[Fiction] Friday Challenge for August 21st, 2009:
Start your story with a game of hide and seek.
“Like a moth to a flame burnt by the fire. My love it blind can’t you see my desire.” ~ Janet Jackson
“Josh I’m not playing hide and seek.” There was no answer.
I shuddered and tried not to look up at the gargoyles, their jowls ravenous and unforgiving. I knew they were leering down at me. From where I sheltered I could hear the base bleeding up the hill through the bitter midnight air and I wished I’d made a better decision. Stayed down there in the night club and lost myself on the dance floor to Shaggy or Janet Jackson rather than up here.
“Josh c’mon,” I yelled, rubbing my freezing arms and pressing myself further into the alcove created by the wall and a stone column of some description to avoid the wind. “How long does it take to piss? ”
I had been comfortable down the hill in Hot Gossip, which had once been Chapter House – owned by the Catholic Church. Up here among the other Church buildings still owned by the Dioceses the good will trip to the autoteller with my best friend’s boyfriend seemed a bad idea. She was imagining two plus one was something it could never be. Not in this circumstance
“I’m not coming looking for you. Josh?”
It was cold – probably edging somewhere towards zero and I gave a fuck about it. There wasn’t enough alcohol in me to voluntarily wander up the street scantily clad with him. There had been no mention of a pitstop when we left, despite the fact the deal was brokered outside the toilet in the foyer.
I didn’t want to be up here with Josh. But I couldn’t leave. I was scared of the dark but at 18 it was no longer acceptable to admit to fearing dark places. I didn’t want to admit I was terrified. Thoughts of dares to go down into the convent from the music room at high school were darting through my head now. All the nefarious things which lurk in the places we don’t want to go. Next thing Freddie Kruger would step out of the shadows – to slice and dice me. He’d already made short work of Josh and that’s why he wouldn’t call back.
Heart thundering I stepped out of the alcove, staring hard into the darkness and wishing the street lighting penetrated further than the foot path. I kept a hand on the stone wall.
“Josh? If you don’t come out I’m going back down to the hill. I don’t care if I don’t have any more money.” There was a definite hysterical pitch to my voice now.
The wind howled and I felt the needle prick of goosebumps break out over my bare arms. The base transitioned into faster rhythm like the DJ had pressed the throttle forward. I knew the base line – it was Lenny Kravitz, are you gonna go my way?
I inched forward into the nothingness between the two buildings in the direction Josh had gone to relieve himself. A moment of bravery, inspired by the beat.
I stumbled back a few steps when his body knocked into me. He came from nowhere and his lips were crushing mine as my back hit the wall my hand had been tracing seconds earlier. His hands were on either side of my head, sandwiching me bewteen the heat of his body and the frigidness of the stone.
My first thought was to push him away and slap him. Remind him he was my best friend’s boyfriend. Remind myself. But he had been mine before he had been hers. And it was all to familiar. His aftershave. The shape of his body. The way he kissed. My mouth melded and moved with his.
“I thought you hated me,” I gasped when he finally pulled away from me.
“You think too much,” he said, moving back in close.
“No. Not here.” I gathered myself. The chasm between the right thing and the right thing for me was rapidly closing. “Come back to my place.”
He considered it for a moment and agreed.
And between the confessions was we walked and the two hours shared between the front of the gas heater and beneath my doona I unknowingly descended to a place I could never escape intact from. I was forever playing hide and seek with the truth. No one would win.
The rumours of Josh’s infidelity had inevitably found their way back to my best friend well before that evening. She’d pressed me to sure up his position. Josh loved her didn’t he? He wouldn’t do that to her? It was easy to hide the truth from her but much harder for me to seek peace with the revenge which had played me straight into his well laid web of lies.