She Sells Sanctuary……

and another……..in a different vein…lol!

She Sells Sanctuary
Khlari jumped from the step of the 38 bus as it pulled round from Essex Road to the stop at the Angel. As she got off, she saw the gaze of the bus conductor upon her, she noted it with approval. She pulled her long black coat around her as she walked past the building site. Even though it was a Saturday night, her look was guaranteed to attract attention, even in the relatively cosmopolitan streets of Islington. That was the way she liked it.

She turned the corner of City Road, and headed down the side of the tube station towards Torrens Street and the lights of the Slimelight ahead. She breezed past the queue and headed towards the staircase up to the club. It was a dank 19th century warehouse, perfectly suited to its current purpose.

‘Khlari!’
It was Martin, the doorman.
‘Looking good!’
Khlari gave him a twirl, hair extensions flying, her corset hugging her in, her skirt flowing behind, her long fishnetted legs leading down to her pointed boots……..
They exchanged a few air kisses, their usual practice, as he waved her in to the club. She was a regular.

As she climbed up the worn stone staircase to the third floor, she heard the heavy industrial beat pounding as she passed the second floor, until she reached the haven at the top of the stairs. She turned left into the room…the lighting was ultraviolet, and all you could see were shining eyes and teeth as the haunting strain of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ filled the air.

She headed for the bar. More new bar staff, they changed from week to week, people come, people go, London was a transient city.

‘Pernod and black please.’ The crowd at the bar had parted to let her through, she was well known figure around here.

The man behind the bar was tall, dark, and handsome – in a Goth way. He was elegantly emaciated, with cheekbones to die for, and long slim legs encased in leather trousers, with the obligatory pointed boots…..
Khlari shot him a look.
‘I don’t think I know you.’
‘Should you?’
‘I’m here all the time’
‘Oh really?’
‘What kind of an accent is that anyway? Not from round here…’
‘No, I’m French….’

A blonde meteor suddenly hurtled towards Khlari, shrieking her name on the way….
‘Mia!!!’
Khlari hugged her friend, who was closely followed by the other part of the triumvirate, redhead Martha…..
They were legendary here at least, uber goth babes, all the baby goth girls yearned to be like them. They had been around the scene forever, since their early teens, had grown up in gothdom as they frequently teased each other. Martha went as far as to claim that these days she wouldn’t even recognize ‘normality’. They contrasted perfectly, Mia was raucous, blonde with a laugh like Sid James, Martha tall, elegant and Dutch, with flowing red hair, and Khlari smaller, quieter with long black hair. They made an unlikely group, but one that had withstood the test of time. They drifted towards the dance floor, with the sound of Siouxsie’s ‘Arabian Knights’ literally beating through their ribcages. The Slimelight was not the place for a quiet chat. They came here to bare their souls to the music.

As the song switched to ‘Alice’, they threaded their way onto the floor, twisting, turning, feeling the music flow through them, losing themselves for the moment. A symphony of fishnet, black, and deathly white in front of their eyes. As the strobe lights flashed, the other dancers seemed to shatter, break, then reform before their eyes as Eldritch’s plaintive voice pleaded with Alice not to ‘give it away’……

The sound drifted on to ‘She Sells Sanctuary’…Khlari felt the drumbeat flowing through her bones as Ian Astbury’s tribal wail rose into the smoke-filled air. Suddenly she felt a light grip on her waist as she turned. She was suddenly looking into the green eyes of the barman.
‘Hello’
‘Just dance…..’
They moved in a haze, his body perfectly aligned to hers and the rising, falling, turning, hypnotic motion of the song. She did not need to ‘dance with him’, they seemed perfectly attuned to each other. Suddenly, he was kissing her, they were against each other, swirling, flowing as one.

Finally he broke away.
‘What are you called?’
‘Khlari, and you?’
He smiled. Most Goths seemed to call themselves Thunder or Raven, though, alas, they had been christened Colin, or something equally prosaic.
‘It is your real name?’
She looked affronted. ‘Yes, I’m afraid so. What is yours?’
‘They call me Cassian’
‘That’s your real name?’
‘Yes’
They both broke into hesitant smiles.
‘So why aren’t you behind the bar? Dereliction of duty?’
‘No, I am finished.’

They carried on dancing, moving, kissing until the end of the evening. Mia and Martha had sensed that she wanted to be alone and made a tactful and tacit withdrawal. The dancefloor was emptying, the flickering lights showing the echoing spaces of empty warehouse now.

‘I must go’, Khlari said
‘Why?’
‘I have to get home, somehow’
‘Stay for a drink’
‘How? The place is closing.’
‘I live upstairs.’
‘Here, above the club?’
‘Yes’

She finally agreed, and he led her to the far corner of the dancefloor, behind a curtain, and up a tiny staircase she had never noticed before, until they came to a small door.
He took her into a flat decorated in typically gothic style, heavy velvet and candles everywhere.

‘Wow’
‘It is nothing’

They sat and talked, and drank red wine from tall purple goblets, for what seemed like hours, until suddenly she was lying back on the sofa, and they were kissing again. They embraced delicately, until suddenly, she heard a hissing noise.

She sat bolt upright.
‘Poppysma.’ She said.

He shot up.
‘Pardon?’
‘Poppysma’
‘This is ridiculous. What do you know about this?’
‘Well, go on then. Hurry up.’

He stood up.
‘Hurry up? You know what I will do and you say to me to hurry up – are you mad?’
Khlari stood up herself. Even with her heels on, he was still about a foot taller than her. She looked up into his eyes.
‘Look, Cassian. I am a Goth. Of course I know what you are about to do. Just get on with it.’
He sat down on the velvet sofa, and put his head in his hands.
‘It has never happened like this’
‘Well maybe you’ve never been to London before. I did notice you know.’
‘But I cannot do this’
‘But I want you to’
‘Want me to? Ah mon Dieu, this is completely…ridicule.’
‘Look Cassian. This is really simple. You Vampire, Me Goth. Now bite me.’
He began to pace around the room…. ‘How can I bite you if you want me to? This was never part of the deal…’
‘Stop the existential angst and get on with it………’

Khlari jumped from the step of the 38 bus as it pulled round from Essex Road to the stop at the Angel. As she got off, she saw the gaze of the bus conductor upon her, she noted it with approval. She pulled her long black coat around her as she walked past the tube station. Even though it was a Saturday night, her look was guaranteed to attract attention, even in the relatively cosmopolitan streets of Islington. That was the way she liked it.

She turned the corner of City Road, past the derelict station, and towards the lights of the Slimelight ahead. She breezed past the queue and went into the club.

She wrapped her arms around Cassian.
‘Hello Cherie, good journey? Meet Raven, he is new on the bar tonight.’

It was odd how in 20 years, no-one had ever remarked how well Cassian and Khlari had aged…..nor the abnormally high turnover of bar staff. The fact they went out only at night- well, they were Goths after all. And, at the end of the day, nothing seems so strange after all at the Slimelight…….

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