PARTY ANIMAL

The music is loud, beating, a trance. The lights are flashing over the dance floor, red, blue, and green. Bodies are moving, convulsing; voices are mingling. The bar is cold with white light, glasses clinking over the counter, alcohol spilling.

At first she isn't sure she recognizes him, half of her body dancing and the other half swaying, one arm held out, drink in hand, the other wrapped loosely around the waist of a friend. She squints, trying to focus—yes, it is him. He's standing across the room, not quite hidden by the crowd, hands in his pockets, eyeing the scene lazily. His suit is cheap and a little tacky, his hair slicked back. His eyes are faded, handsome, calculating.

She leans over, her words slurring. "Hey! Isn't that Alan Wake?"

Her friend frowns, music drowning them. "What?"

"Alan Wake! The writer!"

"Where?"

She points.

"See him?"

"Yeah—yeah, I think so!"

"I'm going to go talk to him!"

Her friend rolls her eyes. "Leave the guy alone. Besides, isn't he married?"

"So? I just want to talk."

"Whatever. Do what you want."

She does, breaking away, downing the rest of her drink in a single gulp. She's stumbling over herself, a mess of short blue dress and too-high heels. Finally she reaches him. "Excuse me! Are you Alan Wake?"

He looks at her, cool and calm, a smile playing on his lips. "That's me."

She laughs. "Oh my God! I'm such a huge fan! I love Alex Casey!"

He nods, chuckles. Who doesn't? He jerks his head to the dance floor.

"You alone?"

She thinks for a second, lights dimly flickering on, realizing the implication. "Yeah," she says, stifling a snort, her cheeks flushing bright red.

He smiles again, shows his teeth. "This place is putting me to sleep. Any suggestions? I'm not from around here."

This time she snorts. It's unbelievable. "I know a place." She takes his hand, leads him out. The night air is cold, the city in a rush, a blur of lights and sounds, full of laughing and honking and sirens.

She trips up the hotel stairs. He follows. The room they walk into is sparse, plain, white walls and white bed, one wall a window overlooking the city. She practically falls over inside, dress straps sliding off, hair in a frenzy. "I've never done it with a writer before," she says, sitting on the corner of the bed, the tequila talking.

"First time for everything," he says. He smirks, his jacket slipping off.

It's hot. She rubs her eyes, looks at his left hand. "So you're not married."

He cocks his head, lifts his hand up, smiles at the absence of a wedding ring. "Funny how that works," he chuckles. "He is. I'm not."

She doesn't understand. "What?"

He furls up his sleeves, cracks his fingers. "That's going to change real soon, though. I can't wait to see his face. It's going to be beautiful." He sits down beside her, laughing, nodding to himself. "Oh, yeah. Beautiful. I still can't decide if I should gut her in front of him or not."

Too many of his words are muddled; too much of her hearing is dim. Then she sees the switchblade flying between his hands, glistening with each pass. "It's an art," he laughs, sliding an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. "And I've got to practice."

The blade goes still. She stares at it, pinned against him, heart beating, pulse pounding. Meanwhile, another laugh from him. Another glint of his teeth. His eyes are black, dark. "Come on, baby," he says, raising the knife, "did you really think he could look this good?"

(DISCLAIMER: Alan Wake and all related material are the property of their respective copyright holders. No profit is made off this work.)