Girl

The taxi pulled up a few hundred metres before a petrol station down a road that curved and bent to the centre of the estate. It glowed amber, was burnt up, chewed up. A man in a dark hooded jacket stood by a parked car, away from the lights pouring out of the petrol station, a man inside behind the counter, head rested in his hands, aching down the length of the shop. The area was dead.
—Is this it? Kerin asked.
—Yeah, it’ll be on this side.
Both sat in the back of a taxi, the passenger seat remaining. The driver sat in silence. Kerin pushed his hand into his pocket, raised and stretched his body and pushed his arm into his trousers to get his wallet. He removed a note and held it in the air behind the headrest of the driver. The two boys sat in silence. —Here you go. Kerin pushed the money forward into the driver’s line of sight, retrieving it the note scraped against his face. Sam got out, Kerin waited, leant forward in his seat. The rear of the car was almost completely black, stripped of even shadow. Kerin sat silhouetted against the purple and orange of the rear windshield. The driver’s cheeks wrapped around his head like a helmet, his head partly bald, he counted the coins in his hand. Kerin watched the transaction. —Cheers mate.

Onto the clear road, the door swung shut behind. The taxi gone Kerin and Sam stood side by side, their silk like nightgowns held tight to their thighs by the wind buffed by rough denim jeans. The boys eyes wore black, makeup absorbing all the light, their cheekbones high. Each with a patent leather jacket, short and zipped, that roughly matched the colour of their nightgowns, Kerin and Sam pink and blue respectively.
—We’re going to get twatted aren’t we?
—Yeah, probably. No one comes here though, it’ll be fine.
Both boys walked at pace towards the light of the petrol station. Kerin asked if he thought it was cold.
—It’s just here.
—Where?
—Just around the little corner thing.
—We have to go down another street I think.
—No, here, where the road bends a little, it’s just after that bit.
—Alright.
Kerin and Sam took the bend straight into an open gate and up a footpath to the front door of the house.
—See.
Sam stepped up and leaned into a knock then let his body swing back down a few feet from the door.—They better be in.
—The lights are on. You can hear the fucking music.
Kerin was stood with his arms wrapped around him, looking at the floor. Sam expecting.
—Heyyy.
—Hey.
—Who are you guys?
Stood at the door was a brunette girl of about five feet, dressed all in black, tight clothes with little plastic cat ears on her head, her nose painted black, whiskers also.
—We’re here for Leah’s thing. Sam said.
—Yeah yeah, yeah come in.
The house felt yellow at first. The air and the light was warm.
—Should we just…
—Yeah, wherever. We’re upstairs in Leah’s bedroom- it’s right at the top if you wanna come up? The girl asked.
—Yeah yeah. Kerin said.
—Should we take these jackets off?
—I’m alright with mine.
—I might take mine off.
The stairway was exposed in the hallway, all lights on in the house. Sam pushed on a door to his left, the carpet and something on the other side of it grinding it to a stop, about a foot of space to lean in. Inside a large grey/silver monitor, blue images. The monitor playing quietly, Sam stepped back against the wall when he noticed a boy with dyed hair sat watching.
—Hey Joe.
—Oh, hey. His voice was small, light. He didn’t make eye contact. The room was long and thin.
—I was just maybe going to put my jacket somewhere.
—Yeah, you can put it down here if you want. No one’s going to touch it. Mine’s over there. Joe pointed towards a jacket that sat on a small stool by the window.
—Cool cool. Yeah. Well. I might keep it on. I’ve only just got in. Are people upstairs?
—Yeah, they’re in Leah’s room. His body didn’t move, his mouth opened little.
—Cool, right. Well I might go up there now. Are you… going-
—I might in a little bit.
—Okay, right. Well, I’m just going to be upstairs.
Sam edged his way out of the room. —Do you wanna go up?
—Yeah, sure. Kerin said.
Sam led the way. Most doors of the landing were closed, some partially open letting into rooms that they had been in in different houses, all matching exposed wood with gold door knobs, heavy towels and room for families. One door hung open, the light on, almost white carpet, downy almost, marks smoothed over. The girl who greeted them was stood talking to someone out of sight, her eyes fixed. Her arms lifted, her armpits shaved and pale and grey, she played with the hair at the back of her head, the ponytail behind the cat ears. Sam kept his head down and walked up the second set of stairs to the loft.
—See even in this. A boy stretched out the fabric of Ellel’s jeans. —There is so much space.
The boy was sat on a small sofa at the top of the stairs with one of Ellel’s arms splayed across his shoulders. Two skylights were black reflecting the small lamps that lit the room, the room painted dark. There were a dozen or so people in the room, all in different costumes of varying quality. A boy with his face painted white sat crouched by a monitor into which two girls were singing karaoke.
—You alright guys? Asked a boy in shirt and tie sat beneath the skylight.
—Guys! A short girl in a cat costume and eye mask ran towards Kerin and Sam and hugged them both.
—Hey. How’s things? Sam asked.
—Do you guys want a drink?
—We were just about to go to a shop or something. We saw that petrol station, is that any good? Kerin asked.
—Oh, no no no no, don’t go out. Don’t worry about it. We’ve got loads of stuff here. My dad had a big party for his birthday and there’s loads of alcohol left over, just help yourself.
—Cool. Where is it?
—It should just be in the fridge.
The girl pointed behind Kerin and Sam to a mini fridge, the guy under the skylight almost draped across it, a few beers inside, some spirits.
—Just help yourself.
—Do you want to? Sam asked Kerin.
The boy on the small sofa was getting excited, gesticulating a lot and Ellel laughed, laughing hard from the chest and gut occasionally, paying almost revered attention.
—Fancy some Kahlua? Kerin held a bottle out to Sam.
—What the fuck is this?
—It’s all the same, it’s all the same. Okay. The boy begins to laugh. —so he says, do you see the bird in the tree, and you go yes, and then he goes no, go and meditate, and then you come back and he goes do you see the bird in the tree? And you see it and you go yes then he goes, go and meditate. The boy stumbles on his words and breaks out laughing. Ellel breaks, his whole body laughing, hands above head.
—What’s your name mate? Sam asked, leant against the slanted wall, his neck crooked.
The boy calms down fairly quickly, Ellel slows his breathing and lowers his hands into his lap and looks across at the boy.
—You can call me Rocky.
—Really? Kerin asked. Rocky didn’t pay much attention.
One girl left facing the monitor as the karaoke machine looped its menu. Most had focused their attention on Rocky, to grasp his English or words or something, for entertainment enough.
—You see this. There is so much space in it, in between all of it.
—Right, I’m going to have to go the toilet. Ellel stood and patted Rocky on the leg.
—It’s alright. Rocky said.
Ellel picked up an empty bottle of beer from the top of the banister and made his way down the stairs.
—Where are you from? Asked the girl with the eye mask.

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