Children Of The Night. A Short Story By Steve Swindells

19 Jan

My suggested music to accompany this short story is a selection of tracks from my all-star jamming band The Plastic Sturgeons (currently #1 on Reverb Nation London as I write).

Children Of The Night.

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New Years Day, London, 1987. The hour before the dawn.

New Years Day, London, 1987. The hour before the dawn.

Beverly Beveridge was being taken from behind by a black hunk in the bathroom of her bijou, funky, South-London flat.  Known universally as Red because of her luxuriant mane of naturally flame-coloured hair, she had selected her sexual partner from the usual retinue of admirers at her eponymous club which she hosted every Saturday at Nancy’s,  a slightly down-at-heel gay club  in London’s Soho.  At ‘Red’, sexuality was irrelevant,  anything went.   At least in theory. Her New Year’s Eve party had been a great commercial and artistic success, but making money was the exception rather that the rule.  Sheldrake, the latest black, soul, singing sensation, had performed his new single, and had gone down a storm.

Red’s flirtation with him backstage had apparently been less than successful, but why did she feel that he was interested?  Nancy’s was a jaded,  seventies-style club with black walls, revolting, purple, swirly carpets and a capacity of around six-hundred people.  But it had a good layout – there was a balcony all the way around, where you could sit on stools and see the stage and the dance floor, a pumping sound system, decent-enough lights, plenty of dark booths, a quiet bar upstairs for networking and flirting and an overall, faded charm that somehow worked. Most weeks, however,  Red was barely breaking even, which was probably due to her over-generosity with the guest list. ‘A busy club is a hip club.’ She’d say defensively, but the club was hip, and got lots of coverage in the style press and on TV and radio.  The London listings magazine What’s Uphad recently put her on its front cover dressed as Marilyn Monroe, under the headline ‘Red Or Dead’.  Was that anything to do with the fact that the editor was trying to get into her knickers?  He didn’t stand a hope in hell, but Red saw it as ongoing PR,  leading to something bigger, where she could be creatively fulfilled – and seriously successful.

Surely, someone with her looks, talent, big personality and natural charisma couldn’t fail to succeed? Red  – nearly six feet tall, a striking, full-lipped beauty with alabaster skin and a voluptuous figure – was looking forward to having her orgasm, dismissing the stud, then potentially annoying her neighbours by indulging in a little post-coital horn-blowing on the roof of the run-down, Victorian mansion block that she lived in… on her tenor saxophone.  It was her own, private way of greeting the new year and something of a cry from the heart.  She saw herself in a movie written by a latter-day Tennessee Williams:  the misunderstood heroine making beautiful, melancholy music, alone, but in control, dressed in a full-length, white, faux-fox fur coat.  As she played, a limpid, winter sun rose behind the grim, grey tower blocks of South East London and her mind went back to the party at her club and Sheldrake performing onstage.

‘Shut the fuck up!’ Shouted a distant voice from the window of one of the flats below.

Meredith McCormack was dead.  Aaron Kaminski was vaguely aware of a strange presence — then dismissed it as paranoia — as he bashed-out a drum track on some newly-acquired recording equipment in his luxurious, minimalistic, high-tech-style loft in Chelsea in New York.  Meredith, now a ‘higher being’ called Mila – an angel, if you like – was feeding thirty year-old Aaron lyrical ideas from ‘the other side’.  His role as a ‘ghost-writer’ was totally influencing what was otherwise a fairly mediocre poetic talent as he sat unseen next to Aaron; his celestial – well, ghostly – body glowing with a faint aura of white light.  Aaron’s strength lay in making great, ground-breaking music.  He couldn’t work out where his new-found lyrical inspiration was coming from, but he liked it.

Levi Flowers – the handsome and intense, twenty six-year old, mixed-race DJ who played soulful tunes at his good friend Red’s club – was composing a fax to his other close friend Aaron: ‘The best things always happen in the middle of the night’.  He wrote. He was missing his buddy. They’d met at Red’s a couple of years previously and had clicked immediately. It was a rocket-fuelled, instant friendship.  Then after a couple of months, Aaron had inexplicably returned to New York.  What was that all about? Levi couldn’t get his head around it.

