Loud music shook the weathered brick building. Heavily distorted guitar riffs and deafening drum set combos could be heard by the ever-growing line that spilled out from a lone doorway nestled within the disgusting alleyway.
A group of three young guys swayed in place eagerly waiting for the brooding doorman to approve of their IDs.
The disgruntled behemoth of a man handed their cards back and gave the young man on the right a dirty scowl. "You two are good to go. Sorry kid, 21 and over only tonight."
The other two glared at their friend, who protruded a crumbled up ticket from his jeans.
"What do you mean, dude? I bought this two months ago from another venue here. You were the same exact guy who let me in too! Cmon!"
The guard shrugged and held up a hand, brushing the air. "Not me, kid. I don't want to rough up a minor, so either you go home by yourself or you none of you get in."
After a quick exchange of looks, the two friends on the left looked to their underage compadre sheepishly. "Sorry Danny, maybe next time yeah?"
And with that, they dissapeared into the raging concert just out of reach.
Danny stepped out of line and ran his hands through his auburn hair, seething inside. His hair fell back down around his jaw, reassuming it's cascade down the back of his neck.
"Bunch'a assholes." He muttered under his breathe.
As he retreated back down the alley, snickers from passerby's taunted him, fueling his irritation.
Danny shoved his hands deeper into his pockets.
His chest began to ache.
His eyes stung, and he wasn't sure if it was from the stench of the alley or from his walk of shame.
Just as he was about to start walking down the sidewalk back home, a firm grip on his shoulder almost jerked him back.
He wheeled around, ready to lay a good punch on that bouncer.
In the dim yellow light of a lone street lamp, a girl not much older than him withdrew her hand from his shoulder.
"Hey, I saw what happened. I'm actually on my way in too. Wanna tag along? Me and my friends have a secret way we get in." A sweet smile crossed her face.
She fussed with a black strand of hair that refused to stay put while craning to look up at Danny.
Danny looked her up and down. "Sure, why the hell not? Lead the way."
With that, the girl grabbed onto Danny's arm and pulled him through the line into a seperate offshoot from the alleyway.
An ornate silver ring dug into the soft underside of his wrist as they trudged along. The band must have gotten twisted around.
"We found this little backdoor ages ago. We call it the Orange Door. Just a little inside joke we have."
Danny's feet ached from standing idle for hours, now hustling to keep pace.
A sense of uncertainty and uneasiness began churning in his stomach. Where was she taking him?
At long last they stopped abruptly in front of an empty doorway tucked away between a chain-link fence and a brick wall. Above them a lamppost produced a hypnotic orange glow upon the immediate area.
"Just through here. Ladies first, or are you scared?" The girl jabbed.
Danny shifted on his feet, eyeing the darkness that swallowed the path beyond him. "I uh, Are you sure this leads to the venue?"
The girl flashed a smile once more, creases forming just under her eyes. "Not everything is what it appears to be."
Danny took in a deep sigh and stepped into the abyss. Inside, the dull hum of distant music could be heard.
"Hey, I can't see anything!" He hissed in the darkness. Footsteps echoed around him from all sides.
"It's okay, just follow my voice. I lost my lighter earlier or we'd use that." She breathed back, sounding not too far ahead of him.
Danny's mind started to feel fuzzy.
He kept walking a straight line, but the footsteps around him began to change directions.
The room felt as though all the air was being vacuumed out, and a brief wave of dizziness overcame him.
But before he knew it, he saw the girl at the end of the corridor, colourful lights illuminating the threshold.
"Cmon! They just started another song!" She exclaimed over the now blaring chatter of voices and music.
Inside the venue it was a madhouse. Heavy metal and the screaming voices of attendees pierced Danny's ears.
Directly around the stage was a violent thrashing of people in an agitated mosh pit. Red cups were scattered all over the floor and in most everyone's hands.
The air was thick with smoke, as in the corner nearest to them a bunch of wooks took turns ripping hits from a massive bong.
"Cmon, let's get a drink." The girl yelled next to him. They pushed their way through the crowd over to a wood-grain bar lined with bottles of liquor and cases of beer.
"What's your poison?" She asked, flicking the top off a bottle of untouched tequila and downing a mighty swig.
Danny scanned the selections warily, and finally settled on a modest cup of Jack Daniels.
"My dad's favourite. He swears by this over anything else."
He sniffed the cup hesitantly before following suit and swallowing down a shot's worth. He immediately choked and sputtered.
"Attaboy, you'll get used to it the more you have. Then it'll taste like water." The girl keeled over laughing.
Danny wiped the spit and liquor from is face, and happened to see his two buddies across the way. One took notice of him as well and waved, pointing at Danny's new friend and throwing a sly wink.
Just as he was about to start over to them, the girl grabbed his arm once more and dragged him out into the crowd towards the stage.
"Let's dance a bit. I wanna see your moves man! Lanky as you are, you should be able to get down good!" She yelled.
Danny wasn't entirely sure what she said but he went along, choking down more sips of whiskey.
After what seemed like an eternity dancing, headbanging, and taking an inebriated round in the mosh pit, the two retreated towards the back wall where they came from. It could have been the whiskey, but Danny couldn't locate the doorway that they had entered from.
"I never caught your name. I'm Danny." He said propping himself up against the cool concrete. Sweat dripped from his brow and into his empty cup.
"You can call me Indie, my real name is too hard for you to try to pronounce." She glanced up at him, hazel eyes glowing in the neon lights.
"Alright then Indie. I'm Danny, thank you by the way for ... you know. Getting me in here." Danny shifted his back against the wall.
Exhaustion was beginning to set in, and his mind drifted in and out of focus.
"You're a pretty cool girl, Indie. We'll have to hang out again sometime."
Indie brushed thick curls behind her ear, revealing a small feather earring underneath her long curls. "Thanks, but I'm not a girl. I'm not a guy either, before you start asking. I'm just me."
Danny glanced at her feather earring before catching her eye and darting his eyes away. Heat began to swell in his cheeks and ears.
"Alright then, I can get down with that. You from around here or..." he trailed off.
Indie was no longer focused on their conversation but rather something Danny couldn't quite make out in front of them.
His vision was beginning to blur and meld. The air began to become increasingly thin again. Indie looked at him and looked back out ahead.
"What's that-?" He went to take a step forward, but there was no longer any ground beneath him.
Danny tried to catch himself, but then he realised there wasn't a wall behind him anymore. The lights and music seemed to fade away into nothing.