I grit my teeth peddling my bike. Damn it’s cold, my socks are wet. The water splashed around my tires as I cut through the street earning a honk from a passing car.
“Watch where you’re going, moron!” I whipped my head around, catching the exact moment before the red faced man rolled up his window. My hand twitched at my waist for the .45 before taking a deep breath. I watched the heat fog into the air. I couldn’t risk this spot being blown, it’s the only one that’s ever lasted this long. Hopping over the curb, I got off my bike bending down and tying it to the corner by the store. I walked in, the small bell ringing as the door swung shut.
“Bolten’s Bookstore, H-” The wrinkled old lady looked up from a small stack of papers, golden glasses slipping down her nose. Her eyes seemed barely open as she looked up at me for a moment. “Oh! I didn’t notice it was you! Back to study for exams?” She smiled, yellowed dentures showing slightly. That’s why this works so well. You never notice anything.
“Yes ma’am.” I forced a smile.
“I can never remember your name but I always remember that sour face.” She shook her finger at me, arms of bracelets clinking together as she winked. I wonder if she remembers Javi? I imagine he drops off the package with his signature diamound grill smile. Sill managing to ooze charm despite his his greased back hair and sharp thick side burns.
“Hey now, I at least remember your name. Judy.” I joked awkwardly. Trying to focus on her fried white hair instead of her eyes. They always seemed all knowing, even though green was dulled with age.
“Go on now, child. Get to studying.” I muttered thanks under my breath. The only reason I tolerated her small talk was each time I’m here she seemingly loses another marble. I moved to the bookshelf in the back, most of the books covered by dust. I bent down, quickly reading there spines. Looking at the numbers Javi gave me that I scrawled on my hand.
“World history…30’s...40’s...50’s” I stopped and pulled the book out, setting it on the ground obscured by the desk.Squatting down I looked at the empty space where the book was groping in the space behind the self. The tip of my fingers grazed over the small package pulling it out to tuck a hidden pocket inside my jacket. Then I repeated the same process for the 90′s and 70’s. Releasing the breath I was holding as I put the last book in its place, I tugged my hair out from the bun, trying to twist some of the water out from the inky colored curls. I laid against the bookcase, picking up my phone and setting an alarm for an hour. It buzzed as I quickly typed in the keypad.
“I got you books, Leo.” I whispered, peeking around the corner of the desk making sure Judy was still in the same spot.
“Good. Will you be joining us at the trailer soon ?” Her words simmered with quiet command, letting me know it wasn’t a question.
“Yes.”I swallowed “ Is Alea there? I haven’t heard from her all day”
“She’s with Claire. She hung out with Tina too long and a John broke her phone”.” My heart stopped as I thought of her this morning, trying to hide the small sore blossoming on her forehead. I clenched my phone tighter to my ear.
“Leo what happ-” She cut me off before I could even start to collect my racing thoughts.
“A. You don’t have to trust me but please trust my wife. She knows how to take care of the girls. They are setting her up a new one as we speak.”.-
“i’ll be there in less than 40 minutes.” I said hurriely.
“Next time take the car, leave the bike.” She said pointly, knowing it would hinder my trek back to the trailer.
“Its a nice fucking bike, Leo.” I knew it wasn’t, it had old chipping oranage paint. Even on the side where he sighed his name in black was starting to curl. His perfect handwriting still managed to be legible even with the edges peeling. All the tires, brakes and handles are new but I kept the same frame he had. It is the second to last thing to see Cyrus before he died.
It was rare for me to even take the bike out of it’s place in my living room but today I felt the strange urge to bring it with me.
I knew it wasn’t nice in the slightest but I would be damned if I didn’t still tell people how perfect it was. This year is the year he and I are finally the same age. In two months the eight year gap would be closed forever. Then in a years time, I would be older than he was alive.
I leaned my head against the bookshelf, straightening my crossed legs. Overwhelmed by a weighted sense of tiredness. The thoughts of Cyrus started to meld into thoughts of Alea. If she OD’d again, Leo would tell me if not Claire. Leonora was revered in the underground circles, Known simply as Leo,leader of the Cortez’s drug operation. She and Clair were the closest I had to family. Though I knew as close as we were if I ever became a threat to her empire she wouldn’t hesitate. Levi loomed across the territory in inner the city, dusting the edges of ours. Leo couldn’t have another risk. They were amicable for the sake of their own induical business. Bad blood ran deep and wide between them.