Aaron was bisexual.  Levi was ostensibly straight.  Red felt attracted to Aaron (somewhat influenced by his inherited wealth),  Aaron was obsessed with Levi and Levi wondered if he was in love with Red. The usual stuff.

Meredith had been the second love of Red’s life.  Scottish, with a Spanish mother,  he was a handsome, deep-thinking man with wavy-brown hair, huge brown eyes and olive skin. He was an aspiring writer, who reluctantly made a living teaching English.  He was also a bit eccentric, vague (traits, it would seem, that stayed with him in the after life) and somewhat unworldly.

Red had sort-of corrupted him  back then by turning him on to non-dangerous recreational drugs and a night life-orientated lifestyle.  ‘It was down to him at the end of the day. I wasn’t a dominatrix!’  She’d say later. He’d died of a suspected overdose at her club night.  People whispered that they had earlier seen Tyrone Khan, Red’s psychopathic, former lover, sneaking out of the toilet where they had found Meredith’s body.

Meredith, or Mila as he was now known, was frustrated in his attempts to communicate with his old friends.  He now knew – being on ‘the other side’ – that they had all known each other in past lives, as they had often mused, but he could only make his mark through the medium of Aaron’s songs and by surreptitiously putting ideas into Red and Levi’s heads;  particularly when they read each other’s tarot cards.

Soon, Red and Levi found themselves regularly visiting a hugely overweight, Jewish, lesbian medium known as Morgana who wanted Red, not only in bed, but for her psychic energy. Unfortunately,  Mila hadn’t done enough research.  He was new to the (angelic) job.  Morgana was bad news, but it was too late.  Even a trainee angel could screw-up.

He consulted his ‘Mindset’ again, on Angel Training Mode.  ‘Just picture the forehead from the inside  as a computer monitor’ his Angel-mentor had instructed and… now it was beginning to make sense.  He studied the data intently – on his forehead monitor.

It was early February.  Tyrone Khan broke into Red’s flat and was waiting for her when she came home from the club,  wielding a knife. He was off his head on quaaludes, alcohol and cocaine. He’d never recovered from her rejection after a year-long relationship when they were both twenty-two – and the only way he could possess her was by force.  He was psychotic, it was too dangerous to resist him.  He raped her at knife-point.   She’d had to admit to herself later that part of her had almost enjoyed it (they’d had a tremendous sex life when they were together),  but NO-ONE forced Beverly Beveridge to do anything.  Once he’d climaxed – which didn’t take long – she managed to knee him in the balls and spray mace (which she kept in a bedside cabinet) in his face.  He’d screamed, pulled-up his pants and staggered-off into the night.

She pulled herself together and phoned Levi, distraught. He advised her not to call the police because Tyrone could blow the cover on her drug-dealing past and her tax-evading present. But she would have her revenge.

Levi,  despite his beautiful face, intelligent mind and athletic body, was having a hard time.  He was built like a sprinter and people found him charismatically threatening, both physically and mentally (he looked a lot like the Welsh, gold medal-winning hurdler Colin Jackson, minus the vaguely Chinese eyes – his were dreamy and deep), but he was sensitive inside. ‘You’re just a soft-centered chocolate.’  Red would tell him, giving him a hug.

He never seemed to be able to get on top of situations: fate pulled him down every time.  What about Red,  the charismatic dynamo:  shouldn’t they be lovers?  Sometimes their friendship was so close that it hurt.  Then there was Aaron, who obviously wanted him badly and was working his nerves.  He was confused.  He loved them both, but seemed to fall between two stools.  He just couldn’t visualise making love with a man  – although Aaron was a strong character and a classic, blond-haired, blue-eyed adonis  – and Red was so wild and deep the she might just eat him up and spit him out, just like she’d done with so many men, apart from Meredith. Trust him to die!

