He was excited. He’d dressed carefully, skinny jeans, cool shirt and best aftershave. The thumping bass of the music reverberated in his chest from two streets away and he was drawn in by the primal beat that made the blood leap in his veins.
He had intended to go somewhere completely different, but there had been whispers all around the Student Union about this event. Never fixed to one location, it was rumoured to have the best music, the best D.J.’s, the cheapest drink.
So, when he heard the music, he knew – he just knew – that it was this mythical party to end all parties and he had to go.
Plans to meet a friend abandoned, he turned away from the bright warmth of his usual haunts and followed the music down a dark side street. Shadows prowled and darkness lingered; but he was young and strong and the night held no fear for him.
He traced the music, the intoxicating beat to its source, a battered old door. Paint peeling and scraped, a little ajar with grubby tendrils of ivy surrounding it and seeming to beckon him closer, its grandiose dimensions seemed oddly out of place in the sooty little side street.
He reached out to push it further but before he could touch its surface it was snatched open –
“You came! Oh I’m so pleased!”
A blonde girl, whose curly hair bounced carelessly across her flushed face, grabbed his arm and pulled him inside. Somewhat bemused, he allowed himself to be hustled along – he knew the girl, he was sure, she seemed familiar, but had no chance to wonder further as a drink was thrust into his hand.
The lights flickered and gleamed, strangely reddish, striking glints off teeth and eyes from other people who swayed in time to the beat, laughing. He sipped cautiously at his drink. Foul. So much for the rumours about the best beer, and the floor was oddly sticky underfoot…
Just as he was about to look down, his new friend seized his arm and tugged him eagerly onto the dance floor.
“I love this song!”
A particularly jarring pop song from the eighties started after the drum and bass faded out and he found himself whirled into the heaving mass of sweaty bodies. Minutes passed – how many? He didn’t know and the music changed again to something he dimly remembered from the seventies, and still the people spun and swayed around him.
But now there was something different, darker, decaying. The girl gasped and giggled and clutched at him with bony strength. He tried to pull away, to be released and go away, sit down, get out; but she pulled him closer.
Again the music changed, and again, till finally they were circling the floor to an old, old waltz. With every turn, rot shimmered in the folds of the dresses, maggots fell in showers from hair, flesh melted and teeth gleamed through sunken lips.
He opened his mouth to scream but couldn’t, locked forever in the arms of his grinning partner and his own dark dance of despair.