Chapter 1: The Girl with the Mousy Hair
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Life is just a series of lifeless sporadic colours. And mine: well, mine sadly consists of dull greys. I get the greys and mediocrity, because that's the life I live.
Well, most of it.
The only thing that brings any colour into my life is David. Listening to his music, watching his videos, these are the only things that can bring happiness back into the dullness and palour. Vibrant reds, brilliant blues, lovely greens that brighten the greyest of days!
But even this is only fleeting, for when the silence creeps in after the credits of Labyrinth, or after a song has finished; I'm still me. I'm still Florence Haywood, a 17-year-old nobody in the middle of London.
And it's hard, too, to be comforted by his music. Especially now. Because though it brings me colour, it only leaves me empty inside. Why?
Because it's 2016.
And David Bowie is dead.
"Just great," I mutter to myself, "Another existential crisis before 7am. Good morning Florence! Why don't you just go become a Tibetan monk before lunch whilst you are at it?"
Though I was in rather a state of disrepair, I couldn't help chuckling to myself at my inside joke. David Bowie was once training in Tibetan Buddhism, why can't I? Well, I know why. Firstly, I'm not a Buddhist. Secondly, I'm sure if I shouted to my mother, "I'm off to Tibet!" She would simply reply, "As long as you're back before teatime." My brother, a stereotypical pre-teen, probably wouldn't care.
And I would shrug, and roll my eyes, but stay put. Ultimately, though my dreams are large, it is as if everyone around me knows I will amount to nothing. I may listen to Rebel Rebel and lovingly sing every lyric, but on this cruel Monday morning I have to face it: I am a nobody, going nowhere.
I didn't look special: I was simply a mass of average weight and height, with a splattering of freckles on my pale cheeks. The only thing I liked was my mousy brown hair, the one thing that made me feel special. It was as if whenever David sang Life On Mars? He was singing especially to me; the girl with the mousy hair. Although I know he wasn't.
I look around at my room; plastered in David Bowie posters, there was a small desk crowded with books and papers, a wiry single bed in the corner, and a record player next to it. The room was hardly small nor large, but it was my space - and though I knew full well I could be playing my music from my phone, I always loved to shut the door and put on a record.
I almost want to cry. No. Who am I kidding? I do want to cry. Last night, somewhere on the complete other side of the world, David Bowie has died.
And now I have to go to school like it is a normal day?
No days can be normal from from now on. It was as if last night the brightest star was taken from my life. "Technically, he was never in my life." I say to myself, but I push the words away. It did feel like he was a part of my life, and, an important part too, something inside me knew it.
I look down at my watch, and it was already 8am. The first day back to school after Christmas break starts in twenty minutes, and on the worst possible day.
"Shoot!" I shout, and hurriedly grab some clothes, pulling my Aladdin sane shirt over my head. I hesitate as I do this, would seeing his angel face on my body all day only make me more sad? But I had to! To commemorate him.
I quickly grab the closest books scattered on my desk, shove them into my school bag, and run out my bedroom door, holding back my tears as I leave my walls full of David.
As I run down our hallway, and down the stairs of our suburban London house, I quickly say goodbye to mum, "Gotta go! Sorry... I... woke up late... See you tonight!"
I just couldn't bear to voice the fact of David's passing, and the fact that I spent the morning pondering life's meaning as a result. Mum, however kind she was, just wouldn't understand my pain.
I give mum, a short woman with even shorter dyed blonde hair, a quick peck on the cheek as I run out the door. I try not to think of Tibet whilst looking at her. Or David.
The door shuts behind me, and I jog all the way to school. I come sweatily into the classroom just as the bell rings, and sit at my desk in the middle. Nobody bats an eyelid. "As always - nothing special," I think to myself as I drop my bag and grab out my books, sighing as I see my Aladdin Sane shirt.
The classroom was an old-fashioned small thing, with regimented desks in lines, and dark grey walls. The only modern thing was the projector screen up front, and even that was never very reliable. There was a small window down the left side next to the wooden door, which was used by students to tell when to shut up as the teacher was coming.
"Shut up! The teacher is coming!" A boy calls from the back. Ashley Morrison, a boy whom every girl at the school fawned over, and he knew it. He smirked from the back, sitting atop his table, and quickly slid into his seat smugly as the rest of the class followed his lead.
The teacher came in, a stout woman who rather teetered than walked, as if her fat body could fall at any moment. Mrs. Abbot was her name, she was our roll call teacher. She told us all to "sit still and be quiet, and listen for your name." As always.
I tried to focus on what was going on, but just found my mind kept going back to David. "No, Florence. This is a new semester, and maybe if you shut up and listen you can make up for what happened last year..."
I thought back to what had happened on Mrs Abbot's roll call last year, and decided it was best to leave that behind. I was a good girl, doing as I was told, and said my name as it was called. All the while, a saddened feeling kept nibbling at my heart. All I could think about was David.
It was the same all day. English; reading, reading, reading, oh didn't David like to read? Yes. He did. Maths; well, I could only think of David here, when the only other thing to occupy me was trigonometry. Every other subject brought me back to the blackstar-shaped whole in my heart.
Then, the last period of the day, was history - the USA-Russian space race.
I tried to keep it in. I tried to stop the dark, lonely, horrible feeling from consuming me. When they talked about space, I tried not to think of Starman. When they talked about astronauts, I tried not to think of Major Tom. But when they played the BBC broadcast - I just couldn't. There was a sadness, an emptiness, that couldn't be defeated.
When the broadcast came on the projector screen, and Space Oddity started to play (as it did on the broadcast), I couldn't handle it any more.
"I will regret this..." I thought to myself, as I tried to hold in the tears.
"I will regret this..." I murmured to myself, as I stood up from my desk.
"I will regret this..." I spoke to myself as I grabbed my bag, wiped the tears now streaming from my face, and ran down the school hallways. I just had to get out.
I didn't bother to look behind me at the window into the classroom as I ran away. I knew there would be serious repercussions for my little escape, but I didn't care.
How could the day be going on so normally now that he has gone? Ever since hearing this morning's news, normality in my life was forsaken. Nothing would be the same again.
Little did I know, this prediction would come to pass in more ways than I had originally thought...
I left the school. It actually was a lot easier than I had thought - not that I was thinking that much. I just went outside the main building, over the grass front, and out the gate. It was wide open, and nobody saw me.
All I wanted to do was escape, anywhere. I just let my feet guide me where I needed to go. All this whilst trying not to listen to my heart pumping in my chest, and a tingling feeling developing throughout my body - "Wow, I am unfit," I thought.
I rounded corner after corner of the London streets. Modern traffic - so busy yet so still, mingled amongst modern workers - so uncaring yet so judgemental.
"Haven't you seen a hysterical, crying teenager running through the streets before?" I wanted to shout.
Everything was especially grey now. The streets, buildings, cars. Even the sky - though this was rather normal for England, it seemed to be worse today. It was oppressive, and hung on my shoulders like a weight, constantly reminding me of the loss.
By this point, I could have been running for minutes or hours, I just didn't know. How far was I from school? From my house? But I drew my mind away again.
Suddenly, a large park appeared to my left, with trees on either side that hid it away from the rest of the city. In the centre was a large grassy oval, with a white wooden bandstand in the middle, obviously unused for many years.
I stopped in the park, with my hands on my knees, heaving and wheezing. The green surrounded me - a beautiful contrast to the outside greys. It was as if it was another world, another place.
After a few minutes, the heavy breathing hadn't slowed down. And I was tingling even more than before, all over my body. Bending over, full of grief and exhaustion, I started to feel lightheaded. Rather lightheaded, indeed.
Little stars danced over my eyes, and spots too. The world started to spin.
I fell to the floor, unconscious.
I didn't know how long it had been when my eyes fluttered open.
Above me stood a man.
He was in his early twenties, and had a face with the most god-given bone structure. Curly sandy-gold coloured locks dangled around his head, cascading onto his shoulders.
He spoke in the most angelic voice, the best of all British accents, casual yet sophisticated. Beautiful yet masculine. Sexy.
"Are you okay?" He asked. My heart fluttered. I knew this voice.
Wait... Wait... Wait...
I rubbed my eyes, they were still fuzzy from the fall. Surely I wasn't seeing and hearing what I thought I was?
But as I looked up again, there was no longer any doubt.
The man who stood above me was David Bowie.
Chapter 2: Memory of a Free Festival
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There was no more denying it: I had fallen unconscious in a park, and David Bowie had woken me up.
We were the only ones there, sitting on the grass next to the white bandstand. David's curly permed golden locks framed his face and his beautiful mismatched eyes looked in mine.
"Are you okay? I found you lying here a few minutes ago..." He asked me.
Oh that accent! That voice!
Surely, this couldn't be real. My concussed brain has probably conjured up an image of the man I had been thinking about all day. I began to stand up, but my head started to spin a bit - so I just sat back down, with my hands on the dewy grass behind me.
David stared at me, and a slight smirk appeared on his lips. I realised I never answered his question.
Though I was somewhat slightly dazed, I replied, "I'm... fine... but... what is going on?"
"I've come down here to set up for a festival I'm about to hold. What's your name?" David inquired.
I answered, "My name is Florence. Florence Haywood."
At this he turned his head away for a moment, looking into the distance. My name had somehow left him deep in thought. He seemed troubled by it, but turned back to me with a small smile, trying to shake off whatever had dipped his spirits.
I wanted to investigate, but knew that asking an imaginary David Bowie I've never met "what's wrong?" would be a bit weird and invasive.
Instead, I asked him another question, one that had been burning in my mind since I had woken up; "What year is it?"
Admittedly, a small part of me was giddy that I got to say that. It was like I was in a sci-fi movie! But I had to keep calm...
"It's August 16, 1969." He answered, interrupting my thoughts.
It was 1969! 1969, the year I was learning about in class. The year of the moon landing! The year of Space Oddity!
I took a breath. I was simply stunned, and David could tell. He joked with his signature blend of British humour, "Well, what else did you expect?" He added a cute wink and chuckle, but I was still shocked. I had no idea what to do.
Only then I noticed my arm was stinging. I turned it over to see my elbow, where it was scraped and bloody. Obviously I had cut it in the fall. Not that bad, but now I was fully conscious, it was starting to hurt.
David saw, and without a word pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He used it to dab at the graze until the blood had come off and then tied the handkerchief around my elbow. As soon as he had touched my arm to do so, a tingling went through my body, not so different from the one I had felt before I fell unconscious. The feeling was so gentle, so human, so real.
Something inside me, from that feeling, told me this was no delusional fantasy. I don't know how, or why, but at that moment, I faced the facts:
This was real.
I was with David Bowie, in a random London park, in 1969. And he was holding a festival - evidently his famous 'free festival'.
I decided to get up. By now, a few other people were arriving, musicians and others bringing seats and portable amps.
I had no idea how or whether I could get back to 2016. But, I decided to just wait it out, as there was nothing better I could do. Plus, what better way to wait than to enjoy a David Bowie show?
"So... David... when is the festival? Can anyone come? I mean, like, random people who show up unconscious in parks?" I humorously pleaded.
"How... how do you know my name?" He asked.
Oops. I had forgotten he hadn't introduced himself.
"Oh, I uh..." I tried to think back to all I knew about him. Yes, that's it! It was August 1969, so he must have already released Space Oddity, his first hit. So I continued, "...I'm the number one fan of yours. Really loved Space Oddity. But... can I please come to the festival?"
He chuckled, and seemed flattered he had a fan. He obviously wasn't too famous yet.
David said, "Of course you can come! The festival's free after all. And I'll be sure to show my 'number one fan' around." He added with a wink, "But, please, no more falling unconscious."
I smiled. "Yes! I mean, I would love to come. Thank you. And I'll try not to faint again." I said this, though the more pressing issue in the back of my mind was whether or not I could somehow travel back to the future. I pushed that away. For now I would enjoy David and the festival - no matter how unbelievable it seemed.
The equipment was now loaded onto the bandstand behind us, and the park was starting to fill up. But David told me it was still another half hour until he had to play, and so he tugged on my hand to go and introduce me to a few people behind-the-scenes.
They were obviously musicians and organisers, and to me, their 60s hair, flared pants, and aura of self-assurance made them seem like gods (though all paled in comparison to David).
There were three of them, two men and one woman. David introduced me, "This is Florence... Haywood. I found her in the park and apparently she's a fan of mine." I blushed, but was still confused why he said my name like that, all slow and sadly.
But he then continued by introducing me to his friends, "This is George, a mate from school, he does my album covers and plays backing," pointing to the man on the left who had long brown hair and overalls.
He then pointed to the man in the middle, "This is Porter. He's gonna be playing after my set." Porter was tall (made even more so by his large Afro and platforms), and seemed nice enough.
He then looked over to the woman, who had short brown hair and was wearing a small mod dress and sandals. David introduced her, "This is Angie, she's a... friend. And has been putting me up at her place after I had to leave my last." At that, David's face saddened again, as if something of the memory stung him, but decided not to continue, so I didn't push him.
The conversation we had was nice, though David's mood was still a bit off, however. No matter how many jokes he cracked, there always seemed to be a sadness behind his features that I couldn't understand.
After a while, Angie caught my eye, and seemed to be signalling for me to go to the side and chat with her privately. I didn't want to leave David's conversation, and I really didn't want to talk with her (knowing all I did about her rather rude behaviour), but maybe she had something to tell me about David, so I excused myself from the conversation and followed her.