They were all dissatisfied with their emotional lives.  There had to be a solution. Mila was trying to work it all out too.  He had to study hard to master the complexities of his ‘Mindset’ (It was much worse than MS-DOS)  There were a lot of epigrams, riddles and puns thrown into the program.  It was mildly irritating sometimes, but as he became familiar with its curious subtleties, it gradually led to suitably angelic chuckles.  ‘Hey!’ Said Mila to Dalai, his Angel-mentor, ‘so there is life after death, with intellectual punning as part of the heavenly package?’  Dalai chuckled and replied ‘Yes, my wannabe angel, if only the world realised that laughter was the key to immortality!’

Aaron had been inspired by Levi’s fax,  but felt sadly romantic inside. He sat at a table in the window of a cafe on the Lower East-Side of New York –   it looked like a film-set based on that famous painting by Edward Hopper and could have been the setting for a moody commercial for a coffee brand.  The neon lights were reflected in the puddles outside as the rain poured down.  He wrote his thoughts into a notepad; a free-form poem and soulful rap – he imagined – as he pondered his surroundings, drank black coffee and thought of Levi and the evocative, cinematic,  dark side of America.  He (or should we say Mila?) called it ‘The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe’.

‘The whispered words of freedom in the wind…’  rapped Levi softly and deeply,  as the video cut to him wandering through the rainy streets of the meat-packing district.  ‘ … the choirs of voices calling-out your name,  the same old dilemma, searching for romance and riding solo…Sooo low.  You know you’ve got to go away but you stay – always the ballad,  the ballad of the sad cafe.’ A bag lady dressed in rags sat in a doorway opposite the cafe, playing with an illuminated yoyo.

Mila smiled angelically at an adjacent,  empty table.  He was feeding something special to Aaron and it made him feel fulfilled.  He put a dream-vision into Aaron’s head.  So there was Levi performing another poem-rap with Irie and Drumgold,  the famous Jamaican rythmn section,  alongside Red on sax and Aaron on keyboards with Sheldrake singing lead vocals; right there in the cafe he was sitting in.

Levi was reading Aaron’s reply to his fax in the DJ booth at the club before it opened.  Aaron had enclosed the words to ‘The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe’.  Levi instinctively knew what he was writing about.  Aaron signed-off with the surprise message that he would be in London the following week.  Levi was pleased, but strangely trepidatious.  When he showed Red the fax she immediately recognised that the song was a paean to Aaron’s unrequited love and told Levi so.  He told her not to be so daft…  knowing it to be true.

Morgana the medium, meanwhile, was not exactly laying her cards on the table.  She was weaving a spell, trying to draw Red into her evil sphere by influencing events and lulling her into a false sense of security with overly-optimistic tarot readings.  Levi had his suspicions about her and asked Red:  how had Morgana’s reclusive girlfriend Lottie died? Was it suicide, as Morgana had insisted, or something more sinister?  Hadn’t Red noticed how Morgana had treated Lottie? What about the heavy, glass ashtray incident?

Mila was worried too.  His cosmic game-plan had backfired a bit.  He had to put it down to, well, inexperience. Aaron was planning to stay in London for a couple of weeks.  Levi and Red met him for brunch at an Italian cafe in Bloomsbury.  They discussed the emotional potential which everyone, including themselves, seemed to squander. They bemoaned the cold, cynical approach to life that most other people had, and wondered why three such attractive, creative and intrinsically good people should be without partners and a degree of success. *Group shrugging of shoulders*. At least they had each other.

Red, the club night, was suddenly doing very well, but that was part of Morgana’s dastardly plot. She had aimed to take Red up, then bring her down, so that she’d be under her evil spell.  She really was a gifted healer and psychic, but an innate bitterness had twisted her and made her abuse her powers.  The renewed success of the club made certain people constantly snipe at Red, especially Danny Dinkins, the overly camp manager of Nancy’s, who was a misogynistic queen of the old school.  Red suddenly found that many other attractive and successful women also seemed to be overtly jealous of her media-profile.  That really pissed her-off:  they were worse than the fucking queens!

