AN: Here's one more chapter for all of you. Once again thank you for reading/favoriting/following my story. I realize the last few chapters have been short and unfortunately with the way the story's been written it's difficult to extend them with out changing the overall affect. I will try to make coming chapters a bit long though.
And an Entrance She Had
It was early May.
A cool spring night and the gentle breeze whistled through the rafters about Danny's head inside the dank, mildew infested, warehouse. The smell of salt and fish had long since been stained into the walls and onto the clothing of its workers. Danny himself wreaked of the sickly stench of rotting mackerel and the musty scent of mold.
Tonight was just another night. Albeit Danny's longest night. It was a quarter to eight, and in fifteen minutes the half-departed young man would begin his long walk home.
But for now, he had one more truck to relieve of its crates, the forklift was broken down again, and the dollies were all too small for half the boxes anyway.
Regardless of the inconveniences, Danny walked out to the loading bay to the remaining truck. With a grunt he threw himself against the largest of the crates in its trailer and shoved it towards the ramp.
After much fighting and struggling, and several alarming pops, as his joints protested again the strain, the truck driver mercifully got out to help him. The hulking man's bulk made the job significantly easier and the two of them finished quickly. If still well after eight. Danny fetched the paperwork for the driver to fill out and waited patiently as the man did so.
The driver was beady-eyed and large, and he'd been eying the boy for the vast majority of their time spent in company shifting crates.
"Aren't you a little young?" he remarked gruffly as he scribbled awkwardly on the clipboard, the sleek pen looking decidedly out of place in his massive sausage-like fingers.
"I'm nineteen." He replied simply, but he failed in keeping a defensive edge from his voice. The driver cast him a suspicious glance and gave an inscrutable grunt.
It was an inoffensive sound that could be taken any number of ways, and Danny chose not to take it at all. He stretched out a hand and waited expectantly for the paperwork.
The driver handed back the clipboard, and Danny walked away without another moment's thought.
The clipboard went to the office and he clocked out, the night shift guard clocked in at the same time and the two exchanged haunts as they passed. As always Danny brushed by without thought, without word, without any such courtesy as a nod of the head, or the simple contact of two eyes and two souls.
He allowed no acknowledgement of any of those whom he spent his solitary days with. Not only were most so far removed from his own situation, that association or mutual relation were virtually impossible, but...
Why build bridges you're destined to burn?
Why build bridges that will only allow the past to catch him all the sooner?
Danny stepped out into the clear, salty air, feeling the oppressive weight of the musty warehouse lift from his exhausted muscles, replaced with the guilty cloak of free air and breath that settled about his heart.
Expecting total darkness, as was customary on the poorly lit piers, moon or otherwise. He instead found the dock awash with light, all of which flooded from the silhouette of an opulent cruise ship decked in balloons and strung with lights.
a quarter to nine, the area of the docks around the ship's gangway was steadily filling up with chattering groups of young, elegantly dressed high school students. All of whom were awaiting the start of their senior prom.
The display mesmerized him instantly, and Danny found himself routed to the spot, unable to tear himself away, unable to turn his back and disappear into the night. He felt an old, familiar ache arise in his chest.
And then, he was walking.
He found himself moving without his control, held hostage by his own body as his legs operated on their own terms and they carried him towards the crowd of chattering students, melting in amongst them, but in horridly stark contrast. What with his distressed leather coat and jeans reeking of fish and the damp, he was a pauper in rags amongst nobles decked in their finest raiment.
Several of the teens gave him quizzical looks, unsure of his presence. Several parents gave him dirty looks, disgusted by his attire, sure that he was there party crashing, and technically he was.
But Danny just couldn't stay away.
Every student here was only a year older than he. That meant that exactly one year from now he would have been doing the exact same thing as every other teenager here.
He would have put on a stuffy black tuxedo, combed his unruly hair, and with shivering, sweaty palms, and nerves of shredded tissue paper, driven off to pick up his date for one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
Exactly one year from now all of his graduating class at Casper High would be doing the exact same thing...
Who would his date have been? The question skittered across the void of his mind and without hesitation he quashed it. Refused to answer himself.
Too much like ripping his heart out all over again.
Danny choked on the pain in his chest and the smiling faces came flashing across his mind in seizuric droves. The world spun as the smiles turned to horror, twisting and becoming corrupted masses of smoky flesh. His stomach churned and he felt sick. He turned, the motion sent the world reeling, and he stumbled, trying desperately to run away. He would do anything, anything to get away from those faces.
Voices bubbled up around him, most in concern, some in anger or disgust, all at once they pitched into alarm.
Danny only just stopped himself from being subsequently flattened by a terrifyingly pink limousine.
