Waves of sound crashed without pause into the cavorting bronze bodies on the dance floor. The teeth-rattling bass thumped and the strobing lights flashed in concert. It was midnight on a Saturday night, and the beautiful people gathered in droves at the dance club. The sound was deafening, and with each boom of drums my heart skipped a beat until finally it gave in to the overwhelming sensations and began beating in tune. One by one our hearts matched beats with the DJ until the writhing hands-in-the-air mass of flesh became a single semi-sentient beast on the dance floor. A hundred hearts beat as one.
Gradually a change came over the crowd. The music was slowing down. The hard peaks and deep valleys of sound were leveling off into something light and airy. The spell broke and eyes opened, came into focus, minds clarified. People looked towards the bar along one wall, the bathrooms, or the tables where their friends sat. The music relinquished some of its power and the people reacted. Hands grasped hands, couples moved off the dance floor, some for the bar, some for the doors.
The respite was short lived: with a crash of cymbals, another driving beat burst into life. The time for autonomy ended as the beast with two hundred hands lifted them again to wave in the air, like feelers for a higher plane. Bodies smacked together, pulled apart, hot, wet, and sticky. This was life, this was what it meant to be human: to be caught up in that seething body of flesh, to lose oneself in the symbiosis of dance and music. It was a dance of revelry, a dance of thanks for life, for love. It brought us together in a semi-conscious bond. This was a tribal dance whose original source was around a campfire in a smoky cave. Replace the lycra with fur, the electronic bass with a hollowed log and I could have been dancing with my Neanderthal bride. I was a shaman, a warlock of great power and she was my witchy woman. I could see into the very souls of those around me, and they into mine. What we saw was simple: affirmation.
Little tragedies played themselves out on the dance floor. A woman slapped a man’s hand away and he knew his dance was over. But even the tragedies wove themselves into the tapestry of a dance of ecstasy and was richer for them. I looked down at my little cave-girl, spinning like a top, hands in the air, and I knew that never was I so content. To simply exist is so painfully hard. The work of my life is opening my eyes each morning, getting out of bed. But at this moment, with the love, the happiness, the music, the sweat stinging my eyes, I could accept those hours of pain each day for just one moment. Life was good.
My girl Evolet came closer and I wrapped my arms about her. She spun in my arms and I circled around her, my hands gliding over her shoulders, breasts, back, as we revolved in each other’s orbits. Her ivory skin was slick with sweat. Her eyes were open but the half-moons of her pupils told me she was far away. Her gold sparkly dress shimmered in the strobes and when a spotlight picked her out, she seemed to explode with radiance. She was my angel. I was her man. It was enough.
Bom-tiss, bom-tiss-tiss went the beat and I touched Evolet’s cheek and motioned to the bar. Her eyes rolled down to give me a quick glance, she smiled, and twirled off into the melee. With a flick of her wrist, I was dismissed, told to go ahead and see to my earthly desires, but not to pull her back down into reality. I smiled as I walked off the dance floor, watching her sidelong as she wove between the dancers, hands in the air, face up-turned to let the light of the gods fall across her visage. Another strobe found her and the dance floor scintillated with her reflected luminescence.
More tragedy erupted as a man dashed past, bumping me. It was a good thing I did not have drinks, but the next man he careened into did, and glass shattered as it hit the floor. At almost the same time a scream, a long wailing scream assaulted my eardrums and instinctively my eyes sought my girl even as I struggled to regain my balance. Evolet danced oblivious and the scream returned with reverb, it was the hit techno “Devil in my Pants” and was full of high wailing screams and low throbbing moans. It was a good tune, but distracting.
I turned around to see the running man try to dash away, but the man who lost his drink had different ideas and snatched the back of the runner’s collar. I couldn’t hear anything over the music, but I imagine at least an apology was being wrung from the runners neck, if not a new drink.
I was just turning back to the bar when I was bumped again. This time a man backed into me with great force as if he were pushed, and I jumped backwards, back onto the black and white lighted tiles of the dance floor to avoid being crushed. In slow motion the pushed man fell backwards to land at my feet and droplets of blood like rubies thrown into the air caught the beams of the strobe lights and dazzled before falling back down into to the ever-widening pool on the dance floor. There were more screams, but the song was reaching its crescendo and even as my eyes widened in disbelief, only the few nearest people realized there was a man down.
The pusher stood over his prey in a gory tableau, a line of bloody drool hanging from his bottom lip, before he collapsed on top of the bleeding man and tore his throat out with his teeth. I stood mute watching the spectacle, unable to move. The pool of blood was like a spreading black stain on the floor and it soon covered the distance to the soles of my shoes. It was when the pusher looked up at me, when I looked into those eyes, milky blue, unfocused, dead, that I finally found the will to move. There was a coldness about him, I felt the chill of him even as waves of heat buffeted me from the dancers behind, and all the little hairs on my body stood up on end. Something was WRONG. I planned to book it right out of there. I took a step backwards and the killer raised himself into a crouch above the dead or dying man.
Just then another patron decided to act. I will never know what that guy knew, but he acted with alacrity I will forever admire, and launched himself at the killer, knocking him to the side and sending them both sprawling into a crowd gathered around a table. The table up-ended and a real commotion began. I had already turned and was scanning the crowd for my girl, but she was no where to be found. “Eeee-volet!” was useless. The strobes had gone mad, spiraling out across the crowd and flashing on and off.
The two men were still rolling around on the floor and a girl knelt next to the dying man. She touched the pool of black goo spreading beneath him and held it to her nose. Her eyes went wide as realization dawned and she reached out for his bleeding neck, his pulse. She never found it, the dead man raised his head and her stretching fingers went straight into his mouth. The scream I heard then was definitely not part of the music. She pulled her hand back three fingers less. The dead man sat up, his teeth grinding on her little fingers.
It was at this point all hell broke loose.