I feel fingers grasp my forearm and I am swallowed by the crowd.
Smiling faces surround me like circling sharks; neon signage and stage lights burning my retinas like sea salt. The dirty, sticky floor of confetti, glass, and trampled beer cans like jagged coral. I am drowning in a claustrophobic ocean of sweat and people, and I just want to swim back to shore for a single breath of cool air.
I scream, but I am stopped from being heard by the pounding of the bass.
Fingers grip tighter and yank at my wrist. I follow a trail of black chipped nail polish, light brown arm hair and a cascading shoulder tattoo of a male peacock to see a browned face giggling at me — crooked teeth barred with nicotine stain yellow. I have no idea who this person is but she pulls me on to the seat of a Ferris wheel and lowers the steel bar to lock across our waists.
Finally my arm is free and my forearm feels cold with the cooling patch of sweat made by a grimy, clammy hand. Before I take a moment to breathe, the Ferris wheel shifts upwards and the arm grabber looks out across the festival — a reflection of the lights below caught in the beads in her brown dreaded hair and making her look like a Christmas tree.
“Hey,” she says in a friendly tone as she turns her head to the left to face me.
“Are you okay?”
My furry brain tingles with chills of confusion and I say “P-Pardon” with a stutter.
“You look worried,” she says “Your forehead is all crinkly.”
“Oh… no… I’m fine,” I say, still having no idea who the fuck is sitting next to me.
“Good” she says, and her olive shaped green eyes squint a little as she widens her uncleaned smile and makes her fatty cheeks look like half-toasted marshmallows dropped in to a pile of dirt by the campfire, “Have you had a good day?” she asks.
She sounds so friendly and casual but I can’t remember her face at all. I blink my eyelids together hard and hope that I wake up somewhere else, somewhere not trapped with whoever this is, wherever I am, climbing higher and higher above the crowd that now looks like a mob of poisonous jellyfish bobbing around under fluorescent light.
“When was it day time?” I respond. “It feels like day time was forever ago.”
“Oh Jesus,” she says. “…You are fucked up.”
She leans in to kiss me and I pull my head back as her big, puckered, red lips come towards me like a loose vagina, flakes of chapped skin looking like fish scales on labia. I have nowhere to go but back down in to the ocean of monsters so I must kiss these scaly lips coming forth. I purse my lips together and squeeze my eyes closed. Her peeling skin tickles against mine and soon it is over. I re-open my eyes and she is still there, a loose thick dread drooping over her acne scarred forehead.
“How cool is it up here?” she says, as she peers over her feet at the crowded festival below and the vast blackness of empty fields that expand beyond it.
“How the fuck did I get up here? Why am I up here?” I shout, my heart thumping out of my chest and my brain spinning in circles. Suddenly I can think of nothing better than being on the ground. It’s as though I was never even down there. Who is this person who brought me here and why is she kissing me?
“Yesterday was nice, wasn’t it?” she asks in a half-rhetorical tone that makes no sense to me.
“Yesterday? What day was it yesterday? Why can’t I remember yesterday? It was just yesterday…”
I realise that I just said that all out loud and I turn to face this girl staring at the side of my face.
“We met yesterday,” she says. “…You were pretty scattered.”
“Oh,” I say, and I become transfixed on the pretty fairy lights below — they look like golden stars…
“Fuck. I don’t ever want to go home,” I mutter.
“No-one does, babe,” she says.