The Rave Thing
by Margret A. Treiber
“I don’t like this,” Ana said. “I’ve never been to this neighborhood before. It’s creepy.”
Joe nodded. “If we don’t find the place soon, we’ll head home.” Joe trusted his wife’s intuition and physical prowess more than his own. He may have appeared large and menacing but he had an accounting degree in contrast to her decades of field training.
“Isn’t this supposed to be a singles thing anyway? We’re not exactly singles. We have a house and a dog. We’re practically respectable.”
Joe grinned and took Ana’s hand. “True. But you wanted some excitement. You were tired of sitting in front of the television eating junk food. We’ll pretend for tonight. You can be the innocent young lady, and I can be the hipster with a hard-on.”
“It seems sketchy,” Ana said.
“Jane said the people who were throwing it were extremely careful who they invited. She promised it would be a blast, and completely safe.”
Ana rolled her eyes. “Because Jane is a shining example of wholesome living. Didn’t she sleep with an entire baseball team once?”
“It was a basketball team,” Joe replied. “And they didn’t sleep.”
This time Ana grinned. “True. So why are we trusting her again?”
“Well, the pitch-black dinner she took us to was cool.”
“Yeah, but I also remember the cocaine orgy.”
“That,” Joe laughed. “That was special.”
“It was disgusting. Why would she think we would be into that?”
“She didn’t,” Joe stated. “It was one of her jokes.”
“You mean like when she convinced Pedro to buy fifty pounds of nutmeg to get high.”
“Something like that. She thinks we need to expand our horizons. She says we’re in a rut.”
Ana frowned. “It’s not her place to turn us into swingers.”
Joe laughed again.
“Just you, swingers.” Joe fought to conceal his grin, but could not. “Never mind.”
Ana shook her head. “Look.” She motioned to a building ahead of them with a square neon sign that said nothing. “Is that it?”
Joe squinted. “Could be. She said nondescript neon sign. The sign is definitely nondescript.”
The two approached the building, and were greeted by the sound of heavy bass.
“Yeah.” Ana nodded. “This is it.”
The pair stepped forward, and were confronted by a set of bouncers.
“Can I help you?” one asked.
“Yes,” Joe answered. “We’re here for the party.”
“Do you have the invitation?” the bouncer asked.
“No,” Joe replied. “Our friend Jane said we should ask for Billy.”
The bouncer looked at the other one. “We’re not supposed to let them in without an invite.”
“Yeah, but they have the password,” the other bouncer replied. “It should be okay.”
The first bouncer nodded. “Billy is inside. Please proceed through the weapons detector.” Both bouncers stepped aside, and allowed them entrance.
Joe and Ana stepped inside, and Ana immediately shivered. “Did you feel that?” she asked.
“What?” Joe asked.
“Nothing. I just felt a weird tingle from the metal detector.”
“He said weapons detector. Maybe it has a field of some kind that you felt.”
“Probably. You never know what tech these rave people have.”
The club was ornate for a spontaneous rave event. The ceiling was domed, and the walls were covered in expensive looking tapestries. The floors were a buffed metallic bronze. The lighting was unusually dim. The music blared loudly but not uncomfortably. People danced on the floor very intimately. Some danced in pairs, in threes or in large groups. All movements were something just shy of outright sexual acts.
“Well, that’s special,” Ana balked.
Joe laughed. “It is a singles event, and Jane suggested it.”
“Yeah but they’re practically screwing on the dance floor.”
“Come on,” Joe said. “Let’s get a drink.”
Ana reluctantly followed Joe to the bar. Joe ordered a beer for himself and a ginger ale for Ana.
Ana took a small sip, and grimaced. “This tastes wrong,” she said.
Joe took the drink, and smelled it. “That’s because it has booze in it. Let me take it back.”
“No,” Ana replied. “Never mind. They probably think they were doing you a favor. Bunch of date rape jerks in here, I’m sure. Maybe we should find Jane.”
Joe shook his head. “Maybe we should simply dance.”
“Okay, big guy,” Ana agreed. “Show me your sexiest moves.”
Joe smirked and gyrated his hips. Ana laughed and wiggled her butt in response.
They danced for a while until Ana stopped suddenly. “Is it me,” she asked, “Or is this the same song that’s been playing for an hour?”
Joe didn’t answer immediately. He seemed to have been swept away, absorbed into the beat. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. “Yes, I think you’re right. It’s very seductive though.”
“Not as seductive as you.” Ana leaned up, and kissed Joe.
Joe returned her kiss, and soon they were swept away again, moving to the music and completely engrossed into each other.
“Oh baby,” Ana sighed. “I want you.”
Joe kissed her with increased intensity, clutching her body as close to his as possible. He moaned, and kissed her neck.
Ana gasped, and then pulled away. “What are we doing?” she panted.
“Making out,” Joe replied.
“Yeah, but …” Ana bit her lip. “I’m on fire. I mean, it’s not like you don’t do it for me normally but this feels artificial.”
Joe sniffed at the air. “Do you smell that?”
Ana took a whiff. “Smells sweet.”
“Could it be pheromones?”