Levi was slick and oily like a snake only dealing exclusive cocaine in the upper part of the city.
Leo worked on the edges weaved in between the city and the outskirts. Cocaine was more expensive but crystal sold more which means we also moved more product.
“Risk on top of risk on top of risk.” I murmured, thinking again of Alea. Her thin brown hair preened to look fuller with sickly brown skin. She was very average in looks. Nothing ugly but nothing eyecatching. Her stormy grey eyes always proud and engulfed by heavy black eyeliner. We were together, I don’t have the faintest idea of when it started or when it will end. It was as if I woke up with her in my trailer and we just were. Often she would take off her ripoff designer heels and place them on my coffee table sinking in the couch with a hiss of the blow torch telling me about her johns that day. I knew what she was and I knew it wouldn’t change just as I wouldn’t change for her.
My eyelids sunk down as I tried to force away the visions of her thin body convulsing on the floor. Anxiety still gnawed at my stomach, even though she was in Claire’s care. She needed to stop bringing Mia with her when she’s hooking, it made the work ten times more dangerous. Claire even told her if she gets clean she’ll take her off the street and into the hotels. Alea would then only see vetted john and make over ten times more than she does now. Claire wasn’t a streetwalker like Alea. She was an escort ,only going on dates with high class wall street type men. Alea used to keep promising it was the last time then eventually she just quit promising all together. She would rather work on the street then give up Tina.
“ After all the times you’ve been stolen from and beaten. Is it still worth it?” Foam came out of her mouth as I turned her on her side screaming. I grit my teeth grabbing the sides of my head. “Tell me! Is it really fucking worth it?” I said as if she was here, banging my head back against the bookshelf. It struck with a thud harder than I anticipated the bookshelf hitting the wall. A book cascaded down followed by three more as I sat still not even wasting my breath on curses as they hit me one by one. I pressed my palms in my eyes. The old bat likely won’t even notice. I might as well shake all the books off the shelf and she still wouldn’t look up. Tacky pink glasses still focused on whatever it is she’s doing behind the desk.
“Did you accomplish whatever you were attempting to do?” A smooth raspy voice cut though the air as I snapped my head up scrambling to my feet. My mouth went dry as I was met with intense green eyes. The same color as dark moss, filled with authority and slight bewilderment as if he could not believe what I had just done. For a moment an apology started to form before I sneered.
“I did in fact.” I swallowed hard, taking in this unknown man. I knew he was never in the shop when I was or else I would have noticed him. He projected an energy that would draw the attention of anyone in his vicinity. Silky silver blonde hair, slicked back. Dark eyelashes making his eyes seem deep and prominent in his skull. My eyes continued to scan his face going to his greek nose and high cheekbones. Landing on his full lips twisted in irritation. He was older, in his late thirties and so physically appealing it was hard to swallow..
I shook my head as if I could throw out the intrusive thoughts. Disgusting.
“Good because I was worried you just slammed your head into my bookshelf for no reason, now that I know you accomplished something I can rest easy.” His voice laced with slight amusement making my skin prickle and scowl deeper. His voice was deep and raspy, making all my hair stand on end. Standing up I jutted my chin up to meet his eyes. He was only an inch or two taller than me, a slender athletic build wrapped in an expensive navy suit which only added another layer to my growing dislike of him, even more so with his windsor knotted tie a golden and white flower pattern swirling on it hyponatizing me.
He was a pretentious bastard, the kind that made blood boil. His attire could have bought me a new car. I had money now but I remember what it was like to have nothing. I bet he knew nothing of struggle born with a silver spoon hanging out of his lush mouth.
“You should try it, maybe you’d accomplish something too.” I snapped, “Try it a few times” I cocked my head as his face was unreadable ,”Actually no just bang your head into the bookself till you fucking pass out.” It stayed still for a moment before he gave a small twisted smile.
“Do you feel better, my dear?” He inquired, sounding simply curious.
“Excuse me?” I huffed my ears starting to burn. Who is he? I was almost positive I’ve never seen him in the store. Not a single time which is odd as barely anyone came in and the faces were all the same week after week.
“I asked if you feel better, dearest” He drawled, voice sly and mocking.. The word made my skin feel even tighter.
