The Gallows

– No, I told you I cannot right now…Listen, – he sighed, – listen, for Christ’s sake!

He tried not to yell, but his focus was on keeping his hands warm. It was pretty cold outside and he had to take his gloves off to answer the phone. – I told you, not today, I’m busy. – he held his cell phone with his right hand, trembling, trying not to drop it while walking. – My brother has a performance today…yes this evening…at eight…no, I cannot bail from it. I promised him I’d go…tomorrow, I promise. Eight. At the bar…yes, the same bar…because I like it there…okay, stop whining, haven’t you learnt anything? – he gnashed his teeth. – I know there are things yet to be discussed, but, be a good girl, and take note of what I told you last night…you can’t, I know you can’t…just, get some rest, I’ll take care of that. Meet me tomorrow at eight in the evening, at the bar. Order the waitress a cup of coffee, double. I might be late, but probably not…okay, see you there. – he hung up.

It was already seven and he was yet to reach the club. He hurried towards the nearby bank, where there were always cabs. He boarded the first that came into sight and directed the driver with a twenty where to go. The taxi driver nodded acknowledgingly and pushed the pedal to the metal. The car was flying on the road like a bird in the sky, shaking at the bumps, accompanied by the marvelous curses that came out of the driver’s mouth.  A lightning flashed and they both heard thunders and little drops of rain hitting the roof. They slowed a bit, but the driver was presented with another twenty, so he sped up again and they soon reached the club. He rushed out of the cab straight into the building, his hand above him to shield him from the rain. It wasn’t really useful, but it gave him confidence.

The club was almost full. He looked around to see a colourful palette of people around. It was a rock club, however, so all of them, more or less, were in tune with that choice of music. He was able to find his brother amongst that crowd; the latter was just getting on stage with his band. He yelled supportingly, and raised his hands up high.

Then, the music flew.

It was nostalgic, yet aggressive; dark, but energetic; it brought memories and vanquished them at the same time, giving this blissful feeling of completion, of wholeness.

He’d heard it before. He wasn’t enchanted beyond recognition, unlike the rest of the bar. He looked at them. So weak. So foolish. Or were they? Perhaps they were free. They didn’t care about anyone or anything right now.

Delightful.

He wished to be like them sometimes. And as he was surveying them all, something grabbed his gaze. Or rather, someone.

It was her. Young, perhaps younger than him, dressed in all black – jeans, boots, shirt; her naked shoulder revealed a tattoo of a wolf. The auburn hair stirred and flew with the stale breeze, the emerald eyes darted around the premises. She was too, more or less, entranced by the music. Either that, or she had a few beers too many.

It didn’t matter, it never had.

Dancing around in circles, she was near the exit, her body flexible and gracious as that of a professional, and she kept the rhythm; the music pounding and pounding. She switched a few partners but she held on the last one for quite some time. They were getting closer and closer, as the tempo grew faster. Her spectator kept looking, knowing the end of it all, yet refusing to believe it. At least until it happened.

They kissed, lustfully and vigorously as never before. As if tomorrow was the end of the world, as she has never kissed a man before.

As she has never kissed him.

He clenched his fist and leaned towards one of the bikers.
– Tell my brother he plays as marvelous as ever. No, tell him he’s even better now.
– You takin’ off? – shouted the biker.
He smiled through his teeth.
– There’s always something.
The huge, fat guy with thick beard nodded in agreement, shook hands with him and he hurried towards the exit. In his rush, he accidentally pushed the couple making out near the exit, muttered a half-assed “I’m sorry”, and walked out. It was still raining cats and dogs outside, but it didn’t matter.

It never had.

He walked as fast as he could, escaping himself, while searching his exodus.
It wasn’t long before his phone rang.
– Yes?
– Come back – a female voice asked from the other side. He turned around instinctively.
It was her.
She was standing at the entrance of the club, holding a cell phone by her ear with one hand, and the other supporting it. She didn’t have any coat on, it didn’t seem that she needed one; she was soaked. They were standing like that, under the heavy rain, away from each other and bound by their phones in silence.
He was the first to break it.
– Why?
There was no reply.
He hung up.

 

**
cover image by Capukat

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