Chaos in Paradise
My brain spins inside my skull, unable to function.
Not after what I just saw.
At least…what I think I just saw.
Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap!!!
Suddenly, I want to shake myself.
For crying out loud, mermaids aren’t even real! They don’t exist outside of musical animations. They’re just a myth; like unicorns and pygmy trolls and sparkly vampires.
My subconscious is most likely playing dirty tricks on me because I’ve always compared her to The Little Mermaid. That has to be it. There’s just no other feasible explanation.
And yet, the dread won’t leave my body. I can’t convince myself that what I just saw isn’t real. Not after what happened in the cellar, and not when multiple screens still display the disappearance of one of the world’s largest oceans—
Abruptly, a sharp pain erupts in my head, rippling through my skull with so much intensity and speed that I cry out involuntarily.
The sensation is unbearable.
My eyes slam shut on reflex, and I wince as I place my hands firmly on my temples.
I feel myself becoming dizzy again even as my eyelids continue to veil my sight. I struggle to keep my balance as my legs wobble, shaking uncontrollably as if they’re made of expired Jell-O.
My head pounds as the noise continues to rise around me. I clutch at my head even harder, fingers digging into my scalp, my breathing turning strained as the veins throb viciously in my temples.
Without warning, the ground starts shaking underneath me again, further jarring my already wobbly legs.
My eyes fly open, but before I can react, the unexpected motion makes me lose my balance and I stagger ungracefully, lunging forward and colliding with a patron, spilling his drink all over both of us.
Just as I open my mouth to apologize, one of the mounted screens nearby suddenly blows its fuse and explodes, falling off the wall and onto the floor with a loud crash, crumbling haphazardly into dismantled, chunky pieces of metal and hard plastic that’s quickly melting.
Another screen follows suit a second later, and another, until the same thing is happening with all the screens; they lose their signals, switch off on their own, and sparks fly around them from tripped circuits before they crash to the ground.
Everyone scrambles around in a collective frenzy, trying to dodge the falling, exploding screens as the floor continues to shake, making everything vibrate along with it.
Bottles of alcohol and glasses join the commotion, shattering and crashing loudly in every corner of the club as they fall to the floor.
Before I know it, everything is falling and breaking and colliding with something else.
Objects colliding with the floor.
Objects colliding with people.
People colliding with people.
People colliding with the floor.
The Emergency Evacuation alarm comes on, blazing far too loudly into the night and singeing my ears so much that I’m sure I’ll be deaf tomorrow. The awfully loud and urgent sound only seems to agitate and alarm everyone even more, fueling the frenzy that already exists.
And to make matters worse, the shaky, vibrating floor is now extremely slippery with copious amounts of spilled beverages, making it that much harder for anyone to maintain their balance, much less get out of the crowded club unscathed.
Complete chaos ensues, patrons and workers alike pouring out of the establishment in droves onto the street outside, screaming hysterically in collective panic as they all fight to get to safety.
And yet, my only thought now is the cellar.
I need to go back down there.
I need to fix this.
I begin to make my way back despite the overwhelming influx of people moving in the opposite direction, dodging flailing arms, frantic movements, and falling objects as best as I can while trying with everything in me to fight the growing pounding that plagues my head.
I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do once I get down to the basement; no plan or clue of how exactly it is I’m going to fix whatever went wrong, but I trudge on, determined to get to my destination.
I just have to get to that golden globe again…
Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety course through every fiber of me, dancing around and meshing with each other as they completely take over my body.
I continue to fight for stability on the extremely shaky, hazardous ground, the vibrations getting stronger and stronger, making my insides rumble and bile rise up my throat. The motion sickness is etching on quickly, nausea washing over me in rapid blasts.
God, I’m going to be sick…
Suddenly, I feel a hand grab my upper arm and a masculine voice follows. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
I whip my head around to see who it is, wincing as the quick, reflexive motion makes my eyes blurry from the increased throbbing in my head.
The face of a man comes into view, his own eyes dark and frantic under furrowed brows as they search mine.
“The exit’s that way,” he says, yanking my arm in the direction every other normal person is running to as he pulls me along with him. He sounds exasperated, almost angry.
I try to protest, pulling my arm away. “Wait, wait, I need to go downstairs—”
I lurch forward suddenly as someone lunges onto me from behind, cutting my voice off in the process.
The stranger grips my arm even harder and pulls me closer to him, his large body insulating me from the belligerent stampede that ensues.
“Are you crazy?!” he yells. “You’ll get trampled to death before you even make it to the stairwell!”
I try to protest again, but it’s no use. He can’t even hear me over all the commotion, and even if he could, I highly doubt he’d listen. Plus, he’s right. Chances are I won’t be able to make it down there with all my limbs intact.
I stop resisting and let the strange man lead me outside. I have no idea who he is, but finding out isn’t at the top of my priorities right now.
Everything becomes one big hazy blur and I’m not even sure I want to make sense of anything anymore. I’m too confused, too anxious, too drained—physically, mentally, emotionally, and in every other way possible.
Tonight, Monty’s Rubies isn’t “Club Paradise”.
This is Club Confusion.
A fleeting thought crosses my mind as the sound of sirens becomes louder and louder:
I have to find Belinda.