When Lucy found Haven, she was absolutely rat-arsed. She’d been out all night, and then she and Michael had been fighting. Drunk, and dribbling kebab sauce down her front, she stumbled down a side street. She’d never seen that nightclub before, poking its dimly lit head out into the alleyway.
Standing at the thick iron door was an impossibly tall man. As she approached, he had only a few words for her.
“Not tonight, love,” he said.
She grunted and stumbled off in the direction of the taxi rank.
She went back the next week. Michael hadn’t spoken to her all week. She was out to have fun, and Haven looked like somewhere rich men hung out. All the better to make him jealous with.
There was a woman on the door that time. Lucy didn’t like the look she was giving her at all, but she had found it didn’t pay off to be uppity with the door staff.
“Hi,” said Lucy, and made motions to enter the club.
The woman on the door harrumphed, and lifted the velvet rope, allowing her in. Inside, Lucy felt like she had entered a time warp. Ornate pillars with shell motifs lined the almost-circular room, flanked by bronze Grecian statues and beautiful artwork on the walls. Almost every fabric was rich crushed velvet.
The patrons of the club all sat at little round tables, sipping from coupe glasses. The men were in tuxedos. The women wore dresses to their ankles, long gloves to their elbows and strings of pearls. She felt self-conscious in her knee length skirt and leather jacket. As she clicked her high heels across the floor, they all turned to look at her, licking their lips.
Surely I’m imaging that, she thought.
She went to the bar. Behind it was a woman, she too dressed in the elegant dresses like the others. Her hair was cropped to her ears and curled in finger waves fastened beneath a lace veil. Lucy didn’t think even her favourite period drama got the 1920s costumes so perfect.
“I’m Deandra…” said the woman behind the bar. “The manager. Would you like a drink?”
Lucy opened her mouth to order, but she shook her head, silencing her.
“I only serve champagne, whisky or the house cocktail,” said Deandra. “What will it be?”
Champagne was too expensive, thought Lucy. And she didn’t like whisky.
“The house cocktail,” said Lucy.
She wouldn’t be coming here again, she thought. Not if that was all she could drink.
Deandra shook the mixture in the silver shaker and then served it up through a small sieve, into a tall glass. It was bright red, like a bloody Mary. She slid it across the bar to Lucy, who recoiled from the metallic smell it emanated. Lucy slid it back.
“What is this place?” asked Lucy.
Deandra smiled, showing her teeth. They were straight and white, but her two incisors were impossibly long, curved and sharp.
“You’ve found Haven. Now, you can choose to stay here forever, or you can choose to never leave.”