At Night She Came Alive
At night she came alive. Feet clipping on paving slabs, heart pounding in chest and ears. Blood pumping. Exhilaration. Joy.
Alone, she slung her rucksack over one shoulder. Khaki, tatty, no doubt it had never been near an army-store – but it transformed her into a warrior.
At The Rose and Crown she made her way to the toilets. There were girls in there, so she went into a cubicle and removed her scarf, gloves, pulled off her jumper. She zipped up ankle boots, their chains, little beads, falling down and across the arch of her foot as a string of teeth.
She waited until she heard them leave: a little flock patting, preening, fluttering around each other. The door swung behind them, the noise of the bar briefly entering, lost, entering again, until it closed.
She came out into the space, took out her washbag. Wax in hair, lipstick almost black – not quite black – more eyeliner, more blusher, more everything. Bracelets on wrists; her favourite ring. Transfiguration.
Back out through the bar and she pushed past the dancers wobbling, jiggling in a damaged swarm. A man, around 40, stared as she approached. He didn’t turn away as she squeezed through, and then winked, slowly. Her stomach lurched.
Outside, she walked with purpose towards the club: the wet pavement was a challenge now; the air cold in her thinner clothes. Rain. The illumination of street lights, shop lights, Chinese restaurants, etched the air in flashes. Head down, she felt that familiar feeling of guilt, but she stepped through it, walked faster.
As she approached the club, she placed gum in her mouth, spritzed her wrists. She said her name aloud.
“Eve,” she said, over and over. Until it was true. Until the word consumed her whole.
“I am Eve.”
About the author: Dreena Collins’s short fiction has appeared in Fish Publishing, Wells Fest, Mslexia, Eyelands & Bridport comps. She is the author of The Blue Hour.
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