FEATURE: Check out this short fiction excerpt by AFROPUNK contributor, Valencia Davis, where a black girl gets into a knife fight with skinhead at Dropkick Murphys show

February 23, 2016

Photo: By T.H. Taylor

The concert hall floors were glossy and black, reflecting distorted images of every surface in the room. I walked through a pair of black doors and was suddenly bathed in a rainbow of lighting, the mood of reception of good music being set. I moved towards the stage and was swallowed by darkness, a mass of black clothing-clad bodies moving briskly to the jarring beat of the music. A visceral heat rolled off of the bodies, and all that encompassed mine responded, suddenly satisfied that I was in that very room at that very moment. The pungent smell of perspiring human flesh invaded my nostrils, tugging at a strong sense of familiarity. The sound of the music pulled me towards it and I obeyed, understanding what it was trying to say to me. Finally I was close enough to the stage and stopped walking, tapping my heel in time to the music.

“One Fine Destiny” (Excerpt) By Valencia Davis*, AFROPUNK contributor

The music rushed quick and ragged through the crowd streaming together in perfect arcs of harmonious sound. The resonance would have looked like multicolored fireworks bursting through the air, through chests, through bobbing heads, had my eyes the interpretation of swelling sound as bursting sight.

In that moment I felt my eyes light up. The commencement of the music made the mass of bodies jolt to life, suddenly beastly in the heat of their enthusiasm. They moved together in intimidating speed, circling like a human merry-go-round. Being frail and thin, I knew better than to throw my weight into the circle pit, but still my eyes would rotate between watching it and the stage. The energy in the room was building, and I felt it prickle across my skin, then work its way into me. Some part of me got lost in the pulse of the music and I pushed my way towards the front of the stage my body feeling fueled, animated by the intangible substance produced by the perfect blend of instruments. I reached the front of the crowd and glared at the musicians on the stage as they spoke a wordless language with their instruments that I was so incapable of reproducing. I pumped my fist in the air and sang along to lyrics that were so familiar to me, as their recordings had been played time and time again into my ears and my subconscious. The wave of bodies that I was now a part of moved in a liquid-like motion, a body or two being shoved violently every now and again. The shoving eventually made its way to me and I responded with a jolt of force through my arms I didn’t know I’d had. I looked to see the receiving end of my shove and caught sight of a frail man with a bare shiny white head, covered in tattoos, toppling nearly off his feet as the force of my strength pressed him into the human wave. He looked up to see where-from the force had come, and we met eyes. As his gaze met mine, his familiar eyes went from hot, to a flaming fury of hatred that I recognized from the day before. He was the white skinhead addict from the soup kitchen, and the last person I wanted to see here and now, or ever. Fear shot through me as we were in the perfect setting for him to act as hatefully and violently towards me as he saw fit, with possible supporters all around him. I took a moment to wonder why I’d decided it was a good idea to come to this show, as Dropkick Murphys proceeded to play the soundtrack to what would be a real-life fight scene. My reality warped. Nausea swept over me and within seconds his open fist made hard, thrusting contact with my face. A flash of white light sprayed across my vision, and the brute force of the physical manifestation of his empty hatred sent me bouncing off of loosely packed bodies. My arms flailed in a violently disoriented tumble, the exploding contact knocking me to the floor. Metallic, salty liquid filled my mouth and I spat blood onto the floor. A degree of fear I hadn’t felt since childhood, since I was deathly afraid of the dark, of monsters in my closet, of death itself, spread quick and hot through every inch of my body. I became aware that my life was in danger, and purged the fear out of me as instinct and self-defense.

The next 10 seconds of my life felt like a blur, as if every action that passed through my body was being lived by someone else completely. Moments being watched through foreign eyes set in my face, as if my body were numb, being carried to safety by some force, some entity stronger than I. I reached forward and slid my fingers down the side of my boot and pulled out a rainbow switchblade, pushing my thumb across its release button smoother and faster than I’d ever before. Its sharp edge sprung to life in my hand and I jolted to my feet with an urgency that made me feel made of electricity and brand new. For a split second, fear burst visibly like a hallow spark through the man’s eyes. Like a Time bandit, I stole away that split second and dove armed into its fleeting void. My arm slashed forward in a nearly invisible blur as I gave him half a joker’s smile, the red meat of his cheek giving a twitch, then splitting agape. My razor sharp salvation met his face halfway between his ear and his thin, discolored lips. Tiny trails of a crimson waterfall began to fall eagerly down his now disfigured face as it bubbled slowly out of the wound. His body buckled down towards the floor in a wave of pain I could almost feel, his blood trickling into pools then surrounded by prancing red foot prints within seconds. The lack of him at eye level gave way to dozens of crystal-colored eyes that were like magnets to my presence, my rich chocolaty skin, and the vibration of this building battle. I could feel the beat of their awareness pulsing through them like rhythmic blood through veins to a common heart. Fear-induced paralysis held me captive for a vulnerable split second while my mind raced towards the best means of survival. I bolted as quickly as my legs would carry me through the press of bodies towards the door. The dark-hued colors of the room were swimming unsteadily, and I could only think of getting out of there. I had to get the fuck out of there.

*Valencia Davis is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago for Fiction Writing and she has been published in numerous online publications for non fiction and creative non fiction for a little bit over five years.