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Out of the Shadows

Ashlee Bye was a Write-ability Fellow in 2015. She read this extract from ‘Out of the Shadows’ at the Write-ability Salon (Nothing About Us, Without Us) at The Wheeler Centre in December 2015.

The line for the bar was ridiculous, but unsurprising; it was a Saturday night and this was one of the go-to nightspots for Melbourne’s freshly legal drinkers and younger kids with good fake IDs.

The only reason Jordy had managed to get a gig tonight was because the DJ they’d had lined up had pulled out at the last minute. The posters in the stairwell leading up to the club were still advertising ‘DJ R-MAGDN’ and Sachi couldn’t help thinking this crowd had clearly dodged a bullet. There was no way a DJ with a ridiculous name like that could possibly be capable of playing good music.

Sachi’s small stature usually made her an expert at winding her way through the bar traffic, which was why she was often sent on drink runs. It was counter-intuitive, though; it might have been easier for her to sneak up to the front of the bar line, but it was also much more likely she’d be trampled by a group of footy players on her way back to her friends.

Reaching the bar, Sachi swept her eyes around and noticed the bar staff looked kind of…odd. True, it had been a while since she’d been to this place, but she couldn’t remember noticing anything weird about the staff before. Take the guy closest to her, currently drawing beers for a group of guys, for example: he was wearing a black t-shirt that read ‘That’s What Sidhe Said’ and was totally rocking a major Legolas vibe – pointy ears and all. A pretty Middle Eastern girl working the other end of the bar definitely had little horns peeking through her dark curls and wore a shirt that said ‘How D’you Like Your Djinn?’ And a guy loading a new case of alcopops into the fridge behind the bar not only had pointed ears but wings sticking out from the back of his ‘Wanna Puck?’ t-shirt.

Sachi decided it must be some sort of costume night; maybe they were promoting something? She tried not to giggle like a fangirl when Legolas’s look-a-like smiled at her and asked for her order, sternly reminding herself she wasn’t actually face to face with Orlando Bloom. She placed her order – three vodka lime and sodas – and absently cast her gaze around the club while waiting for her drinks. Her breath hitched as her eyes landed on a guy leaning back against the opposite wall, his pose one of casual boredom: his booted feet crossed at the ankles, hands hidden in the front pockets of black tactical pants, black sleeves rolled up to reveal strong, tanned forearms. And he was wearing a cape; or was it a cloak? Whatever it was, it was long and black and had a hood, which was only partially pulled up over a nest of messy dark hair. He had the kind of face Olivia would probably call ‘rugged’, though to Sachi he looked more like someone at the tail end of a week-long bender. Or like he’d recently crossed over to the dark side. Wayward pieces of his untamed hair fell haphazardly across a low brow and heavy lidded eyes; he had broad cheekbones and a nose that looked as though it had been broken at least twice. A long, thin scar ran down the left side of his face, cutting through a day’s worth of stubble. Another scar slashed through his right eyebrow, and yet another dissected the right side of a pair of firm lips, stretching from the upper edge of his mouth, down to meet his chin.

Even in the darkness of the club, Sachi could see his eyes were a luminous green, the colour of absinthe. And they were currently locked on her in a glare so cold it could freeze lava. She supposed he could have been going for some kind of sexy, smoldering look, but she didn’t think so. Those eyes were cutting into her like shards of broken glass, raising goosebumps along her skin. He reminded her of Anakin Skywalker, just after he killed all those Jedi kids. Sachi was sure she’d never seen this guy before, so what was with the evil eye?

About Ashlee Bye

Ashlee Bye was a Write-ability Fellow in 2015. She read this extract from ‘Out of the Shadows’ at the Write-ability Salon (Nothing About Us, Without Us) at The Wheeler Centre in December 2015.

This commission is supported by the City of Melbourne 2015 Arts Grants Program.

Write-ability is a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria.

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