Before Gany could lead us away from the bar, Star took charge and grabbed her sister’s reluctant hand. “See you there,” she cooed at me. With that, Star pulled Summer away into the crowd.
I turned to Gany. “Well, are we going or aren’t we?”
“After you, mon ami.” Gany said, gesturing towards where Summer and Star had fled.
“Uh, except I don’t know where we’re going, remember?” I said, not understanding him.
“To the south corner, of course. Straight that way.”
“Oh, all right then.” Hesitating not another moment, I made a grab for the bottle on the bar counter and journeyed into the sea of faces before me.
“They’re very different, aren’t they?” I projected my words behind me so that Gany could hear.
“Summer and Star? Non, non. Just, ah, opposite ends of the same pole.”
“Because they’re twins.”
“Because they are twins.”
“Like night and day, they are.”
Through the faces, together we made our way across the floor until at last arriving at the south corner of the room, an area covered more in shadow than light. Even for the bar being dark as it was, every part had some colour spectrum illuminating it, but not here. It was like a light had burnt out. It was also more secluded, and the boom of the music seemed to dwindle, though it was still a substantial force.
“So where are they?” I asked immediately, looking to either side, hoping to catch sight of them. I was about to double check when something bumped into me from behind. I immediately spun around. Only Gany was there.
“Did you just bump me?”
“Nothing…. So where did Summer and Star go, you think? This is where we were to reconvene, in this dark corner?”
“I am sorry, but I am not sure that I quite understand.”
“What’s not to understand? We’re here and they’re not.”
“Ah, but they are here. Look closer.” He put a hand on my back and turned me around.
I looked into the darkness, standing near on my toes for a better view. “What do you mean they’re there? I don’t see anyone.” I tried adjusting my eyes to peer though the black.
“You only ’ave to open your eyes to see.”
I heard him say and walk past me towards total darkness, last touching the brim of his cap with a tip of his finger then pointing to shadows that proceeded to swallow him whole.
Like that, gone. What in the house of Doa?!
I jerked my head around to look for others who shared my reaction, but no one took notice. It was as empty as before, and the few passersby did not give the faintest of acknowledgement.
So what had just happened? Obviously the darkness went further into the corner space. Yet the walls didn’t seem to allow for it. Then perhaps a room hidden behind the corner? I didn’t know. What I did know, however, was that wherever he went, two others were most likely there with him. They were waiting there on the other side. That was enough for me to proceed.
What else could I really do but take a walk? And so I did just that, my arms sprawled out ahead of me, ready at any second to hit a barrier. Yet nothing came.
And for a moment that’s all I saw: darkness, by a barricade of none. Then it happened—my sudden blindness began to clear, and I emerged from the black. I found myself in a place I knew as impossible to be, yet there I was in what appeared to be a long, stone-covered corridor, dimly lit by a series of burning torches staggered along its walls. At the end of the hall stood an arched doorway shrouded by shadow.
At the forefront of this obscure channel did Gany take poise, alongside another more covered in shadow—the two of them, watching me.
“What in the—”
“Ah, you made it. Merveilleux.”
“Gany, what … is this place?” I stammered.
“This, ah … it is just another piece of la maison, no? It leads us to the main foundations.”
“Right. So there’s more, then?” I tried my best to get my bearings and take it all in. I then looked behind me to where I once was and saw what only confirmed the bizarre nature of things.
“What is problem, hmmm? I mean, is it really so difficile to wrap your ’ead around? You can still see the club, no? You can still ’ear the music, yes…? Are we then not still in much the same transition of space? I believe so.”
“Space or time…?” I whispered. He was right. I could clearly see into the club. I could hear the music, too, although it was somewhat muffled. It seemed, however, different from being there and felt like I had emerged from outside the scene, placed on the outskirts and looking in. The place, alive with light and sound and all its droves of people, the legions of bodies fluxed to the surge of a pounding beat in the distance, seemed to me within another world.
“They can’t see us? None of them can, none of them know where we are?” I inquired.
