"...And don't look back"
By Liz Bee
The first thing I knew was the dark and the pain, everywhere. Movement bought a wave of immense and excruciating pain, so I stopped doing that. I began to feel other things, like the cold and the rain and the cement beneath me, my drenched clothes and sodden shoes. Then came the stench: cigarette smoke, petrol, cheap perfume, vomit and something metallic I could taste on the air. Blood? It all registered briefly but then with it came a torrent of memories, sights, smells, sounds, all crashing in on me at the same time: the sheer weight of it literally made my head pound. I could taste the cigarette and remember the actions a thousand times over, like they were carved into my brain: open box, get cigarette, fumble for lighter, light, take a deep drag, breathe out.. and the craving was awful. Imagine that, except multiplied. When I say this was an assault on my senses, I mean it. Then my attention traveled outwards to the sounds surrounding me: thumping bass, motors roaring, neon buzzing, rain so loud and hard it rattled off buildings and bounced off the pavement. Then the weak groans. I realised they were mine. Then the fact that there even was a "me" occurred and I think it must've been too much to cope with. I blacked out again - and maybe it was just as well.
The second time wasn't as much of a shock. After the initial onslaught of sensation I managed to focus instead on opening my eyes - a laborious task but worthwhile. Lights swam into view and they were so bright, reds and greens and yellows all winking at me and humming gently. I remember thinking they had to be the most beautiful things I'd ever seen... I was in a trance and I'm not even sure how long for. Time didn't seem to exist there.
My saviors were unlikely.
"Give us 'nother line, ay?"
"Wait your turn", the other one snapped.
I dimly wondered at the bickering of two full -grown men. It didn't occur to me to turn my head. I heard sniffing, and then stumbling, and then sharp pain bloomed in my ribs as one tripped on me.
"Shit! You alright?" his friend exclaimed.
He rolled off me and onto the concrete. His head hit the ground with a thump and his face broke out into a grimace. He grunted and pulled himself on his knees.
"The hell was that? My head fucking hurts." he complained.
"Shut up" snapped the other suddenly.
"Feels like I got a brui -"
"Shut UP. Look."
For a minute they didn't say anything. Then:
"Christ. I need another line."
"Agreed. We're going to yours."
It passed unspoken: we didn't do this, we didn't see this. Out of sight, out of mind... but a new voice, husky and accented, rasped out.
"Wait." It was tiny and choked, pathetic. I realised it was mine. I dragged my head around. The two baulked and for a second I thought they looked hilarious - red-rimmed eyes, white powder staining their flared nostrils, jaws open in stupid disbelief.
"Wait. Don't go." I pleaded. I saw their thin, hollow faces flicker to the blood on my jacket and then to my face. One winced and suddenly clamped his wiry hand over his mouth. Was it really that bad? The other hesitated before groping his pockets for a mobile phone.
"We're on Hudson - there's this woman we found. Yeah. Yeah, nah. Her head is bleeding."
"Yeah, she's conscious."
"Yeah, I think so."
He turned his gaze back to me, while the other crouched against a wall with his head in his hands. I caught a glimpse of his shoulders poking out from his shirt as he stooped. There was a heaving noise and then suddenly he was puking all over the pavement, his friend looking on through glazed eyes with a passive sort of disgust. Time trickled by until the sirens came again, and this time I was grateful.
Chapters will be short, all under 2000. This isn't happy or romantic, but I don't do angst either.
If you review I'll be stoked.