Second Life

This is the story of Imogen, a dissatisfied seventeen year old, and her relationship with an infathomable boy whom she eventually identifies as an Undead.
This is just the beginning, feel free to give me your comments/critiscm/additions. Hope you like it!

I looked around me at the lawyers, doctors, politicians and housewives of the present and future, at the masses of barely legal adults in their exclusive outfits attending god-knows-whose engagement party. Everything smelt of money of the kind that had stayed in families for generations to fuel this kind of exclusive, by-invitation-only debauchery. The well-oiled conversation, the discreet and continuous supply of alcohol and expensive tobacco, the plush surroundings,  nothing could quite mask the sordid undercurrents of high society; the inevitable affairs, the ruthless corruption of families desperate to keep a hold on their dwindling fortunes. Every guest at this party had some connection to another; I saw cousins, friends of cousins, ex girlfriends of my brothers.  Of course, you were not expected to attend such events without an escort, and Sebastian, the son of a close friend of my mother, steered me from one not-so-polite conversation to another. He was blandly good-looking, expensively educated; he bored me to tears, and his possessive grip was starting to irritate me. I finished yet another glass of foul tasting drink and  tried to shake him off, telling him rather louder than was necessary “Get off me, Sebastian. I’m perfectly capable of walking unsupported, thank you very much”. Someone broke off in the middle of a long, tedious anecdote, and Sebastian coughed apologetically. I noticed he hadn’t loosened his hold in the slightest; instead, he led me outside and into a relatively secluded corner of the grounds, hissing furiously in my ear as the well-bred vultures behind us began to mutter amongst themselves. In similar alcoves around the gardens other couples were sheltering, their murmurs and shallow breaths rising and falling around us. Sebastian didn’t seem to notice, and I smiled privately as he addressed me.

“For God’s sake, Imogen, you shouldn’t drink. You’re embarrassing yourself and you’re embarrassing me. You’re a  bloody disgrace! I can’t take you anywhere”. His words were rapid and sharp with fury. I realised exactly what made Sebastian and the rest of these guests so very unexciting; they had no passion, no intensity. But his sudden burst of indignation was quickly settling into the patronizingly sanctimonious tone of a parent chastising a misbehaving child, and  I closed my eyes, ignoring him. I focused instead on the dissonant mingling of sensation one could only attain with alcohol; the acrid tang of sweat and cigarette smoke, the muted drone of music from the house behind me, the creeping chill of glass on skin. A door swung open, slammed shut, a bubble of sound swelled and burst, and a tangle of footsteps tumbled across the path and into the alley between two houses.

 

I stirred as I realised that someone was still talking to me, swaying precariously at the foot of a sculpture. I opened my eyes, shuffling my thoughts into some semblance of order at the sound of their familiar smoke-roughened voice; Sebastian. I frowned, his words sliding into an incoherent jumble as I applied myself to remembering where I was. Yes, the garden of a rich friend, carefully and ostentatiously landscaped, and Sebastian was shouting at me. His voice was too loud, aggressive even, and his off-green eyes were slightly out of focus. Drunk, I concluded, as he tightened his grip on my upper arm, and I mewed with discomfort, stepping back and stumbling. I landed lightly on the perpetually damp grass that grows in shade, and Sebastian made a disgusted noise in the hollow of his throat. “You’re pathetic”, he spat, and I glared at him with as much dignity as possible.

 “I’m pathetic?” I said, feeling anger rise irrationally in my chest. “You don’t know me, Sebastian. You don’t even know yourself, because you’ll never have to lift a finger to do anything for yourself, will you?”

 “That’s not true!” he spluttered, “I brought you here, and look how you repay me-”

I laughed mirthlessly “You brought me here? You had no choice other than to bring me, because your mother told you to!”

Someone once told me that drunken words were sober thoughts and I as I watched Sebastian searching futilely for a response I realised how very true this was.

“The car will be waiting for you when you’re ready to leave” he spat finally, and then crossed the path and rejoined the party.

 

I watched him leave with a regret that was mellowed by the soft night air and by the fact that his departure immediately made everything much simpler. My fingers were numb, and I realized I was still holding the glass he must have given me. I threw it into a flowerbed, laughed, and closed my eyes again, listening hard. This was a game I often liked to play whilst drunk. It required equal amounts of both imagination and intoxication, but the game itself was relatively simple, and now seemed as good a time as any. I settled back, straining my ears over the mundane sounds of the night, until the numbness in my extremities spread to the very core of my bones and my body belonged to someone else. Then the game could begin.

 

First the commonplace stories, then the interesting, then the challenging; this was my code. The cheating girlfriend in the master bedroom with her boyfriend’s best friend, the depressed housewife delivering her monologue to the contents of a stranger’s wine rack - these were the easy ones, their stories etched onto the sounds they made.

Next came the trickier puzzles, with fragments and shards of noise to piece together. Adolescents were harder to predict, their fledgling voices clamouring for the conflicting constants of adulthood and childhood. The indication was in the intensity of the sounds I could hear; a door slam, a sob, the frantic patter of keypads – these were the subtle differences between rebuffed lust and full bodied passion, between the real stories and the exaggerated nothings.

The challenges were best. It felt almost sinful to unravel these ambiguities, to flesh out the stories from snatches of conversation. Vivid recollections of youth from the clouded minds of the old and senile, the fantastical figments of unstable minds, these required the full force of my fertile imagination. As I considered this, I heard something, the sound of someone trying to be silent. I released my pleasantly chaotic thoughts, hearing the whispered exchange of a couple in the outhouse. The door creaked; someone giggled and was quickly hushed. I listened further, waiting for something more, but then I felt a cold spreading through me. Someone was gripping my arms holding me. I tried to move – impossible, and I instinctively knew that this as not Sebastian or one of the aristocratic guests from the party. Waves of cold crashed down my spine as I opened my eyes, coursing through my ribs and down the soles of my feet, numbing the indescribable pain in my upper arms that was hovering on the edge of my awareness. I turned my head, trying to see behind me, but caught only a glimpse of waxen olive skin stretched over a bone structure so fine it was almost feline, feral. And then there was a voice; low, soft, intoxicating in it’s very self, neutral and yet utterly indescribably masculine in the two words it spoke; “Don’t struggle”.

The End

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