The bar had a quality that made it seem as if it were alive; a self-aware entity deciding in which direction to grow, how to express itself. It had taken command of everyone’s willpower.
The dance floor heated up as nameless bodies danced carelessly to the sound of music bouncing off the light blue walls. The dancers, frenetic in their movement, seemed like bubbles rushing to the surface in a pot of boiling water.
A man whistled in the midst of the revellers, perhaps trying to reassert his freedom from under the yoke of the rising Cthulhu. The sound of his unwelcome intrusion was swiftly swallowed up by the towering speakers, pouring the beats of the band into the room.
It was into this environment that Francois and Michele walked, unaware, their wills submitted and actions subjected even before they had decided on a mojito.
As Francois walked away in search of minty beverages, Michelle fell first. Her limbs moving rhythmically into the belly of the beast, chasing in the penumbral light the strong ebony hand that invited her to dance.
Francois stood still at the bar, the busy barmaids ignoring his uncertain requests.
Michelle wasn’t really dancing. Her face, sour and frozen, didn’t show any sign of joy. As her body moved in the hungry embrace of an unknown partner, she looked like a helpless pawn, playing her part in someone else’s game.
Francois stood still, the cold glasses full of ice making his hands numb. He looked toward the dance floor and attempted a smile. He failed.
Michelle tried to find her seat after a few dances but was unable to ignore the call to stay, to prance and dance, worshipping unwittingly an unknown god.
‘Tienes fuego?’ someone asked Francois after he managed to find a seat. ‘Lo siento,’ he shook his head. A sympathetic slap on the back followed. ‘No worries,’ the thick, accented reply.
Francois, without knowing it, accepted the role prepared for him by the night as he glanced longingly to the dance floor.
The living bar, at the height of its nightly uprising, swallowed them whole. It would throw them up, inebriated with its tropical stomach juices a few hours later. But for the time being, it stood triumphantly, as the mojitos flowed through its veins and sad desperation swelled its heart.