I attempted to drag myself out of the scent stupor and began focusing on the fact that the distance we were walking felt unusually long and while that was going through my mind at some points it felt as if the house was leaning one way or the other causing everyone except the hostess to stumble a bit. There was no simple way for one to get their bearings with the slight changes happening all round. When one observed the walls they felt like they were leaning into you as if they had no strength to stay straight. While you struggled with that and you looked up to take a breath the ceiling would suddenly begin to shift and sag coming in close and taking my breath away in a panic as I might be crushed.
One could try to get a hold of oneself by observing the photos that seem to be carefully placed in an unusual pattern. The issue was that the more you tried to figure out the pattern the more photos on the walls felt like they were moving from their spots. They would shift in a manner to make it appear that you were looking at the same photo over and over again. “This is a nice looking picture, they all appear to be friends,” I would note as my eyes would switch to the next photo, but there would be the same friends in the next photo, but someone would be missing or peeking out from behind someone else. “Oh, they must have been taking silly pictures too,” I would write it off and move to the next one, but then they would change too much or someone would be missing and their clothes would change, but the people stayed the same. Soon I would see that there are people missing and graves appearing behind those who were still in the photo, but at some point the others left would be struggling and the smiles would disappear and sneers would replace them. The people stopped liking each other and somewhere in the back of my head I would hear a voice explaining that each one deserved it in the end, that their graves were the safest places, that their souls were lost anyway so there was no point in living. I would shake my head and whisper no to get the voices to quiet down and then I look before me, the hostess and Rhonda were now staring at me as if there was something wrong because they had stopped in front of a door, but I hadn’t noticed and bumped into them.
The woman said nothing as she stood before a deep blue door that had bright yellow numbers that should have appeared painted, but looked like they were scratched into the door. She looked at the watch she was wearing on her wrist and held up three fingers as she opened the door for us. As we parted with the woman a whiff of her scent invaded my senses and caused my eyes to water. I couldn’t place the smell, but something in my brain warned me not to break any rule tonight.
Rhonda walked through the door and held herself in a way that I had never seen before. She seemed to be filled with confidence as she strolled in with a swagger in her step. She held her head up high and met all eyes that were on her with a sly smile.
I reacted the oppositally. I could feel myself whither under the eyes that were now assessing the two new people who had entered. I felt like I could feel their judging thoughts slip into my ear and worm into my mind. The thought of wolves hunting prey flashed into my mind as a gentleman came up to my friend with a deranged grin on his face. This was not a smile one would want to be greeted with. Rhonda laughed off my reaction as I attempted to move her away from this man. She turned to the man, changing her position so that she made herself more attentive to his want. She was soon making the excuse that I was extremely shy and quiet. A lie and we both knew it, but she took it as truth for the moment as she took the man’s now extended arm. I watched her walk away with him without signaling to me, a process that we had made a habit of if we were going to go off with someone we were interested in. This step was paramount as it was a way that we could make it clear we were okay and safe.
I flashed back to a party. Rhonda was standing in the corner of a room. She had dragged me to another party where the guy she was crushing on was, but like every other time, she had chickened out to even tell him hi. I had stepped away to go to the bathroom. When I returned I discovered a rather drunk man trying to drag her off all the while she was very quietly trying to shrug off his advances. It wasn’t working well at all and like what often happens at a party like this most people ignored the situation because it wasn’t happening to them. I weaved my way through the drunks and latched my hand on the man’s wrist. I tweaked it so that it caused him some kind of paint. I needed him to let go of Rhonda. He turned to me and began screaming at me about getting in his way. I stared at him with the meanest bitch face I could and responded that he was right I was getting in his way. The girl had said no, had protested, and attempted to get away from him and being drunk or stupid which I didn’t care was the issue, the fact was, she didn’t want his attention. In the end, I dragged her out of the house and left all that mess behind. She was angry at me for escalating everything and made her look like a child, her crush must think she can’t handle herself or that she was a problem or that she had made a situation of something ridiculous like a drunk hitting on her. After her whole explosive tantrum, I worked out a signal system for us. I had no desire to be in that mess again.
The room appeared to be purposefully dimly lit to create a type of atmosphere. There was also a type of haze in the room. It was hard to tell if it was from people smoking or if somewhere there was a smoke machine. It was just enough distortion to cause you to stare a little longer at something or someone to figure out what they actually looked like. The whole sense of atmosphere of this place felt like it was made to make you second guess what you felt or saw. On closer inspection I could see there was a separation between the room. The partitions were breaking the large room into three parts.
The first opening showed several men playing a game of cards. From where I stood there was no way of knowing what type of card game they were playing, but they all were staring daggers into the cards that were in their hands. The air coming from there felt like a kind of warning. There was a kind of toxin that wafted from that room and I felt like if I stepped anywhere near there I was gambling with my chasitied in some way. I wasn’t a virgin by any means, but the reaction of that air signaled me that I should steer clear of them if I didn’t want to become another notch on someone’s belt, willingly or not.
The second opening revealed an extravagant bar with a bartender attending to those who approached for a drink. The thing that struck me about this room was there were no chairs. One could not just go grab a drink and sit, this forced the people in this room into the uncomfortable situation of trying to focus on talking, holding a drink, and maintaining some kind of look of being nonchalant about where they were. The only lighting in this room came from the bar itself and only appeared to be used so that the bartender could tell what ingredient he was grabbing for. The rest of the space was dark and it forced people to be in closer proximity to each other which seemed to make everyone even more uncomfortable.
The last room had a single table in the center of it and was the most lit of any of the spaces. A table spanning the length of the room was covered with all times of foods and illicit items. This was the room that Rhonda had entered. The man had provided her with a drink and seemed to be directing her to a section of the table that had pills sectioned off like little ordives. She seemed to be hesitant to take anything and several times shook her head, but once he picked up the item he had been guiding her toward, she swiped it from his hand so quickly I had been unsure for a moment of whether or not she had taken them from him or knocked them out of his hand. Once I saw her quickly down the drink I assumed she either drank the pill down or she hid it somewhere in her mouth. The problem with that second opportunity is she was drinking from a glass so if she tried to spit the pill in the glass it would be visible.