Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keep Austin Weird, Part One

“Austin’s a pretty crazy town,” Nick slurred as he walked behind his friends, his wider gait allowing him to keep an even pace with them at a slower speed.
Amber, hiccupping, looked back and smiled. “Told you. It’s a great place to party, that’s for certain.”

Chris, his arm slung around Amber’s shoulder protectively, grunted in agreement. “I think we hit ever bar on 6th street tonight… I am so trashed!”
“Yeah, I know I’m gonna feel this in the morning,” Nick agreed, shaking his head to level his vision. “Thanks for walking me back to my motel.”
“Man, you don’t know this city at all. We weren’t gonna let you loose, drunk, on this town! You’d wind up arrested, or worse!” Amber said, leaning deeper into Chris’s embrace.
“Hey, this alley here will let out next to my motel I think…” Nick said as he stopped at the yawning entrance to a dirty alleyway. “In fact, I’m sure of it, I recognize the coffee shop over there from earlier today.”
Both Amber and Chris stopped, looking over their shoulders at the alley Nick was speaking of. Squinting their eyes, they looked at each other for a moment.
“Do you remember there being an alleyway here?” Amber asked, slurring slightly.
“No, never. And I work just down the street.” Chris said, nodding towards his office building.
“Let’s just cut across here instead of going all around, it’ll save us so much time,” Nick said, pointing down the alleyway.
“I don’t know dude, it’s pretty late. Alley’s aren’t known to be safe late at night.” Chris said.
Nick looked down the alley, noting only two dumpsters perhaps fifty feet apart, along with perhaps twelve backdoors into shops, small lights above each door illuminating that dank stretch of concrete. Puddles of viscous looking fluid dripped from the fire escapes above while flies buzzed around a tipped over bag of trash, some leftover Chinese food spilling out for the insects dining pleasure.
Nick turned back to Chris and Amber, blinking his eyes to keep them in focus. “Looks safe to me,” he said.
“Come on honey, let’s just lead him through and then we can head on home. I’m tired!” Amber whined, moving to pull Chris closer to the alleyway by one hand.
He relented and moved up next to his girlfriend, interlocking his fingers with hers as they stepped into the alleyway and off the main street, Nick shuffling in tow.
Walking past the first set of doors, Nick humming some tune aloud, Chris stopped as he heard what sounded like bricks sliding against each other. “Nick, shut up. Listen!”
They all stopped and listened, unsure as to where the noise was coming from and to what the noise could be. The grinding of concrete and brick filled the air, echoing down the dim alleyway and rattling through their addled minds. Turning, Chris just caught sight of the last brick sliding into place behind them, forming a wall from where they had just come.
“Hey. Hey!” He said, moving past Nick to pound his fist on the wall. “Who the hell is doing this? Knock it off!”
“How are they doing it?” Nick asked drunkenly. “We’ve only been in the alley for like half a minute.”
“I don’t know but-shit, it’s happening down there too!” Chris said, pushing past Nick as he ran towards the end of the alley, where bricks were sliding like water along one another, slowly filling in the empty space where the alley opened up onto the other street. He didn’t make it though, as he tripped over some trash, falling hard to the ground.
Nick and Amber were right there with him, helping him up. “No,” he said. “Get to the alley entrance and stop it from closing!”

But it was too late. Like the lid of a coffin sliding closed, the alley had sealed itself up, leaving them only to stand in abject terror at the idea, and in fear of what could come next.

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