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Red was twenty eight; she wanted to form a band before it was too late, but no-one took her seriously, apart from Aaron and Levi.  The nearest she’d got to it was by playing her sax along to records in the club while dancing on the dance floor.  The crowd loved it; but in the sometimes-superficial night life world she was seen as a glamour-puss, a larger-than-life caricature of herself – a good-time girl who hid behind her glamourous dress sense and big personality.  Nobody could get close to her because they were generally, or genuinely, in awe of her. She was, in some respects, a troubled being. Her attempts at telling home-truths and enlightening people usually fell on stony ground.  Disillusioned by the image that people had formed of her, she was a charismatic paradox: both cynical and wise, then innocent and trusting. Plus, sometimes she drank too much, and maybe got too high, then became slightly overbearing, her frustrations and fears gushing-out in a stream of unconscious angst.

Levi and Aaron were her real friends; only they could understand her inner strength and her aspirations.  Couldn’t people see that the fact that she drove a red, sixties Cadillac convertible with fake, zebra skin-covered seats was simply an ironic, post-modern joke and a quasi, self-promotional laugh?  Regardless, she  certainly relished playing the role of the white-trash, sex goddess.

Aaron had plenty of money. His grandmother had left him a small fortune, but he was enigmatic about about his wealth and certainly didn’t splash it around (much to Red’s dismay).  In the early summer of ‘87, he decided to move back to London, rented-out his New York loft  apartment and bought a classic, Victorian, five-bedroomed house with a patio leading onto one of those beautiful, magical, secret communal gardens, in Notting Hill. Levi had a rudimentary understanding of keyboards and percussion, so he and Aaron spent many happy hours fiddling about with Aaron’s equipment (he wished!) and getting stoned with Thai sticks or Moroccan hash, whilst jamming musically and learning to feed-off each other’s  intuitive creativity.

Levi started to develop real poetic, lyrical and percussion skills under Aaron’s sensitive and enthusiastic (it’s always easier when you’re in love with someone) tutelage, and recently they had started to write a funky rap tune.  Aaron was too sensitive to push his mild obsession with Levi, and Levi certainly wasn’t about to surrender to a physical attraction that was anathema to his male conditioning, despite the obvious bond between them.  One night,  Red showed-up with her sax.  ‘What do you think of these words Miss Beveridge?’ Asked Levi.  ‘Hit it maestro!’  Aaron pressed the space bar on his Atari computer and Levi talked over the track in his smokey voice.

‘To the people who are cold and the people who are hard, I know myself, I show my cards, but it’s so hard to unwind sometimes, seems like not only love is blind.’ ‘Tell me about it. Yeah’  Said Red, punching the air,  putting the mouthpiece on her sax.

Levi continued:  ‘You try to work it out, so what’s it all about?  Are you crying wolf or crying out to someone who shows honesty when times are hard but the spirit’s free? Can you answer me – maybe, show me some empathy?’

‘Wow, that’s fantastic guys, gimme some paper, I’ve got an idea for a chorus, can we call it Be Yourself?’ suggested Red enthusiastically,  ‘imagine doing this at The Albert Hall with Sheldrake and a gospel choir!

They continued to work on the song whilst seriously discussing forming a band; a fusion of funk, jazz, hip-hop and the Chicago deep house music which was still massively popular in the hipper, London clubs, despite the recent acid house explosion.  After much frivolity about choosing a name (Under The Bed,  Scarlet Fever, The Blind Venetians),  they finally decided to call themselves ‘Marrs’ and agreed that it would be a good name for a bar too. ‘The Marrs Bar; great for sponsorship.’  Joked Red, believing it might actually be feasible.  All they needed was a handsome, seriously good, soulful singer. Red knew exactly who’d fit the bill:  Sheldrake.

