Esther may have looked like your kindly neighbourhood grand-mother but she was the high priestess of a feared fringe cult and no one in their wrong mind, never mind their right, crossed her.
On the plus side, you always knew where you were with Esther. Tyson must indeed have been new. I never knew why she stooped to working in the club as their security, but then she most likely had reasons of her own. She always did. She probably didn’t get my problem with Lionel Ritchie so we were even.
“Rose,” she called after me as I walked down the corridor to the bar.
“After tonight please don’t come here again. It wouldn’t be…wise.”
She stared after me as I walked down the stairs, the force of which I could feel as if it were a gun pressed into the middle of my back. It didn’t bode well that the boss was willing for me to come in tonight but that after that I was effectively barred.
The landing below boasted a massive oak door with a neon green snake above it, its tongue flickering in and out as the light changed. It looked overdone, ludicrous a clumsy half-assed attempt to depict a door-way to another world. Typical of satan-botherers, but different from how I remembered the place. Back then, the worst excesses of some of the clientele had been tempered presumably to widen the appeal of the club.
I took the last steps down to the landing pausing beneath the snake. The tackiness I could just about take, but something else was wrong about that door-way. I paused, staring at the frame surrounding the door. There appeared to be a coagulated darkness hanging in moving clumps around it as though it was alive with a dull hen-sick green just visible somewhere at its core. I hadn’t seen so many elementals cluster around a mere door before. They were the bacteria of the supernatural world, lying in wait for live prey to attach themselves to and infect. There was life in the club all right, but judging by the bouncer, most of it wasn’t sentient.
As though to confirm that thought, something fell from the door-jamb creating an inky pool visible even on the already dark tiled floor. But that wasn’t what bothered me. I took my glasses off to get a better view and quickly wished I hadn’t. The tell-tale phosphorescent crimson and orange of violent death lit the place up like a fun-fair; so bright I had to quickly put my glasses back in place.
I called the Deadlights and they circled me in lazy loops of white and blue lights. I took my first steps through the door and I heard a sizzle and the screech of something exiting life as it dropped from above onto them. At least I wouldn’t have a little passenger riding me for the rest of the night. But that was where the positives ended. I walked into a vast room with a high-vaulted ceiling covered in sigils of unknown origin. Pretentious, moi?
A vast mirror ball turned slowly sending light shards to the far flung corners of the room and swallowed by the light from the equally vast curved bar that dominated the far wall. It was empty but there were hidden rooms branching off from the main one, where people could talk or get up to less innocent activities. Not that there was any music playing, nor anyone to hear it judging by the empty tables around the circular dance-floor. The DJ had obviously not arrived yet. When I used to come here it was a guy called Dave who had failed to come to terms with the sad fact that he was never going to be the next Aleister Crowley. He liked German death-metal leavened, strangely enough by the odd Lionel Ritchie and Chris de Burgh tracks thrown in for the sheer hell of it. And hell it most certainly was….