My fists clenched till they turned white as my cheeks flushing hot. The anger finally boiled over as I turned around, grabbing the book shelf and shaking it till it was bare. I could feel the heavy spines thud against us on the floor as I pushed it back into place with a harsh intake of breath at the bruises already starting to form on my skin. I panted feeling out of breath from the vigorous shaking of the heavy wooden shelf. I wanted nothing more than the man to join the books on the floor. I’d swing till my knuckles were covered in blood and his ivory skin was scattered with bruises. I knew I was more slender than most in the underground, but I made up for it by being scrappy and fast. Yet all I did was turn around with a smug look of satisfaction at his tight lipped frown.
“Stop it.” I hissed my feet staying still as he leaned back on the desk, crossing his long legs. Blocking me from leaving the nook. His black shoes shone in the blueish light which made his navy suit seem even darker.
My heart pounded in my throat as an odd sense of embarrassment sank in my stomach.
“I oughta beat the ever loving shit out of you.” I hissed narrowing my eyes.
“What’s stopping you?” He challenged as I dug my nails harder into my palm.
“I swear to fucking god I’ll stomp in your kneecaps.” My voice raised with the threat as he chuckled quietly. I forced myself to stare into his forest eyes. I felt as if he was dissecting me making me an ant under his magnifying glass.
“Do it then.” He pushed, narrowing his eyes and tilting his head unbothered. I looked around the shop, unable to see the old women. We were in a little crook where no one could see us endless they walked to the back. The bell on the door would jingle if anyone came in. My cheeks throbbed with rage at his arrogance and unbothered attuide. Shaking the bookshelf only brought me a moment of satisfaction. He had no fear nor anger. Not in his body language or his eyes, if anything he was seemingly relaxed. Which just made my jaw clench tighter and red start to creep into my vision. I took a step towards him and it was as if I had just blinked. My gun was pressed into his stomach. The moments before were a haze. I was standing a few feet away and now I was standing flush to his shoulder. For a moment I closed my eyes, feeling the gun get pushed away slightly when he breathed. I listened for any stuttering or pauses in his breathing but it stayed perfectly level. I jammed it harder into his firm torso opening my eyes to dip my head by his ear.
“Why aren’t you afraid?” He slid his eyes to the side before completely turning his head so our faces aligned.
He then snaked a hand down, wrapping his cool fingers around the wrist that held the gun ,taking advantage of my shock, he yanked. I tried to pull away but I froze realizing what he was doing. He moved the hand closer, pressing the steel barrel under his chin.
“Shoot me then, dearest. Make me afraid.” He dared arching an eyebrow, saying it in a razor edged tone
“I-” I went to open my mouth but nothing came out. His breathing stayed even as mine sped up. I’ve killed before. I was so used to death all around me, it was a constant blanket around the underground. My finger twitched at the trigger as he stared unblinking. The rage and irritation was quickly melting into panic. Bile crept up my throat as I tried to look away but found myself unable too. My skin felt too tight. I know what it is to blow someone’s head off. It’s skin, brain, and skull peeled open like a blossom. Over time the more blooms you see the further away you drift from humanity, the ability to connect gets callous. Then finally you stop seeing them as victims and start seeing them as means to an end. To kiill was akin squashing an ant.
I finally lost the battle to keep my stare at his strong straight nose. Flicking up my gaze up into his pine colored eyes.His pupils dilated pinning me down and I couldn’t pull away from. My stomach clenched painfully and nausea took over in a violent wave as the realization that a human man is in front of me. Someone who wasn’t an ant but someone like me. He had blood that would splatter and a skull that would crack.
I jerked back away from him, hearing the gun clatter on the floor as I stumbled to the trash can on the other side of the desk. My shoulders shook as I wretched till I felt like my throat would close and everything was out of my stomach. Spitting to try to get the acidic taste out of my mouth, I paused as I felt him walking behind me.
Before he even had the chance to open his mouth I shoved past him and threw myself on my bike, pedaling till the wind whistled loud enough to fill every inch of my skull.
