Page 68… in a fiction series
It wasn’t the cab, it wasn’t the alcohol, and it wasn’t Miranda’s own desire that took her to Castle Rouge that dark night. A simultaneous race toward pain and pleasure, excitement and doom, was fueled by a condition far out of her control. A bipolar mixed state was cast upon her, leaving her helpless and in despair. Miranda was too detached from her world that night to fear its outcome.
Her shiny things no longer mattered, her diamonds nor her furs. All the money she spent with abandon over the past twenty years shattered like glass at her feet, her pretty black shoes now facing the end. With her head swimming in impulsive thoughts, now reaching deeper into the dark places, Miranda took her first look around Castle Rouge. It would be the most disturbing part of her journey.
Miranda turned toward the man seated beside her at the bar. He wore a black vest, no shirt, and leather motorcycle gloves. In a way he looked like Drew– or was it her troubled mind wishing he was there beside her, protecting her from what might happen. She looked at the man for a moment, but couldn’t be sure.
A cage door slammed shut, she heard a girl scream. Was it her own voice? Was she imprisoned? Some sort of trouble?
A man dressed like a pirate with a shiny steel hook walk past her, his date much younger and very pretty was his wench. Her feathered mask covered her the way her velvet bustier did not. It was Charlie Fine, the pirate who stole her away from Harry. But was it? His unmistakable red wirey hair was missing, and his eyes never met her own. Perhaps she was mistaken…
Miranda was seeing color where there was none. She looked past the horizon, through the faces and costumes of the crowd. A cold wind embraced her and swept her away, back to Tommy’s Gotcha, her favorite Traverse City bar. She was shocked to find that her old friends were really pirates, too… men to be shunned, evil dancing all around them.
Vince the cowboy was no cowboy at all. His loyal sidekick, Lester, mumbled in the dark beside him. Attorney Joe Ramano was carefully folding a black pirate flag, and Miranda’s nemesis, Neil Lipman, was passed out cold, a puddle of urine under his chair. The man in the navy blue blazer wore a patch on one eye. She saw a pile of gold doubloons– beautiful shiny coins– stacked in front of him. He studied her, said her name, and handed her something. Miranda felt a chill.
Another scream! She was afraid now. Was someone hurting her? Was that her own voice? She wondered, but couldn’t be sure.
Miranda knew that hallucinations and delusions sometimes accompanied a bipolar mixed state. But she was certain she wasn’t that far gone. Part of her knew that this decadent place called Castle Rough was wrong for her, but a perpetual euphoria told her to remain.
“There is no escaping, Miranda… stay here… join in the fun.” The Castle whispered her name in a voice that was deep and foreboding. A strong, stone arm reached out, pulling her close. ”What are you drinking? Can I get you another? This is the right place for you, Miranda… come to the party and play with me.”
The voice calmed the mania raging inside her. Prehaps he was just another pirate… or maybe Castle Rouge was calling her, eager to show her the way . The man in the long black cloak nodded in agreement. So Miranda stayed, her pretty dress transformed into soft black leather. If felt good against her skin. She had joined the costume ball.
The girl in the cage reached out and touched her, a soft hand beckoning Miranda to open the door. Another hallucination? A girl who needed help? She looked for the man in the leather vest, the one who reminded her of Drew. Without his strength and wisdom to guide her, Miranda wondered closer. Maybe the girl locked inside was really her.
To be continued…
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.