She went straight to it, in a very confident and curt manner, "David is in a tough spot right now. His father died last week. And just before that he split with his ex. Rather ratty girl, might I say. I was called in here by the record company to... cheer him up."
Before I could ask her how I could help, her facial expression changed from concerned to nasty. She glared at me and snarled with her perfect lipstick.
"I don't want anybody interfering with him. You know, everyone thinks he will be Britain's next big star, and so soon I will be too. I'm sure you are all nice and whatever, but David will be mine. I have it all mapped out. So don't. Cross. Me."
At those final words, she stabbed a perfectly manicured finger into my shoulder, pushing me backwards. Turning on her heel, she walked back to the boys, a smirk plastered on her features.
The concert was wonderful.
By the time David had started to play, the sun was starting to set and an orange light surrounded the park. It illuminated the hundreds of little heads on the lawn, and acted as a beautiful spotlight.
His songs were wonderful. There were some I knew, and some I didn't, but all the while I sang and smiled, the happiest I had ever been my entire life. I finally felt free.
Afterwards, David got down from the stage and Porter started to play. Angie was there waiting for David at the front, and he said hello to her, but then went around to me.
"How'd you like it? Was my #1 fan satisfied?" He grinned. I laughed, glad that out of everyone in the crowd, and Angie, David came to talk to me: the girl he just met today.
I replied, hugely excited, "Like it? I loved it! You were fantastic! All the songs were great, and your voice was stunning and... oh, sorry... I'm getting carried away."
"Thanks. It was good, just..." He said, trailing off. The sadness hit him again, and he bowed his head in melancholy.
I decided, if I was stuck in 1969, I might as well help my idol. He was obviously in a lot of emotional turmoil.
"Hey, David... Angie told me about what had happened with you and your dad, and your breakup too... My dad passed away too, when I was five, so I understand. It must have been really hard to put on a brave face and entertain the masses tonight. You should be proud, I'm sure that your father would have been."
He looked up at me, his eyes wet with tears, running down his beautiful features and cheekbones, dampening his golden curls. "Thank you, Florence. It was hard."
Though I was a solid 3 inches shorter than him, I comforted David and he rested his head on my shoulder. The tingling sensation came back again.
He continued, wiping the tears from his face, "The reason I was so upset by your name earlier is that Haywood was my dad's name. When I saw you unconscious in the park, and you told me your name, it was as if I was meant to find you. To help you."
But now, I knew it was my time to help him, "Hey David? Why don't we take a photograph to remember today by? And you could even write a song." I smiled sadly, still feeling the tingling. He smiled back.
I instinctively reached to my pocket for my phone to take the photo, but stopped myself. That would not go down well in 1969. Instead, David grabbed a Polaroid and got someone to take a photo of the whole crowd, including us.
When it had printed, David offered it to me. But I said, "No. Keep it. For your father. And don't forget to write that song, too." I looked up at the starry sky, now all dark, and we just stood there for a few minutes.
After a while, David turned to me. I looked back at his gorgeous face. Leaning over, he kissed my cheek. Just friendly, but the best feeling in the world nonetheless.
The tingling was starting to intensify. I didn't want to be around David when or if something happened, so I made a quick excuse and started to walk away. I know it was rude, but it was as if my body was rebelling against me; like pins and needles all over.
I caught a sneak peak of David before I turned the corner, and he was smiling, looking at the Polaroid. I think he was happier.
As soon as I saw this and had turned the corner, my head started to spin again. The tingling intensified and I fell to my knees, spots in my eyes.
Once again, I fell unconscious.
Chapter 3: I Keep A Photograph, It Burns My Wall With Time
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I woke up in a cold sweat.
I was in the bed in my bedroom, and when my eyes opened I looked up at all the posters of David in my room. They seemed so much more real now than ever before. Because I knew them now. I knew him.
Or... did I?
It was hard to remember what had happened last night. It all came in a blur, in fuzzy snapshots:
Waking up in the park at sunset.
Stumbling home, dazed and confused. Walking through the door, Mum already asleep.
Feeling drained. Feeling tired. I got unchanged, and fell asleep.
Now, lying in my bed, I began to start having doubts about whatever had happened the previous evening. Though last night was so vivid; David, the festival, his kiss... it all seemed so impossible. I needed to know it was real. I needed evidence.
Then I remembered: The handkerchief! If I found David Bowie's handkerchief, then I found proof of last night's events.
Looking to my elbow, the graze was still there. It was starting to heal over, so now it was just a smallish red mark. But, that could have happened when I fell onto the grass, whether in 1969 or not.
And the most damning part, the part that tore away any hope that I had really met David Bowie last night?
The handkerchief that I was searching for... that I remembered David had tied around my arm... was no longer there.
After jumping from bed and turning my room upside-down, there was no sign of the handkerchief.
I collapsed back into bed, annoyed and confused. With no evidence whatsoever, I resigned myself to the sad fact that last night was a dream. It simply had to be.
Life was meaningless. I was still Florence Haywood, a random Londoner and David Bowie fan who will never really meet her idol.
I sprawl my arms out on my bed, and lie there for a while, thoughts swirling in my head. I knew things were more simple now that I knew last night was imaginary, but a part of me (a very large part) wanted it to have been true.
After further consideration, I decided it was best not to tell anyone what had happened last night. I had a few friends, and Mum and my brother, but it would be silly to tell them. Plus, what's the point of telling them a delusion?
It would be best to go about my day as normal, so I got up, shrugged on my clothes and walked downstairs.
I couldn't be bothered to say good morning to Mum or my brother. All I needed to do was get through the day. And then the next, and the next.
As I walked through the school gates into the paved courtyard, my friend Melanie came to say hello. She had auburn hair and glasses, with freckles sprinkled on her face. She was the closest thing I had to a friend.
I hadn't seen her much yesterday, probably because I was too lost in my own world. And still am, though now I was trying to focus and act normal.
She said, "Hey Florence. Glad you came today, worried you'd ditch, after what happened yesterday..."
I was confused. How did she know what happened yesterday?
Then it came back: the whole reason I had gone to the park was because I had run from class. And now I knew that I was going to have to face the consequences.
I grimaced, replying, "Oh yeah... what happened after I left?"
Melanie answered, "Well, Mrs Abbot was kind of shocked for a moment, then had to send one of us to tell the office. But after that, nobody really cared."
I tried not to feel sad that nobody had bothered when I had run from class. As always, nobody cared.
Melanie could obviously tell I was upset, however, and added quickly, "I mean, besides me. Although you didn't really talk to me much yesterday anyways... But come on, it shouldn't matter. Keep your head down and maybe nobody will notice. Let's go to class."
But before I could start walking into the building with her, I noticed an ominous figure walking towards us: the principal. His name was Mr Oswald, and he was a tall man with a growing bald patch on his scalp. Generally he was okay, but didn't like people breaking the rules. And sadly, my little trick yesterday had definitely put me on his bad list.
Mr Oswald's office was covered in framed pictures of smiling students and various university certificates of his. He had a small snow globe on his wooden desk, the little flakes making a small heaven within the confines of the crowded study.
Mr Oswald took a seat in his large leather chair behind his desk, and gestured for me to sit in one of the chairs on the other side. I did.
"I understand that last lesson yesterday you ran from class and left the school?" He stated professionally.
He continued, "Can you elaborate as to why?"
I thought for a moment. Nothing was going to get me out of the obvious punishment awaiting me. I know a teacher wouldn't care about how hearing Space Oddity had upset me, but I decided I might as well tell the truth.
"In Science we were learning about the moon landing and Space Oddity was in the background and David Bowie only just passed away this weekend and I couldn't take the sadness so I left." I blurted it all out in one long winding sentence, and had to take a long breath afterwards.
He paused for a moment, and looked down at my shirt. Today I was wearing one with Major Tom, I hadn't noticed before as it was just shoved on when I walked out of my bedroom. The man on my shirt looked exactly like the man I had 'met' yesterday.
Mr Oswald was evidently not expecting the answer I had given him. There was no 'student mourns for dead rock star' protocol in his handbook.
Usually, he would get students leaving school just for the sake of it, yelling curses as they run through the gates. But I was generally a pretty good student, so it was rather odd that I had left school in such a manner.
"Okay. Ms Haywood. I'm sorry... but... that is sadly no excuse for cutting class young lady." The tone in the principal's voice was agitated and authoritative.
"You will get detention every weekday for a month, starting today. Meet me here in my office after school."
After that, I was let go with a late slip and sent back to class. I caught Melanie's eye as I walked in, giving her a sad look, which she echoed back with a small sympathetic smile.
Detention was another flash of useless, monotonous colours. And I sadly had to spend it with the worst person possible: Ashley, the arrogant boy from my class. We were the only two there.
Our weapons were distributed; a trash bag and wipes; and we were sent to war on the harshest field of battle - high school hallways.
I learnt a great deal that afternoon; one, never look behind the lockers; two, wipes work as useful gloves for removing rotten food from behind such lockers; and three, a surprising amount of three-week-old sandwich can fit in between your nails if you decide not to use those wipes.
I also learnt that Ashley is, to put it nicely (which is something he would never do), not a very good human being. We spoke of nothing for the whole hour, only exchanging occasional glares at one other. Our mutual hatred - his borne from selfish ways - mine borne from knowledge of such ways - stunted any conversation.
On the way home, after ages spent in the bathrooms trying to remove the smell of old ham from my fingernails, I noticed something peculiar.
I spent my walk back to the house as I normally did; headphones on, stuck in the glamorous world of David Bowie. As I flicked through my playlist, I decided to put on Space Oddity, the album. When it got to Memory of a Free Festival, I lost track of all my senses.
It was as if this was my song.
I particularly chuckled when David sang, "I kissed a great many people that day..."
I couldn't help but touch my cheek where he had pecked it in my dream last night, and smile. I knew it had never really happened, and by now, I had more than come to the conclusion that it was a dream - but - it was still such a joyfully vivid memory.
I skipped along the road, and even though the world seemed to be falling apart around me, I was the happiest I had been all day.
I decided in that small flash of happiness to say goodbye to David properly. I turned left at the stoplights where I should have gone right, and walked purposefully towards a different destination.
But after a while, I couldn't take it any longer: something was pulling me, and with David's music in my ears, I started to run. I swept through the streets, not dissimilar to yesterday, but now I had a sense of purpose. Now, though I was still a 17-year-old nobody, I was suddenly okay with it. For that small moment, everything was okay.
Sadly this complacent happiness was not to last for long.
As I turned the corner into the park, it was once again deserted. The silhouette of the beautiful grandstand stood in the centre, still standing after all these years with the same air of grandeur. I started to go up to it, happy and contented.
However, all this frolicking and merrymaking was rather not my strong suit, as I soon stumbled and fell onto the grass. Sadly, David was not there to help me this time.
Instead, what I saw was far more peculiar: a handkerchief, lying on the dampened grass. It was slightly bloodied, and slightly wet. I picked it up.
No... this couldn't be...
But it was.
I looked back over to the bandstand, and now that I was closer I noticed a poster had been tied to it, near the front. It was a commemoration of David's festival.
Handkerchief still in hand, I stumbled over to the sign. Right there, in the middle of it, was a photo.
And in the middle of the photo, next to David Bowie, was myself.
Ironically the lyrics to An Occasional Dream started to flood my ears...
"In my madness, I see your face in mine,
I keep a photograph, It burns my wall with time,
Time, an occasional dream, Of mine..."
Chapter 4: Threw a Party that Lasted All Night
I had tried so hard to convince myself what had happened last night wasn't real. It wasn't like I didn't want it to be real - no, I really wanted to have actually met David Bowie - but this circumstance complicated everything.
Without thinking, I ripped the poster from the bandstand and shoved it in my pocket, along with the handkerchief.
Lingering no further, I ran back home. I had no idea what to do, but whatever it was I was sure it could be better done in my room with the door shut, and not out in the open park.
My mother was out with my brother for soccer practise for the afternoon, so when I got back I simply sprinted upstairs, dumped my backpack on my bedroom floor, and threw myself onto my bed. It was a while before I got the courage to pull the handkerchief and poster from my pocket again.
I held them both with shaky hands: there was no denying it any more. There was the soft linen and small blood stain of the handkerchief in my left hand; and the crumpled photograph - of me with David in 1969 - in my right.
"Think... Think, Florence... Think! What next?"
Swiftly, I went over to my desk and brought out a blank notebook and pencil. I scribbled at the top yesterday's date - January 10th, 2016 - and then underneath it, August 16, 1969.
There was no way I could tell what would happen next, but I was going to make sure I remembered it.
I started my entry: "Time travel. David Bowie's free festival. Angie was there too. Nasty. But I helped David feel a bit better, I think, and then he kissed me on the cheek. Then, all of a sudden, back home. Denial until I found the evidence."
Then, I pasted the photo underneath, and wedged the handkerchief inside the notebook. I then shut the book in the draw in my desk again.
Now, I had no clue how this had happened. Or whether it would happen again. I concluded, sitting in my bed on that cold January afternoon, to take no risks.
I had to try and go back to the dull greys and try to forget what had happened.
The weeks went by.
Then, I think it was almost a month. Everything was dull and lifeless, and I avoided David's presence at all costs.
