Eli Miller was a legend among the New Albion underground party circuit. For those in The Scene, who religiously spent their weekends at one of the all night, drug fueled dance parties that appeared each weekend like clockwork, the name Eli Miller was always pronounced in the most reverent tones.
When the music, the drugs, the crowd, the scene grew boring, Eli was the cure. Eli had Golden Tickets. You thought you were immersed in New Albion’s hippest, wildest dance scene? It was rumored there was a hidden party circuit, invite only, on the fringe of the fringe. Knowledge of where the secret parties of the hidden circuit were were unknown and entrance impossible unless you had a Golden Ticket.
But the few who had attended one, who had scored a Golden Ticket from Eli, swore with a religious fervor, with a glazed, wild look in their eye, that every other party, drug or scene put together was a pale shadow.
Sometimes when someone well entrenched in the party circuit suddenly up and disappeared, stopped coming to the weekend raves and usual hangouts, rumors would start that they had scored a Golden Ticket and stayed at the hidden party. Sometimes it would be said they went but upon return simply dropped out of the scene, never able to come close to the perfect weekend ever again. A twist on the rumor was often that they had gone to the hidden party and returned, but it had been that one straw too much, and now they were just an aimless burnout, some circuit in their brain permanently fried.
Eli would show up randomly. At 3 in the morning at an outdoor rave he might suddenly be on the outskirts of a field. At a club at midnight he might be hanging out in the bathroom for 15 minutes minutes before disappearing.
If you were lucky, in the right spot at the right time, could catch him and had the cash on you, he would sell you a Ticket. The Ticket was actually an obsidian stone. He might tell you a day and instruct you to dress up and stand outside at twilight. Those would be the only instructions given. After selling it he’d usually disappear although sometimes he’d hang around for a bit after allowing himself to be parted with the stone.
Very, very few people knew Eli was my cousin, and those that did knew to keep their mouths shut. I was a fixture in The Scene, but could be unnoticeable enough when i wanted. Eli actually crashed at my place several times a months, always on the weekdays when there wasn’t likely to be after party guests lounging around.
Because i knew the family curse i never went near one of those damned “tickets”, but i’d be lying if a said i wasn’t on occasion curious and in my more self destructive moments actually tempted.
Our family had a curse going back before memory, which we kept a tight secret on.
Every generation there would be a Chosen One. Gender seemed irrelevant. On their 16th birthday they would begin to be taken. Some nights they would simply disappear and return in the morning exhausted with tales of an incredible underground ballroom and surreal soiree that seemed both refined and animalistically wild at the same time. The stories were outlandish, like a fevered dream, yet the Chosen One each generation would consistently describe the same things.
Once they turned 18 they were taken regularly. Often they would love it initially, but little by little it would prove to be too much. They would be constantly weary, ragged, dull eyed and all would die in their mid 20s from exhaustion.
I was a year younger than Eli, but when upon turning 16 he was taken, it was me he confided in and consulted. He knew the score, what his fate would be.
We tried a number of things until we finally stumbled across the Plan.
The Faeries who took him loved the novelty of a human guest and the obsidian stone led them each generation to their next guest. Eli figured out quickly the stone was the beacon and tried every way he think of to get rid of it, but bury it, throw it in a river, put it on a truck driving out of the city, it always ended up back with him.
One Saturday night at a weekend party, he gave it to someone who was complaining how bored they were with the same old same old of weekend revelry. Strangely, the stone took several days to find its way back to Eli and the other person was taken instead of him.
Thus did Eli stumble across his salvation. He sells the curse to those who want it and while there are casualties, they willingly chose to roll the dice.
Eli can never be sure after he “sells” the stone when it will turn up again. Sometimes it doesn’t turn up for several days. Every morning Eli must make sure the stone is not among his possessions. The Faerie Queen adores this game and loves to try to trick him. The stone gets harder and harder to find. When he inevitably screws up and they come for him, the Queen is always overjoyed to see him. He offers the finest game of this sort they’ve had and she is so enamored with him, the nights he attends the Faerie Ball, all dance extra long and with extra ferociousness.