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Doof doof doof doof doof doof.  Her eyes are shut and she can feel the beat of the bass through the soles of her feet. Snaking up her shins, thighs, buttocks and coming to rest in the pit of her stomach. Her legs are pumping with the action of a step instructor, her arms keeping rhythm, her fingers enclosed around the cool feel of the oft times refilled Evian water bottle clutched casually in one hand – the talisman of the Brixton clubber.

 The clubbing scene - here she is in the midst of it all. 

 A mate called round earlier - "Wanna go clubbing?"


“Brixton.  Only 10 minutes on the number 37 and an easy trip home when you’re totally out of it.”

“You’re on."

“I’ll come round for you at 10.”

“See you later.”                  

Nearly 40 and she was still striving to find a scene that in her heart she knew wasn't her, never would be.  Why?  She knew the answer, but would not voice it, even with that quiet little inner voice. Besides, she was like Cher, Diana Ross, Madonna, Kylie - trying to re-invent herself - fit in with a new age, a new way of life. It’s not that difficult in the world of club to be other than who you are - pop some pills, smoke some weed, smile a lot, hug with enthusiasm and share your bottle of water with impunity.

So here she is, being transported from planet earth to planet WOT? She certainly doesn’t know. Even as she lies to herself again, she knows that where she’s gone is an island called Temporary Oblivion. On her island in the universe of club, fantasies can come true. They are created by substance induced dance-dreams. Here she can be like Alice and take whichever colour pill she wants and have no fear of the reprisals. And until about 4am she will believe in her paradise and that she may well meet her Adam under a papier-mâché apple tree. She is chatted up by six guys who won't remember who she is in three hours. Good job she doesn’t linger to get any numbers. One is persistent. From behind her he wraps his arms around her waist, nuzzles her neck, with lips close against her ear he whispers something warm, moist but unintelligible, begins to slink his fingers towards her breast. But he smells like marzipan and she has never liked the smell or taste of it. Hiding her distaste she unwinds herself, smiles with her lips but not her eyes, shakes her head in a negative, mouths that she is going to the loo then melts into the crowd.

His thought shoots over, around and in between the masses – BITCH.

She ignores the venom, wanders through the hoards, watching the undulating bodies: hands touching parts, lips caressing skin... stranger melding with stranger. On a level above the gyrating mass, she observes, scrutinises, makes judgements. Curses herself for her small mindedness and inability to indulge in more than 1 E then simply feels overwhelmed by sadness. The music is no longer music, only noise, techno-babble. The movement of the crowd is a jumbled mass of shoving conflict, nothing like the embrace of dancing she longs for. The friendly chatter is only white noise which covers her lack of belonging.

It’s 4:30am and she decides to go home. She is weary of pretending that she’s taken 6 Es, smoked 10 joints and had 4 pints. She does not even search out the friend who persuaded her to come in the first place. In the world of club everyone knows that there are no real allegiances. 

The cab driver tries his luck. It’s unusual for a girl to be going home alone at 4.38am and he could well be in with a chance. He chats the chat and she replies from a stock of phrases she has learnt over time designed to appease yet reject. She is not listening to what he says. Her mind lingers on the event that wasn't, the part she didn’t play; the sense of homelessness she felt, the displacement she still feels. She eases herself out of the situation and makes him drop her a street away from where she lives.  Safety first.

She enters a gate, walks down a path and lingers at a strange doorway. She waits until she hears the taxi rev away. She strolls home, confident in her ability to negotiate the city without mishap. Disowned she may be, but she has learnt the rules of engagement and chameleon-like she blends into her environment as though born to it. 

It’s the start of a beautiful morning. Birds wolf whistle at her progress along the pavement. The aftermath of a light drizzle leaves the memory of the area’s forgotten rural past in the air. She drinks in the serenity of the coming day and considers what she has truly gained from the night’s experience: aching legs for a fortnight; a deafness in both ears; an adrenaline rush that means she won't sleep till midday; a fearful knowledge that the rest of the world may be as lonely as she is. A wealth of despair because the city’s inhabitants need stimulants to form emotional ties; a fear that if she does not join in, she may stand alone forever.

At her purple front door she focuses on retrieving her keys from her bag. They’ve slipped to the bottom again and she is silently cursing the fact that she’s got to dig into the depths. The dance adrenaline is beginning to wear off and goose bumps rise up on her upper arms. Her mind anticipates the mug of tea she will cradle between chilled palms and the feel of the fleecy blanket, lambs wool soft against her bare shoulders. The sofa awaits her company, where they will share the watch of some surreal Channel 4 predawn show until the telly voices croon her into a dreamless sleep. Comfort and security beckon beyond the locked door. She finds the familiar feel of the key chain and smiles in anticipation.

When the arm snakes around her neck she is not alarmed. Only a friend would be so familiar. The body behind her warms her chilled arms. She leans into the warmth, tilts her head back slightly into the hollow of a neck and scents an almond-sweet, half remembered tang. She starts to speak, the arm tightens, its muscles suddenly hard and unfamiliar in contour. Slight concern edges its way through the drugged exterior of her brain, the synapses are slipping, not quite connecting. Speech is cut short and only a soft gurgle escapes. Rather than shut as one might expect, her eyes widen, in surprise, then her brow creases in confusion and the security light on the porch goes out.

He helps her inert hand to insert the key in the lock. The purple door swings smoothly on its hinges and he cradles her body lovingly against his as he waltzes it across the threshold. Once the door is shut and the world beyond trapped outside he swivels neatly, executing a tango lunge and lets the body slump and drop into the alcove where she hangs the coats. He steps across the corpse and mounts the stairs leading to the rest of the house. 


  1. Beautifully written, engaging and evocative. One can picture every moment and completely empathise with the woman. Shocking, unexpected ending very powerful.


  2. Marvelous Rae….I sense you’ve ‘got it’…written with great skill, but also familiarity…from inside the narrative

  3. Marvellous Rae…..beautifully written, with great skill …and empathy….from inside the narrative

  4. Faith here, I'm not sure what I've just read but it's really stunning and gripping. I wish I had more time this morning to read on but I'm leaving tomorrow. Your writing is wonderful.

  5. Wow gripping so well written and you could smell breath and taste the words ...fantastic

  6. Hi Rae, I really enjoyed this! Would love to know what happens next.


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