My mother was rather confused when I didn't come down to hear him playing on the radio, or when I stopped wearing my Aladdin Sane t-shirts. It hurt, but I had no idea what would happen if I did anything out of the ordinary.
I said nothing to anybody, besides short one-syllables. I ignored Melanie at school, and went through the detention services monotonously.
Eventually, both my mum and Melanie had had enough. After a stern talking to, I found myself forced to see her the next day.
My shoes clicked on the cool pavement as I walked towards Melanie's place the following afternoon. There wa sa small chill in the air, and it felt... different.
I felt different.
I pulled my jacket closer around my body, as I was starting to shiver. Was the tingling just from the cold?
I stopped in my tracks. I knew it wasn't from the cold.
It was barely a second after this realisation when I blacked out.
I awoke this time, not on the footpath outside Melanie's house, but lying in a small front garden in a very different London Street. It was night, and the stars were out tonight, and 3-storey houses lined the road upright and mysterious.
However, the main thing that stood out to me was the noise. And the light.
Though there were no streetlamps, or people on the streets, the street was flooded with lights beaming in from the windows of the house behind me, where the loud music and voices also emanated.
When I had dusted myself off, I went to see what was going on. The house was a large Victorian mansion-like thing, with the lawn large and sprawling.
Near the front door, was a small name that stated, "Haddin Hall", under which tenants were listed alongside buzzers. And the first name there?
Better known as David Bowie.
"Oh Frick. Guess my last adventure wasn't just a one-time thing." I thought to myself.
After a minute of contemplation, I decided there was nothing else I could do but wait.
"Last time I was in 1969 for about 3 hours...," I thought, "If I wait out another three hours maybe I will return home."
I pushed the buzzer for David. To my surprise, however, the person who opened the door was not David Robert Jones, but rather was a slender woman with short bleached-blonde hair.
Even with her thick makeup and new hairstyle, I could tell who it was: Angie.
She growled at me, looking me up and down. I could tell she remembered who I was.
"Well, well, well. Fiona. No, Felicia. No-"
"It's Florence. Nice to see you again. Can I come in? Looks like a great party." I said through my teeth.
She began to say, "Well, I'm sorry if you're trying to find David, it's his party but nobody's seen him since the afternoon. Looks like you can just-"
But, before she could turn me away, Porter materialised from behind her, "Hey, it's Florence, isn't it? Come in! Happy New Year! Tonight we welcome in the seventies!"
He ushered me in, and I tried to ignore Angie's glare as I went through the doors.
Music echoed loudly from all walls. Porter was quickly swept up in meeting other people and left me alone. Well, as alone as I could be in a party.
People were crammed everywhere, holding alcohol, and the place smelt of cigarettes and sweat. And yet, it seemed the most amazing, lively thing I had ever been to.
Somehow, I felt I needed to find David. I had no clue whether or not I would actually be able to go back to 2016, but in the time I had, I wanted to see him again.
I was determined to find out where he was - David had to be somewhere.
I went up to a nearby group of people, asking, "Hey, have you seen David? Do you know where he is?"
The group just stared at me blankly, and one man said, "Oh! David! There you are! Happy New Year!" And pulled me into a hug, smacking my back.
Yes. These people were definitely off their heads. On something, at least. I didn't bother questioning them any further.
After I went to the next group of people, then the next, and all seemed to be drunk or high (or both) and incapable of giving an answer, I decided I had to search the place myself.
Trying to look as casual as possible, I would enter each room, contain a coughing fit from immense portions of smoke, and then look around.
I started with the kitchen; nice, rather outdated (though, I guess it was modern back then?), but no sign of David.
Then there were the bedrooms. However, after catching a couple making out in one bedroom, I counted myself lucky and decided not to check the rest.
He very well could have been in one, but I wasn't going to risk being scarred. Also, something told me if he was hiding in a bedroom someone would have found him by now.
Then, there was a study, though it was more like a little music room. It had a piano, a twelve-string guitar, and a desk with papers littered all over it. It had an atmosphere of silent solitude as it was at the back of the house, far away from all the music and noise.
I went over to the desk, and looked at the papers. Most were scribbled on with distinctive handwriting: lyrics. Then, from behind one of these I saw the edge of a drawing. Curiosity got the better of me, and I went to go pick it up.
However, before I could, a warm, lean hand held my wrist. I looked up to see who it was, and the man of my dreams smiled back.
He looked similar to the man I had met a month ago, but slightly different. His hair was longer now, and more wavy, less permed, though it was still his natural sandy blonde. He was wearing a light blue dress with beautiful clear buttons on the front.
Two differently-dilated pupils gazed into my eyes.
"David?" I ask, knowing the answer.
"Florence? I haven't seen you since the festival! It's so good to see you again." He seemed happily surprised, but his voice was off again; tinged with a lilting melancholy.
"Hey, I'm, um, sorry I left in a rush last time. But I've found myself here, and found you, too." I say, knowing full well that this time, if I do go back, I will probably have to do the same thing and leave unexpectedly.
"Hey, it's fine. I'm just so glad to see you - it's been a while. How have you been?" He asked.
Now I noted that his eyes had bags underneath them, and were red and puffy.
"I've been fine, but, I think more importantly, how are you? Why are you hidden in here instead of with all your guests?"
He sat down in a chair in the corner, and replied, "You've caught me out. I may seem so happy and grand around all these people - but this year has been hard. I couldn't bear the party for too long."
I nodded solemnly, and he continued, "You know all about what had happened. This year will be my first year without him. And without Hermione, my ex, too. And, then there's Angie-"
"Yeah, what's up with her? She seems a little-"
"She's nice enough, I guess. But I'm afraid... what if she leaves me? I don't know if I can commit again. And then there's you..." He trailed off.
Outside, I could hear people counting down for the new year.
10. 9. 8. 7.
David looked at me with a small smile, not bothering to finish his sentence.
6. 5. 4.
He walked over to me.
He cupped my face with his hands.
He leaned in close.
He kissed me.
He kissed me! While everyone else outside shouted "Happy New Year!" David Bowie had kissed me.
It was a soft, beautiful, long kiss on the mouth. It was real, lovely, and I started to feel tingling again, but didn't dare pull away.
However, this bliss was to be short-lived, as we were rudely interrupted by a figure in the doorway, glaring at us:
"Happy New Year," Angie spat.
Chapter 5: Let Me Sleep Beside You
I'm so happy with the amount of reads this story has gotten to far!! And for those who have voted and commented, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it. Your thoughts and suggestions and votes are all valued!
Hope you enjoy this next chapter...
She glared at us from behind the door. Angie was was beyond angered: she was hysterical.
"Well, it's nice to see my boyfriend kissing another girl on New Year's!" She shouted through her teeth.
"I'm Florence, oh, I'm so young and mediocre and a cute little fan... I've only met David once and know nothing about him but oh well... Let's give him a snog!" Angie snarled.
David started to say, "Hey, Angie, it's nothi-"
"Nothing? Kissing another girl? I want her out. Now!"
I was kind of disappointed that David was going to brush off our kiss as "nothing", but I guess in the circumstances, I should be less worried about that, and more about calming the hellfire in front of me. Besides, I wanted to be able to stay.
I asked if we could go outside the room, and she reluctantly followed.
I tried to reason with her, "Angie, can we work this out? I really want to stay here, at least for a while longer..."
"No! Get away! I'm David's girlfriend. Not you. I will be there when he needs me. And when I know he will be famous. Not you."
Something about what Angie said struck me. "When he needs me." Was it just coincidence that both times I had gone back to find David, he had needed me in some way or another? To cheer him up? I didn't know, but made sure to remember that if I ever get back.
"Well, I probably know more about him and his future than you do. I just want to stay. When the party is over, I'll go," I reply.
Angie stepped closer to me after I said that, and once again jabbed her fingernail into my shoulder. "You better watch it, Florence. I'm fine with him flirting about or whatever, but you are not going to stop me from riding his journey to stardom."
I was kind of stunned. Honestly, I didn't know what to do. I had never really gotten into any real fights before; I always stayed in the background, trying to be as least inflammatory as possible.
Before she could continue, however, the door behind us let out a small creak. David popped his cute little head out, his golden curls bobbing about his face. He smiled sheepishly at us, and then walked over.
Surprisingly, he stood next to me and said, "Angie. Just let her go. It's the seventies, come on! Live it up!" David then tugged my hand and pulled me back into the main room with all the drunken partygoers.
He pulled me over to a counter on the other side of the room, where alcohol was piled high, and cups were sprawled about. He poured two cups, and gave one to me.
I stared at the yellow liquid in the cup. "Ah, David, I'm sorry but I can't-"
"Happy New Year everyone, enjoy the night!" David shouted at the room, and everyone lifted their drinks high.
Reluctantly, I did the same, and when everyone drank, I did too. The beer tasted odd in my mouth, and gave me a weird warm feeling that spread to the rest of my body.
Was this illegal? Maybe. But then again, I had somehow travelled back in time for the second time, and am in a New Year's Eve party with David Bowie. I felt like legalities were the last thing on my mind.
The music got louder, and David's cold fingers kept tight onto mine. We walked around the party, and he introduced me to every single person, all while brimming a wide smile. There was almost no trace of the melancholy he had been steeped in a half-hour ago.
We danced, and drank for hours. At one point, David picked up his twelve-string and started to sing Memory of a Free Festival. He was looking straight at me the whole time. And so was Angie too, from the back of the room - but she was more glaring than looking.
I couldn't remember what had happened for the rest of the night.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was in a bed, though it definitely wasn't mine. It was king sized, and I lay in an unknown room, where the walls were painted a grey-blue. Sheets were splayed all over the floor and bed, where I was, and various garbage and cups were also sprawled everywhere. I was not back in 2016.
I had a horrible hangover, but worse - what had happened last night?
But the oaken door interrupted by thoughts; opening with a squeak. Once again, David's beautiful face peeped through.
"Good Morning." He spoke softly, smiling.
"David - what happened last night? I... can't remember..."
He chuckled a little, cheekily, "No. Don't worry. I would never, not when you were that drunk... Everyone had left, including Angie, and then you passed out. So I let you sleep in my bed."
I sighed with relief.
David opened the door fully, and I saw that he was carrying a tray of food. Scrambled eggs, toast, and baked beans. It smelled delicious.
He brought it over to me, and with an overly-exaggerated bow, stated, "Your breakfast, madame."
Then it was my time to chuckle.
He gave it to me, and the delightful smell filled the air around me. It was true bliss.
"Thank you, David." I said.
"No. Florence. Thank you. I needed you last night. I'm glad you were there for me. But - Oh! I forgot the coffee! You start, I'll be back in a second."
David almost skipped out the door, and I smiled, happier than I had ever been.
That wasn't to last for long.
There was still egg in my mouth when I appeared, dazed, on the sidewalk.
"Oh god damn it!" I shouted whilst swallowing my last mouthful.
The afternoon sun shone down on me, and I started to pick myself off the pavement. I knew that back on January 1st, 1970, a gleeful David Bowie would come back with two cups of coffee, to find his bed empty. I had disappeared again, without any explanation.
But there was nothing I could do, so I walked mournfully back home.
Back at my room, I threw myself back onto my bed, making sure I had grabbed my journal. I wrote the date, and my recount of last night:
"February 9th, 2016.
December 31 1969 - January 1st 1970.
This time, I travelled to Haddon Hall. David's New Year's party, I cheered him up (again). I passed out after a few drinks, and in the mourning returned back.
Obviously this wasn't a one time thing. The only consistencies are David, I think. And the fact I've been helping him. There must be some connection. I will find it."
As I was about to shut the book, the handkerchief fell out. I looked at it and smiled.
Without thinking, I tied it around my wrist. I decided it would be my totem; it was something that gave me happiness in my world turned upside down. Because it was David's.
The next day at school, I was hoping to have a good day.
However, I was not expecting to be confronted by Melanie. I was walking through the front gates, admiring the handkerchief on my wrist, and she was the only one in the courtyard. Her arms were folded, and she was just staring at me in disappointment.
"Shoot. I forgot about our plans yesterday." I thought to myself as I walked towards her.
"Hey, Melanie..." I said sheepishly as I got closer to her.
"Where were you yesterday? I waited for the whole afternoon, and you never showed." Melanie said, the tone in her voice like a repressed shout.
"I got... sidetracked. I'm so sorry for that. I didn't know-"
"No, Florence. You have said sorry enough. You have ignored me for weeks. I've tried to be kind, I thought you were going through a rough patch."
"I... was. But I'm sure I will be better now. I want to be. I'll come over to yours tonight. I swear-"
"No. Florence, you've said enough. Give me a while and maybe I'll come around. But for now, leave me alone."
She ignored me for the rest of the day. Well, not really ignored - it was a decision on both parts, and we both avoided each other.
The crowded hallways seemed to close in on me, the air around me thinning - but what stopped me getting too distraught was the handkerchief around my hand. I had kissed David Bowie. It was real!
If I can time travel and see David Bowie, surely Melanie could come around.
When I was walking out the same gates I had walked through in the morning, I was stopped by the principal. Mr. Oswald pulled me aside, and asked me to join him in his office.
The little space was still ancient and unyielding, and I felt no more comfortable in the chair than I had been last time.
"Florence. Yesterday was your last day of detention. However, you decided to not show up."
