Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Flash Story - The Party

When David first received the party invitation, he immediately threw it away. Although he liked the couple who had sent it to him, he had no time for parties in his life. All he wanted to do was wake up, go to mindless job, return home and have dinner, read a book and then go to sleep. Sure it was boring yet it was enough for him, even being a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana. The city thrived on history, decadence and magick yet he refused to partake at all. People at work thought him to be a stuffed shirt who was either a serial killer or a child molester; David just wanted to be left alone. Yet, for some reason, he couldn't get the party invitation out of his mind. He walked by its crumpled form sitting in the trash can every morning and afternoon, glancing at it just to make sure that it was still there, only to delve back into his routine and brush the thought to the side. Yet, when Friday finally arrived and he found himself at home after another day of his corporate job, David walked up to the trash can, pulled out the invitation then sighed. Maybe, he thought.

Two hours later, David pulled up to the driveway of the house on Magazine Street and turned off his car. He had known Cheryl and Mark for years yet never truly spent a lot of time with them. However, tonight was going to be different. He stared at the well lit house and sighed then checked himself in the rear view mirror for the third time. Yes, he looked decent enough. David then got out of the car and made his way up to the house, already festering with noise and laughter. Before he could open the front door, it swung open widely, revealing a black woman dressed in a long black skirt, black clogs and a red short sleeved shirt. She grinned when she saw David's nervous grin then welcomed him in. He slid inside while trying hard not to stare; she, whoever she was, was beautiful.
"I'm Julia," she said as she closed the door behind him. "I'm Cheryl and Mark's official greeter and drink gatherer!" David introduced himself in a mumbling tone then made his way to the party, where throngs of people stood or sat with drinks and food in hand. He wandered from room to room, not really taking anything in and yet soaking it all in like a sponge. Perhaps my routine was not the greatest idea, he thought as he walked around. This is what I've been missing! Suddenly, he spotted Cheryl and Mark and the couple rushed over to him and dragged him back to their circle of friends and introduced him to all. He tried hard not to blush as he heard everyone's name then stated that he would immediately forget everyone's name, to which they all laughed. He then felt a hand on his arm and as he turned, he saw Julia behind him. She asked if anyone wanted anything from her. David asked for a drink and when Julia walked off to get it, he asked if he would walk with her.

As they made their way through the festivities, Julia asked him what he did for a living.
"Just the owner of a cubicle at a company," was all he said with a hint of bitterness in his voice.
"Seems to me you'd much rather be doing something else."
"Yeah. You?"
"I work at Octavia Books. Love it!" David did not want to let her know that he'd never been inside that bookstore, although he had driven by it plenty of times. He wanted to go inside and enjoy the bookstore, yet yet for some reason, he found that he could not. They reached the drinks table and he made his then asked if she wanted anything, to which she said no. David wanted to find any excuse to talk with her and keep her away from everyone else, yet stumbled as he sought words. My god, he thought as he watched her briefly talk with other people, she really is beautiful. Julia then made her apology as she waved at another woman then made her way over to her, leaving David alone again. He sipped on his drink then meandered through the party, feeling even more alone than before, only to stop when he felt another hand on his arm. He turned and saw Julia again, and this time she asked if he wanted to join their little circle. He grinned perhaps a bit too widely then joined the conversation. Suddenly, a dam inside of him began to break and splinter, causing trickles of water to seep through. David laughed and joined in with the jokes while casting glances at Julia and her lovely smile. Would she ever consider going out with a white guy, he wondered just as she turned to him and grinned. He grinned back and finished off his drink.

Three hours later, the party began to wind down as guests said their goodbyes to the hosts and took off for either more adventures or the solitudes of their homes. David said goodbye to the hosts and actually meant it when he said that he had a grand time. As he walked towards the front door, he glanced around in search of Julia but couldn't find her. After an hour of being pulled into her group conversation, she slipped off to talk with others, leaving him there on his own. At first, anxiety began to settle in yet it quickly dissipated as he began to feel more and more comfortable with just talking and listening to everyone. He decided not to impress anyone but rather be himself. So, it was that he had lost sight of her and feared that perhaps she might have left early. He walked outside, back into the New Orleans night, and made his way to his car.
David turned around and saw Julia running up to him. He leaned against his car.
"Hey back."
"Just wanted to say that I'm glad you came out tonight. Hope you had a good time."
"I did!"
Julia then walked up to him and slipped him a small white card, then turned around and ran back to the house. David got in the car and drove off but not before looking at the card under the light: it was her name and phone number, followed by CALL ME! He grinned as he drove off but not back to the house. Tonight, he felt like going somewhere else.

Thirty minutes later, he had arrived. No one knew of this spot for it was deep within the swamps. He turned off his lights and rolled through the solid patch of land then got out of the car and listened to the night. Louisiana nights were unlike any other kind of night in the United States, he thought as he began to run. This place was his second home, so he knew the location of every tree, every hole in the ground and every place where the alligators liked to roam. Yet tonight was different. He ran because he felt the dam break inside. He thought of Julia and what may come of that. As he ran, he felt his muscles pop and twist; it had been so long since he allowed himself to do this and yet . . .Hands became longer and hairier, while his clothing ripped and tore off his body that now ran on all fours. He loped and growled, feeling the dense winds blow through his dark fur. He ran faster, seeing the place where he wanted to go - a small cliff that overlooked the swamps. His tongue lolled out of his mouth as he bared his fangs and soon, he raced up the small cliff. When he reached the top, his golden eyes surveyed the land below. The swamp was alive and so was he. He lifted his head to the sky and howled.

Julia, he thought as he continued to howl.

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