Marlene had once dreamed she was Queen of the Stars.
Now she sits on her worn wooden barstool, recovering reverie torn asunder from tangled disturbance within. The music is fine but does not soothe her now and she orders another gin. Night is falling like blackening rainfall, the streetlamps shine their empty scene, she knows she can’t just sit here forever, and yet, her mood has fallen serene, so she sits and drinks and orders another to fall into wakening dream disturbed. And in this torment of blackening rainfall, she dreams as she had not so long ago, when once she had been that little girl.
Marlene of the Stars, Marlene of the Moon. Dreams of naïve abandon. On the streets where they’d trudged on a night such as this, hope cast from eyes left in sightless surrender, and the sneers cast their way, she would always remember, and shuddered inside at this darkening memory, and the laughter at those now abandoned. These had once been her friends yet now heartless and cruel, this had once been her city of breathless passion, now yellow-star surrogates, puppets to lend them sublime and superior, to provide rationale for their worship of godless subservient inverted cross. They jeered unaware that their souls were now dark and none felt ashamed of empathy lost.
These rustling memories, shuttered unnoticed by those sitting ’round her tonight in this bar are disturbed by a rustling of linen beside her, a touch on the sleeve, a whisper soft placed, Marlene looks up at her friend’s worried face although forcing a smile, the words flow in haste, they have gone to your house, and taken your mother, your sister has flown and is searching for you. Do not leave this bar, they search for you too, but the room in the back where we once changed our costumes and the small wooden closet where once we had hidden, go there, Marlene and I’ll return quickly, quietly, darling, don’t make a scene.
And in that moment, kissing her cheek, her friend disappears through the smoke and the laughter. So she orders another cup, and slowly, deliberately, smiles all around, makes her way to the back of the bar, to that dressing room where they’d once played. And almost goes into that little closet, but dark revelation stops her just short. Some intrepid warning, primal and mean flashes through the gin. She’ll be taken there, somehow she knows. And she knows now her mother and sister are lost, and she knows it’s payment for murder delivered as she flies from the bar melting silent in shadow.
Train whistles deepen the city tonight. A siren cries warning, uncomfortably near. Yet its normalcy does nought to shatter what passes for life in these streets near-abandoned in fear. Like the vain serenade of a lover’s lament or a grey, weathered wall pocked with holes and some blood, or a turn of a skirt or the way you once looked, fortune abandons all those within to fate unrepentant in lotten sin.
And the brief, fading moment when hummingbirds flitted on succulent flowers within garden walls is replaced with the tremor of oncoming thunder as Marlene walks silently on. To hide just tonight in the blackening rainfall, to see one more dawn wake this ruined city, to dream one more night as she once had so dreamed, of being the Queen of the Stars.