Escape – Chapter One

This was a project I gave myself to keep writing. I wrote it while listening to Evanescence on my iPod day after day at work. The more I listened to all the songs, the more I could see a plot forming. It was meant to be read as a story, play or musical, however you want.  I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you enjoy it as well. It’s a very dark story, so be prepared! 

Disclaimer: All songs are derived from the band Evanescence and their music from their albums: Origins, Fallen, and The Open Door. This story is fiction and in no way depicts the real life events of Amy Lee.

“Hey Randy give me another one!” A 30 something year old man came up to the bar right next to me and waited patiently for Randy to pour him another beer. His eyes wandered over to my direction and he nodded, “Hey, whats up?”

Did he have to yell? Well, at least it sounded like yelling. I slowly lifted my head from its comfortable position on the table and squinted at him. “Do I know you?”

“Uh, my name is Stan. Just saying hi.”

“Oh…hi.”

“Here’s your beer.” Randy placed the glass on the table, gave me a concerned look, and began pouring red wine for another customer.

The loud man took out some bills from his pocket and put it on the table. “Thanks man. Hey, uh, take it easy, okay?” He gave me a little wink.

That’s funny—a stranger worried about me . What does he care? I stretched so I could look at myself in the small mirror on the wall. Hmm, I guess I should be shocked, but I’m not. I was accustomed to the ratty dark hair that hadn’t been combed in days. My dark eyes were now sunken and rimmed with red lines. Haven’t been getting too much sleep I guess.

“Randy! Another one!” I yelled, holding my glass up expectantly.

Randy came over, looked at my haggard face and said, “I’m cutting you off, Joan.”

“No,” came my brilliant response.

Randy ran his fingers nervously through his dark blonde hair and said ,“Look Joan, you know how much I uh…usually enjoy your company. But you’ve been here everyday this week. Did something happen?”

Did something happen. What an understatement.

“I just want to escape,” I whispered, more to myself.

“Escape what?”

“Life. Screw life.” I drank the last of my vodka tonic and burped. At that moment a familiar song came on from the karaoke machine, and I looked at Randy with my eyes lit up like I had just found out that I was getting a puppy for Christmas. Yeah, like that would have ever happened. Better analogy—my eyes lit up like I just found more tequila in my sock drawer when I thought I was all out.

“I LOVE this song.”

“You love ‘Barracuda’?”

“Um, hell yeah. Who doesn’t?”

Without waiting for his response, I got up and walked towards the shy girl who was trying to impress her large group of friends with her off key singing. I should have known better than to come here on a Friday night. Should have gone to Kenny’s. I looked at all the different faces in the room—some I recognized, some I had never seen before. There were some attractive men on my right, standing and watching the game on TV, beers in hand. Some girls in skimpy outfits on the other side of the bar were smiling and flirting with the guys who were watching TV, who didn’t seem to notice them. Some were there for Karaoke night, and were visiting the bar for the first time. A girl who looked no more than 22 was on the small stage area, trying to sing the high notes of Barracuda. I cringed as the shy brunette was trying to hit the more difficult notes. I crossed my arms and started tapping my foot in frustration. This girl was a disgrace. Heart would be crying and cutting their ears off with knives, nay, plastic knives—it would hurt more. I had sung this song many times before, but mostly in front of Randy and the regulars, Ben, Steve, and Mike. They always clapped profusely in the end and without fail would tell me to “make a record.” It was a larger crew tonight. Too bad I am so drunk I could care less.

I walked up to the shy brunette who was smiling at some guy across the room and now seemed to be whispering the lyrics.

“Mind if I take over?” I stepped next to her on the stage and squinted a little at the small stage lights shining on me.

“Um, I guess.” The girl looked at her friends and gave them a “Omigosh I cannot believe she just did that” look and walked down the stage to the booth filled judging friends.

The second verse started and I began singing. For some reason, when I sing, I can cut the whole world out, and it is just me and my soul. When I opened my eyes, I could see that the crowd looked a lot different than before. All eyes were on me. Some looked at me in awe, and some were nodding along and smiling. They didn’t affect me. I kept singing with all I had, and I felt…alive. I opened my eyes briefly and found them immediately locked with another pair of dark brown eyes. I squinted to see him better, and when he looked at me, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t explain it. But he saw me. He saw right through me. He knew. He knew everything. And yet, oddly enough he didn’t have a look of disgust in his face. I couldn’t see his whole body—he was behind a small crowd of other men. But that gaze…that non-wavering gaze. The song had ended, and the roar of applause brought me back to reality.

“Woo! Thank you everyone. I love Heart. They are the greatest. OK, so bye.” I stumbled down the stage and two guys helped me up.

“Thanks guys.” I gave them a thumbs up and walked towards where I saw that strange man. He was no nowhere to be found. I walked up to the bar and waited until Randy saw me looking at him.

“I’m not giving you more Joan.”

“I know that. Did you see that one guy with the eyes?”

“Hm did I see a guy with eyes? Yeah I saw about 20 of them. Do you need me to call you a cab?” He reached for the phone.

“No no no.” I tried to rack my brain for words to describe him. There were no words. Just those eyes, those horrible, beautiful, soul-piercing eyes.

“He was..he had brown hair…I think. It was dark. And his eyes…were brown.”

“Did he have a nose too? I’m dialing.”

“No. I’ll walk home tonight.”

“You sure?” He asked. He knew I only lived a couple blocks away, but I’m sure he was surprised considering it was a chilly 40 degrees in Brooklyn.

“Yeah,” I smiled. “Thanks Randy. Thanks for caring.”

“You know I care about you Joan.”

Probably more than anyone else has..except maybe Grams.