Red had wanted him on New Year’s Eve – and now she wanted him even more, as there was suddenly a valid reason. Dick Starling was the avuncular owner of Nancy’s.   He was a wily old fox in his late fifties, an ex-merchant seaman and a secret alcoholic.  He loved to regale Red and her friends with unlikely tales of conquests in far-off lands in the sixties and seventies, after luring them to his lair with the promise of after-hours drinks.  He was actually quite lonely, which was why he encouraged visitors to his sparsely-furnished office deep in the bowels of the club.   The engine room, he called it.  His nickname for himself  was Captain Pugwash.  Other members of staff were called names such as Seaman Stains and Master Bates, or whatever amused him. When Red had introduced Dick to Morgana, he’d instinctively disliked the woman and had warned her to steer clear.  ‘That dyke is definitely not kosher, Reddy Brek,’  he pronounced, then wagged his finger and winked,  adding loudly:   ‘AVAST  behind! Steer clear!’ in a nautical fashion, then waddled-off to count his money.

Tyrone Khan lurked behind a pillar as Red walked by, his dark eyes glinting with menace.  She spotted him, but pretended not to notice.  She went to find Kennedy, a handsome, well-built, tall, gay, black bodybuilder who ran security for the club.  ‘Who the hell let Tyrone in?’ She asked him.  ‘He said he was on the permanent guest list – gorgeous boy – I thought you two used to be…’   ‘Hah! Wrong!’ Snorted Red, then took him to one side to suggest something that would be of  benefit  to them both.  Kennedy would lure Tyrone to his flat with the promise of free quaaludes and cocaine, then have his wicked way with him.  Kennedy smiled – he liked tight, virgin arseholes.  And Tyrone was definitely an arsehole.

Red headed for ‘the engine room’ to see if she’d made any money that night.  The outer door was suddenly flung open and Billy Bates – the cute, young barman known by Dick as Master Bates – came rushing out, his face flushed, trying to do up his shirt.  ‘He’s dead!’ He yelled. ‘Dick’s dead!’ Red told him to get the police, then gingerly opened the inner door.  Dick Starling was lying on his back on the floor, minus his trousers. And rigor mortis had set in… in the most obvious place.  He must have died of a heart attack screwing Billy Bates,  she correctly surmised.  Hmmm, God smiled in the dick department, she thought.  Just as well Billy was sitting on him, not lying under him.  But what the hell would happen now, she wondered, with a sense of dread,  whilst trying to ignore the inevitable black humour of the situation, like… it must have been a dead good fuck.

Mila sat on a barstool and consulted his ‘Mindset’,  whilst pulling a less-than-angelic ‘Oh shit’ face. Then the data delivered made his mouth drop with relief.  There was a solution.

Nancy’s had to close until everything was sorted out.  Suddenly,  Levi and Red were an income-free zone.  Everything had possibly gone pear-shaped, or horribly Pete Tong. Aaron had gone to New England because his mother was ill, but was then uncharacteristically generous, for once, and gave them a thousand pounds each, so they could develop Marrs, their mutual, musical project. Phew.  So they decided to to do some research.

Their first outing (we need inspiration for stuff, Red had said) took them to Rush, an underground club which was happening illegally every friday in a Gym in South London.  What was this clubland buzz about some new, Ibiza-inspired scene?  Rumour had it that a new wonder-drug called ecstasy was readily available there. They were intrigued. Red and Levi arrived to find a massive queue but were soon swept in by security – who recognised them – and were ushered into a long corridor lined with twinkling fairy lights. She’d made sure that their names were on the guest list.  They swished-in to find the walls and ceilings of the club covered with billowing, white parachutes, which were softly-lit from behind by sixties-style, swirly projections.  Multi-coloured laser beams cut through clouds of dry ice and smoke.  The atmosphere on the dance floor was electric;  hundreds of people dancing wildly and punching the air in baggy, smiley-face T-shirts, to a new kind of hardcore, dance music which was soon to become known as acid house.

