Chapter 9: Chaos
“What a jerk.” Renee mumbled, taking Lenora’s jacket from David.
“Did you even see him? He hit me hard.” David snickered. “Must have been in a rush.” He rubbed his shoulder with a scowl.
“Must have.” Renee agreed without much feeling. She tried to follow the guy in the black coat, but he was lost to the dance floor now.
“Come on, Nee. She’s waiting for us.” David gave her arm a tug as he shouted over the music.
Renee followed him the rest of the way, and they found Lenora sitting right where she had left her. There were three drinks huddled together on the bar, one of which had Lenora’s slender hands wrapped around it protectively. She seemed to be watching them, as if they were going to get up and walk away.
“Hey, space cadet!” David shouted. Renee was glad to see he’d learned enough control not to touch her when she was like this. Instead, he slid into an empty space in front of Lenora with a doofy grin on his face.
Renee saw Lenora smile slightly, and she sighed. She wished she was more helpful. As it was, she took up a spot on the other side of Lenora’s peripherals and ‘stood guard’ while she slipped on the jacket Renee handed her.
“Sorry it took us so long to get back here.” David shouted. “I was trying to get someone’s –“
The music died, and the lights flickered. It was only a moment before everything returned to the noisy din. Renee glanced quickly around, as did David. Lenora jumped as if stung. Renee put a hand on her shoulder. She felt her friend shudder.
“- Number…” David furrowed his brow then shook his head.
“Did you get it?” Lenora asked, sipping her drink through the little stirrer straw.
“Naw. My sister walked over.” David rolled his eyes.
Renee laughed. “She was probably too old for you anyway.”
“I like that! I can be down with a more mature woman!” David protested.
Renee was relieved to see Lenora laugh.
David’s face screwed up as his head bobbed to the music.
“What’s wrong?” Lenora asked, sliding them their respective drinks.
David shook his head with a shrug. “Nothing. I just don’t remember this bass line to this song. Must be a remix.”
Someone shoved into Renee, ’oof’ing her into the bar. She turned to shout at them, when she saw others turning to the exit too. And soon, a moment after she realized that their faces were twisted in fear, she heard the screams past the chaotic rhythm.
Renee stretched her neck up and cast her eyes towards the back of the club, physically jumping as the sight of red spray caught her eye.
“Oh my God…” she murmured, eyes wide.
“Renee…?” Lenora’s voice trembled as she tried to speak loud enough to be heard.
“We have to go now.” Renee commanded, grasping Lenora from the elbow, and grabbing David from the collar of his shirt as she strode past. It was slow going; people trying to climb over and around others, some on the ground, confused and probably drunk.
“Renee! What’s – Oh God!” Lenora jumped, clinging to her friend’s arm as a man in a suit with a gun crashed past them towards the fray.
They got to the door safely, but the bottle neck was ridiculous. As they stood there, David shrugged free of his sister’s grasp, and turned to look back. The music was still playing, making it hard to hear. He mouthed something that Renee didn’t catch.
“What?” She shouted.
Lenora was holding her elbow, staring about in wide-eyed fear. Her lips mouthed something, but before Renee could ask what it was, David responded.
“She can’t get out!” David pointed frantically and then was gone, darting through the crowd that had amassed between them and the rest of the club.
“David!” Renee called, half tempted to clear a path.
“I’ll get him!” Lenora shouted, patting Renee’s arm and then she too, was gone.
Before Renee could reach out and grab Lenora’s arm, the crowd had filled in around her like water in a drain, and in moments she was being sucked through the door.
He’s here, Oh my God, he’s here. Lenora’s heart was pounding, but strangely enough the majority of the hysteria wasn’t fear. M. Jones must own this club too.
A thrill of excitement gripped her arms and legs as she moved past the escaping mob, trying to follow the bobbing green head of David. Lenora knew where he was heading – one of the cages seemed to be stuck, and there was a girl curled up in the corner of it, covering her face from the scene.
As David broke through the crowd, Lenora’s heart swelled with pride to see him dart to the cage. Once she was past the throng however, Lenora stared about her in a mix of horror and clueless impotence.
What could she possibly do in a situation like this?
A gunshot startled her, and she dashed like mad for the cover of the bar. It had been abandoned in everyone’s haste to get away, and she slipped behind it without obstacle. Once safe behind the marble surface, she peeked over it to view the situation.
So far, there were five bodies strewn on the floor. On the left side was David, fighting with the door of the metal cage, the girl kneeling by the bars closest to him. On the right, one body seemed to steam.
It was steaming. And a ring of charred flesh circled its neck like a morbid bow-tie.
Tearing her eyes from that, she saw that the booths were empty now, and three men were behind the far railing of the staircase by the high tables. They fired shots at one man who was holding up a body between himself and the gunfire.
He was wearing a black coat, and had light brown hair that fell in a mess just about to his earlobes. As Lenora watched, he moved forward, holding the slumped body as a shield, and pulled a knife from the folds of his coat. When he got about ten feet away, sprays of blood splashing back on him; he dropped the body and leaped.
Lenora saw him spring into the air and land on the steps, and then he used one hand to vault over the railing and fall upon the men. The first one received a raking gash across his face, from the top of his left eye to the bottom left side of his chin. He fell back screaming. The second raised his gun to hit the dark coat, but he was blocked by a deftly moving forearm, and then the knife was thrust forward and up, into the bouncer’s navel and out again through the sternum, blood spilling everywhere.
So much blood…
As the third engaged the black coat, Lenora moved quickly to the other end of the bar. As she reached the opening that led towards the payphones and bathrooms, she heard doors open and close, and another man with a gun came running out of the room, bee-lining for the black coat. He was wide eyed, and even from where Lenora crouched, she could see the sweat on his forehead.
Lenora, eyes wide and breath shallow and frantic, grabbed the first bottle she saw and followed.
The black coat’s back was turned to them.