Hands tremble as she fumbles with the last of her cigarettes. It’s been days since she’d found a fix. She hasn’t slept. The walls in her apartment make it feel more like an elevator than a home. Today, she got lucky. Today she could get back to feeling normal, but what was the point?
“How the hell did I end up here?” She mumbles to herself with the final flick of her bic.
Smoke fills her lungs and twirls in front of her thin fingertips. No one is there with her, but she continues to speak quietly, as if that’s the only way her demons will hear.
How did she get here? It seems like just yesterday she was loading down her car and heading off to a better life. Something that happened seldom in the small town where she was raised in. No one ever got out of there, not alive anyway.
It all happened so quickly. Bastard came out of nowhere; ran that red light like it was invisible.
“One too many beers and the world around you just seems to… disappear.” She inhales sharply, remembering. So much glass. So much blood. She can still taste it.
Physical therapy could only do so much. It wasn’t long before the orange bottles were rolling around empty on the floor of that old Honda, and she was scrounging for change for her next refill.
That’s how it started. The little orange bottles. That drunk bastard and that damn red light.
“Why was I even at that intersection?!” her voice is louder now. Frustration curling the corners down like hotel bed linens.
Before the accident she had options. Her future was bright. She had a family, friends, and a great job. Anything she put her mind to she mastered. She could have been anything, anyone, and the world didn’t seem so…
“Dark and empty.” She shakes her dead and takes another drag.
It couldn’t be more different now. Her mind and body were failing her. She didn’t have the energy to brush her hair even on the best days. Others, she was lucky if she got out of bed. Her friends and family were gone. She’d spent too many hours trying to feel normal, and not enough with them. They only checked in to make sure she wasn’t dead.
She goes back to that intersection for another brief moment. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn't have been there at all.
A smile forms, only briefly. The thought of him soothes her momentarily, until she realizes that he’s gone too. They’ve left her to rot in this coffin sized apartment where the rents is 2 months past due.
Extinguishing the cigarette, pushing herself off the couch, she makes her way down the hall. Sweat kisses the small of her back, but her skin is freezing cold. No one would be here to wake her if she ever fell asleep, and that was her own damn fault.
Or was it? This could be all part of gods plan, right? What god would plan for someone to struggle like this? What god would leave her alone, scared, and praying for death?
“Not my god,” she chuckles sarcastically to herself as she bends as much as her back will allow to turn on the shower. Warm water feels nice. Maybe she’d have enough to stay in the tub for a while.
She hasn’t turned a light on in days, terrified of the electric bill she can’t pay. She fills the empty shampoo and conditioner bottles with water. It’s diluted more than once over, but it’ll have to do.
They did this to him. They'll do it to everyone if they aren't stopped. I have to do this. I have to be strong and do this for Bennett. For Mom and Dad. For everyone. She thought as her breathing slowed and she relaxed.
She shouldn't be so surprised. They'd known this moment would come for years. They'd both lived in fear for so long. They knew this was coming. The only thing they weren't certain of was who would be first.
I loud clink can be heard in the distance. Distinct metal on metal as a door slams shut, footsteps barely recognizable under the shudder of metal through the thin walls. She stops her pacing only momentarily, staring through the double panes of frosted glass, tracing the movement beyond with her eyes.