At first Benny thought someone had fallen. Another drunken fool misjudging a step, or a bad dancer gone awry. When everyone around him started looking around, the night's ecstacy dripping off their faces like candlewax, revealing the ever present layer of dread they all held within themselves, a second skein fused to their bones, he realized it wasn't that at all.
The second jolt hit and Benny felt it in his jaw. He could've blamed the booze, or his poor health, or any number of other things, but truth was it was pure fright that caused him to piss himself right there in the middle of the club. Trailing down his leg in a single, unbroken stream, it didn't hit Benny what he was doing until he felt it in his shoes, soaking his socks. And by then it didn't matter.
There had been panicked murmurs. A number of high-pitch calls for names. Mostly it was concerned voices, skating on the thin edge of fear, that filled the night. But the thing that struck Benny were the smatterings of paper-thin bravado puncturing the otherwise somber mood. Like daffodils springing up in the middle of a field, they broke from the otherwise restrained, relatively uniform weeds. And then, also like daffodils, as soon as the gentlest of breeze blew in, they flew apart, forever scattered.
The first scream he heard came from man. Low but rising, he dredged up a deep, atavistic fear in him. An image of his father, his body buried under a mass of men. They all heaved. One growing, breathing mass of flesh. And as more men piled on, body on top of body, he recalled his father screaming. As his body was crushed into the floor.
A shoulder crashed into Benny's back, hurling him forward. The shoulder might as well have hit everyone because as Benny moved so too did the rest of the room. A damn had broken and now they were all caught up in the stream. Even if they hadn't reacted at that moment. Even if a mysterious and powerful calm had returned to the room, Benny knew he didn't have the strength to find the same courage, and he would have run screaming from the room, no longer caring what he looked like or what people thought of him.
Another quake hammered the Glacier, the most powerful by far, and a strand of dust landed on Benny's shoulder. It was coming down, he thought. It was coming down. This thought ran through his head again and again and again. It's coming down. It's coming down. Every other line of thought had been ripped from his mind save this one. It's coming down.
He'd heard from Christy how sometimes, when a mind breaks, that's how it looks. A preternatural fixation on something. Turning a light switch on and off an even number of times at the correct intervals. Taking the correct number of steps from the bedroom to the front door. A memory. An object. Anything that, if it was disturbed in anyway, then the world would undoubtedly end. This was where Benny was now. Even though these thoughts fought to for prominence in his mind they were mere extras; background characters walking past a scene, trying desperately to get noticed, knowing they never would. It's all coming down. If he kept thinking this, kept saying it to himself, maybe he would ward off doom. Maybe it would grant him some magic foresight and he'd avoid a pillar crashing to the ground, or know when a crack was about to open up beneath his feet and leap at the correct moment, escape a long, terrifying fall into nothing.
It's all coming down. And if he knew that, understood it with every fiber of his self, maybe he'd be able to survive.
People were screaming now. Bravado, courage, pretense, everything torn to shreds in the face of the Armageddon.
The darkness of the cloud shrouded everyone's face. The lights flickered, some shook from their moorings and fell, clattering to the ground. One to his left, crashed into the bar, smashing glasses, spitting glass into people's faces, electing a fresh round of shrieks.
No one looked familiar. In the blue, purple hues of the club, everyone took on a terrifying shadow complexion. Shadows casting shadows, groping in the darkness.
An elbow caught Benny in his throat, and he heard himself gag. Spit fell from his mouth. He didn't bother wiping it off. A thought occurred to him, "it's that how yo die? Can't a man die from getting his Adam's apple smashed." He felt like he was dying. His throat closed up, breathing became impossible. More sweat poured from his face. His body kept moving but at this point he didn't know if it was his own strength doing this or simply his limp, dying body being carried by the raging current. "Is this how I'm doing to die? A corpse carried out into the night by people I don't know? By people who don't even realize I'm dead? Is that the only way anyone would ever bother carrying me anywhere?"
In front of him, a man was knocked down and something spilled from his shirt. Daniel. He tried crawling but a shadow passed over him, knocking him to the ground again. He looked behind him. His eyes were wide with panic. In this position he looked like a human animal that had been wounded in the hunt. Lights flashes and Benny swore he saw antlers growing from his head. As he got closer, as his body continued to float along with the crowd, he realized what has splashed against the floor. Playing cards. A foot landed on them and one stuck to the bottom of his. Another foot rushed by, spraying the cards like leaves, spreading them across the floor.
As he passed Daniel, they exchanged a look. He had no idea what Daniel felt in that moment. Recognition of that level had abandoned him. Everything was coming down. Daniel knew it, and yet, there was confusion on his face. Did he know he was going to die to was he still clinging to the belief that he was special? That he and he alone would will himself to survive.
Passed him now, Benny tried looking back, but darkness
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Location A nightclub
Words Reach 100 words
Event An earthquake hits
Letter Use the letter L
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
Prop Include a pack of cards
Words Reach 1000 words
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