“A, where were you? I was beginning to worry!”” Claire fretted, her red stiff curls bouncing slightly. Sweat rolled down the back of my neck as I pulled at the worn hoodie. She pouted her glossy pink lips before adjusting the small shimmering dress she wore. Leo’s carmel eyes drilled into me as she took a long drag of a cigarette. For a moment I saw green irises and my throat closed. I stood up straighter focusing ont he dim yellow lights in my trailer. They make Leo’s umber skin seem like it was shimmering with gold. Everything about her seemed like a wild cat fearless, deadly, and ethereal.
“I was worried I wouldn’t get to see you before my date.” She preened my hair. I politely smiled as she squeezed me gently while I tried not to tense. Claire was the only person I grudgingly let touch me outside of sex. Even after she’s seen unspeakable things, her chocolate eyes still carried a puppy dog look filled with innocence. Her past was one of the most painful yet hope and kindness never left her. Greatly differing between Leo and I. I could never bring myself to push her away, afraid to be the thing that finally snuffed out her inner light.
“Come here.” Leo patted her jean clad leg, gesturing for her to come over. Claire slantured over while Leo shook off her faded brown duster, wearing a loose white t-shirt underneath. Claire slide her long legs over Leo’s lap and buried her face in her neck, almost completely covered by Leo’s teased corkscrew curls. No one ever suspected Claire with her almond eyes and pastry colored skin. It made her the perfect tool to get information. They never thought for a moment their golden ray of sunshine associated with the Lion, let alone was her keeper.
Leo signed, leaning forward to crush her cigarette in the glass ashtray, sitting on the round chipped table. Her other arm wrapped tight around Claire. Once it was snubbed out and only thin smoke was curling in the air she then inspected each package to make sure they hadn’t been tampered with by Vanna and Lou, the cooks. Leo kept a calm emotionless expression that never failed to make others hair stand on end. It was either good or bad, no inbetween. I’ve been with Leo seven years, eight on my twenty-fifth birthday. Yet I still struggled to read her, Cyrus could for the most part but not like Claire who didn’t even need to try to understand her. It was as if they were one in the same.
Leo weighed each one carefully, comparing the numbers to a small black notebook containing the cooks batch weights and expected cut. Once she finished weighing she nodded, drumming her fingers on the notebook.
“When’s the last time you’ve been to their site?” Her voice is heavy with a slight growl in the back of her throat. It made everything seem small as if it was a roar through the jungle, having the same affect every time she spoke.
“Months ago before you started having Javi do the pickup’s at the cabin and drop offs at the bookstore.” I swiftly responded.
Vanna and Lou were highly regarded biochemists. No one really knew much else about them, except Leo. They just seemed like another suburban white picket fence couple, even now they seemed so naive about the details of the business. Show up to the lab, cook, send out and get paid. That is all they know and were perfectly okay with that.
“The handwriting isn’t Lou’s. It’s Vanna’s.” She tossed the notebook on the table, pursing her lips slightly. Vanna did the cook and Lou kept all the notes and formulas. They have always used the same routine. It was slightly off putting seeing the slight change. When you work to stay on top, every single detail is scrutinized.
“Has Javi mentioned anything off?” I inquired as Leo shook her head, a beat of sweat rolling down my neck. I knew I had to tell her about the man in the shop. I tried to open my mouth and it kept snapping shut the words refusing to come out.
She gently grabbed Claire’s chin and kissed her glossed lips.
Shoot me, dearest. Make me afraid. Bile crawled back into my throat as I had to fight the urge to vomit. Why didn’t I shoot him? Beat him? I didn’t even so much as hurt him, which almost unsettled me the most. I hyperfocused on the peeling yellow paint that clung too the walls. It used to be a shade of off white, smoke stains now steered into the wall paper.
“My love, next time Javi comes by with money for you , see what you can pull out of him.” Leo mummered. Claire kissed her again, Leo’s carmel eyes melted and filled with complete adoration. I let my displeasure seep out. Almost jealous of their bond. Crossing my arms I wrly smiled wondering if Alea and I could ever have a tenth of what they do. Leo and Claire found and chose each other. Alea and I have no one else.
“Javi buys date’s with Claire?” I questioned.
Leo shrugged, “Our money ends up back with us. He’s stupid for even doing it.” Claire laughed, standing up and pressing her lips against Leo’s briefly.
“I’m worth it.” I rolled my eyes as she walked over and squeezed my shoulder. “I’m off to my date. Make sure Alea is ready to go by the time I’m back. I don’t want her to forget about the meeting with all the other girls.”
