An unfamiliar haze descended on the blurred room, the red faces, and the escapees. It was kicking in—the atmosphere, the vitality, the drugs. That's when Jimmy noticed the odd silence emerging as his friends were no longer beside him. Instead, he saw the twitching of an unfamiliar face lurching his way through the smoke and sweat.
"You hear that? You hear that?" The man said, oozing his way down onto the couch, taking up an inconsequential penny from the slimed floor.
"Hear what?" Jimmy said, scooting away, wondering where the hell Christian and Ben had oozed off to themselves.
"Yeah, I hear it." Jimmy replied.
Jimmy paused a moment and listened through the silence, almost hearing the familiar sound of drumming against metal.
"Never seen you here before," the restless man continued.
"I'm Jimmy. Christian's friend."
Jimmy glanced over to the disheveled guy whose red nose incessantly inhaled quick, tiny puffs of air. Fuck man, Jimmy thought, finding himself suddenly as unnerved as when he first arrived. Not even the buzz from his three shots could relax him from the atmosphere, the place, the people.
"The Doors man," the guy began, continuing to rotate the penny in his hand slowly.
"Yeah, from The Doors. Jim Morrison. Forever 27 club legend. A true riding of the storm. He was transcendent. You kind of look like him," Cough Guy ranted, bobbing to some music that could only be playing in his head.
"Just a coincidence," Jimmy said, trying to close his eyes and let the dizziness take back over. If his "friends" forced him to come, then he was at least going to enjoy the party in his way—by zoning it out.
"Nothing is a coincidence," Couch Man continued.
"How so?" Jimmy said, growing warier of the conversation himself.
"You know Jim saw an Indian ran over on the side of the road. Sang about it. He sang about that ride. "
Jimmy's eyes popped open to see Couch Guy swaying, lost in thought.
"It fucked him up man."
"Seeing someone die?" Jimmy asked.
"No, that he couldn't save him."
And with that turn of the conversation, Jimmy got up into the dense smoke to search for Christian and Ben. It was time. Jimmy had had enough. But, even blinking couldn't focus Jimmy's eyes as he himself oozed from the living room to the kitchen, searching. He figured Christan and Ben would be smoking whatever the hell everyone else had, and headed down the hall in search of a bedroom.
But what Jimmy hadn't noticed was that most of the party guests had gone, moved onto some other intrigue. As Jimmy searched, he wondered how much it would cost for an Uber back to his dorm. For old times sake, Jimmy had told himself when he dragged away by his highschool friends all the way from his dorm to the heart of the city, where Ben and Christian lived during their "gap year" that Jimmy knew would slowly transition into nothing but a sad life. And this party was the only proof Jimmy needed to confirm it.
As Jimmy searched through the haze, the words of Couch Guy bounced around his head. Another Jim was out there in the world living life when suddenly a moment, a crash, a BANG collided with that Indian, whoever he was. Jimmy wondered what it would be like to see a dead man laying mangled in the street as he continued on his way down some hot, oily road. Jesus, Jimmy thought, the smoke must be getting to me.
Suddenly, a strong, vibrant red appeared straight ahead of Jimmy. Reaching his hand out, he tried to swoosh the smoke to make an opening in which he could focus. Only by walking closer did he see it was a red door, standing transposed against the darkness of the hall. As Jimmy got closer, he could see the waves of escape seeping from under the door, knowing that anywhere there was that type of smoke, Ben and Christian would be nearby.
But, oddly enough, as Jimmy tried to reach for the handle, something new appeared before his eyes, causing him to draw back his hand, floating as if on some trip of its own, a sign hovered between Jimmy and the door. Of course, Jimmy had to take a step back to access what the fuck just happened in front of his heavy eyes. The words moved like a roller coaster descending from disembarkment, so it took Jimmy some time to snake them together.
When everything was still and whole, the sign became clear to Jimmy: Save your friends or let them die. Warning! You might not come back alive.
YOU ARE READING
Riders #NAContestShort Story
Save your friends or let them die? A simple statement. A seemingly simple choice. But sometimes things aren't always what they seem. Can Jimmy ride through the fog of perception to make the right decision? This is a short story (2,000 words) for th...