Bird in a Gilded Cage (1)

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Floating in a sea of alcohol and thick fog, Elleri's mind was anesthetized by the medley of drinks she had consumed

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Floating in a sea of alcohol and thick fog, Elleri's mind was anesthetized by the medley of drinks she had consumed. The wall of amber and transparent liquids wavered before her, her vision hazy at best.

"It's my bachelorette party bishes!" Natalie slurred, her arms waving in the air.

Elleri laughed, placing her third empty wine glass down in front of her.

She should have stopped drinking two glasses ago when the room had been stable and her thoughts clear. But it wasn't every day that her best friend got married.

"Girl, get your butt over here," Natalie shrieked, her hand locking around Elleri's wrist and pulling her towards the bar, where a bartender lined up a series of shot glasses.

"To my last week of freedom...and no responsibilities," Natalie cheered, her voice drawn out by the end of her statement.

"I'll drink to that," Elleri laughed, leaning against the bar to relieve her aching feet.

The piles of paperwork on her desk back in Orlando, and her clients, were a distant concern. At that moment, with her phone turned off, the only calls she was interested in answering was that of the Aegean Sea, the island of Mykonos, and the promise of all the drinks she could stomach.

With a chuckle, the bartender filled the glasses with their finest tequila, and the four ladies squealed with excitement.

They each took a glass and toasted the air.

"One tequila..." Elleri winced, the words tangling with the bitter taste on her tongue.

"...Two tequila..." An impending smoke twisted artfully on the air around her, forming loose curls that took shape beneath the pulsing lights.

"...Three tequila..." The earth quaked beneath her, and her thoughts drifted in and out like the rising tide.

With fumbling fingers, Elleri reached for the fourth shot glass and raised it to her lips. Before she could savor the tingling of the liquor in her throat, however, she felt a jab to her ribs when a woman coated in a sheen of sweat pushed their way through to the bar. This minor collision was enough to throw off Elleri's balance, and she stumbled, her foot kicking out to steady herself, but her reaction wasn't fast enough.

Suddenly, and all at once, everything around Elleri stilled. The bass that passed through the speakers, the slurred voices of those who crowded the bar, the pounding of her heart within her chest; it all slowed to a distant hum.

Seconds felt like minutes. Like a beating drum building to a crescendo, the tempo of the music grew louder and faster, voices spoke all at once, and the room spun faster and faster, smothering her.

"...Floor!" Natalie cheered, and the rest of their party followed suit, as time snapped back into rapid motion, and Elleri was lost in the dizzying ordeal, her body falling towards the sticky floor.

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