“That’s a jump. Can they even do that? I didn’t think it was possible. Maybe it’s just all the people, you know, being sexy.”
Ana glanced around. All about them people were engaged in assorted sexual activities. “Big guy,” she whispered. “I think we should go.”
Joe followed his wife’s gaze. “Yeah, something doesn’t look right.” He wasn’t sure if it was the lighting or the intoxicating air but many of the interactions seemed off. People were bent in unnatural positions, positions human beings would not, could not, naturally be contorted into. On closer inspection, the pair realized not all of the people appeared entirely human.
Ana and Joe looked at each other, and then headed to the door. Joe clutched Ana’s hand as they dodged bodies quivering on the floor. The music continued to pulsate harder. They could feel the throbbing through their bones.
Joe reached for the handle but the door was locked. He tried to kick it open. It barely responded. He tried ramming it with his body, and only managed to bruise his shoulder.
Ana looked around but she could see no other exit.
“Looks like this is the only door,” she said.
“Can you shoot the lock?” Joe asked.
“That only works in movies,” Ana replied. “Let me look at the lock mechanism.” She checked the lock. It looked standard enough. She pulled out a set of lock picks, and tried to jimmy it open.
“Why?” Joe asked. “Why would you go to a club with lock picks?”
“You’re asking me this now?”
“Well … um, okay but still.”
Ana shook her head, and continued to work on the lock. Eventually, it relented and the door swung open.
Joe’s jaw dropped as he gazed out at the sight of planet Earth floating peacefully in front of them.
“Is that … ?” Ana gasped.
“Yeah,” Joe answered. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Oh, my god!” Ana’s face went pale. “This … this is a big problem. I don’t think this is just a special effect.”
“Where are we? How can we be in … in orbit?”
“And how do we get back to the car?”
Joe glared at Ana. “Maybe we parachute down to it.”
“You’re not helping.”
“Neither are you.”
“Why aren’t we being sucked out by the rush of decompression?” Ana threw a jab at the open doorway. Joe reached to stop her but he wasn’t quick enough. Her fist met some resistance.
Joe let out a sigh of relief when containment wasn’t breached. “Force field?”
“We need to find another way out. There has to be something hidden around here.” Joe looked around, frustrated he could find no other obvious exits.
They circled the outer perimeter of the club, looking for any sign of escape. After three loops, they knew they had to find another strategy.
“Maybe on the floor,” Joe suggested. “There could be a trap door or something.”
“Or maybe …” Ana looked up. “There.” She pointed to a hatch in the ceiling. It had a ladder leading to it which was covered by a tapestry.
“You think we can climb that?” Joe asked.
“This is exactly why I never wear heels.”
Joe shook his head.
They moved the tapestry aside. There, without doubt, was the ladder to the hatch. Ana started climbing first. Joe followed closely. The beginning of the ascent was easy but as they reached the domed ceiling, it became harder to maintain a grip.
“Are you okay?” Joe inquired.
“Yeah,” Ana replied. “I just hope we can get the hatch open from this position.”
Ana reached the hatch door, and latched one arm onto the ladder. She reached for the hatch but it had no handle. Only a single, blinking light. “Dammit!” she cursed.
“What is it, sweetheart?” Joe asked.
“Look.” She waved her hand in front of the door. “There’s no handle.” Just as her hand waved in front of the light, there was a hissing sound, and the door slid open.
“Cool,” Joe said.
Ana pulled herself up through the hatch, and helped Joe climb through. They caught their breath and looked around.
It was just like the last room—music, lights, people having sex. Except the music was strange. The lighting was weird. And this room had no human beings in it at all. It was filled with horny aliens. Joe and Ana stepped around the copulating mass, trying to avoid any contact with any of the participants.
“Ew,” Ana said as she slipped on an unidentifiable fluid on the floor. “Is that a squiggly thing doing it with a blob thing?”
Joe shielded his eyes with his hand. “I can’t un-see that.”
“What is this place?” Ana whimpered. “Why would Jane come here?”
“It’s a flying orgy,” Joe replied. “Why wouldn’t she?”
“I’m going to kick her ass when I see her next,” Ana growled.
“If you see her next,” Joe responded.
“I’m about to go back down there, and kick off on her,” Ana stated. “There, an exit.”
Joe looked in the direction that Ana pointed. There was a set of stairs leading to a metal door. They made their way to it, and it opened without any problems.
This time, Joe stepped through first. He looked around. It looked like a lounge area. The air was fresh and cool. Ana followed, and also examined the surroundings.
“It’s so white,” she said. “Clean.”
Joe nodded. He stepped to a window where a view of the orbiting Earth was again visible.
“Well, at least we know we’re not hallucinating,” Ana stated.
They continued forward, searching for any sign of a way back. Suddenly, Ana started to cry. Joe pulled her close.
“What is it?” he asked as he stroked her hair.
“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “I feel so …” She pulled away from Joe’s embrace, and wiped her eyes. “Maybe there was something in the air. It’s like I’m coming down from a high.”
Joe nodded. “I feel it, too. It doesn’t help that we’re trapped in a spaceship. Unless it’s all a hallucination.”
