Abel stared at the photo his girlfriend had taken. The ballroom was awash with lights and streamers. The chandeliers showered the occupants with pale light as they danced and frolicked as the minutes ticked away. Hanging on the well above the champagne fountain was a banner announcing: Happy New Year. The year was obscured by the many balloons that floated in the air. Some were allowed to wander and move as the breeze from the open window allowed. Others were anchored to walls and tables. The guests were adorned in strictly black tie attire. The men all wore tuxes, their tails flapping as they moved and jived with the band as they played. The trumpeter stood mid note, cheeks puffed like a foraging chipmunk. Short dresses clung to the women as they danced, drank, and laughed at their counterpart’s terrible jokes.

Each patron stood amongst Abel, the men and women posed around him. One held up bunny ears behind his head while others kissed their partners or posed for the photo. One woman, wearing a frightful bunny mask, had her arms wrapped around Abel’s shoulders, her lips barely touching his smiling cheek. The clock was nearing midnight as the poppers and noisemakers were being handed out along with dozens of champagne flutes. The party was in full stride and showed no sign of ending even though the year was reaching its close.

Abel stared at the photo stunned, unsure of what to think. He felt a small touch of fear because when the photo was taken, he was the only one in the empty, dilapidated banquet hall.