Page 99 from Trapdoor A Novel
By Vixen Phillips
Reprinted with Permission: Copyright Vixen Phillips.
All Rights Reserved.
Book Description: Raven and Pegasus each have their own reasons for denying their feelings for one another, but once they are all they have left in the entire world, how long can this charade really hold out? Sometimes, if you wish hard enough, dreams can come true, even if you should wake to find them gone like shadows in the morning. Set in Melbourne in the late 90s, Trapdoor is a psychological journey through darkness and light-a story of love, obsession, and beautiful self-destruction.
A shabby sign lurches drunkenly over the doorway, announcing the word JoJo’s to the sleepy alley. As we linger outside the entrance, the ghosts of soulful guitar riffs echo behind the curtain.
“Here we be.” Raven lets go my hand to light up a cigarette before leading me in. “Our very first date.”
Somehow, indoors, it’s even darker—the only lighting comes from the fridges by the bar, and the stage, where a feather-and-jewelled woman with dark skin perches under a spotlight, crooning and wailing alternately about her latest love gone wrong, while the cool cats in her shadow look suitably laid back as they jam effortlessly around her melodies. There could be more people here than the handful scattered around the stage and the bar, but it’s too dimly lit to tell.
Raven guides me to sit at a table by the wall, and squeezes my hand. “I’ll get us a drink.” His warm breath against my earlobe sends a shiver down my spine. I lean back, try to relax, and keep an eye on his shadow as he lopes off towards the neon glow of the bar. He takes a seat next to a man wearing a big straw hat and a spotted fur coat, with a younger boy playing ruined-glamourous on his arm. I don’t allow my thoughts to linger on this boy too long. Not so short a time ago, that could have been me. I can spot my own kind, even in the dark of a smoky club that probably isn’t even open, legally speaking.
Now what are you up to? Money’s changing hands between Raven and the faceless older man, before he takes our order from the skimpy barmaid. A moment later he slides back to our table, and finishes his drink in a couple of mouthfuls, all the while pretending to ignore me. But when I look away, from the corner of my eye I can see him glance at my glass. “Better start drinking, if you want to keep up with me.”
My heart sinks. So this is how it’s going to be. No protection, no remorse. You want me to be as sick as you were before. You don’t want to be in control.
To hell with it, it’s not like I care anyway. I scull the Midori and lemonade as fast as I can without gagging. It’s a lie, of course.
Vixen Phillips was born in Ballarat, Australia, in 1975. Mostly, she writes, programs computers, and plays guitar and keyboards, but in former lives she's also worked as an audio engineer, in & around various media production studios, as a graphic designer, and in computer sales. http://trapdoor.lostviolet.com
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