Chapter 1: Friday, December 31, 2005, 11:55p
632 N Dearborn St., Excalibur Castle Chicago Dance Club
BODIES FILLED THE MASSIVE VENUE, and the music growled from the belly of the loudspeakers. Excalibur once again managed to stuff every available body into the three-level club. Blue, green, red, and yellow lights beamed from above the DJ table and hung from the second and third floors, illuminating the mass of intoxicated bodies on the ground floor.
“Erica, girl where you been? It’s about to start.”
Tina turned away from the bar to face the short woman of milk chocolate complexion and short hair. Her body filled out the black dress as the woman waved her hot face.
Tina laughed, the women couldn’t hear themselves over the music. “Its bout to start! The countdown!” she yelled in Erica’s ear.
“Wait lemme get my drink.”
“Girl please, time don’t wait for nobody you better c’mon,” said Tina jumping down from the barstool.
“Grey Goose Martini and a plain cranberry juice”, shouted Erica to the bartender who smiled and winked. Baby girl full of it tonight, he thought.
A crowd of people began to surround the main stage as it prepared to lower the huge crystal ball to the middle of the floor.
“I need yall to make some noise!” boomed the voice of the Emcee from the microphone, sending the crowd into hysteria.
“C’mon E,” said Tina, watching as the bartender handed Erica her drink.
Erica wobbled over to Tina and the women stumble toward the stage, laughing.
“Here we go!” yelled the DJ.
“Whew!” yelled Tina, laughing. It had been a long time since she had this much fun.
“I love you Chicago!” yelled Erica. Tina laughed. She was feeling it.
“We love you!”
“I love you too baby”, said the DJ.
“Whewww!” the women laughed.
“Ten…nine…” began the DJ.
“Eight…” said Erica.
“Seven…” said Tina.
As the crowd chanted along something caught Tina’s eye. A man standing in the midst of the people and staring at her from a distance. Wearing a black suit and tie he is oddly out of place and looked to Tina to belong in a courtroom, not a club. The sound around her went mute and her mind raced to decipher the identity of the strange man. After spending the past year in therapy, she had tried to forget about her now fading past. Purposefully considering her sanity, she had not expected to walk into Erica’s office to receive such a down to earth reality check from a doctor who was now dancing out her dress in a club with her patient. As such, Tina took this as a sign that things were finally back to normal, taking hallucinogenic suppressants as prescribed and even cutting off any ties to the former life.
But now, as the club lights bounced off the hint of blue that gleamed even in the darkness, she knew that the nightmare she’d tried so desperately to separate herself from would be back and she would have to face the reality that the events of almost two years ago did, in fact, happen. Her nephew was murdered in a warehouse trying to save his sisters and brother from a possessed woman, she was now raising her nieces and nephews as her own, and as much as she wanted to be, she wasn’t crazy. Why couldn’t they leave her alone? What did they want now?
“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
The return of sound and Erica’s sudden hug made Tina fall back as Erica spilled her drink.
“Damn, messing with you”, she said wiping at her dress. “Hey girl, you alright?”
Tina’s eyes darted frantically around the club for the man, but he was gone.
“Yea girl, I’m good,” she said waving her hand.
“You sure? You been taking the pills, right? Don’t let me have to write yo butt up.”
Stealing one more glance in the direction where the blue-eyed man stood, there was no one there.
“Yea girl, I’m alright. Where the bathroom though?” she said with laughter to feign the fear that already started to seep its way through her pores and release its gas into the air.