I’m not really thirsty.”
Jory’s eyes tightened for a fraction of a second, but a smile overtook his face. “You must be parched. It’s a sauna in here.”
The red-haired women kissed Oliver, eyeing me as I stood up.
“I’m okay. I think—“
I didn’t even have time to protest before he grasped my hand again and guided us to the centre of the dancefloor. All around us dancing bodies writhed together. Many women in dazzling outfits swayed with boys in street clothes. I also noticed guys that resemble Jory, holding onto the hips of girls in club wear as they moved under the lights. He abruptly spun me around and pulled me close.
Jory was close enough to exhale his cool breath against my cheek. “Are you cold?”
He leaned back a little. “No, why?”
“No reason. What did that red-haired women mean when she said you always bring the same type?”
“Oh Reya,” he shook his head. “Don’t pay her any mind.”
“Are you a player?” I asked.
At this, he grined. “No.”
I found it harder and harder to concentrate with his hands on my waist. Looking up, I saw that his gaze was fixed on me, the lights reflecting off the glitter on his cheeks.
“Why did you bring me here?”
He lifted a hand and brushed my hair from my shoulder, letting his fingers linger along my neck. “I liked you.”
The touch sent little jolts of electricity along my skin and once again I had to focus on what I wanted to say. “Just like Reya liked Oliver?” I guessed.
“You haven’t even asked me my name yet, and you haven’t told me yours. Either you don’t like any strings attached or something’s going on here.”
Jory’s expression grew clouded for a moment. “You think I lured you here?”
We’d stopped dancing now, and my hands had dropped from around his neck. “I think that there’s something wrong with Oliver. He was out of it and I think it had something to do with what he was drinking. Correct me if I’m wrong.”
“He’s probably drunk,” Jory mended with a chuckle.
‘What about why everyone here that looks like you is here with someone that looks like me?”
Jory looked around and shrugged. “I never noticed.”
I took a step back from Jory. “I think I’d like to leave now.”
He frowned, a look of dejection coming over his features. “You’re being paranoid. Please stay.”
I shook my head and backed through the crowd a few steps before turning and bolting off the dance floor. Outside the mass of people I could see Reya and Oliver. She had her arms around him and had him pressed up against a wall. A second later she pulled back and he slumped limply against the wall, sliding to the ground. I stifled a shriek with my hand.
I had to get out of there.
I ran to where Jory and I had entered from, but when I reached the exit, there was no door. I scrambled along the wall, feeling for the door. But I couldn’t find anything. It was like the door didn’t exist anymore, but that was impossible.
Working to keep my breathing even, I spun and looked around the room. I couldn’t see any other way out.
“Are you looking for something?” Jory asked, his demeanor changing. His eyebrows had drawn down over his eyes and his cheekbones look like they’ve been chiselled from ice.
“I want to leave. Now let me out.”
When he laughed, it sounded like nails on a chalkboard, high pitched and keening. He strode toward me in a relaxed gait. “Anyone we bring in here doesn’t leave.” His voice was like shattering glass.
I looked around at the nearby people who watch us with minor interest. “What are you?”
Jory shrugged in one fluid movement. “You might call us demons. And before you can ask the same mundane question I’ve heard a thousand times, I want to drain your life-force. It sustains me.”
I wanted to believe he was kidding, I really did. But Oliver…
“You drug your victims? They drink and become easy targets.”
Jory licked his lips and stepped closer. “Usually we have a little fun first, but it doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes people like you for example, make things more exciting.”
I pressed myself against the wall and looked around for anyone to help me, but everyone was under a spell. All glassy-eyed and blank. I could feel my knees begin to shake as Jory closed the distance between us. Again he smiled down, running a hand along my cheek.
“Now are you sure I can’t get you a drink?”