Tommy Acorn, the promoter, spotted them and steered them through the crowd into a large, private room, where a couple of hundred people chatted, smiled and hugged each other a lot. ‘Are you sorted?’  He asked – they looked puzzled – then handed them some small, yellow pills, grinned manically and left them to it.  They shrugged their shoulders at each other with a ‘what the hell’ look and downed a pill each.  An hour later found them at opposite ends of the room, engaged in deep, meaningful, touchy-feely conversations.  Levi was vibing with Master Bates, the handsome barman from Nancy’s, and Red with Sheldrake, whom she’d fortuitously met on the dance floor.  His eyes had found hers like laser-guided, vibe-fueled missiles. They graduated towards each other, locked-in, entranced. He’d asked her for a light,  in a jokey, ironic, pick-up-line sort of way.  Then suddenly they were dancing, hypnotised, with the fire in their eyes, laughing with the relief of romantic recognition and flying high. Sorted indeed.

Later, the four of them went back to Aaron’s house in Notting Hill – which Levi was ‘house-sitting’ – and took more Es, smoked spliffs, drank vodka and kissed their erstwhile partners endlessly.  Then it all went blank until the next afternoon, when Red woke to find herself in bed with Sheldrake whilst Levi found Billy Bates curled-up beside him.

‘It was alright y’know…’  Said Levi slightly nervously, referring to his first, ever homosexual experience as he made coffee for everyone in the kitchen. You bet it was alright!’ Croaked Red in a reasonably good Southern American accent, rolling her eyes lustfully, ‘ And I’m going to get some seconds – why don’t you too!’.   She went back upstairs, but Sheldrake had disappeared.  And she hadn’t given him her number, dammit!

Tommy Acorn opened the suitcase and patted the wads of cash inside.  It was sitting on the parquet floor of the hall in his smart, spacious flat in Maida Vale.  ‘A hundred K.’ he muttered, grinning, as the doorbell rang.  ‘Yeehah?’ He trilled into the entry phone, wanting to sound lighthearted.  ‘It’s Chester and the lads!’ Yelled a sightly crazed, midlands accent downstairs.  Tommy rubbed his hands.

‘Mad Chester’ was the singer with ‘The Far-out Flowers ’, a group from Birmingham who were getting noticed on the underground scene with their housy-acid-loopy-indie-laddish ‘Brumtastic’ tunes.  But the heroin and e-addled group had had a few problems financially…and Tommy was about to provide their get-out clause.  The hundred grand was in return for a vast amount of ecstasy that Chester had promised to bring.  The ammonia they sprayed in Tommy’s eyes as they made-off with the cash was in return for his naivety. Sorted, mate.

It was late summer. Tyrone Khan had been successfully dealt with by Kennedy and had apparently fled to Trinidad.  Red and Levi had made a conscious decision to ‘cut’ from Morgana – with unseen, spiritual help from the rookie, spirit-guide Mila – and things were starting to look up. Levi called Red to say that Aaron was back in town and was treating them to dinner at Mo Dylan,  a restaurant popular with thesps and show-biz types, which they all loved, as it was so easy to relax and talk there, despite the fact that the food was only slightly better than adequate.  He’d added that there was a surprise for her.  Red was intrigued.  She instinctively dressed to impress and, on being ushered to one of the best tables, was amazed to see Sheldrake sitting with her friends, who were grinning conspiratorially.

‘So what the fuck happened to you?’ She asked the singer in a mock-theatrical, hands-on-hip fashion.  Sheldrake motioned her to sit down, smiling slightly sheepishly.  Aaron and Levi continued their animated conversation and left them to… interact.   Sheldrake shyly held her hand under the table, looked her in the eye, and explained that he’d had a girlfriend – the relationship had run its course –  but that he’d always been attracted to her from the moment that they’d met, when he’d performed at her club.  Her arm tingled, her face glowed. ’R… really?’ She whispered, her eyes shining.  She could hear celestial background music beginning to play. ‘Yeah,’  said Sheldrake in his honeyed tones, squeezing her hand  ‘and when we met again and got  nicely high it was too much for me – and I felt guilty about… anyway, she’s my ex now and  it’s all about what’s… in your eyes.