I nodded, waiting till she slipped on her heels and walked out the door.
“What?” Leo said bluntly, leaning forward to balance her elbows on her knees.
“There was someone new at the bookstore.” I choked out, digging my fingers into the top of the recliner next to me.
“You do realize it’s not just a drug cover but also a REAL store.” Her voice dripped sarcasm as I tried to release my grip on the brown corduroy fabric. I squeezed my eyes closed for a second, focusing on my breathing.
“No shit,” I huffed out as she glared daggers.
“Damn, you remind me so much of Cyrus sometimes.” She murmured, rubbing the bridge of her nose as I stretched tightly. “Okay so there was someone new at the store. Yes?”
I sat down in the cushy blue recliner, my legs jumping up and down recalling the interaction over and over.
“It wasn’t just a random person. It was-” I struggled to find the words as she moved closer to the edge of the couch. Who was he? Why didn’t I do anything? Unwavering calmness, dripping with arrogance.
“Normally I can’t get you to stop running your mouth. You must be pretty tangled up about this.” Leo raised her eyebrows as I sneered feeling my ears pinken. I silently hoped the dim lights hid the warmth.
“We’ve been using the senile women as a cover for awhile now. I know we discussed the possibility of the whole shop being shut down eventually because of her age. I think it’s that time. The man might have bought the store or at least have been hired to help her. Maybe the real owner of the building or the bank.” All the words seemed to rush out as I stopped to level my tone, “ He was wearing a very expensive suit that probably could pay my rent for a few months, definitely not a staff member or contomur. Then there was an incident with the books and he responded like he owned the place.” I chewed the nail of my thumb nervously.
She raised her eyebrows before sarcastically laughing. I immediately regreted everything I said, wanting to bang my head against the table
“First, I don’t even want to know about the incident and second everyone in an expensive suit thinks they own the place.” I slammed my fist on the table before getting up to grab a beer from the shiny silver refrigeration. One of the few house splurges.
“Forget it then, Leo. Fuck!” Yelling, I walked away yanking open my freezer. I heard Leo’s footsteps behind me as I slammed the bottle on the side of the counter to pop off the top.
“Jesus, A. Fine, if you’re that worried go back tomorrow and start scouting out the place for the week. Javi can meet you at the cabin for the exchange. Just make sure Vanna and Lou aren’t there. They damn near quit when they saw you beat one of Levi’s men.” She rested her palms on the counter as I took a long chug of the cheap beer thinking of seeing him again. “You get a week, if nothing comes up then you drop it. The newest batch won’t be ready till next Monday anyways but I’m serious if there isn’t anything, next week business as usual. We need to stay on schulde.” I picked at the faded brown paint on the cabinet beside me.
“Leo, I’m serious just fucking forget I said anything!” I tried to keep the plea out of my voice as I rubbed my hand over the neck of the bottle.
“Whoever this guy is he must have really gotten under your skin.”
Leo patted my shoulder before shaking her head and turning around.
“If it makes you feel any better we are only going to be using the bookstore a little longer. I need you and Javi to find a new place to meet. We are going to start moving several kilo’s instead of three twice a week. The demand is getting higher and we are running out faster. “
Once I heard the door close behind her, I threw the bottle on the floor making a loud clatter. I never wanted to see him again, let alone even go near the store. Yet I had to stake it out and it was my own fault. I couldn’t have just let it go. I exhaled slowly, at least we were moving soon.
“What the fuck?” Alea stumbles into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes leaving black smears.
“I thought you were resting.” I said flatly as she stretched her long thin body. She was wearing one of my shirts yet it still completely encased her.
“I was but I heard you throw a damn bottle so I was forced to get up.”
“You weren’t forced to do shit.” I mumbled as she placed her cold hands on top of mine.
“I lied, I woke up the moment I heard you, Leo and Claire.” She ground out. Alea detested the fact Claire won’t train her as an escort till she’s clean. “Fuck her! She just thinks shes above all us low lifes! Humph! I remember when she’d beg me to share a rock or two! “
I sighed patting her hand consoningly. “You realize she’s not only saved your life several times but helped pull yourself together today after you got robbed because you were to goddamn high?” My voice started to become laced with venom as she dismissed it with a wave.