“Both of us?”
“Are we both here or just one of us?” Joe’s gaze fixated on the window.
“It’s too much,” Ana stated. “We can’t focus on that. We don’t have time to freak out. We have to keep moving. Try to get home. Otherwise, we are hosed.”
Joe took Ana’s hand again, and moved out through a door from the lounge. They found themselves standing in a long, sterile, metallic hallway. A non-human person was walking down the hallway with a tablet of some kind. It was human-shaped but its skin was scaly, and it walked with a gait unlike any person on Earth. It stopped in front of Joe, and began speaking in an unrecognizable language. Joe stared back at it blankly. The person pushed a button on its right forearm, and the hallway filled with flashing red and blue lights accompanied by an alarm sound. Before they could make a break for it, Joe and Ana were surrounded by armed creatures.
Joe instinctively pulled Ana close but she stepped out in front of him. The beings shouted and pointed until one stepped forward, and spoke calmly.
“Are you from the Earth party?” it asked. “Why did you leave the floor?”
“Party?” Joe asked. “You mean the weird, space sex thing?”
“Yes,” the being replied. “Why are you on this level?”
Ana answered. “We were trying to get to the car but ended up here.”
“But why were you leaving? Were you dissatisfied with the accommodations? You agreed to the terms of employment. The parameters were detailed in the brochure?”
“Brochure?” Joe was clearly lost.
“Yes,” the being answered dryly. “The invitation you provided the guards at the entrance. The one promising unending pleasure in exchange for your services. You agreed to the contract by entering this establishment.”
“We never got a brochure,” Ana replied. “Our friend told us to meet her at this rave thing, so we were meeting her. She must have come in before us because we were late. We had to walk the dog. Joe forgot to do it before I got home.”
“You’re pair-bonded?” it asked.
Joe nodded. “We’re married.”
The being turned to the others, and barked out what sounded like orders. The others began scrambling to accommodate whatever it was they were supposed to be doing. Two of the creatures approached Ana and Joe, and tried to grab them. Ana kicked one of them in the face, and grabbed its weapon. Blue fluid spurted out from its nose. Joe stood behind Ana.
The being screeched, and pointed at Ana. The rest of the creatures backed away.
She aimed the weapon at the densest grouping of beings. “I’ll kill you all if you try to touch us.”
“Alright,” the non-human spoke again. “We will send you back. You were never supposed to be hired for this cruise line.”
“Hired?” Joe and Ana asked in unison.
“Yes. All hosts are supposed to be screened for health, availability, and temperament. You are obviously unavailable, and distinctly lack the temperament. Glale will get you back to your point of entry. Fortunately, we have not left orbit yet.”
“How do I know you won’t just kill us?” Ana asked.
“Unlike you, we loathe violence. It would be distasteful to kill you. It’s a shame. You would have both made fine employees. You do have a certain appeal.”
“And you’ll have my foot up your ass if you harm my husband.”
The being stepped back, bowing submissively. “Please, do not discuss this unfortunate incident with others. We have a reputation to uphold.”
Ana opened her mouth to speak but Joe cut her off. “You have our promise,” he replied. “Nobody would believe it anyway.”
“Yes,” the being agreed. “Our reputation is spotless. It is unlikely anyone would believe we would make such a grievous error, and recruit such a violent creature. We will have to speak to our security personnel to avoid any future oversights. This is what happens when you sub-contract.”
Glale arrived, and motioned for the couple to follow. They made their way through several corridors before arriving in a room with a portal. Glale pointed to the portal. They could see the street outside the club on the other side.
Joe took a deep breath. “You okay with this?” he asked Ana. “What does your gut say?”
“My gut is not saying anything but to smack everyone here.” She paused, and took a breath. “But what’s the sense in killing us? It seems pointless.”
“Okay.” Joe took Ana’s hand, and they stepped through.
They both felt the tingle Ana noticed upon entering the club. This time, however, it was accompanied by a flashing, like flashbulbs going off all around them. There was no ground but an undulating energy field that bounced them around like a trampoline in a hurricane. Joe vomited, puke spraying in every direction. Ana’s head pounded. After what felt like hours, the two stepped out onto firm ground.
They were standing outside of the club.
It was still dark but now the club was empty. The bouncers were gone. The only sounds were from the traffic in the distance.
“We’re not dead,” Ana stated. She wiped Joe’s barf from her face.
“No,” Joe agreed. “We are not.”
“Do you remember where we parked?”
“On 3rd, a few blocks down.”
“Let’s go home,” Ana said.
“Agreed,” Joe said. They began walking to the car.
“We never speak about this,” Ana stated. “Except.” She grinned.
“Jane is a space hooker.”
Joe laughed. “Yes, I suppose she is.”
The two found their car and returned home, where they fed the dog and nuked some pizza pockets.
Margret Treiber is a writer and an editor for the speculative fiction humor magazine, Sci-Fi Lampoon. When she is not writing or working at her day job with technology, she helps her birds break things for her spouse to fix.
Her fiction has appeared in a number of publications. Links to her short stories, novels, and upcoming work can be found on her website at http://www.the-margret.com.
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