"Mr. Oswald, if I may-"
"You may not. No excuses. Your detention sentence will be prolonged for a further two months."
"No buts. Feel free to grab the wipes and garbage bags from the janitor's closet as you leave this room."
As I turned to walk out sulkily, he added, "Oh, and Ashley will once again be joining you." At this remark, I further sulked from the room and to the hallways to clean.
"Looks like your little stunt didn't turn out so well, did it?" Ashley said sarcastically whilst trying to scrape some gum from the floor.
"It wasn't intentional. Okay? I didn't have a choice." I replied.
"Blah, blah, blah. That's what I hear. You just wanted to see more of me, didn't you?" He held up his hands to his face and feigned a smile, holding the gum between his fingers.
I turned away, shrugging off his arrogant remarks.
The hallways seemed to take even longer than usual, and I longed to have David sweep me away from this dreary place.
It was 4:00pm when we were allowed to leave, and I was surprised by Ashley's tone as he said goodbye. Would I ever call him polite? No. Kind? No. But he did know how to confuse someone as to his behaviour.
It was somehow almost too nice, like he was hiding something.
On the way home, I started to notice an odd smell coming from my backpack. On the side of the pathway, I bent over to see what was the cause, and opened the zip.
Inside, there was a large fist-sized ball of amassed gum. It was dirty, blotted with different discoloured patches, and definitely foul smelling. It must have taken weeks to amass that much gum.
It was stuck to every possible surface - my laptop, phone, and jumper, amongst others.
Attached to the top of the mess was a post-it note, on which was written:
"Smell you later Bowie freak - Ashley."
Chapter 6: The Man Who Sold The World
I was disgusted. Obviously.
But I couldn't let him get to me. Even though Ashley had decided to ruin my backpack, I just couldn't let him hurt me inside. This was one problem I could fix with a stern glint in my eye, toughness in my soul, and a lot of soap and scrubbing.
At least, that was what I had planned to do.
Back at home, I set my bag out on my bedroom floor, tore up the note Ashley had written, and threw it in my bin.
Then I got to work on the gummy mass that lay clinging to the inside of my bag. It was a lot harder to disentangle the half-chewed mess than I had originally thought, and it took 15 minutes just to scrape most of it off with my fingernails.
I was left clutching a ball of sticky gum-clump.
And that was when whatever thing that controls the universe was like, "let's send her, and her gross ball of gum, back to 1970 again! That'll be good fun!"
Firstly: it was not fun.
Secondly: I swear, I should file a formal complaint to someone.
I mean, come on! Me and the gumball get hitched back to 1970?
I arrived in front of a door to a pub, probably some time in the middle of the night. There was a loud buzz coming from it, shouts and music too, but I wasn't really focused on that.
I was more focused on the rock god who stumbled out the door that moment.
His long tendrils were slightly knotted, and he seemed a little dazed. Make that more than a little dazed: closer towards drunk.
There were barely two seconds from when he stumbled through the door to the time he tripped and fell: onto me.
We cascaded through the air and, luckily,
landed onto the grass beside the pub instead of the concrete sidewalk.
It had hurt, a bit, but I didn't really care so much. I cared more about the man sprawled next to me, who was grinning with his crooked teeth.
He lay there in a drunken stupor for a few minutes, and he seemed to be off in another world.
I took the moment to try and discreetly scrape the gum off my hand and onto the grass beside me. It wouldn't budge.
The sticky mess was still there when he snapped back to reality and we made eye contact. It was like the recognition of me had knocked some sense into him.
"Florence?" He said, still a bit tipsy.
I replied, "Hey, David. How are you? You seem a little..."
"Drunk? No... I would never..." He gave me a mischievous wink.
At this point, I was still trying to scrape the gum onto the floor beside me, and he looked at me confusedly.
I was rather embarrassed, so I just started to stand up, and he followed.
Once we had both straightened ourselves up, and picked the grass from our clothes, David was the first to say anything next.
"Florence. You're here... I never thought I would see you again... Surely it isn't just coincidence us bumping into each other."
At this point, I had given up with the gum, and just put my sticky hand behind me, trying to act casual and continue the conversation.
"Probably not." I replied.
"It's just... after last time... I... well... where were you?"
I didn't know what to say. Where was I? Only 46 years in the future!
I had to stall him to try and think of an excuse; “David... It's a long story... is there any chance we could talk, maybe, not on the grass outside a pub?"
"Okay... I guess then you can follow me to where I was going. I need to tell you something too, anyways. Plus, I find conversations always go better when you are walking through deserted London streets at 4:30am."
He chuckled to himself, though deep down I could tell he was longing for an explanation for the hurt I had caused him.
David gestured for me to follow him down the pathway, so I caught up, and walked close to him.
"David, can I ask you something odd?"
"When is it? Like the month and year?"
"Florence, what? It's Thursday... 19th March... 1970. I think, but that was indeed a weird question. I'm beginning to think that you, my friend, may be as drunk as I." He gave me a soft bop on the nose, and my heart filled with glee.
Maybe he could forgive me after last time? Was my disappearance really that bad?
In the eerie light of the night, the London streets were quiet yet held a deep sense of vigour and adventure. This London was very different to the one I had left back in 2016.
Hippies were playing guitar in parks, people in bell bottoms were drunkenly coming out of pubs, and vintage cars were churning across the narrow roads. It was sweet 1970s bliss, and it felt even more so as I was walking alongside David Bowie, as the sun slowly began to peek above some of the brick buildings.
The light gave David’s chiseled features a soft glow, radiating light and love and beauty.
This whole time, we had been talking. It was slightly tense and awkward at first, but now, as the dawn approached, we were feeling more free. Though the whole time we steered away from the topic of last time’s kiss, and my disappearance.
David went to hold my hand, and, without thinking, I pulled away - not wanting him to touch the slimy mess still stuck to it.
He looked at me, his mismatched eyes slightly saddened, and a small droop in his lilting smile.
“David... I didn’t mean to pull away like that, it’s actually a funny story...” I began to say. He stopped in the pathway.
“Tell me about it. I know we have just been joking around, but I really need to know. About you, and why you left... It really hurt, Florence. But I tried to move on.”
“David. I’m so sorry, but I just can’t tell you why I had to leave. It was an emergency. I really didn’t want to go, I swear, but that wasn’t why I pulled away-”
“Okay. Fine. You keep your secrets. It’s just, Florence, it’s so hard you leaving like that... wait? Is that, gum, on your hand?”
Midway through his sentence, I had lifted the gummy mess, the size of a tennis ball, up to show him.
“Yes. It is. Some boy put it in my bag. It’s nothing, he’s a douche.”
David tried to act serious. He was hurt by last time, but this was rather too funny for him to keep a straight face. He started full-heartedly laughing, his beautiful crooked smile shining in the new sunlight.
“Is that it? Oh, Florence, you are rather funny! Come here,” David got a twig from the side of the street and swiftly scraped the ball from my hand, flinging it into the trash can nearby.
He was smiling again, and I was glad that at least my sticky situation had helped me get out of my other sticky situation: that conversation.
We continued walking until we get to an office building, and by now it was fully light. At the top of the door was a sign stating, “marriage registration”.
I was confused. Surely David wasn’t thinking of marrying me, after two meetings?
However, my question was answered in the most annoying of ways: Angie stepping out of a sleek black car with her short bleached hair. She scoffed at me, and went over to David.
She embraced him with the longest, sloppiest kiss I had ever observed. And that observation was indeed long, and awkward.
After this, David came to me and said, “I’m sorry, I had meant to tell you. I got so carried away, but Angie and I are getting married.”
Of course they were getting married. They get married in 1970, God damn! I knew this!
How silly I was to even think for a moment that maybe, just maybe, David had actually liked me. Would choose me over Angie.
“What’s she doing here?” Angie asked David as if I wasn’t even standing there.
“I bumped into her, quite literally, down at the pub. We kind of wandered up here, and now, here we are!”
She sneered at this, but acted politely around David, inviting us inside. When I was at the door however, she whispered in my ear so David couldn’t hear, “I win. He’s mine. With those papers, you lose.”
As if it was ever a competition.
Angie clearly only cared for David because he was a budding star, and those papers bonded her to a soon-to-be-growing fortune, but I cared for him more than that. It was as if the universe had brought us together, cosmically intertwined. So much so, it caused me to time travel, apparently.
The wedding was a simple service, with only Angie, David, a few friends and the registrar. It was over in less than an hour, and Angie couldn’t help flashing her ring in my face as she walked out.
David seemed happy.
I had to admit it: he was beaming.
And I knew I should have been happy for him, because it was obvious he loved her. But still, some part of me wanted him to myself. Was that selfish?
He told me later the marriage was ‘open’, so they could still see and date whoever they wanted. I knew that, of course, but it was still very odd. No matter how open this wedding was, Angie still had that ring on her finger, and David on her marriage certificate.
Not five minutes had passed after the wedding, when Angie has gotten back into her car, and sped away on some urgent mission.
David said she was always on those, driving away to go find the next big talent. He asked if I wanted to come back to the house with him.
“I’ll play you some never-before-heard demos I’m was working on - for my number one fan, of course.” He had said.
Back at Haddon Hall, David sat on a large Victorian couch with velvet patterning. I knew this couch! It had the same curves and woodwork as the one on the cover for The Man Who Sold The World.
But it wasn’t until he lay gracefully on top of it that I was sure. His golden tresses fell down, and the stunning man before me made it only too clear I was in a magical moment from the cover of a magical album.
He pulled out his trusty twelve string, and joked about how he had named it “Florence” in my honour. I chuckled, trying not to blush too hard. He always had the best sense of humour.
As soon as his fingers started strumming, I knew the song.
“We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when...”
The title track to that same album with that same chair.
David’s angelic voice transported me into another world. One far far away from 2016, from Ashley, from school, and from the realities of life.
There was only me, David, and his guitar.
It got up to the chorus, and I lost control of my senses. I sang along.
“You’re face to face, with the man who sold the world...” I sang, remembering every intonation and note from the track I had played millions of times over.
David stopped playing, and looked at me, worried and confused.
“Florence, how... how do you know the lyrics? I’ve never shown this song to anyone before.”
I realised now that I was in deep trouble.
Chapter 7: Hallo Spaceboy
The game was up.
I tried every excuse I could think of: seeing his lyrics somewhere, guessing them, even saying someone else had leaked them to me.
The lyrics were nowhere, it was impossible for me to guess what they were, and he had never shown the song to anyone else before.
"Florence, I mean, just, tell me how you knew the song. Give me the truth. It's nothing bad, I'm sure." He chuckled with his beautiful smile, but inside, my stomach was tied up in knots.
"I can't tell you." I said quietly.
His smile faded a little, and his mismatched eyes looked in mine. "Florence... what is going on?"
"I... just... can't tell you. I'm sorry." I replied, even softer. I knew he meant no harm, but I couldn't tell him the truth... surely?
David's features further saddened at my remark. He lost all the giddy joy he had been so filled with a few minutes ago.
He said, "Florence, it isn't just this. I can understand you not telling me something, but you never reveal anything. All the disappearances, all the secrets, it's really hard to bear, you know."
"David, I'm really sorry. I just can't tell you." I said, nothing more than a whisper.
David looked away from me for a moment. I saw his hands go up to his eyes, as if he was trying to hide away tears.
"Florence. I can't deal with this any more. I don't want to push you, but I don't feel as if you like me as much as I like you. And, I mean, I do like you. But all this secrecy - I can't handle it any more."
"David, No! I do like you, you don't even realise how much. Please-"
"I can't. I can't keep seeing you if you keep being as elusive as you are. I'm sorry. P-please... please leave." His face was strained and he was definitely crying now.
So was I.
I didn't bother to argue. I had used every excuse, every plead, but nothing short of telling him I was a time traveller would do. And that was not an option.
Standing up, I walked away and out the front door. A last peak at David's saddened features further blurred my teary eyes.
When outside, I didn't know what to do. Nowhere to go and no way to go home. I had no clue how I could return to 2016.
I had no plan, and I was getting tired. It must have been ages since the last time I slept.
It was probably midday, and the jet lagging (no, time-travel lagging?) was overwhelming. As the whole of London spread before me, for some reason it was as if there was nothing at all.
Nothing in the world, except for the house behind me, and the man within it. I had to see him, say something.
I wanted to knock on the door, yell David's name, and have him sweep outside and pick me up and kiss me like he did before. But now that was impossible. I had ruined everything.
Sitting down on the stairs, I pulled my phone from my pocket, and clicked the on button. I realised I had never actually seen if it had worked here.
It did, but of course the internet or phone services didn't work. All I could do was take photos, and random small things. I guess technology wasn't entirely affected by time-travel.
I started to play some of David's music that I had downloaded. Nothing better to do to pass the time. The Man Who Sold The World once again blessed my ears.
But in a moment, the small moment of happiness from hearing his lyrics turned to immense dread.
I heard David's voice from behind me, "What is that? And, is it, me?
"David! Um... This? It's... uh..." I tried to respond, but there was really no getting out of this now.
"Florence, what is going on? What... how? That song, that's the one I was playing to you. But. It's coming from a screen?" He looked like he had come out to apologise, or do something, but whatever his original intentions were was clearly overridden by the futuristic technology in front of him.
The only thing I could do now was to tell the truth.
This was going to be a very, very, long story.
