Lara's three friends were waiting in a kilometric line to get into the Warehouse, the hottest place in town since it opened exactly 15 months ago. The idea was simple - and not without a minimum of symbolism, Matthew would say - since he had managed to bribe the place's security guard the week before to get in with Lara and two other friends for her 15th birthday party. Fifteen years, fifteen months... Get it? Yeah, well, Matthew was never very deep, but Lara never demanded that he be.
Her heart skipped a beat every time they got closer to the metal door: the entrance to paradise on earth according to the school folks. Only 255 people in total were allowed in there, 17 and older, so Lara and her friends hoped that the security guard would keep his word to let them in. When the six-foot-tall man passed them in line, counting the number of people, Lara wrung her hands and gave a tense look to her friends. As soon as he tapped her on the shoulder, warning her that she would be the last to enter that night, Lara couldn't hold back a jump of joy.
As the heavy metal door opened, the blaring sound of the electronic music, the hysterical screams of the inebriated youths, the psychedelic lights, and the colors, oh, those colors of paint splattered from the small sprinklers on the ceiling, painting everything around in neon, it was the perfect setting for her birthday night. Lara came screaming in with her friends, jumping on Edward's back, who almost fell over laughing with the extra weight. She thanked God that her parents had let her out.
As soon as they entered, the euphoric gush enveloped them like tentacles, and soon Lara and her friends were in the middle of the crowd jumping, screaming, laughing, hugging, kissing, while the music danced in their ears, drowning out other sounds, while the colors painted their hair, their clothes, their bodies.
On the stage set up was the band of the night, Under Spells or something, which Lara tried to see, but the paint dripping on her forehead began to make her eyes itch. She wiped her eyes with the blouse, but that only made it worse. Her lips also looked swollen.
She looked around and saw Matthew clinging to something. She pulled his arm, so that he could mumble something while Lara used her blouse to clean herself and prevented him from continuing the kiss with a multicolored girl, who soon lost interest, jumping to another group of people.
– What are you doing? That was my best chance of the night! – Matthew shouted in Lara's ear while scratching his eyes.
She shouted back over the music:
– My eyes won't stop burning and my skin! It's this paint, I think it's allergies.
But Matthew didn't answer, for as Lara explained, he started scratching himself all over, taking off his shirt. Other people around him were also scratching and trying to take off parts of their clothes.
The itching turned into burning. First uncomfortable, then stronger, and stronger, until Lara's body seemed to be on fire. And the screams, once of euphoria, became howls of pain.
Lara didn't know if her eyes were playing tricks on her, or if it was an allergy from the paint, but watching her body go up in flames didn't seem like a lie, or a dream. She screamed and tried to hold on to Matthew, but he pulled away from her, choking on his own agony as the paint kept falling.
People started running to the door, but it was locked. The music had now stopped. Symphony was only the screams and the colors.
In fear of being trampled, Lara ran close to the stage, crying in pain, in fear, trying to find Matthew, Edward and Leo in the crowd. She tried to put her hands over her eyes, but they seemed to be on fire.
– Tsc tsc tsc. Look at you... You came to me like that, on a platter? That's not funny.
Lara turned to the stage, where one of the women in the band pulled a dagger from her belt. Little did Lara know that this was the night of the witches' harvest.
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