“Oui. And so privacy is granted.”
I ripped myself away from the scene playing out before me and looked back to Gany, needing more answers. “Why? How is this place kept secret?”
“Is it not enough that it is?”
He sensed my answer. “It is too dark between places. It’s in the way the light is positioned. People, they are blind to see.”
“Like an optical illusion.”
“Mais oui, an optical illusion.”
Still, I wasn’t sure. “I don’t get it. Even in the darkness, I’d think one would be able to see the firelight rising off these torches.”
“Well…” He walked closer so that I could for the first time since arriving in that corridor see the whites of his eyes. “Could you? Could you see the light?”
He had me there. “No. No, I couldn’t.”
“See.” He smiled. “And what people often cannot see as fact—”
“—people won’t believe,” I finished.
I let out a small sigh and returned to the club scene. “Just seems like looking in on something I’m no longer part of. Surreal, really, like it’s another place.”
“Or plain of frequency channel.” The stranger with Gany spoke up and stepped out of the shadows. I had nearly forgotten she was there. Slightly shorter than Gany, the girl carried with her a buxom and full-figured shape. Her faint complexion worked well in making other attributes that much more striking. Her faced seemed to shine, even in the dim light. Her hazel eyes drew you in, and her thick cinnamon hair fell just shy of her shoulders. On her feet she donned a set of emerald heels that glittered with only the most minimal of movements. She also wore knee-high stockings of viridian that followed up to a long sleeved dress of what appeared an iridescent blue green.
Gany spoke. “Where are my manners? Ambrosia, please allow me to introduce the lady Alrisha.”
I directed my gaze toward her. “Alrisha. And are you another one of Mona’s…?” How else would she know of this place?
She merely nodded, coming towards me with a warm embrace.
“Nice meeting you,” I said once she released me. Again she gave a slight nod of acknowledgement.
“Alrisha, she doesn’t say much. Do you, Rish?” Gany said.
“I can see that,” I said. “But, Alrisha, if you don’t mind me asking, what then sparked in you the need to speak up moments ago? What did you mean by the words you said?”
“Only that people can see just that what is set before them,” Alrisha explained without, I thought, any trouble.
“Yes, yes. It’s too dark to see.” Not sure if that’s what she was getting at.
“Now, you are ’ere to see Summer and Star, no…?” Gany said.
“They are here then…?” Suddenly all priorities changed.
“But of course. So let us go see them.” Gany clasped his hands and began to head for the arched doorway, bidding that we follow. “Come, the others will be eagerly waiting our arrival.”
My heart was racing.
Together we descended down the stone passage and through the arched doorway. We reached a spiraling staircase, also lit with torches, and, making the journey further below, I listened to the sounds of the club fade away as we reached the foot of what appeared to be the bottom level. We then passed through the arches of yet another open portal, and the music finally disappeared.
As we passed under the marble structure, seemingly more grand in size and appearance than the last, we were brought to a place of more grandeur than I ever thought possible to be constructed by human hands.
“Gama Moa!” I lost my bearings as I gazed at the spectacle before me. Stretching long and high, a princely cathedral bore its foundations deep within this underground shaft. Entirely drawn in marble like its archway, the everywhere of this room shimmered so that it caused an image of oneself to be reflected upon the surface stone. Like the spaces that led into it, this room used fire as a source of light, but with so much the greater a source for inspiration. Here, the torches were presented by raised statues. I counted twelve, intricately patterned. Each one an icon and beautifully rendered. The torches protracted from hands held aloft, a light that stretched over the scope of the room, reaching up to epic ceiling heights of this domed enclosure. The statues themselves, located to either side of us, stood six apart, evenly spaced along the chamber’s length.
“Spectacular,” I said.
“I think so, too, mon ami,” Gany replied.Past the statues, the back of the room was shaped like a half sphere, and within it a raised semi-circle held position. Two girls were seated there on its either side, one dark as midnight’s serenade of moonlit overture, the other as light as dawn’s sun-beamed canzonet.