"Come sit," I tapped the stair next to me, "I have a... bit of explaining to do. And, just, please know what I say is the truth."
I had turned my phone off again and put it in my pocket. He reluctantly sat next to me.
I said, rather bluntly (as really there was no way to put it lightly), "I am a time traveller. I'm seventeen years old, nearly eighteen, and I live in the present day, which is 2016."
I neglected to add that in the present, he was dead.
"No... you are joking! You have to be joking." David said. He was more than stunned by my odd outburst.
"I'm not joking. That thing you saw me holding," I pulled out my phone and turned it on, "this is a phone. It's from the present day. Normally you can make calls and stuff, but it doesn't really work here."
I gave it to him, and he acted as if it was some radioactive material. When he accidentally pushed a button and turned the screen on again, he let out a little yelp and dropped it to the concrete.
There was a loud crack, and I knew it was gone for, but I didn't care. I was more focused on David.
All the colour had drained from his already-pale skin, and it was as if he wore a mask: I could not tell what was going on inside his beautiful head.
There must have been a solid 20 minutes of silence, where David was just staring into the distance. His mind was somewhere on another planet - maybe even another time - wondering what it would be like 46 years in the future.
He broke the silence after a while; "So when you disappear-"
"I go back to 2016. I have no idea how and why and when this happens, all I know is that I come and go. And the one consistent thing... is you."
Further time had passed before he spoke again, "I don't know how I feel about this. I don't even know what to feel! You are a time traveller. You are a time traveller! Normally I wouldn't believe it, heck, I am having trouble to now! But that space box you showed me... how? Just. This is incredible. Crazy."
I started to cry again. Big, sloppy tears that streamed down my face.
At that moment, seeing me there, something inside David must have changed. It was obvious he was still shocked and confused, but he had a small, soft smile on his lips. He tilted my chin up with his index finger, and I came face to face with his soft, beautiful eyes.
"Hey, don't cry, darling. It's obvious this isn't your fault. I'm at least glad you have finally told me the truth." His lovely brutish accent was the only soothing thing in the cruel world.
He wiped the tears from my face with his thumb, and his other hand wrapped around my back, pulling me into a warm hug. It was like I was reunited with the living world, separate from the hell I had been living in for the last 17 years.
David Bowie was the one man I had always counted on when I was sad. His beautiful smile, his lovely lyrics, his melodies that made the world somehow lose its dreary sadness.
And now he held me in his arms, and though everything was wrong, it was as if my life was complete. All was well.
But in the heat of his embrace, I started to feel myself fading away.
All that was left a moment later was a tear falling, mid-air, and a beautiful rockstar grasping at air. His surprise was evident, but a deep level of longing was buried within.
The lone tear splashed upon his open palms.
I arrived back in my bedroom, crying still.
By now, I had gotten enough used to time-travelling that I only felt a little disorientated, and a lot tired.
Back in 2016 it was only mid-afternoon, but I fell straight onto my bed, and fell asleep to the sound of my own quiet sobbing.
I am rather sad to admit that this style of falling asleep became a close friend of mine. A habitual routine that lasted forever.
It had been almost a full year without seeing David. I tried to go about life as normal as possible, but the man of my dreams was always in the back of my mind. And the impending knowledge that at any moment I could be transported to another time, another place.
But it didn't happen. At least not for that span of time.
I was 18 by now, and it was the last half-year of school; early January 2017.
I was expecting another six months much like the previous year had been, boring and confusing. Living in an unknown and boring world.
However, it was definitely not so.
Late at night, probably around 3am, I was listening to David's music in my room. My habit today had alluded me, so instead of falling asleep crying, I was lying awake, considering what my life had become.
The house was completely silent, as everyone else had fallen asleep hours ago. It was just me, in the pitch-blackness, on the bed in my cramped room. The air was stifling, almost as much as my emotions.
Rather a nice environment for someone to materialise from, right?
It started with a small thud on the opposite side of my room, near the door. The sound made me startle, and instinctively I flicked on the lamp light.
Lying on my floor, makeup perfect, in a brightly coloured kabuki-styled knitted jumpsuit, with hair shorter than I remembered (and redder) lay David Bowie.
I resisted the urge to scream, and shout, and yell "Hallo Spaceboy!"
Chapter 8: Moonage Daydream
Ziggy Stardust was lying on my bedroom floor.
And I had no idea what to do next.
Not only had it been almost a year since I had time travelled, but now apparently David Bowie had time travelled himself. And to me, in 2016. And this had certainly never happened before.
For a moment I just sat at the end of my bed, looking at the ethereal space man in front of me. Yes, this David Bowie was not like the one I had left back in 1970.
His hair was so much shorter, and spiked up in a beautiful red fuzz. He wore eye makeup, and a golden circular orb in the middle of his forehead. It almost looked as if he had fallen asleep on my floor, all wrapped up in his large white kimono.
Quietly, I slipped off the bed and moved towards my idol, crouching in front of him. My hand lightly brushed his hair as I tried to look at his face. But then his eyes flicked open, and he jerked upright, coming suddenly back to consciousness.
Both of our heads collided straight-on, and we fell to the floor next to each other. He let out a cute, soft groan, and an even cuter British curse. When I looked back after a while, he was rubbing his head confusedly (the orb all smudged) and I had a deafening headache.
But it didn't matter. He may be clumsy, but he was my kind of clumsy. And David Bowie had time travelled to my room in the middle of the night. There were far more pressing issues than a bump to the head.
He was even more startled when he saw me; "Wait..." His eyes looked at my figure - the small, ordinary girl in her purple pyjamas, "Florence? Is it you? What is going on!?"
I honestly didn't know what or how to answer that question, but we had to talk. Maybe we could figure it out together. I replied, trying to stay calm and chirpy, "Yes, it's me. David! You are here... and some time has definitely passed since I last saw you Mr. Ziggy Stardust!"
He still seemed very disoriented, and had a dazed lilt to his voice, but he replied, "Yeah, it's been, what, 2+ years? Oh, and I'm... I'm uh... guessing then that you heard my single. Ziggyyy..."
He held "Ziggy" for a rather long time, as if his mind was in another place. But it took not much more than another second for him to all of a sudden snap to full consciousness.
He came fully to senses, and his stare fixed. He was no longer gazing somewhat through me, but looked me right in the eyes.
He spoke less confusedly, but still in that lovely accent I pined over, "Wait. Florence. If I'm with you, does that mean you've time travelled back again? Sorry but I must have been high or something because I certainly cannot remember how I got here..."
The Starman tried to sit up, but it was clear his vision was blurred by the action, and he had to lie back down. A slight smirk appeared on my lips as I saw him do this, "Hey there, David, don't worry. Don't get up too fast. When you time-jump it's a bit of a knock to the system."
I realised, as I looked down at the man below me, that this was the exact thing that had happened to me a year ago, when I had turned up unconscious at the London park. The first time I time travelled. The first time I met David.
And now he was here! In my room!
To break the silence that followed my comment, and to cure some of his confusion, I said, "David. I don't think this time I was the one time travelling," And I checked around my room - it definitely was still the same as I remembered, "I think you have travelled here. To 2016. Somehow."
An hour later, David had washed off his makeup, leaving the bathroom sink suspiciously stained, and was sitting on my bed with me, snuggled in his kimono.
It was still hard for him to believe. He had only barely trusted what I had told him last time, and with the lapse of time between when I last saw him - it must have been a shock to wake up in 2016.
Supposedly, our times didn't run simultaneously. Though it had only been around a year in 2016 since I had last seen David, apparently it had been over two years back in the seventies.
As far as he could remember, it was early 1972, and though his soon-to-be album Ziggy Stardust was not complete, he had been preparing for a show as his new character. He was trying to think of some lyrics to a good song that would be third on the track listing when he felt a bit light headed. The next moment, he found himself awoken rather abruptly by myself and a knock to the head.
I'm not going to lie. Our conversation was extremely awkward. Like. A lot.
Yes, we were friends. Heck, he had even kissed me before! But this random appearance after so long left a small unsavoury patch in conversation.
What's worse, was my walls. I mean, yes, my David Bowie poster collection was my pride and joy (second only to the glorious handkerchief still on my wrist), but it was a hell of a time having David Bowie himself inside my room. Looking at himself.
No matter where you turned, his face was plastered on the walls. I can only imagine how weird it must have been for him, given some of the photos he hadn't even taken yet.
I tried not to give too much information away, however, as I had seen enough time travel movies to know not to talk about the future to someone from the past.
"So... You really are my number one fan then, wow." He said, slightly bemused.
"Um, yes. Sorry. Uh - I wasn't really expecting David Bowie himself to appear inside of my room. So, yeah. Enjoy the view, I guess.... I can't say I don't like it." My last words made me cringe so hard, they just came out in a blur of fangirl.
He hopped off the bed with a small curiosity, and started walking around. He inspected the photos, almost as if he was at a museum.
But when I saw him, his high cheekbones, his breathtaking smile, just standing there looking at the posters, I realised none of the photos could ever live up to the man in front of me.
Even without his signature makeup, I was fascinated by the stunning man in front of me. It was as if he radiated a sort of love and passion, a free-spiritedness that I had missed so dearly for the past year.
It wasn't long before he had finished looking at all the photos, rather flushed and embarrassed himself (if a beautiful rock god really could be embarrassed), and he turned once again to me.
I smiled. I knew I had loved him before, as my ultimate idol of course, but now it was different. Something had changed. I knew now that I really loved him. The man in front of me, it was like we were cosmically intertwined. He was my soulmate. I was sure of it.
It was a little bit too long before I realised I was staring. I grew red, and so did he.
It was evident that he was rather shocked from time travelling, and then waking up in a room plastered with his face, so I decided to get a blanket and hang it over my walls. They covered up the posters, and I saw David give a small sigh of relief. It must have been very confronting to come face to face with himself, in the future.
"What is it like outside, Florence? In 2016, I mean." He asked.
In return I said, "I don't know if I should reveal the secrets of the future, but... come over here." I gestured with my hand for him to follow me, and we walked silently into the hallway and up the small pull-down staircase into the attic. It was dusty, and piled high with useless relics, but the part I wanted to show David was at the other side of the room: a small window where a copper telescope sat gazing.
I spoke softly, "I haven't been up here in forever. Not since my father passed away when I was five. He always used to position the telescope in just the right position, so you could see the moon around this time of night. We would come up here whilst everyone was sleeping and listen to your records, dancing and daydreaming of the moon above us."
We took turns looking out the ancient telescope, out into the universe of the present day. David had said he wanted to see what it was like in 2016, and though I couldn't take him through the London streets at 4am, I could show him the heavens.
A million stars dotted the sky, camouflaged by the gray haze that was London air. As a result, it was like the sky was smudged with a faint light, beautiful and magnificent.
David was astounded. Apparently, there was a lot less air pollution in 1972. Nonetheless, he appreciated my gesture and stared longingly at the ethereal lights above.
"I wish we knew what was out there." He said.
I didn't want to elaborate into 21st century space exploration, so I replied, "Yeah. It truly is a mystery of secrets, and you, my Starman, are the observer. You are the searcher, who takes all these little smudges and packages them into songs for the ears and the heart. Honestly, you are what make the stars beautiful."
After I said that, his gaze turned from the stars to me, and I could tell he was holding back tears. I prayed they were happy ones.
"Florence, I have missed you utterly. Forever. And I really appreciate your words, but I don't make the world go round - that is physics and gravity. I don't know what I'm going to do next, but at least, and I'm sure you know, it won't be boring. This whole time travelling thing seems like some odd daydream, but it feels real when I'm with you."
I chuckled to myself, "A moonage daydream, that's what it is."
David looked at me with shining eyes and said, "A moonage daydream... I like that, actually... I feel as if you have piqued my songwriting interest. Give me a moment."
He sat down on a chest on the other side of the room, and pulled a notepad and pencil from one the the many pockets in his kimono. Apparently he was well prepared for when the songwriting mood struck, so he sat silent for a minute, scribbling ideas and humming a rhythm I knew well.
I tried not to show how amazed I was. Did I just... inspire him to write Moonage Daydream? The song he wanted to fill the gap in the Ziggy album? I didn't want to think about whether or not I had just changed the course of history, or if this was the way it had happened. I hoped for the latter.
A while later, we were back in my room.
David started with a small smirk, "So... what should we do?"
I knew what he was thinking, obviously. But I had only met him three times. Plus, I had no idea how this whole time travel thing worked if we were to get... intimate.
He sensed my concern, but he beamed a small smile, though I could tell he was more than embarrassed for his suggestion: his ears were almost as red as his hair.
Without a word, he grabbed a pillow and his kimono, and set them on the floor. In moments, he had created a makeshift bed that he lay down on, and whispered a small, "Goodnight, Florence."
All I could do was watch him with awe. It was the most courteous thing anyone had ever done for me. No questions, nothing at all. I couldn't help thinking about it all night, even when I should have been sleeping.
The next day, I had expected him to have disappeared, leaving only a faint imprint on the floor, but he was still there. The small knot of anxiety I didn't even know I was holding started up. I needed him, but I had to face it.
A terrible, consuming thought that had been hiding at the back of my mind. I mumbled it to myself:
"If he hasn't returned by now, how will he ever be able to get back?"
Chapter 9: The Prettiest Star
Honestly, I had no idea how he could, or whether he would, get back. The longest I had ever stayed in the seventies was a few hours, but he had stayed here, by now, far more than that.
