This is my first story. Feedback will be much appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: I don't own the character. Don't sue me because the only thing of value I have is my 1971 Buick Riviera and you're not getting it :)
Constable Turnbull stood guard outside his consulate, just as he had the day before, and the day before that. The cool fall air nipped lightly at the tips of his fingers. He knew that Constable Fraser exulted in this promise of snow, becoming more enthusiastic as the weather got colder, but Turnbull did not. The shorter days and cooler weather seemed to him a warning. A silent alarm that only the birds and the old people heeded. They always flew south at this time of the year. Turnbull wished he could fly, too.
Later, alone in his apartment, Turnbull put in his Tracy Jenkins CD. He was hungry for the comfort the music always seemed to bring him. But tonight the words seemed shallow, the twang and drawl more than he could bear. Tracy Jenkins was singing country, but everything in Renfield Turnbull sang the blues. He shut off the CD player and sat in silence. He glanced around. The four walls of his small studio apartment suddenly seemed confining. He decided to take a walk. He rode the elevator down and walked through the lobby. As soon as he stepped outside, a shocking blast of cold air swept over him. The chill penetrated deep down into his spine. Shivering, he contemplated the city around him. His apartment was deep in downtown Chicago. The streets were narrow. Tall, ill kempt buildings loomed on either side. It was possible to see the sky if one looked straight up. Turnbull felt vaguely troubled looking up night after night into a sky devoid of stars. He looked down instead, studying the cracked and broken sidewalk. Like everything else in this older section of the city, the sidewalk here was in disrepair.
Turnbull walked just quickly enough to ward off the chill. He shoved his hands deeply into the pockets of his jacket and walked steadily, with no destination in mind. He wasn't paying much attention to where he was going. After almost an hour, he found himself in a less familiar part of town. It seemed to be a more prosperous area, the buildings were cleaner and more people were walking around. As he walked, he noticed a new sound. It was a rhythmic pounding, faint and distant. It was such a low pitch, he didn't so much hear it as feel it. He thought it must be some type of dance club. He'd never in his life been in a dance club, but the music, the sound was magnetic. He moved in the direction of the sound. Around a corner. Not quite there yet. The next corner, and he saw a small sign proclaiming the name of the club.
"Tempus," it read. And below this, in much smaller letters,
"non vacat flere" and
"maturo opus est"
It was Latin. He ought to remember it from his class at the academy. "Tempus" meant time. He didn't remember what the rest meant. He examined the face of the building. It was brick, solidly built, an attempt at soundproofing, but the deep rumbling bass leaked out, as if the club itself had a heartbeat. Below the sign was a door. Turnbull hesitatingly put out his hand toward the doorknob. His heart beat faster and he opened the door slowly, not quite sure what to expect. He walked into a narrow entryway leading to a booth with a large, slightly dingy looking man in it. The sign above announced that the cover charge was ten dollars. He supposed that a cover charge was something like admission. The bass was louder here. He pulled out his wallet. He passed up the pink and blue bills for the proper green ones, and handed the man two rumpled five dollar bills. The man nodded silently, and Turnbull went to the door at the other end. Trembling with excitement at this new experience, he opened the door and walked in.
Instantly the deep bass infiltrated his body. His blood pulsed with the rhythm of the music. It was dark, sexy. It was pure sensation. Instinct. There were no words, no singing at all, but the message
(dance jump sex desire darkness pain)
was perfectly understood by all.
The club was a mass of writhing bodies. The whole crowd seemed to move as one. In perfect time. Turnbull's breath was quite literally knocked out of his body by the volume of the music. When he regained it, he found that he could only breath in time with the music
Two feet inside the door, and he was already in the middle of the crowd. Dozens of dancing humans drew him in, stronger than the undertow in the Atlantic, where he almost drowned as a child. He couldn't fight it because he could only move in time with the music. Could only think in time with the music. And the music was screaming
and he could only whisper.
The music was commanding
and his body could not help but obey. He added his whisper to the whisper of every other human in the room, and together they screamed. Collective whispers screamed in time with the music. He found himself jumping in time with the music and the throng of people. He was jostled and bumped and rubbed, but he was enjoying the body contact. He thought of how long it had been since another person touched him. A woman in front of him was pressing her body against him. He didn't even know her, it wasn't the least bit proper but he didn't care, couldn't care, because the music wouldn't let him. The music was forcing him
to let go, and he did. He let go of his pain and boredom and (most of all) loneliness. Trapped in the solid mass of people, Turnbull suddenly felt freer than he ever had in his life. He allowed himself to relax. His tense clumsiness fell away. He danced with a lithe gracefulness that few who knew him had ever seen.
He looked around the crowd. Here and there, a few people caught his eye. A slim man in a black turtleneck, head down, totally absorbed in the music. A woman with short curly hair who danced with her eyes closed and her hands above her head. On a stage at the far end of the room, a single man surrounded by complex machinery provided the life-giving music. His sweat soaked T-shirt read, "maturo opus est," and Turnbull suddenly remembered that it meant "no time to lose." He felt this to be true. A dark haired woman to his left caught his eye. He smiled at her. She smiled back.
When he left the club, nighttime was changing to morning. Tempus. The club was aptly named. He hadn't meant to stay so long, but tempus fugit, time flies. The dark haired woman had danced with him for hours, and he hadn't cared that he had to work early the next morning. Just before he left, she had given him a small piece of paper with a phone number and a name scribbled on it. He pulled it out of his jacket pocket and looked at it again. He smiled to himself. Suddenly the walk home didn't seem so long. He glanced at the sky above him and noted, with pleasure, the appearance of a star.