“It irrelevant!” She snapped as she took out her hair, shaking loose the sand colored strands, not nearly as full as it was when we met. “What really happened with the bookstore man? Not the cut version you told Leo but the real version.” I snatched her hand out of the air as she went to poke a long painted nail in my chest. Alea frowned as I seethed.
“It was just some fucking pretty boy messing with my pickup.”
Shoot me, dearest. Make me afraid.
“Ah well, least he was pretty.” She cooed as goosebumps prickled my body.
“I wouldn’t know.” I said stiffly.
We stood in silence for a moment before Alea wrapped her arms around my waist. I tensed so hard I thought my bones would snap.
“It doesn’t matter, baby. There will always be bugs that need to be squashed.” I rubbed my temples, leaning forward.
“I rather not talk about it anymore tonight, Alea, please.” The strain in my voice was prominent enough where I felt her pull back slightly.
“Your brother’s birthday is next month. Do you and Leo have plans? I’m sure Claire and Javi can cover for you two if you plan on going to his grave.” I dropped my head harshly sucking in a breath.
“Alea,” I said slowly trying to keep myself calm “I told you it is between her and I.” Fuck everyday a little more of her memory seems to be forgotten or scrambled. Leo and I had a rituel. Ever year on his birthday we go to his grave and leave a single green carnation and read his favorite poem. Two Loves by Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s lover. He wrote the poem while his lover was in jail for homosexuality. Cyrus’s jail was death and Levi put him there for the same crime.
“I want to go with-” I spun around capturing her mouth in an aggressive kiss to keep her quiet. Running my tongue along hers and grabbing her ass to pull her petite body against mine. Alea slid her hands under my shirt as I licked at her neck.
“A Im serious! Why can’t I-” I placed a hand over her mouth, using the other to cup her breast.
“I can’t do this today. Please, drop it.” I murmured, letting myself go through the motions. I brushed my thumb over her nipple, paying attention to every movement her body made. Alea twisted her hands in my hair, her hand wandering to my crotch. I adjusted so she was pressed up into the island before placing both her hands on the counter. She went to grope between my legs but I caught her scooping her up so her ass rested on the counter top. Alea let out frustrated noises as I kept kissing and biting her neck to the center of her chest.
“I want to touch you, A” She whispered, digging her nails into my side. “Let me touch your cock. You never let me play before we fuck.” She pouted as I pulled her shirt over her head, grazing my teeth over each hardened nipple.
“Are you complaining about what I give you, baby.” Taking one in my mouth I rolled my tongue over the bud before licking down her ribcage to her stomach. I forced myself to focus on her salty smooth skin.
I nearly choked my mind going blank as my hands shook lightly. I should have killed him. Why didn’t I? I should have done something, ANYTHING.
“No, please just keep going.” I steaded them on her thighs as I bent down, sliding over her peach colored thong. I kissed her inner thigh, yanking her legs over my shoulder.
My stomach clenched as I thought of going back to the bookstore tomorrow. I never should have said anything to Leo. Flicking my tongue, Alea moaned, threading her fingers through my hair.
“You feel so good, A!”
“You’re pretty tangled up about this”.
“You remind me so much of Cyrus”
I should have kept quiet. Regret kept gnawing at me as I dragged myself back into the present, throwing myself in Alea’s body. Slipping two fingers into her heat, I felt her legs start to shake.
Alea. Alea. Alea. Alea.
She is everything right now. I’m with her. Nothing else mattered except her spread thighs and wet willing pussy. Gracing her clit with my teeth, I slipped in another finger feeling her clench and release. She tightened her legs around my head, moaning and writhing on the counter. I knew exactly how to make her scream so I kept going. Over and over till she dropped, spread eagle over the island top.
“Fuck me! God, A I need you.” Alea panted as I stood up, smirking.
“You were supposed to be resting from earlier..” She propped herself up on her elbows, pressing her foot gently in my chest.
“I’m okay. He didn’t want to pay and pushed me out of his parked car. All that broke was my phone and another little piece of my pride.” She laughed bitterly as I slipped her panties back on and scooped her up. Alea rested her head against my chest as I walked to the bedroom, placing her down and wrapping her up in a blue comforter. Tugging off my bulky black boots, I swung my legs in the bed. Not even bothering to slide out of the faded grey hoodie. I heard the creek of the drawer on her side, going rigid.
“Please don’t do it here.”
She tisked, flicking the torch a few times.