Surely there had to be a connection? There had to be some reason why we kept travelling to and fro... but for now, looking at his beautiful face, and mottled red hair, I guess it didn't matter.
Just for a moment, I could look at my floor, and see a rock god sleeping. He looked contented, and I missed that. I hadn't been contented in a long time. Not since I was listening to David singing The Man Who Sold The World a year ago, in 1970.
As if he was awoken by his name floating through my mind, David's eyes fluttered open. I quickly tried to get back to a normal position on the bed, hoping not to make it obvious that I was just staring at him.
He sat up, and his red hair stood up on one side in a half-spiky mess. He caught me looking, and smoothed it down with a little smile, "It does that." He said.
With a glance at the clock by my bed, I noticed I should have been at school an hour ago... but did it really matter? When David Bowie himself had travelled to 2017 last night?
Oh well. My mum must have been at work by now and my brother at school. That meant we had the rest of the day to ourselves. And I was not going to let that be wasted at school.
In fact, I had a brilliant idea.
I said, "David, you know how last night you said you wanted to see London, in the present? I don't really know how this could turn out, but surely this could be fun? Just... don't remember too much." I let out a small chuckle, though inside wasn't sure if this would mess up some inter-dimensional timeline.
Someone may recognise him, and any matter of things at all could go wrong. But he had a curious glint in his eye I wanted to satisfy, and, to be honest, I desperately wanted to show David Bowie around my London - a dream in and of itself.
His smile widened into its beautiful crooked grin, and I could tell, though he was still bewildered at his situation, he couldn't wait to see what 2017 held. "Yes! I'd love to. Just - keep those alien box lights away for now."
How cute he was! "David, there may be more than modern phones outside these four walls," I replied.
A flash of worry passed over his face, but he straightened it out with a deep, exhilarated breath. I could tell he was itching to go, especially when he stood straight up and started through my bedroom door into the hallway, trying to remember how to exit the house.
"Slow down, partner. I don't know if you could go out into 2017 like that," I said, surveying his knitted body jumpsuit, white kimono, and platform heels. I mean, he looked like a glorious alien rock god (which he was), but that would only draw attention to the fact that he was not supposed to be here.
We went to my mum's closet, where she kept all my dad's old stuff. There was a dust-covered suit and tie, and a pair of leather shoes. But it was evident at first glance the clothes were not going to fit. It wasn't that my dad used to be a large man, but purely that David was definitely not even a medium-sized man. So we took the shoes (the only fitting element) and went to my 12-year-old brother's room.
In his wardrobe, I found a semi-decent pair of trousers and a t-shirt (one of the few non-profanity covered ones), which David promptly put on. It could safely be said that he did not terribly like the normal, grubby style of a preteen, but at least David looked semi-normal.
At that, we could finally leave the house, and begin our tour of modern London. Though I walked over the front door threshold like normal, I could see David was taking a tentative breath. He put one of his leather-toed shoes on the pavement, then another. He looked up at me with a cute smile, like a toddler who had completed some grand new activity.
After his small achievement, we started away from the house, just him and me, and the rest of the city.
It was rather funny actually: when we walked away from the house, it felt as if I was leaving my normal world behind. My whole life had been turned upside-down ever since I landed in a park in 1969, but it never felt like it was actually me.
But with David's hand in mine, I could tell things would never be the same. For better, or worse.
We had no itinerary, but more of a wherever-the-day-takes-us approach.
First, we went to the street food markets, and David had his first churro (which got all over his mouth). Then it was to the museum, the library, the modern arts exhibition (which was a lot more modern than what he was used to), and McDonalds for lunch (he also hadn't had McDonalds, and I can attest that he wasn't a terrible fan, either).
Throughout the walk, our bodies inched closer and closer together, until by mid-afternoon he had his hand wrapped softly around my waist, and we were walking next to each other with no room between us.
All my tension: the stress, the tears, it felt like it was left behind. And as every second went by, it felt as if David was warming up, beginning to feel happier, too.
Our final attraction of the day was the London Eye. The giant Ferris wheel had rather shocked David when he saw it in the skyline (as it was only built in 1998), and we were lucky enough to get a ticket at sunset.
Up, up, up we went. As we inched ever higher above the mixture of modern and ancient buildings, it was as if our spirits lifted too. We were sat next to each other, alone, in the see-through box, just gazing out into the city around us.
I myself had never been on the Eye before, as I was never a tourist, but what a sight to see! At sunset, beautiful reds and oranges splashed about the sky, making it look like a painting where the hazy silhouettes of buildings would cascade in and out of.
In fact, I was so engrossed in the view that it was a while before I noticed David was looking at me. His mismatched eyes were kind, and it was as if he didn't care for what was outside. Merely, he just gazed at me. He was humming something to himself, and with a light flick of his finger began to stroke my hair every so softly.
As we steadily rose higher, his humming began to form a tune, "one day, though it might as well be someday..."
It sounded as if he was creating the words impromptu, and he pointed upwards with a wink as the carriage continued to glide up, "You and I will rise up all the way..."
Then, he looked into my eyes, and tilted my chin up with his index finger, "all because of what you are..."
He leaned in closer, and I could feel his breath as he sang the final lyrics, "...the Prettiest Star."
He continued with, "Thank you Florence, my Star. You always seem to come when I need you most, and I thank you for that." At which he leaned ever closer, our lips entwining in a kiss.
It was everything like in 1970 and more: an ecstasy of colours and happiness. It was soft and tender, and all I could think about was that the man I was kissing was David Bowie. And to him, I was his Star.
We were interrupted when got to the top of the wheel, and the carriage stopped with a clink. David was a little frightened, and pulled away for a moment.
And it was then, in the 0.5 seconds that followed, that something struck me about what he had uttered earlier.
"You always seem to come when I need you most," He had said.
And wasn't that right?
Trying to phrase my thoughts coherently, and explain what I may have just found out, I said to David, "Earlier I was thinking about one interconnecting thing between all this time travel. I think I might have found it. Besides you and I always finding each other, it had always been at a time when we have been struggling, right?
He sat back in his seat, and rested his hand in mine, as if by now he was accustomed to having his traditional theories about the universe shattered.
I continued, "Think about it: when you were depressed before your festival, sad at New Year's Eve, worried about your wedding, I appeared... and last night, when I was having an existential crisis... You came to me. Because I was in need."
It all suddenly made sense.
And surprisingly, David agreed. He was confused, certainly, but it was as if for once something in our lives was clear.
He responded, "Well then, I guess you're my cosmic girlfriend, Star." And he wrapped his arms around my chest and we kissed again, all the way until our carousel had landed back on the ground.
Somehow, this kiss was even better, because I knew inside that whenever I needed him, or whenever he needed me, I would see David again.
In fact, it almost felt as if David was slipping away during this, his figure becoming slightly translucent. Was this what it looked like when I time travelled? Fading into the air?
However, I didn't get to find out, as when the Ferris wheel doors opened, there stood Melanie.
Her eyes were wide, and she let out a very loud curse in surprise.
Chapter 10: The Drowned Girl
Melanie was rather shocked, I'm not going to put it lightly. In fact, I hoped that people and staff around us wouldn't notice this raucously cussing teen.
They didn't. Luckily. But it didn't stop Melanie from giving her ticket to another person and walking off with me and David, very shocked.
I waited until we were trodding along the Thames before I even attempted to explain. Melanie had been itching to know what was happening, but I didn't want to say anything until we were mostly alone.
As soon as I had seen Melanie in the opening doors, I knew I couldn't tell her the truth. I mean, she would never have believed me, but most of all, I had no idea what she could do with the information. I trusted her, but it was better for her to remain ignorant of the fact her friend was kinda-sorta in a relationship with David Bowie himself. Oh, and a time traveller too.
I was now very glad I had asked him to get changed before we left, so he looked semi-normal; the only odd part of his outfit was his beautiful red hair standing on end.
David shook his head lightly and rested it softly on my shoulder as we walked along, and until all three of us eventually sat. We sat on a pier, our feet dangling lazily above the water.
"Melanie. I would like you to meet... Jack." I said, thinking of the first name that came to mind.
David let out a small chuckle, and said hesitantly, "Yes that's me... Jack."
"I think," I said and looked to David nervously, "I think we're dating."
Instead of a gaze of confusion from David, he looked in my eyes, giving me a small peck on the cheek. At the same time, he whispered in my ear, "My Star. Of course we are."
I tried to hide the happiness that was almost bursting from my seams, and so continued on acting normal in front of my friend. She was still my friend, of course, but ever since the split last year, we have never really been the same. The days dragged on as she found other people, and I sat alone at lunchtimes.
But right now, Melanie was probably more shocked that I had just said I was dating David than he himself. Oh, sorry. Not David... Jack...
"Wait? Florence Haywood... You... Are now dating someone? A real person? I've never seen you talk to anyone besides me, let alone get a boyfriend." She said, the words a mess of bewilderment and (might I guess even?) jealousy.
I said, "Yeah we actually met about a year ago. Remember when I ran out of class on the first day back after winter break? I guess you could say we... ran into each other on the way. Cat's out of the bag now."
But the jealousy soon fell away from her face, and she gave me a friendly bump on the side with her elbow. She looked at us two, and I began to realise how much I missed our friendship. Melanie replied, "I'm happy for you. But... something seems odd. I feel like I've seen your face before, Jack. As if it was plastered inside Florence's room or something."
She then gestured to David, and, just for a moment, a flash of recognition flashed in her eyes. David and I laughed her comment off nervously, not wanting to give away how accurate that statement was. "Wait a second. I know it now. You look just like Florence's crush... what's his name?" She started.
David piped up, "David Bowie, perhaps?" He said, with a very cheeky, naughty smile.
"That's the one. I swear, I haven't seen that many images, but from the amount of times I've come round to Florence's back in the day..." She continued, and reached up to David's face with her hands, turning it back and forth.
To break the examination, and hopefully her train of thought, I exclaimed, "Well! What a coincidence. But, sorry, uh... look at the time! Dav - Sorry, Jack - and I must be going!"
With an exertion of energy, I attempted to stand up on the pier. However, gravity was against me, and I found myself not walking as I had expected, but instead falling. And falling into the Thames, at that.
It was less than a second, and it all went so quickly. First of all, I can't swim. I mean, I can paddle and so forth, but in terms of keeping myself afloat in the middle of the Thames: well, you could say I was out of my depth. And I was. I was splashing about, muddy water getting in my mouth, clothes weighing me down. Pulling me towards the murky depths.
But it wasn't another second before I heard another splash, coming from the pier.
David had jumped in the water, and was coming to rescue me.
And before I could be swallowed into the water, he was carrying me in his arms: holding me with his left as he paddled with his right. We soon reached the pier, where he heaved me up heroically and I coughed up a few muddy mouthfuls.
I was lying on the floor, cold and wet and startled.
But I was still here, alive. And what was better: David had saved me. David Bowie had jumped into the river Thames and pulled me out. As boats and ferries rushed by, threatening to drown us both, he had risked his own life for mine. And right then, I knew I loved him more than ever.
After a few moments of recuperation, I rested on his leg, trying to regain my breath. I could tell he was cold and tired too, but obviously he didn't care. He just kept gazing into my eyes, and stroking my hair.
Melanie was still nearby, and got some water and a towel from the nearest store. After helping us with that, she asked if there was anything else she could do. As there wasn't, she left, and it was just David and I alone on the pier.
He started to sing The Prettiest Star again into my ear, a soft lullaby.
But underneath the startling calm, something wriggled deep inside of me. I loved him, but could this ever work? I felt I needed to address my obvious feelings for him. It was no longer some flimsy crush, and I hoped I could tell him.
The next day David couldn't help apologising a million times. For some reason, he kept thinking it was his fault. For no reason whatsoever. But I kept reassuring him that it was nobody's fault but my own clumsiness.
At school, I was directly put into detention yet again. And what a surprise, resident bad-boy Ashley had also gotten on Oswald's nerves, yet again. For the day, I told David he could walk around London, as long as he kept on a hat and hoodie.
But instead of meeting my rock-star boyfriend after school, I was picking up trash in the hallways. In fact, today it was extra-special. Apparently, the principal had grown tired of traditional detentions. Instead, he decided to 'make it fun' and 'spice it up'.
"Whoever picks up the most rubbish gets to give the rest of their detention sentence to the other person." He had said.
And I was determined to win.
Not just because I wanted out of detention, but because I needed to show Ashley that I was somebody. I had courage and willpower. And so what? I definitely was a Bowie Freak. And I was proud.
However, things were not panning out as planned. Apparently, when Ashley actually wants to do something, he could do it. He sectioned off a corner of the school for him, and a corner for me (Of course, his had the most trash).
It had already been half an hour, and I had only gotten less than one bag's worth of rubbish. At this point, I was ready to give up, as Ashley had managed to cheat by tipping garbage bins into his bags. He had four by now.
It was then when the door on my side opened, and a figure emerged. It was David.
In fact, he was all kitted up: he had gloves, a mask, goggles, and long sleeves. He looked like he was about to handle hazardous substances of some sort in a lab.
But, he just smiled (I think, from what I could tell through his mask) and said, "I figured you would be on detention duty. Thought I'd help."
