their inability to blink, even as the dancehall lights buzz madly
about her face. In fact, she hasn't blinked once since the conversation
began. Like staring at a painting. Renaissance, with the longish hair
framing her face, features
aglow and soft. The only thing out of place is the cigarette, which
juts along with her jaw in masculine fashion. It occurs to him that
she is not all there.
In a move that is as unexpected as reflex, her right hand moves for
the lighter, and he grabs hold of it an instant before she touches
it. Instead, her fingers encounter his balled fist. Her hand lays
there, wan and cold. Colder than one would expect in this hothouse.
The skin on her arms too, all prickly.
Are you -- he begins, and in mid-sentence the music is choked
off and the house lights wax to full intensity, no grace period in
between. An atmosphere of candied
and smoky air a moment before, now funereal black as walls and floor
emerge. Everyone's faces are sallow in the unforgiving luminescence.
Someone is speaking on a megaphone, but he can't make out what is
being said within the squelch.
Dammit. She shakes her head.
What are they saying?
ID checks. Now that she is speaking in relative quiet, he notes
her speech is slightly slurred. They're inspecting everyone's IDs.
Quietly, slowly, all the dancers and patrons are being directed to
sit at tables. The policemen are spreading throughout the club, stopping
at each table, noting names and IDs in their little black books. A
policeman dressed in