“Joan? Joan!”

I cringed a little when I heard that voice. “Yeah?” I turned around and faced my boyfriend of 4 years.

“Hey Joan. I knew I would find you here. Come over and meet some of these guys I met.”

I had no desire to, but I followed Paul reluctantly to a group of guys who were sitting in a corner booth, with nothing but beers on the table.

“Guys, this is my girlfriend Joan. She might be interested in what you…are..uh..offering.”

I looked questioningly at Paul before sitting down. The man sitting before me had dark long hair, stubble growing on his round face, and black eyes. His eyes were familiar. Hungry, waiting, greedy, a mirror image of what mine have looked like the majority of my life.

“Look guys, I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I’ve had a lot to drink tonight, so, I think I will be peacing out.” I got up to move, but Paul stood in the way, so I sat back down.

He leaned over and and whispered, “You know how you’ve been looking for something really strong? For this week, because of..”

“Yeah I know,” I said, stopping him. I looked at the man in front of me. I didn’t like his knowing smile.

“What do you have?” I asked, curious.

“Exactly what you need. Paul here has been telling me a little about you, and from what I gather, you need this.” He looked around him to see if anyone was looking then slid a bag of leaves across the table to me.

“This here is what I like to call magic mint, one of the most powerful pyschoactive substances in the world. Once you smoke it, it takes effect almost immediately. It lasts for about 20 minutes or so. From what people have told me, it takes you back into childhood memories, give you insight. That is what you want right?”

I stared at him blankly.

“Best part?” He continued. “It’s legal, and not very expensive. What do you say?”

I pushed the bag of leaves away from me and stood up to face Paul. “This is the best you could do? Bring me a legal, cheap drug that only lasts 20 minutes? No thanks. Might as well take some acid.”

Drug man stood up as well. “It’s more safe than acid, and it can bring back specific memories from your past.”

Nothing could be strong enough to take me back to the past. Nothing could take away the memory of…

“Look, are you even interested? I got someone coming in 5 minutes..” he said.

“I’m out of here,” I pushed Paul away and headed toward the door.

He followed me out the bar onto the darkness of 3rd street. “I’m sorry babe, but we can’t really afford the good stuff, and this sounds like it will do the job. You sure you don’t want to try the Salvia?”

I stopped and turned to face him. “I’ve had them all, Paul. Yes, they take you into a whole other world, a world with technicolor and funny and intelligent creatures come up to you and tell you how awesome sharpies are. Yes, it’s amusing and distracting, but then you have to wake up, Paul.” My voice cracked and my eyes started to water.

“I don’t want to wake up.” I buried my wet face onto Paul’s chest. It smelled of cigarettes.

“Shh shh. I know. I know. Are you sure you don’t want to try this one though? It will make you feel better, at least for a little while.”

I looked up into his eyes and pulled myself away. “God, you really just don’t get it, do you?” I started walking away from him

“It’s been 18 years, Joan!”

I stopped in my tracks and slowly turned around. I looked at his confused, weary, lifeless eyes. He couldn’t keep up with me. I was unpredictable, moody, emotional. I almost pitied him. Well, I had to deal with his baggage too, and I was a hell of a lot more supportive than he was being right now.

“Good bye Paul.”

He jogged towards me. “You going home? I’ll walk you.”

“No thanks. I want to walk alone. Just need time to think.” I mustered a pathetic smile for him. “Thanks though.”

“Alright, well, call me later. I’ll probably be home in 20 minutes.”

“Sure.” I watched as he walked back to the bar.

Had it really been 18 years? I buttoned up my black petticoat and shivered at the crisp weather. My transparent breath engulfed my face with every step I took—just another painful reminder of my existence. With crossed arms to try and build up some warmth, I walked down 3rd street at a brisk walk. I ignored the guys who talked to me when I walked by and didn’t even look them in the eyes. They just looked and saw a female who they thought could serve as an entertainment tool for 5 minutes. I wouldn’t give them that satisfaction. As soon as I couldn’t see anyone in sight, I stopped. I looked up at the dark sky and only saw 3 stars. The fog was trying its hardest to cover them, but I could see the bright reflections shining through. Something about reflections made me think of the stranger. I couldn’t get his eyes out of my mind. Who was he? Had I seen him before? Did he know about me, my family? A family friend perhaps? Not like we had very many. I put my palm to my forehead—it was sweaty. I could feel the alcohol seeping through my blood and felt woozy. A familiar feeling that I would usually welcome, but now I wish I hadn’t had that last drink. I wanted to think about him… and those eyes. So kind, familiar, yet piercing. He made me long for something I couldn’t explain.

She’s walking down the street, and beings to sing “Bring me to Life”

 

How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul, my spirit sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

Wake me up

(Wake me up inside)
I can’t wake up
(Wake me up inside)
Save me
(Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up

(Bid my blood to run)
I can’t wake up
(Before I come undone)
Save me
(Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

Now that I know what I’m without

You can’t just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real
Bring me to life

Repeat Chorus

Frozen inside without your touch

Without your love, darling
Only you are the life among the dead

All this time, I can’t believe I couldn’t see
Kept in the dark but you were there in front of me
I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems
Got to open my eyes to everything

Without thought, without voice, without a soul
Don’t let me die here
There must be something more
Bring me to life

 

She is walking down 3rd street and sings while she walks by hookers, homeless men sitting on the floor, a man sitting drinking alcohol, etc. Some of the men also begin singing with her the chorus. They look to her and reach for her coat, but she pulls away from them, since she can’t help them. Towards the end of the song, she climbs up an old cathedral building that is closed and walks over towards the edge—wind is blowing in her hair. She stands on the edge and…

 

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