Luckily Ashley wasn't around, so I beckoned him in. I knew he wasn't one for these sorts of things (heck, he almost screamed when he saw the state of the food markets yesterday), but it was the kindest gesture for him to arrive to help me.
With two sets of hands, things were a lot quicker. But it wasn't just that, it was like having David around me was a calming yet invigorating source of energy. Though he was hesitant at first, when he heard the stakes on the line, he set to work. I didn't bother to tell him about Ashley's rude comment from the year before, and we simply cleaned cleaned cleaned.
By the end of the hour, we had managed to scrape up rubbish into eight bags, completely without cheating. David said he would meet me back at the house, and left so he wouldn't get caught by the principal or Ashley.
On the way to the office, Ashley and I had to lug our trash bags and leave them outside. As soon as I saw what he was carrying, I could tell he had already won. He had many more than me. But then one of his bags ripped. Then two. Soon three bags, all in his hands, had ripped open: rubbish pouring over the linoleum floors.
There was two things I could do. One: walk by him, and into Oswald's office. Win and show Ashley what I was made of. Two: help him, and definitely lose.
No matter how much I wanted to chose the former, a sense of moral obligation overcame me. This boy had been so cruel, but I couldn't show him 'what I was made of' until I showed him compassion. Because that was what I hoped I was made of.
So I helped him, and when we re-entered Mr. Oswald's office, Ashley had ten full bags. He gave me a small smirk, which (surprisingly) was only half-filled with arrogance.
The principal was rather surprised that the slacker had managed to miraculously win. In fact, his hand was on his computer mouse, adding another month to my detention, when Ashley piped up.
The boy's smirk had disappeared. He looked first at Mr. Oswald, then me. Something different, unseen before, flashed in his eye. Was it remorse? Guilt? Even, affection?
"Sorry. Mr Oswald. Florence here was just being nice with her amount of trash. Really, we did it together. I helped her, and she maybe even did a little with helping me. It was a group effort, I guess." Ashley remarked, the kind words obviously uncommon for him.
I smiled a little smile. Maybe the boy next to me wasn't so bad after all?
I was very happy when I arrived home later that night. Both my mother and brother were out for soccer practise, or some other extra-curricular, so the house was yet again empty. Well, besides David.
But he definitely wasn't on the first level. All the kitchen, living room, and dining room showed no signs of him. But it was up at my bedroom, when I opened the door, that I found him.
He was on his bed on the floor, reading some book about the internet. He was obviously very fascinated. When I walked in, he looked at me and smiled his goofy smile.
I sat down next to him, leaning over his shoulder to look at a chapter called 'how to navigate the web'. It was that moment, he moved his eyes from the pages and into mine. "Star. I... I love you." He said, in the most soft, genuine voice I had ever heard him speak in.
It was like he was speaking my inner thoughts.
I stared at him, and replied with a long kiss, "I love you too, Starman."
In the morning, he was gone, the only remainder of him a glimmer of lipstick on my cheek.
Chapter 11: Hot Tramp
January 14th, 2017.
David travelled to the present.
A lot has happened since I last had to write, sorry. In the year since my last entry, I hadn't travelled to the 70s, or seen David. I have to say, every day further from him brought me deeper into the depths of sadness.
But yesterday he showed up on my floor, in the present. It was shocking, but over the day we had to ourselves, we bonded more. It was the first time he had ever time travelled himself.
Towards the end, he said he loved me. And I said so too.
After this, he vanished (presumably) back to his time.
I'm now guessing the whole reason we travel back and forth is because of some sort of cosmic connection between us. I came to him when he was in need most, and he came to me when I needed him most, too.
Now that the world has opened up, and I am officially David Bowie's inter-dimensional girlfriend, I don't think my life will ever be the same. I'll never know when or if I will see him again, but all we can do is wait.
February 1st, 2017.
Travelled to: October 20th, 1972.
This time, it was I who went back to the 70s again. Apparently, when David had returned last to his time, no time in the 70s had passed at all. He told me that he landed back in his room and not even a second had passed, though he had been in 2017 for over a day.
But it had been months for both of since he had time travelled. And now I was back in his time once again. The encounter confirmed my thoughts: that we travelled when the other person needed us. I could tell, because David was anxious: he was about to go on stage for his largest concert yet.
But in October 1972, David's hands were clammy and his brow furrowed when I landed in the dressing room. Luckily, none of the Spiders From Mars noticed me.
I managed to help ease some of David's nerves, and was sure to stand to the side of the stage the whole time to comfort him. His mismatched eyes flitted at me throughout the show, with a little acknowledgement and pride. I have to say, seeing Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars live was the best experience of my life.
When he sang "The Prettiest Star" he brought me on stage, twirling me about whilst I fumbled, trying not to look too awkward. We were greeted with applause when he pulled me into a kiss at the end of the song. By the end of the concert, behind the stage, I could see his smile as I faded away.
April 30th, 2017.
David had travelled to the present.
I don't know what exactly caused David to appear in a brightly coloured jumpsuit, his hair in a spiked mane, outside my local McDonald's this morning. I was just on my way to school, and felt a bit dazed myself. I looked to the grass beside me, and he was there: sitting, confused, and waving sheepishly.
But in all honesty, things haven't been going so well in my life, and that's probably why he appeared. It had been almost two months since I had last seen David, and it did certainly feel like about time to see him again. The school therapist was brought up to look at my attention difficulties. Though there was no clear diagnosis, I at least was pretty sure of the reason.
It seems like the only moments I am every truly happy is when I am with David, or when he is with me. Today, we just sat in my room watching old movies, and Melanie came over as well to see me and 'Jack'. It was one moment of happiness, and when he left, I was hoping for once I could try and remain that way.
Spoiler alert: I didn't remain happy. Though I guess that was probably expected.
It was almost another month by the time I saw David again. Every day I had desperately wished to look into his eyes and kiss his lips once more. It was so tough with these long absences.
I wished we could be like a normal couple, where I could see him whenever I wanted to. But I guess if I was 'normal', then I wouldn't be dating David Bowie.
It was the end of May, and the second-to-last day of school when I dropped into 1973.
I landed butt-first on the concrete of some grotty carpark. It was lit only by a distant streetlamp, and splattered with different retro-looking cars here and there.
The parking lot was situated next to a large building, where lights streamed from the front and people were mustering and waiting outside. After dusting myself off, I walked over to them. Many were wearing DIY Aladdin Sane lightning flashes and Ziggy haircuts.
I think I knew where I was.
And if so, it meant David was nearby. And it meant he needed my help somehow. Now the question was: how do I find him?
From the hordes of Bowie cosplayers, I guessed I was outside the venue of a concert. And obviously, he was inside. Probably applying his makeup and eyeliner before the show, or doing a soundcheck with the Spiders From Mars.
I pushed past some Ziggy wannabes and made my way to the ticket kiosk. But before I could even ask anything, the man said in a stern voice, "sold out ma'am. Ages ago. Better luck next time."
"No. You don't understand, I know him. I'm David's girlfriend." I said, but the man simply scoffed and pulled down the teller's curtains.
It seemed like this was going to be harder than anticipated.
I walked away from the teller and sat on the curb, thinking about how I could see David. I must have travelled for some reason. He obviously needed me in some way, but I could only help him if I found him. What other way could there be to get into a concert? Specifically, backstage?
At that moment, I saw a group of half a dozen scantily-clad girls, with 6-inch heels and faces of makeup walk around the side of the venue. They said hello to a security guard, gave him a peck on the cheek, and he let them in the back door, near the edge of the carpark.
Then, an idea popped into my head... and I hated it. But, as I looked at the last of the girls file in, I realised this was my only way to find David.
I looked down at the clothes I was wearing: denim jeans, sneakers, and a tank top with a sweater. Along with my frizzy hair and makeup-free face, I was the furthest from a groupie you could imagine. How could I do this?
It was then that I looked to the other side of the street, where luckily a small thrift shop stood. Surprisingly, the neon light outside still said 'open'. So I walked over, determined to quickly transform into a groupie and find David.
It was very uncomfortable, buying clothes almost as revealing as a bikini. I was certainly out of my comfort zone when I went to the public restroom and got ready. When I had finished, I looked in the grimy mirror and saw a completely different girl.
This was one with teased hair; deep mascara and eyeliner; bright eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush; chunky red platforms; and a skirt that I would hate to bend down in; alongside the smallest crop-top known to man.
I waddled out of the bathroom and towards the concert hall, around the side, where I had seen the other girls enter. However, there was a slight issue that occurred before I even neared the door.
I should have expected it, but dressed like a tramp, I got a lot of stares as I walked along the sidewalk. One man, dressed shabbily with a messy beard, yelled out "Hey lady! I've been looking for one of youse!"
I tried to ignore him, and walk past, but he grabbed my arm and looked me up and down, growling, "I'm willing to pay, you know. I'm interested in your... services."
After that, I was rather frightened. I pulled away from him and quickly sped up to get lost in the Bowie crowd, and then paced around to the side of the building. He shouted some curses, but I was pretty sure I had lost him when I turned around to the side of the building.
There, waiting outside the side-door as before, stood the tall and muscly security guard. When he saw me, I made sure to attempt to act as groupie-like as possible. Rather unfortunately, however, I managed to trip on a stray rock of gravel and fell hands-first onto the concrete of the carpark. The guard came over to me, trying to stifle a laugh, and helped me up.
Okay. This was the time to convince him. Though that accident was not a very good start.
I began my introduction by attempting a terrible accent of who-knows-what, "Hello, darlin'. Thanks for that. I was wonderin' if you could let me inside?"
I started to fiddle with my hair, and turn my head: the first (and probably the worst) attempt at seduction ever. The man just shrugged, as if he didn't care, and said, "Hey, look, honey, we only let the professionals in for the band."
"But... I am a professional. Done it for all the best. Um - Zeppelin, The Stones - um, yeah. Groupie style... they love me."
The man looked at me oddly. I was definitely not the normal girl who would waltz in those doors. "Um... David's expecting me. Please let me in, or see him. Just tell him Florence is here, his Star." But the guard just laughed, and pointed towards the queue outside the building.
At that moment, the creepy man appeared on the side of the venue, looking at me. The one who wanted my 'services'. He started walking towards me, and at that point, I decided I really needed to get inside or a missed concert may be the least of my troubles.
I pleaded to the guard, "Please sir. Please. You see, David really does know me, and you can ask him yourself. But for now, please just let me in. Please, I'll give you some peace, I swear."
The security guard looked to the man by the edge of the building, gave me a look up and down, but then let me in through the door. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Inside, there must have been almost fifty people, all crowding about. Some were doing jobs, some were running about, and others were just sitting or laying down amongst the chaos of amps and wires and roadies. It was very easy to tell when I saw another groupie: they would be wearing a similar outfit to mine, or be lip-locked with some other person. Generally both.
After a while of walking about, I managed to find the dressing rooms. There were two doorswith large gold stars attached to the backs. One said "Ziggy Stardust" and the other "The Spiders".
I went to David's door and got a flash of excitement and nervousness. I don't exactly know why. I was David's girlfriend, after all. I had kissed him, seen him play, he had even saved me from drowning. Nonetheless, when the doorhandle turned and the door opened, butterflies invaded my whole body.
But they soon fluttered away as I saw David on a stool in the centre of the room. There was a line of cocaine ready to be snorted on a nearby table, but that wasn't the worst part.
David was busy making out with one of the groupies I had seen entering through the back door earlier.
Chapter 12: Watch That Man
I'm so so sorry that I've been slow with my updates! Life has been so hectic, and I guess I just needed a good dose of procrastination to get the cogs working.
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But it didn't take long for David to notice me in the doorway, however. He quickly perked up and pulled away from the groupie.
"What're you doing David?" I asked, though I already knew the answer.
"Its-its... nothing. I swear-" he said, but was interrupted by the unnamed groupie, who, frustrated, grabbed her handbag and stomped away. She avoided my eyes, but seemed more annoyed at my interruption than ashamed of herself.
After the girl had rudely slammed the door, David immediately began to speak. "My Star, what's wrong? You seem to be looking very shocked."
"I am shocked, you know, David, I am. How could you be kissing another girl when you are my boyfriend?" I replied.
At this, David looked a bit puzzled, and paused for a moment. After that, he said, "Florence... My Star... I thought I told you that I was in an open relationship?" His tone was sweet and understanding, but it didn't help me from getting overly emotional.
"With Angie! You said you had an open relationship with Angie!" I snapped.
"I do, Florence, but I'm always in an open relationship. I thought this was understood. Please darling, I still have feelings for you, but what with us going back and forth-"
"It was NOT understood David! And I am sure you would know that if you weren't so caught up in yourself! And with that-" I said, gesturing to the cocaine lined up on the side of the room.
"Yes, it is something, David."
"Well, maybe it is. But who cares? I'm Ziggy Stardust, and if I'm not a drug-infused alien, then what am I?"
I softened my gaze, and unclenched my hands I hadn’t even realised I had been clenching. I still didn't like the idea of sharing a boyfriend, but I could sense his insecurities and knew I should probably lay off the topic.
"You are David Robert Jones. My boyfriend. And I love you."
"Not to everyone else. To those outside I'm Ziggy, and honestly, I like being Ziggy. I have the money, the drugs, the girls - honestly Ziggy beats David any day."
"But he doesn't! I love you David, can't you see? Don't get trapped in your character. You are a truly wonderful person even under all the makeup."
