“Oh God, I was hearin’ da rumors, but I didn’t believe he’d actually do it. As if our town wasn’t a big miserable wasteland of violence, misery and murder already, now he’s actually welcomin’ their kind into it as well.”
Frisk paused, her hairbrush in mid-stroke, as she heard the piano man grumble crudely under his breath. She hadn’t sang in this club before and truth be told, it didn’t have a great dressing room for performers to get “all dolled up” as many owners put it, so Frisk took it upon herself to dress up in the ladies’ bathroom.
After putting on her shimmery low-cut baby-blue dress and applying all that heavy makeup to her face, she exited the bathroom, leaving her aftershow clothes in one of the broken stalls and began brushing her hair on stage. It didn’t take much to style it, which was one of the main reason why Frisk had cut it short into a bob hairstyle. One less stupid thing she had to worry about before she got on stage. Just brush it till it looks neat, put a flower in it and the crowds still think you look like a “million bucks.”
Not that Frisk cared too much about what her “fans” thought of her. All she wanted to do was sing, get paid and go home before she saw another fight break out between the members of her audience.
Gang members erupting into violent and bloody fights in the middle of her songs were becoming more and more common over the last few months. And what were these fights over? Anything really. Gang members entering other gang territory, drug deals gone bad, gun deals wrong horribly bad. It didn’t matter. The result was always the same: somebody would be leaving in a body bag.
Frisk hadn’t gotten used to it, but she had definitely become quicker with dodging flying bullets and pieces of furniture that came her way.
She tried to deny it when she was younger, but now it was obvious. Her once pretty city was quickly sinking into corruption thanks largely to the mob groups that were overtaking large areas of her city. The dons and high-class mobsters ran everything from the small mom and pop stores to the police force. Even the city’s officials were nothing more than corrupt individuals in nice suits with clean smiles. The good decent poor folks suffered the most, having to pay out “protection fees” but there were always ways to make money.
Everybody had a price. Everybody could endure or change themselves for money. Frisk knew. To her despair, she watched a number of her long-time friends get lost in the world of easy money and quick deaths. She had been to more funerals than birthdays parties this year alone. She could never blame them though.
The world was going through a depression after all. And Frisk herself was not exactly a wealthy professional singer. Right now her gigs were seedy clubs with even seedier owners, whose businesses reeked of cigar smoke and strong booze and no matter how many times Frisk showered the smell seemed to linger.
And her nightly audiences were the lowest class of criminals. Not that Frisk judged on them on poverty levels. In fact, most of the best people she knew were struggling to get by. But when it all came down to the wire a rich mobster was just as bad as his poor lackey. Both types murder for money and power and both types will harm the innocent to get what they want.
Frisk really needed to get out. She just hadn’t saved enough money yet. She may have been a popular singer in these types of bars, but the pay wasn’t great. She made just enough to pay for her crappy apartment, her bills and the protection fee her local police force demanded of its residents.
The piano man saw her baffled look and pulled back the curtain even further so she could get a good look at her audience for the night.
She squinted through the cigarette smoke that lightly covered the many faces of her audience and tried to see what he was moaning about.
“Look at the last table in the back. You’ll see what I’m talking about, toots.”
Frisk did and gasped aloud. The piano man chuckled, letting her know she was indeed seeing what she was thought she was seeing.
Seeing Don Dee was a shock in itself. Even small fish like Frisk knew who he was just by looking at him. A top dog, a big shot, a huge fish...and the fact that he was sitting in this piece of shit of a bar was astounding in itself. The man was known for class and expensive taste. The suit he was wearing outshined all the cheap ones that almost all the other club patrons were wearing.
But the don being here wasn’t the most shocking part. The most shocking part was his companion. The gentleman sitting beside the Don was...not from the city to say the least. And if he had entered the club by himself, he would have been killed instantly. But sitting with the Don made him untouchable. In fact, most patrons were going out of their way not to stare at him.
“Say, is he-” Frisk began, but stopped when the musician laughed again.
“Yep. The Don himself is invitin’ monsters in the operation now. Can you believe that, toots? Disgustin’ monsters. Pfft...he’s makin’ a mistake is what he’s doin’. Gonna lose all that respect. Monsters..Now this town really has sank as low as it can go.”
Frisk frowned at his choice of words, and the effect they had on her, but continued to stare, even though she felt a little bad doing it. She knew that people who differed from her own race and in this case species shouldn’t be stared at like they were some kind of spectacle, but Frisk really couldn’t help herself.
Sure she heard all about the monsters that lived in the neighboring cities miles away from her own, and sure she knew they looked different from humans and their customs and politics were worlds apart from human, but to actually see one was...well it was something that deserved a second glance.
He was a massive monster. He was taller than any human Frisk had ever seen and he was wide too. Not fat, but there was no denying how incredibly powerful he looked. He made the Don’s bodyguards look like little boys.
And his suit was even more impressive than the Don’s if that were possible. His jacket, fedora hat and trousers were black, while his waist coat was an eye-catching red. Frisk wasn’t too fond of that color, but she had to admit the monster had style. A fat cigar was in his teeth and the smoke coming from it was strange. It wasn’t gray smoke. It was red smoke and curled in unusual designs before it disappeared.
