Empty Streets (Sequel to, The Party That Never Ends)

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Write a story about a character who gets lost at a carnival or festival.... view prompt

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Fiction Friendship Funny

Winchester tucked his hands through his curly brown hair, remnants of gold still remained from summer but there was less now.

He shrugged on a dark jacket and laced his boots up, affixing his dangly silver triangle earrings and twisting his favorite metal to rings onto each finger.

Moments later his friends were knocking on the hotel door asking if he was ready. His best friend Hannah, wearing burgundy flip flops, a teal leather jacket, and her signature nose ring, was currently laughing at him.

He scowled at her “Yes Hannah? Something you want to say?”

She straightened up smoothing her jacket back down, but before she could talk their friend, and Hannah’s boyfriend Forest, walked up to them. Instead of explaining she just grabbed Forest’s hand and pointed at Winchester, releasing little giggles even as Forest raised his eyebrows and snorted at, whatever he was seeing.

“Hey!” Winchester protested “What are you guys laughing at?”

Forest the nicer of the pair for moment, sighed like he was disappointed.

“Man have you seen what you’re wearing?”

Winchester glanced down, he’d thought his outfit looked good, had he just smudged his eyeliner and they weren’t telling him?

“Yeah, what’s wrong with it?”

Hannah seemed to realize that he had no idea what they were laughing at and finally took pity on him.

“Win, you’re wearing a Plaid shirt vest, Plaid and vest, are two things that do not belong in a sentence together, much less an outfit, so yeah. We’re laughing”

He scowled again, he’d thought it looked nice. But after taking a back glance in the room mirror, he realized they were right, the vest did not go well with…, well, anything.

He threw on a gray shirt instead and they headed out.

Though it wasn’t like Forest should be saying anything, he was wearing an olive-green turtle neck sweater, for crying out loud, with camo pants. The worst part of the already disastrous outfit though had to be the awful bright orange bucket hat perched on his friends’ head.

He nudged Hannah in the car seat next to him.

“What so I can’t wear my vest but he can wear that monstrous piece of fashion?”

Hannah glanced at the hat then back at him before slipping on her Normalizer shades and looking at the hat again. Her whole face scrunched up and Winchester realized she hadn’t known what color it was before now.

She smacked Forest’s arm while glaring.

“You told me it was the same green as the rest of your outfit!”

Hannah was colorblind, she couldn’t see reds and greens, but other colors like orange were also hard for her.

Forest let out a laugh, much like when he’d seen Winchester’s outfit. Taking off the offending hat and slipping it into one of the pockets on his pants.

It was a game between Hannah and Forest, with Forest buying the ugliest, most weirdly colored things he could find and wearing them for as long as he could before Hannah realized. Hannah on the other hand would take random laces out of shoes and hid them around his apartment when she was there.

She’d done that once to Winchester, and once was enough after he retaliated by taking every cup she owned and hanging them on the tree on her front lawn, like Christmas ornaments. It took her a week to get them all off.

“So where are we going again?” they’d told him before but he’d been mostly out of it after the 36-hour plane ride from Amra to Eaiae.

Hannah had dragged the three of them to the country where ‘The party never stops’ allegedly at least, for their after-graduation celebration. Forest and him hadn’t really minded, plus she was super excited because there was some sort of big time famous festival going on that she’d always wanted to experience.

She grinned, her hands moving along with her words as she happily explained about the ‘flower festival’ he could tell she hyped for it, he didn’t really understand why, but he didn’t mind if it made Hannah happy.

“It’s a festival celebrating the cultural importance of flowers in Eaiae, both through the country’s history and even to present day, there’s going to be talks about the different meanings of Eaiae’s own unique flora, obviously tons of flower stalls and even flower weaving competitions!”

Forest grinned at his girlfriend as she animatedly described everything she wanted to do. The festival lasted three days so she would have plenty of time to see of everything, Winchester had just made her promise that they would visit the Glow district of the city at least once while they were there. He’d always heard about the wild nightlife in Eaiae and now that he was at the heart of the entire scene, he figured he should at least check it out.

He rubbed the spot on his left shoulder where his tattoo rested. It was nothing fancy, just the simple image of a dandelion inked in yellows and greens.

Then they were at the festival and Hannah was practically sprinting out of the car dragging the two boys along with her. She kept darting from one booth to the next running around like a hyper child at, well the fair.

Winchester lost sight of the two of them somewhere around flower pressing stall, but he wasn’t too worried, they were both together and they were all going to meet up at the flower garden in a few hours anyway.

He wandered for a little bit, buying a bag of sunflower seeds to snack on and picking out few things out for Forest and Hannah, rose jam for him (he loved cooking) a thorn studded journal for her she loved garden poetry. Winchester had the gifts sent to the hotel and kept looking.

A some point he found himself amidst more buildings and flashing lights then flower stalls, he looked around and saw the start of neon reflected streets and realized he accidently wandered into the Glow district.

He had been going to wait for Hannah and Forest, but the two hadn’t really wanted to go and this way they could still enjoy the festival while he checked it out.

Bright Neon signs illuminated everything, giving the world an odd luminescent quality. And it was strangely empty, from what he’d heard it was usually shoulder to shoulder with people on every corner. There were a few people here and there but for the most part it was void of people.

Loud music still radiated from a few shoppes but many were dark with closed signs.

A girl about his age, probably around 17 or 18 ran into him, no small feat considering the wide-open street. They both went tumbling and Winchester landed with the girl’s hair in his mouth, and her elbow in his shoulder. Though her stomach landed on his bent knee before she rolled away.

They both laid on the ground for a moment, her catching her breath while he just laid still, his back was still stinging from where it’d made contact with the pavement.

They sat up and she unleashed a veritable waterfall of apologies, her triple pierced ears turning bright red from embarrassment.

He held up his hands to get her stop “Hey, hey its fine I’m not hurt, you didn’t severely injure me when you collided with me on the completely empty street”

She grinned clearly relieved “Yeah I know it’s empty but I don’t think I’m completely sober” she said the last bit very clearly and she wasn’t swaying, she at least looked like she was sober.

He raised an eyebrow “If this is you tipsy, I suddenly find myself feeling like a lightweight”

She laughed and he finally got a better look at her. She had pale skin, much paler than his own, as if she spent a lot of time inside, it almost seemed like it was reflecting, awash as it was with all the blinding lights around. Her hair was a braided Viking style, woven through with a L.E.D strands of technicolor fiber. Her arms were covered in glowing paint that swirled in mesmerizing patterns. she was wearing a plain muscle T with ripped jean shorts and fluorescent blue tights, her feet were bare and there was a multitude of rings on her toes, all the same neon shocks of color as everything else in the district.

But her eyes, her eyes were a calmingly rich shade of brown that just seemed to pull people in.

“Don’t worry” she reassured him “to most of the Glow districts we’re both lightweights”

“Strangely that doesn’t make me feel better”

He stuck a hand out to her as they stood.

“Winchester”

She looked confused “A…gun?”

He smiled bashfully “Yeah I get that sometimes, or I get called a character from some outdated show, but Winchester, it’s my name”

“Oh!” she grinned back at him “Well, nice to meet you Winchester, I’m Rayden”

They shook hands, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, one that would last decades and span countries, and would one day, even shake the world.

May 15, 2021 02:17

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