He blushed, and flitted his eyes up to me. His face was coy, and even though it was only half done with makeup, it was stunningly beautiful, as always. It was a short moment, but we just gazed at each other, and it was as if I was standing not three feet from a god.
The moment's silence turned to a few minutes’. After this long, I wasn't sure how to break it - or if I wanted to.
David spoke unsurely, "I, um. Have to get changed. Do you want to wait outside, or?"
He took a step towards the door, and his hand moved towards the handle at the same time as mine. We touched, and a warm feeling flowed through my body. A tingling sensation.
We both pulled away, and I caught a glimpse of David's shy look. He was never normally this shy.
But then he moved towards me, and wrapped his delicate fingers around my waist.
“Or... You could stay here?” He said, and slowly lowered his red head, putting his cool forehead on mine. We gazed at each other, our warm breath a powerful rhythm that connected us both.
That was the moment that David's eyes flitted to the large couch on the side of the room. His eyes glanced back at me with a question.
I pulled him closer by his red hair at the back of his neck, and whispered cooly in his ear, "Yes."
It wasn't two moments before David and I were lying on top of each other on the couch, half-clothed. He was in his briefs, me my bras and underwear. He moved in for a long, soft kiss, and I moved my hand up the crevice of his back. I felt his cool, soft skin, and was about to kiss him back when my other hand felt something peculiar on the couch.
Discreetly I unearthed it from beneath a cushion, and found a handful of women's lingerie, still slightly warm. At the discovery, I pulled away from David, and stood up, flustered and, quite frankly, frustrated.
He had just told me before about how he was with other girls while I was gone, but the evidence of l five other pairs of underwear was, to say the least, shocking. It was this physical representation of his promiscuity that brought up all my frustration with him again.
So, standing in the middle of the dressing room in my underwear and platforms, I wave the panties in the air. David by this point has sat up, and upon seeing the stash, goes very red.
"It's not what it looks like!" He says, though it was very clearly what it looked like.
"Well, maybe it is. But c'mon Florence, I thought we were past this. I'm in an open relationship, you can be too. Girls are just girls, you know?"
"'Girls are just girls?' No, David. This isn't their decision. This is yours. If you could just keep it in your pants you would be able to save it for people you care about. And I thought that was me. But, somehow, I don't feel it is."
"Florence, you know you're important to me. Don't get angry, here," He says, picking up a tray filled with cocaine, "Try. You know me, Star, and were just having some fun, but with you, it's meaningful. But, I mean, feel free to have some."
I decline, but am only further frustrated by his offer.
"David. I do love you. But, I guess I can't do this right now."
"Thats alright. I understand. But if its because of the other girls, I mean, I'm a rockstar. What do you expect?"
"Courtesy. At least clean up after your orgies."
I turn and head towards the door, before remembering I was still in my bras and underwear. I quickly shove my top and skirt on, and walk out the door, making sure to slam it on the way out.
I get maybe three metres down the hallway, when I hear David's voice from behind, "Feel free to go! I don't know what you're going to be doing out there in that poor attempt of an outfit, but I sure know what I'm doing tonight!"
That spiteful comment stung harder than it should have. I tried to stop myself from crying, but my mascara and eyeliner dripped everywhere as I walked back outside the venue.
Little did I know, but inside David's room he was not rejoicing with another round of coke as I had thought, but sitting in a stool hunched over, his hands scrunching his red hair. He, too, was crying, and at that moment it wasn't just the time travel which connected us, but our heartache too.
By now, the masses of Bowie fans had all moved into the concert hall. The streets stretched before me: barren and dark and dirty. There was only the pale yellow light of the venue, and the small glow of the streetlamp to see by, and, as far as I could tell, nobody else around.
I didn't know what to do next. I had always been with David when we time travelled. We would find each other, and we would solve each other's problems and then go back home. But right now, I was trapped in 1973, outside a Bowie concert, dressed like a prostitute.
Once again, I sat on the curb, and tried to reflect on what had just happened. I guess I knew that he had to be seeing other girls. I mean, I had seen enough documentaries to know some of the antics that he was up to. But for some reason, a part inside of me wanted to believe it was different. That history could be rewritten, because he loved me.
But apparently not. And now I sat, sniffling and wiping my tears, cold and lonely.
I couldn't tell how much time had passed when I heard a noise from afar. It was distinguishable purely because it was the only other sound besides the muffled rock 'n' roll emanating from the building behind me.
I turned my head, but saw nobody there. It was just the alleyway which led to the carpark, where I had landed earlier. So I went back into my pensive state, only to hear another sound, a gravelly noise, from the same spot.
When it happened for the third time, it became evident I was no longer alone. The noise morphed into the sound of footsteps, heavy, laboured ones, getting louder and louder.
Of course, I had nothing to worry about. Surely I shouldn't believe that any stranger in the middle of the night would be a serial killer?
Nonetheless, I couldn't help but rise from my position, and move towards the venue. At least, if I could get in, I may feel a bit safer.
I looked to the alleyway as I was walking, and just as I did, a man emerged: greasy beard, ragged clothes, overweight. He had an inkling in his eye that was uncomfortable. And what's worse: I recognised him.
The man who thought I was a prostitute earlier stared right at me. Watching that man was so frightening I stopped in my tracks.
He moved quicker than I would think for his age and weight, but he ran to me. He then grabbed my arm with his dirty hand, and clenched his other around my upper body. His faced pressed up to mine and he said, in an airy stench of beer, "You're mine now."
I could see him grab a black fabric bag from his pocket, and he pulled it over my head.
Everything went black.
Chapter 13: Cracked Actor
I just want to tell you that I may not be able to post chapters every week. I have a lot of commitments going on, but just know that I really do love doing this.
Just know that if a chapter doesn't come out one Sunday, it will most likely be on the next. I'm not going to officially say I will change my uploads to fortnightly, but I'm just warning you in case I upload later than usual.
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Hope you like this chapter, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
I must have been drugged, because the last thing I remembered was the bag being thrown over my head, and the man grabbing my wrists; my handkerchief thrown to the pavement as he bound me.
The next thing I knew, I was in the back of a van. Driving god knows where. Though the bag was over my head, I tried to use my other senses. My hands had been duct taped behind my back, and my mouth and legs had also been taped. I was sat on the dusty floor of the van, among (from what I could tell) boxes and cabinets full of unknown things.
It was then that the reality of the situation hit me.
I had been kidnapped, and I was now in the back of a man's van, driving possibly towards my death - or worse.
I had to somehow escape.
From behind my back, I wiggled my fingers - at least those were free. I tried to move my hands around the floor of the van - try and find something, anything, that could be of use.
After a full minute of searching around the dirt and dust at the van's floor, we took a sudden sharp turn, and I heard the rattle of something like a screw come towards me. Not wanting to hesitate, I used all my strength to throw my body to where I heard the sound. It hurt like hell, hurtling my body across the van, but I knew that I would be in for a lot more pain if I didn't somehow get away.
It was then when I heard my captor's voice from the driver's seat, "What's going on back there?"
But he knew I couldn't answer. It was some sort of sick joke, that question. He chuckled for a bit, and then said something to himself about his 'intellect', and turned up the radio.
Bowie was playing. Specifically, Cracked Actor.
Let me tell you, having a much-beloved song ring in your ears as you are being abducted really puts a bitter tone to things. I tried to block it out, and wished somehow that David had never written it. In any matter, it couldn't help me now, and if I ever got out, I didn't think I would ever listen to that song again.
I fumbled my hands about - trying to find the screw somewhere among the grime. Eventually, I felt something small and metallic in my fingers. But what was more important - something sharp.
I picked the screw up in my hand and bent my wrist at awkward angles in attempts to break the tape's seal. I scraped the duct tape a few times, and though more often then not I ended up cutting my own skin, eventually I heard a small tear.
At this, I put all my strength into jutting my arms out - separating my hands and ripping the tape. It split cleanly, and I had to stop myself from squealing in happiness.
With my hands free, bloodied as they were, I went and took off the bag, and the tape on my mouth and legs.
Now that I could see, I noticed the van was a lot smaller than I had thought, and had one metal cabinet on the left side, filled with tools and screws like the one I had used. There were no windows. At this point, the van was still driving, so my next task was somehow exiting a moving vehicle.
There was one door, luckily, at the back of the van. I decided to wait for the next stop light to open the door and jump out.
I started to stand up, using the van's wall to help, as I was still quite groggy from the drugs.
It was then when we took another sharp turn, and I lost my grip on the wall. I was unable to stay upright in my condition, and toppled over. My natural reflexes caused me to reach for the nearest object to stop my fall - the tool cupboard.
As soon as my hand landed on the cool metal of the cabinet, I realised it was on wheels. But it was too late, and with my body weight behind it, it wheeled around and toppled over on top of me. The various tools and screws clattered around and gushed out of the draws.
The "What's going on back there?" This time was a lot rougher, and more serious. I could tell he knew something was up.
That was when the van stopped, and though I was underneath a metal cabinet, I managed to push it off me, and turned the handle of the van door. I didn't bother to look outside but simply leaped from the van.
But where I landed (face-first, may I add) was not, in fact, the middle of the road, as I had expected. Instead, I had crashed into the concrete floor of a large abandoned garage. From the ground, I had the perfect view and just enough time to watch my only exit - the large automated garage door - screech to a close. I could do nothing about it.
I was trapped inside. And what's worse: just at that moment the figure of a man jumped from the van and walked towards me.
I woke up, yet again, from another drug-induced sleep: this time tied to a chair in the middle of the large garage, but with no bag over my head.
From here, I could see the tin roofing, with translucent parts that just let in the dull light of the moon. Everything here was rusted and yellow, and the room was populated by random furnishings and trinkets from god knows where.
From the corner of the room came my kidnapper. The overweight dirty man waltzed over to me with an unbecoming sluggish nature. He dragged a random office chair, with a wonky wheel, over to me. He slid it about a metre from me, swivelled it to face me, then promptly sat down.
There was about five minutes where the man just sat there, his disgusting eyes, like pools of tar, staring at me. He just kept looking me up and down, up and down, up and down. The word 'uncomfortable' couldn't come close.
Then finally he spoke, his voice gravelly and rotten, "The name is Karl."
I didn't reply.
He continued, "Nice try, your little escape earlier. You would think you ought to keep it down a bit more the next time you try to escape, though. Don't you think?"
I stayed silent.
"Aw... c'mon sugar. I'm just teasing. But you really did hurt me before the concert - all I wanted was a little fun, and you ran away. Nobody runs away from me."
At this, I couldn't stay quiet any longer. I don't know whether it was courage and stupidity, but I spat in Karl's face, and proceeded to say, "You're insane. Let me go!"
He wiped the spit off with the hairy back of his hand, and his face hardened. He pulled a gun from his back pocket.
I froze up, and could feel my body shaking from fear, even under all the bondage.
But he just held the gun in his hand, and used the barrel of it to scratch his chin. He grinned maniacally as he did so.
Then Karl stood from his chair. He paced around me, throwing the loaded gun from hand to hand like some sort of demented juggling clown. He stopped when he got behind my chair, and bent down to my face. I could feel his stale breath on my face, and it made my insides churn.
He whispered, "Now. What are we going to do with you?" In my ear, and he was so close he was practically touching it. He then put his clammy fingers on my shoulders, and I couldn't take it any longer.
I bit Karl on the hand with as much force as I could muster. I tasted blood.
He gave out a yelp and jumped backwards, nursing his bloody left hand. But even though he was distracted, I could do nothing in these precious few moments, as I was bound to the chair.
When the window of opportunity had closed, and he had straightened out, he held the gun in his undamaged right hand.
With a smug grin, he said "Bad move, sugar."
Karl cocked the weapon, and aimed it at my forehead. "So pretty. So young. What a shame."
He pulled the trigger.
I was not quite myself after Florence had left.
I did my show - don't get me wrong - I tried my best to be smiling and happy and entertaining for my fans. But all I could think about was my Star. I knew she would be somewhere in the seventies, and that she could never return until we made amends.
She got so frustrated with my girls and my drugs. But what did she expect? I'm a rock 'n' roll star! I kept telling myself that: trying to convince myself that I wasn't the issue. It was her. Surely?
When it was time to perform 'The Prettiest Star', however, it was rather hard for me to keep my smiling persona. Ziggy melted from me as the intro began, and I felt as if I was left naked on stage. My persona was broken, and I truly felt like a cracked actor. I really wished I had never written that song now. It hit too close to home.
I looked to the side of the stage, half expecting to see Florence there, smiling and waving (and inwardly screaming about how she was at a Ziggy concert, but I wouldn't have known that).
Of course, she wasn't. It was just roadies and crew members. I looked at them; their expressionless faces; just another day on the job. And I couldn't bring myself to sing the song.
Instead, a tear created a ravine through my dense makeup, and I walked off stage. I had to see Florence. Find her.
Outside the venue, I went looking. It was intolerably hard to walk around in the dark in my platforms, and it was intolerably cold in only my jumpsuit and kimono. I could only imagine what intolerable circumstance Florence was in right now.
But after 15 minutes of searching the immediate area, my girlfriend was nowhere to be seen.
That is, until I came across a hint of fabric in the gutter outside the concert hall. I went over to it, and picked it up.
It was a handkerchief. My handkerchief.
Something had happened to Florence. Something bad.