The light fixture was the last thing Shane remembered before it began properly, before the first knife entered her ribcage. The light looked like a mushroom.
She needed to mope - a talent at which she excelled - and couldn’t do it in her room, so she was willing to indulge the primary objective of bars, drunkenness. The secondary objective of bars - picking up strangers and making use of their bedrooms - did not interest Shane. She hadn’t kissed anyone in over a year, but she would before the week was out.
The real source of her problem, the moment the night went from a solitary bitch-fest to the end of her life as she knew it, was accepting the drink.
The bartender had nudged her out of her self-pity, yelling, "Miss, I said that someone sent you a drink!"
"Oh! Who?" she had yelled back.
The bartender shrugged his stout shoulders. "Didn’t say! So, you want it?!"
"Who sent it?" Shane asked again. He made of show of scanning the bar as though seeking land. Few dry faces looked back.
"Don’t see him anymore." He put a wine glass in front of Shane and turned away to tend to a customer who would not be so inquisitive.
Shane peered at the glass. The liquid within gleamed the purple of first kisses. In the center floated a star-shaped seedpod smelling of licorice. She swished it around in her glass and she took a sniff bordering on a snort. It smelled like her grandmother’s kitchen after making cinnamon rolls.
She sipped. A trap of spice seized her tongue and was disarmed by honey. A larger mouthful radiated the warmth of glowing coals. She swallowed the remainder of the glass in two gulps, licking her lips to make sure she missed none. She even chewed the seedpod, ravenous.
The din around her muted, the world filtered through the bottom of her glass. The bar palpitated with her heart, a fuzzy orange glow waxing with her every exhalation.
I watched her float in the space around her head, embryonic. She didn’t want to be wearing clothes anymore. "Clothes" seemed such a funny word to her, syllables invented to annoy someone with a speech impediment. Like "chrysanthemum". She just wanted to rise to the ceiling, unfettered and ignored, and be carried around by the current like the last balloon after the party ends.
She remembered falling from the stool. And the knives. Accepting the drink was absolutely the wrong move.