Danny recoiled as the limo came to sudden, tire-screeching halt just inches from his projected route of escape. The vehicular attempt on his life brought him into shocking clarity once more. He stepped back and felt himself shrink under the surprised and concerned gazes of the bystanders. Hands reached out to him, he flinched away like a wounded animal, nervous and distrustful. Blenching from their advances and casting a wild-eyed glaze over their would-be kindness.
But as with humans, those who are damaged are scarcely long in holding attentions. The welfare of another pales in comparison to potential entertainment, and it soon became evident that the limousine hadn't braked so spectacularly just to avoid Danny.
It owner had been planning an entrance, and an entrance she had.
The young woman stepped dramatically from the backseat of her carriage, displaying with pride her sparkling roseate dress, adorned with a white carnation at the bodice. Her smirk at the astonishment of her classmates was the tell-tale sign of her vengeful motive, not belied by the sweetness of her blond hair, secured by a glossy pink head-ban, her large endearing blue eyes, or the slightness of her build.
But after only a brief instant, the girl's sickly-sweet, yet intimidating appearance, soured.
"Where's my Robin?" she growled under her breath, her voice and lips laced with petulance and impatience, the crowd parts just enough to allow her a glimpse of the object of her search. She brightens immediately.
"Yoo-hoo! Robbie-poo! Your Kitten has arrived! Me-ow!" She calls out loudly with a brazen wink. Heads turn, Danny is instantly forgotten, and a void opens around a dark haired boy standing beside a red motorcycle and a stunning orange-skinned girl, whose vehement eyes flash with a poisonous green light.
But this dark-haired boy was unique.
He was, after all, the only person present who was wearing a mask.
And the only person who visibly wilted as the audacious girl caught sight of him and rushed to him with all subtleties forgotten. She seizes his arm in a vice-like grip and swoons terribly. Reflecting the style of an actor performing an elaborate farce.
"Oh, Robin! My date! Robin! Don't you look handsome!"
She hisses something in his ear to which he responds with a flat 'No'. She snarls a threat, and this time is rewarded with a begrudging compliment on the Boy Wonder's behalf.
"Nice dress, Kitten." He grinds out,
"Oh, Robin! You're such a gentleman!" She "Kitten" gushes once more, "Not at all like my worthless ex-boyfriend FANG!" her sweet mask twists and turns horrid for the briefest of instances, and brightening once more into a countenance of the purest honey. By this time all attention has been redirected to the obnoxious girl and her theatrical display.
All the while Danny is stuck to the concrete, wishing desperately that he could just let the Earth swallow him up as it had so many times before whenever he needed a quick getaway, but how could he have missed Robin. Of all people to show up at a senior prom, of all senior proms he could possibly have stumbled upon, it had to be Robin that showed up.
He needed to get away. Get away fast. Not only did he stick out like a neon sign, but to remain here any longer would be unbearable, the very air seemed thick and toxic. It was pressing in on him, the bodies were getting closer, the claustrophobia was building. He was swimming in his own nightmares, the ones where he tries to phase through a wall, but becomes trapped inside. Trapped, unable to scream, or cry for help, no one could hear him past his gag of concrete. No one can save him, no one can help him, and he suffocates, or he's crushed, or he's just left to spend all of eternity fused within a wall until they come to knock it down and shatter him with it. Shatter him into a fantastic explosion of dust and mortar, raining down on a burly assassin armed with a sledgehammer.
He starts getting light-headed, as if at any moment he was going to slip into some wild hallucination of his past.
Hadn't he already?
A girl was claiming her name was Kitten and was clearly using one boy to make her unsuspecting "ex-boyfriend" jealous.
The same as how Kitty tried to use him to make her Johnny 13 jealous…
That was enough. He had to get away, that was all he could take, no more reminders, not tonight, not with the tears coming.
Danny searched for the fastest way out; he tried to slip between the party-goers without drawing attention to himself, but it was impossible, the ships gangway was being lowered and the students were flowing as one great mass towards it, and he was being swept up helplessly like debris born away by the tide.
In frustration he shoved against the mass of bodies until he broke free, but only to put himself directly in the path of Kitten and her captive Robin. She barreled past him, bodily dragging Robin who was flung against Danny in her haste.
The two boys collided, Danny receiving a harsh elbow to the chest, causing him to let out a grunt of pain and to stumble backwards.
"Sorry…" Robin tried to say, but Danny was already bolting. He fled from the crowd without a backwards glance, leaving the Boy wonder to stare after him in shock…
He ran until his legs were burning.
He ran until his lungs were screaming.
He ran until his heart was breaking.
He ran until his soul was torn, and he could run no more.