The joint was jumping. The music was thumping. Bodies crammed the dance floor, weaving and flowing like water around rocks down a rapid river. They writhed and wriggled, with nothing but heat shimmering between them. Arms pumped the air. Heads jerked. The hazy, dim, thickness of the atmosphere was repeatedly ruptured by laser blasts of red, blue, green, and white. Flick. Flick. Capturing brief images of the frenzy, one after another, like time-lapse photography.
Jane observed the images, from her corner table. She watched as a couple emerged from the pulsing throng on the dance floor and flung themselves onto their chairs beside her. Their sweat-glistened faces radiated energy as they shouted happily at one another. They grabbed bottles from the table, and downed the liquid, before diving back into the swirling sea.
The bubble of noise surrounded Jane, isolating her, and though she was in a room full of people, she felt completely alone. She looked at her watch and calculated how much time before she could go home and be truly alone. Alone, so she could peacefully curl up on her couch near a cosy, crackling fire and read a book. Alone, so she could be happy too.
By Vicki Arnott