“Don’t forget this is OUR pipe, A. I’m the only one who uses it now but it’s still ours.” Alea said softly.
I rolled over to my side, the sweet chemical sent perforating the air. My muscles started to twitch as I watched the yellow lights stream through the smoke.
“Used to be. It used to be ours” I said sharply, working the muscles in my jaw. Glass makes everything intense and euphoric. Sometimes I missed it so much I can hardly stand it.
“You never should have stopped, even Cyrus used.” It was as if my brain flashed back for a moment. Thinking of his soulful eyes and heavy slouched eyebrows, a big grin that put you at ease, even with his missing incisor. I was terrified that one day I’d wake up and forget his face or his baritone voice
“I don’t want to forget him, Alea”.
“Wouldn’t you rather forget some good if you forget the bad along with it?” She murmured.
With the crystal running through my veins, I’d forget his twisted bloodied corpse and only feel beyond the light. Not still haunted by his face purple and black, jeans around his ankles with blood dripping between his legs. Saliva swelled in my mouth as I leaped out of bed tripping over myself to heave in the bathroom.
I heard the patter of Alea’s feet, brushing my back as she crouched down. I looked up in her eyes, pupils so large they seemed to take over the grey Iris’s. She tried to place the glass pipe in my hand, the round end still radiating warmth.
“Alea! I said no! Fucking stop! Can you just leave me alone right now! God! Does meth effect your hearing too?”I slammed the toilet seat down so hard the walls rattled. Her eyes rabidly moved as she stood up, bending down so I was forced to meet her face head on,
Alea brushed her hand over my cheek as I jerked away.
“Watch how you fucking talk to me A.”” I shook, curling my fingers into the cheap tile on the floor. Alea bent down, kissing my sweaty forehead.
“I’m the only one who knows what your hiding behind your eyes, without me you’d just be alone in the abyss. Don’t ever forget that.”
I closed my eyes, listening to her walk out of the small trailer bathroom. I wished I could stay here forever. The cool floor on my cheek, curled up in the dark room. Everything is nothingness. No Cyrus. No Leo. No Clair. No Alea. Most importaly no man or his all knowing emerald eyes.
The idea of sharing a bed make my skin feel hot and muddy. It’s not like she’ll sleep anyways. Bangging and stomping around, laughing at everything and anything.
My stomach felt painfully empty as I gagged but nothing would come up any more. My throat burning from acid. Blackness slowly started to cradle me as I felt the tention in my limbs began to unwind. I prayed to anyone that it would be a calm thoughtless sleep. No bloody limbs or screams. The only time dead bodies haunted me was in my dreams. By day it was meaningless, life had no value unless it was your own but at night it was as if everyone I killed or watched die came back, all their faces stunningly vivid. My last thought was of ants in a line before sleep finally over took me.
“Shoot me, dearest. Make me afraid.” He rolled each letter long and sutry. Deep honey coated words that you could drown in. I press my back into the bookshelf, feeling hands grab my shoulders so I couldn’t get away. He licked his pouty lips, looking down from his strong nose. The light reflecting of his glisening cheekbones.
So I did. The blast threw me through the wall as blood spared on my face. Red dripping into my eyes as I frantically tried to wipe it off. My clothes clung to my skin as I rubbed my face along my arm.
“I’m here!” Scramballing to my feet I looked around. I was in my trailer, a hole in the wall lead to the bookstore. The mans eyes were unblinking as blood blossomed through his suit.
“Cyrus where are you? Cyrus please!” My voice cracked as tears blurred my vision.
“I’m right here.”
I screamed but nothing came out. He was twisted and bruises, clothes shredded and falling off. I fell to the floor pushing my hands against the weeping wounds.
“Please! Cyrus, don’t leave me alone!” I covered his body with mine and wept loud snot filled sobbs.
“Avrey?” Lifting my head up I went to look up at Cyrus’ face but it was too dark to see anything. The room had turned inky black, I could only feel his crackaling breaths and heard blood spurting out.
“I can’t see you.”
As I moved closer I realized it wasn’t Cyrus’ body but mine. I opened my mouth to scream but nothing came out. I was being held down by invisible hands forcing me to look at my other face. It was covered in bruises and swollen beyond recognition, yet I knew without a doubt it was me.
“Are you afraid?”
I woke up screaming.