The task: Write a short story in 24 hours based on a mood and setting given to you. It was a little game between me and ol’ Byron. This is the very first draft, no edits allowed. Were I to go further with this, a lot would be changed. But yeah, enjoy it and all it’s overwrittenness =)
It was the third bottle of champagne, broken skies and bubbled stories brimmed the sides of the glass. There were two more green bottles standing on the wall, emerald lyrics of nurseries long since gone glimmering across the walls. Through their effervescent pools shone the life of the electric stars just beyond the window, the sparks of insomnia that kept the city awake. Stars within stars within stars. It was dirt that created the bubbles, a chemical reaction that occurs even in the cleanest of the clean. Science amongst the poetry. The man clutching the third bottle began to pull, the opportunity for escape filled the bottle, its internal inverse patient. The cork burst, ejaculating foam.
Cheers and cries welcomed the new drug, as glasses and fervent hands caught the streaming fountain, the man waved the bottle above his head, spilling intoxication onto the plush flooring. Drowning in the frothing foam, with eyes shining stronger than the champagne stars, marks our present protagonist. Immersed but untouched, the fresh faced one washes his youth away with dollar upon dollar of the finest french fields have to offer. His innocent internals would take seconds to process the poison entering their system, for the next few minutes this boy was safe, for the next few minutes, this boy would be the hero to the party.
As the floor thrums and the walls heave, the corner shows a past not forgotten but unwanted. His lager heavy, dutch import and bitter to the taste of the innocents, the past stares at the present, bathing in fruits of another’s labour. Reflected in the bubbles rolling down the protagonist’s tongue were the mirrors of the past, a time when things were different. When things were, to those who lived it, undeniably better. A time when the present was the future.
Celebrating the camera’s final shutter, the people danced. The limbo of production surrounding them, as what they created was sent off to the darkened offices, reams of film coating the floor and empty energy drinks marking the chosen editor’s path through the picture. Tonight, the agenda was to party, to forget lines and throw the characters into a drunken haze of drink and dance, the upcoming star at the centre of it all, shining brightest under the coats of champagne bathing his sculpted features, whilst the has-been watches from the corner, the bitter tongue lapping the single pint.
There was a gap in the playlist, and the past began to move forward. As the next track began, the introduction setting the rhythm for the party, the past stepped to the beat. But pulled from under the stream of champagne, the present fell away from sight. Stopping in his tracks, the past watched as the assistant director hauled the present towards the bar. Dancing blurs of momentum filled his world as the past stepped back into the party. There was a tug on his arm and the past turned to see the award nominated costume designer, her eyes wide, glistening, she tugged again on his arm. She pulled him into the party, into the dancing circle which made every effort to consume him.
Contained within the guard of moving walls, the past found himself the centre of attention. The eyes watched him, the smiles kept themselves in place, sculpted into reality. A hand held his and the glamorous glitter girl of the posters pulled him close. Her breath on his cheek was hot, panicked. Their heartbeats unsynchronised, matching their own dance tunes. Hips melting together, the past felt her hands on his chest, the electricity pulsed between them as she held his attention. Her heartbeat increased as his heated exhale traced her neck, they danced out of time, whispering out of rhyme, she looked into his eyes whilst he looked through her, to the past, standing at the bar, a sway making its way into his pose.
The hand of the assistant director patted the present on the shoulder before making a glance into the dance square that had become of his living room. Human ornaments stood at the walls, engaged in conversation, tipping their glasses to one another. There was a final lingering look at the assistant director eyed the new rising star before parting from the bar, leaving the boy alone. Disengaging his dance from the girl in his arms, held by his breath, the past stepped away. She melted backwards, meshing into the wall of people behind her, a slipstream of synchronicity. Eyes followed and mouths dropped as the past stepped out from the circle of dancers, nothing but an empty space between him and the present.
Breaking apart, the circle fell into disarray, its axis creeping towards the young actor, standing alone, eyes glazed over. The past closed in, until there was contact, until they were within one another’s grasp. The terms and conditions of socialising broke down as the party moved in formation. Seperation was key. It’s a fable of time travel that the past and present must not touch. And as the past took the present’s hand, the continuum ripped apart. Contact had been made. The agenda was known, the party would be reduced to witnesses.
The past began to lead the present to the glass doors. It was time to act, each party goer felt themselves embossed with a new role. There were no rehearsals, no script. Just a life or death performance. Smile upon smile and joke after joke filled the room as every single member did their best to distract the new couple. Tight shirt and sparkling smile, the leading sex symbol approached the past, a drink in his hand and terror in his eyes. Break the contact. A girl, her hair raised to reveal the elegant structure of his shoulders, pressed herself against the present, smiling kindly, every breath pleading him to come with her. At all costs, break the contact. A new song hit the sound waves, a new bottle of champagne unloaded its icy cloak, dropping residue into the carpet. Do not let them go any further. An obstacle course of fake friends and previous promises marked the path to the balcony, but the past continued. Every drink refused, every dance rejected was a failure.
The party was the battlefield and the guests were the front line. Barricading the glass doors, they stopped at nothing. One hysterical girl even threw herself at the conjoined hands, her body fighting to break the connection, but the past would not let go and the present kept looking forward, completely unaware of what the party knew. The innocents know nothing of business, of the sacrifices made and the lengths people go to. The innocents know nothing of pure loss, as regret and terror eats away at the insides, consuming the soul, and as thus, could never relate to every other member of the party as they watched him pass over the threshold onto the balcony, leaving the glamour and lights behind for the brisk cold air and sharp chill of the city’s gasp.
The door slid shut, the grinding of metal on metal before finally snapping shut, encasing the sounds and hopes of those inside. The party became a murmur, a cinema screen of elegance and finance. God’s breath whipped the balcony, the flowers shaking in its wake as the past and present turned to face one another. Inside the host raised the fourth bottle of champagne.
The past smiled kindly at the present, his eyes showing none of it. The present grins meekly, his hero of old standing before him. Champagne bubbles tremble. They overlook the scope below, cars on a mission, lights igniting specifics and skyscrapers breaking the horizon. The bottle shakes vehemently. It was time to look down, over the balcony, the past’s hand on the present’s back. Eyes followed every movement as the cork began to break free. The present turned round to look up into the eyes of the past, his own inspiration, his own goal. The party goers watched every movement behind glass, the glare of their own reflection blurring the story. Past and Present share a moment, their faces inches from one another, eyes locked. The bottle bursts open. There’s a force on the past’s back. Froth obscures sight. Past and Present stare into each others eyes as they draw further and further apart. Contact breaks, as past and present separate, inch by inch, metre by metre.
The present looks up at the balcony above him, growing further and further away. Sound is awash in the city’s scream as he tumbles. Wind whips his body, causing a spiral. Dancing in the wind, the present watches window after window fly past, channel hopping life after life. Unable to find pause, the present fails to notice as the pavement passes right through him. Life leaves his side and his vision fades into cement.
The champagne calms down, as the sliding doors open. Hearts leaping and eyes flying, everyone looks to see the past, standing straight, his greatest performance etched across his face.
Witnesses they were, silent they would be. The past became the future. No word was spoken, saltless tears were cried. Under the air of the tragedy, the film’s success rocketed. The future of the industry’s promise would be to carry on, where the present could no longer stand. Projected onto screens nationwide, the present would forever be remembered as a part of the past, his performance now history.
There was a fifth bottle of champagne, but no one there to drink it.