She sat on the railing of the bridge, contemplating life as she knew it. Living in the boiler room of a dirty, dingy bar for the first fourteen years of her life. Wandering for what was to be the last eight years of her life. Sometimes she'd give out sexual favours for a room, a meal, but most often, a hit.

She gingerly touched the needle tracks on her arm, winced. They were infected. The needle she had used had been dirty, found in a dumpster. It inflamed the wounds, made them red and sore. If only the infected holes in her arm were the worst.

No. She'd heard of people dying from that disease. She wasn't quite sure what it was called. HIV or AIDS, or something like that. She'd never been to school, was never taught the rights and wrongs of the world.

That weird bar owner having sex with her mother in front of her, so they could stay in the boiler room another week. A few years before she ran away he asked her to join in. Threatened to kick her out if she didn't. So she did. He took a needle and injected her with something wonderful called Heroin. She liked the sensation.

The sex was okay she thought, until he started hurting her. He once made her use an axe, while he sat on a dirty, ripped chair and held her mother at gunpoint, while she sucked on his... what did he call it? Horn E. Devil, or something stupid.

By the end of it she was bleeding, but he wouldn't let her see a doctor. When she finally found the courage to leave, she could barely walk, she was in so much pain. She never fully recovered from that night with the axe. Every night when the bar closed, he'd fuck her on the bar top. Sometimes he'd even use the beer taps. Once, the night before she escaped, he used a wine bottle opener. It hurt her so badly, but he found pleasure in her pained cries.

Somewhere in her constantly drugged stupor, she realised this wasn't right. She wanted - no, needed to get out of there. She packed her bags and snuck out in the night while he was asleep on top of her mother. She almost forgot to steal the heroin. Enough to keep her going for a good month, as well as some for dealing.

She eventually found a doctor-type junkie. Gave him drugs, he helped her pain. Told her she couldn't have children. Her body had been too messed up with the axe and the other things the bar owner subjected her to. She didn't care. Didn't want children anyway.

She let her body heal, then wandered, taking drugs, sleeping with dealers and others for a room, a meal, anything. It was all she knew. To her, it was right.

When she ran out of drugs, she gave sexual favours for that too. She couldn't live without it. She hated the stuff, but it made her feel... invincible.

Until now.

She had been feeling ill for a good few weeks, so she found a cheap community doctor. Tests were done, she was told she had a disease. Incurable.

She was dying.

She sat on the railing of the bridge, contemplating life as she knew it. A poor, sad excuse for a life, filled with nothing but drugs, sex and pain. She was dying; there would be much more pain to come.

She had enough of pain. It was too much.

Two cars sped past. She was illuminated in the first car's headlights. A moment later, in the light of the second car, nothing marred the cold, lifeless steel of the railing.

A distant splash, somewhere below.