But his size and clothing were nothing compared to what he actually looked like. He had a huge smile on his face and despite the dimmed lights, Frisk saw a glimmering gold tooth flashing in his mouth every time the skeleton turned his head.
“Damn freak,” the piano man muttered and lowered the curtain.
Before the cheap bright red curtain could blocked her view, Frisk felt her heart jump in her throat. At the last second the skeleton turned his head to look directly at her. The flickering red lights in his wide sockets that made up his eyes met hers.
He took the cigar out of his mouth with two of his large bony fingers and winked at her. Frisk quickly turned away, grateful that the curtain was now blocking his view of her. That look...Frisk didn’t understand why his friendly little gesture sent a cold chill down her spine, but she quickly dismissed it.
It doesn’t matter, she thought to herself. I’m not gonna talk to him if I can help it so that’s that.
The piano man sat down at his piano, cracking his fingers and looking at Frisk. She hated the way his eyes wandered from her face and rested on her breasts. She glared at him, covering her chest with her arms. The man just shrugged coolly, completely unbothered.
“Hey, I ain’t touching ‘em toots. No law against lookin’.”
She needed to get out of this city. Go somewhere nicer where smoke from cigarettes and guns didn’t greet her every second of everyday. Where people actually cared if another person was killed. Maybe when she had enough saved up she could move to the country. Maybe live in a pretty cottage and start a garden. She couldn’t remember the last time she saw a flower growing outside.
She smiled faintly. Her mother always talked about starting a garden when Frisk was really little and-
“But going back to our conversation, the Don really is makin’ a mistake. As soon as we let one monster in, more are gonna come. Just you wait. I’m mean look at what happened when we started lettin’ the darkies in-”
Frisk felt a shot of anger bloom in her chest.
“Why don’t you keep those disgusting thoughts to yourself and get ready for the show? Since the Don is here we can’t afford you screwing things up. Word around the grapevine is that you aren’t the cream of the crop when it comes to playing that thing.”
It was a lie of course. Frisk knew nothing about this man, but that didn’t stop her from feeling a sort of smug satisfaction enter her as the piano man’s face changed from cocky and arrogant to enraged and disgusted.
“Goddamn, bleedin’ heart whore,” he muttered loud enough for her to hear, but low enough so nobody else could here. “You and your type are the reason why there are so much problems in this world. You treat the inferior a certain way and suddenly they start demandin’ to be treated that way by everybody…”
Frisk smiled and continued brushing her hair, humming the songs she was going to sing for the audience tonight. It was always nice to be told that. Whenever somebody told her that or something similar to that, Frisk couldn’t help but feel like she was more than just some seedy bar singer who sang for murderers and criminals.
The piano man and her didn’t speak again and Frisk continued to brush her hair until the audience started to quiet down.
Showtime , Frisk thought grimly, no longer excited about being on stage.
The curtain parted and the horrible spotlight that hit her was nearly blinding, but before she could adjust to it, the piano started playing.
She sang the first song with ease and much to her disappointment the piano man didn’t make one mistake. Guy knew his instrument. Too bad he was a racist prick.
For the most part, Frisk loved musicians. All that passion being played through their fingers or mouths and whenever she spoke them they always wanted to be something more than what they were. Just like her, they dreamt of getting out of the city and being somewhere safe and pretty.
At one point when Frisk was younger and still wanted to make singing her life’s career she would dream of marrying a gentle musician. The two of them would become famous and sing at only the best clubs and have children who loved music and would sing and play too and-
Frisk never would have thought in a million years that she would grow to hate the talent she once cherished. The spotlight was always too bright, the places always reeked of blood and booze and the applause was laced with lewd comments about her body.
She was too weak for this city. She knew, but thankfully none of these cruel people knew it. Her dad once told her that if you show any weakness to people like mobsters and criminals they would eat you alive. She had no doubt he had been correct.
After her first song ended, the applause was loud and hard. Frisk forced a smile on her face and blew a kiss into the crowd.
Now adjusted to the blinding light she looked at her audience. Gray smoke blurred their faces but almost instantly her eyes were drawn to the skeleton’s red smoke. She looked at him and the look he was giving back to her nearly took her breath away. It was so intense. So...extreme and he never looked down or away from her.
Even when the Don was talking to him quietly about whatever crime-ridden business they had together, the skeleton would respond but never break his gaze away.
Frisk swallowed before she spoke.
“Such a lovely crowd here tonight and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Mr. Dee for honoring me with his presence and tolerating my cat-screeching I like to call singing.”
A rough round of laughter and applause reached Frisk’s ears. The old Don waved to the crowds and then offered her a wave as well. Forcing back the vomit and physically battling with herself to keep her smile on her face, Frisk blew a kiss directly at the old man who had killed so many people whether they were guilty or innocent. Whether they were a part of his gang or an innocent bystander.
I really need to get out of this town, Frisk thought as she began her next song.
She almost messed up a few of her notes. That skeleton’s red eyes had gone black as soon as she blew that kiss to the Don and she was having trouble focusing.