He started to sing softly into her ear and they soft-focused into a world of their own. Red felt a warm glow run up her back.  Her back!  Why had there been a rash there since…?  For some unknown reason she decided to tell Sheldrake about Morgana  (Mila nodded enthusiatically,  a ghostly presence at an adjacent table).  Sheldrake’s eyebrows shot up.  ‘You know that evil witch?’ He asked, surprised, and suddenly angry.  ‘She really fucked-up my career and, you know, when I cut-off from her, I developed this nasty rash on my back, just like… you?’ He looked at her intently, then their jaws dropped as they slowly clocked what they had in common.  ‘Wow…’ Said Red slowly, ‘… that’s scary.’ Aaron’s hand found Levi’s leg beneath the table.  ‘Yeeesss!’ went  Mila,  punching the air at the next table.

It was Marrs’ first gig at Dicks, formerly known as Nancy’s.  Billy Bates had been massively and pleasantly shocked that Dick Starling had left him the club in his will, so he’d re-named it in his memory. The band had a group hug.  They were about to go on stage at the Red new year’s eve party when Kennedy the bouncer swung into the room.  ‘There’s some bitch called Morgana at the door, says she’s on the guest list.’  He announced.   ‘Tell her to naff orf’,’ pronounced Red, in an imitation of The Princess Royal, ‘she can pay double to come in as she’s so FAT!’  Everyone laughed, happy to have the tension of their debut diminished.

Tommy Acorn marched into the room wearing outsized shades and a yellow suit  featuring a smiley-face print, with a gorgeous girl on each arm (Rush was now the Acid House night, with many imitators,  but he enjoyed the funky, laid-back atmosphere of Red’s night, even though they didn’t play ‘hard music’).  He hugged Red and she raised an eyebrow:  ‘Glad to see the eye operations were successful – worth the money eh?’  He looked slightly taken aback. How did she know ? Marrs ran on to the stage and the crowd roared, more so when they recognised the legendary Irie and Drumgold  on the bass and drums. The first song was the one inspired by their first time at Rush, along with reflections on where they were at and where they were going,  which Red, Sheldrake, Levi and Aaron had written soon after their visit to Mo Dylan.  It was called ‘Children Of The Night’.

‘Unspoken thoughts hang in the air and broken dreams are everywhere, then someone asks you for a light.’ Sang Sheldrake huskily, swaying to the funky beats, ‘You know you’ve got to find that spark, one magic moment in the dark makes everything alright.’  Red danced across to his side, blowing mean licks on her horn.  ‘Then suddenly the music’s fine, the bodies dance around your mind with eyes like tigers, burning bright.’    Mila banged an invisible, tambourine and got a little carried away onstage (hey, when you’re an angel, you’ve got carte blanche!) next to Levi, who was hitting the hell out of his congas.  ‘And all the sorrow in your soul says let me out and lose control with the children of the night’.

The dance floor was a sea of smiling faces and dancing bodies. Mila received a ‘priority’  message on his ‘mindset’.  It looked like it could well be karmic pay-back time for his rookie, cosmic game-plan.  Was this his angelic graduation?  Shit!’  Muttered Mila to himself. ‘Tyrone Khan’s had a sex change.  Why didn’t I check?’   He left the stage (not that anyone would have noticed, as he was a ghost).  A beautiful, black-asian woman was hovering by a pillar, wearing silver, dagger earrings and a little black dress.  Her dark eyes glinted menacingly.  A voluminous, forty-ish, female figure emerged out of the shadows, dressed in what looked like pink,  ruched curtains, sporting a blond, big-hair wig.  Tyra, as she was now known, shuffled flirtatiously.   ‘Hi honeybuns,’ said Morgana, grabbing Tyra’s waist, ‘you’re an Aries aren’t you – do you wanna play with momma?’.

© Steve Swindells. 2000.  All rights reserved. Photos by Steve Swindells (c). All rights reserved.

FYI The songs ‘Children Of The Night’ and ‘By Yourself’ Do exist, but probably only on cassette. So ‘Bear with’ me on that. SS

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2 Responses to “Children Of The Night. A Short Story By Steve Swindells”

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