Frisk scurried off stage after she finished her songs, pausing only briefly to wave at the handsome jazz band that was scheduled to play right after her. They returned the wave and started to do some playful and very cute cat-calling that wasn’t lewd or vulgar at all.
Frisk smiled to herself as she entered the empty bathroom (all the women in the audience have been waiting for that jazz band to play. They were becoming very popular and no doubt would make it big) and went into the broken stall where she left her clothes.
Still some good guys out there, Frisk thought as she took off her painfully tight blue dress and put on her more preferred one. The fabric of her baggy blue and pink sweater dress was a warm and welcomed change from the dress she just had on.
She stuff the blue dress in her purse without a care and walked out of the stall. She looked in the mirror and sighed.
Too much make-up. Don’t get it wrong, she didn’t mind some make-up every once in awhile, but the rouge on her cheeks was too bright. Her blue eye-shadow was too heavy and her red lipstick was too much. But that’s the club owners always wanted. That’s what the men in her audience wanted.
With a frustrated growl she turned on the sink, took a handful of soap, mixed it with water and began scrubbing her face viciously.
I need to get out of here, Frisk thought of the millionth time as she continued to scrub her face until her skin turned red.
Frisk didn’t hear the bathroom door open so when she heard the heavy footsteps she turned towards the noise.
The soap and water dripped from her face and onto her dress as she stared at the massive skeleton who was blocking the exit. She didn’t even realize her mouth was open until the taste of bitter and slippery liquid soap burned her tongue. She quickly closed her lips and backed away from the skeleton.
His hands were in his pockets as he looked Frisk up and down, his smile growing by the second. His gold tooth glittered menacingly against the bathroom lights. He took a step towards her.
No...please , Frisk thought as she held her hands up in a weak attempt to create some kind of barrier between herself and the monster that was at least two heads taller than her.
There was only one reason why a straight man would enter the women’s bathroom and Frisk learned what it was when she first starting singing. The man who had attacked was big too. He had grabbed her and shoved her up against the stall’s doors and would have done so much more if it hadn’t been for a lady who needed to use the restroom at that moment. Security was called and the man was “removed”. As in beaten and almost killed “removed”.
Frisk opened her mouth to scream for help, but the music from the jazz band blasted through the door, letting Frisk know that her chance for calling for help and actually having someone hear her was gone.
She looked up at him and tried to smile at him. She didn’t know what she was gonna say to try and talk him out of the thing he was going to do to her. And through her mind-numbing fear she actually took a second to wondered how a skeleton could do something like that. But she wasn’t curious enough to find out.
“Look mister, I don’t want any trouble-”
Frisk stopped her sentence, groaning in fear as the skeleton took his hands out of his pockets and reached into his jacket.
I was wrong , Frisk thought the fear now eating her up. He isn’t gonna rape me. He’s gonna kill me!
He pulled his hand out and Frisk screamed backing up until she hit the bathroom wall She expecting to see a gun or a knife, but instead he pulled out a cigar.
He chuckled and looked at the cigar and then at her.
“Don’t like smokers, dollface? I understand, it’s a nasty habit.” His voice was deep and rough, but Frisk definitely heard the amusement that laced every word.
He put the cigar back in his jacket pocket and gave her a little bow. His eyes were shining brightly. Made him look scarier.
“Sorry ‘bout entering the no-man’s land that is the ladies room, but I just wanted to help us solve our little problem we were having back there.”
Frisk frowned, but didn’t say anything. They didn’t have a problem. Frisk never did anything to him so there couldn’t be a problem.
“Ya see, dollface, I noticed you starin' at me.”
Frisk felt a shameful blush come over her face. So that’s why he was doing this. He must have been insulted that she had been staring at him. Of course he was mad and wanted to confront her about her rude behavior even if his way of confronting her was downright terrifying. At least he wasn’t being violent...yet.
Frisk didn’t know much about him except he was a monster who was sitting with the Don and only people who were like the Don sat with the Don. He couldn’t be good news.
However, she also knew she couldn’t afford to insult him again, so she took a deep breath, and offered her best smile. She hoped with every fiber of her being that she could talk to him calmly to a point where she wouldn’t get hurt.
“Listen, I’m really sorry about star-”
“Course I was starin' first. And I like what I see.”
The fear of being raped resurfaced in Frisk’s mind. She looked past him towards the door. He looked big and slow. Maybe she could run past him...maybe….
The massive monster gestured towards his rich clothes and it was then that Frisk noticed the many rings that decorated his boney fingers. They were all gold, just like his tooth and sparkled unpleasantly.
“So tell me dollface, do you like what you see?”
The question was not something Frisk had been expecting and instantly her mind gave her every reason why she didn’t like what she saw. He was clearly some kind of big-shot criminal who had no problem hanging out with murderers. He flaunted his wealth. He smelled like gun smoke and blood.
So when Frisk opened her mouth, only one word left her lips. And she didn’t even mean to say it. She really didn’t mean to. She wasn’t stupid, but it slipped out.
The red lights of his eyes went out and the next thing she knew, huge boney hands were gripping her shoulders tightly and she found herself slammed up against the wall.