Page 19

What the hell?

There were two plates. One held a sandwich of some sort, wrapped in white paper, a sticker with the name of the deli held the wrapping together. The other plate was not really a plate but a mirror. On it, white powder, cut into three lines along with a rolled up dollar bill. Next to it was a plastic Ziploc bag containing a needle¸ spoon, lighter, and another smaller baggie filled with another type of darker looking powder.

“What is all this?” I asked.

“Breakfast,” he said straight-faced. “You get to choose one item from the tray and one only.” He sat down across from me on the bed.

“Is this a joke?” Who the hell would choose drugs for breakfast?

Nikki, I thought.

“Choose wisely, girl.” He pointed to the tray.

I grabbed the sandwich and tore off the wrapper before he could finish his sentence. I took a monster bite that contained both sandwich and paper.

“Slow down,” he warned. I detected amusement in his warning. I ignored him, choking when I tried to swallow down half-chewed bites, but the feeling of chewing and swallowing was euphoric. I kept going until the sandwich was completely in my stomach.

I didn’t need drugs. I was high on food.

I wiped at the mess I made on my face and licked my fingers clean. He handed me a glass of water, and I downed it in three big gulps. I sat back on the bed and patted my bare stomach, no longer caring that I was practically naked in front of this stranger. I opened my mouth to speak when a sudden wave of nausea washed over me. I sat up and held a hand over my mouth.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, as I frantically looked around for something I could throw up in. I didn’t see anything within arm’s reach, but it only took him a second to realize what it was I needed. He leapt up and grabbed a metal wastebasket from the corner of the room and ran back, just in time for me to empty the entire breakfast into the basket. Every little bit of barely-chewed, undigested sandwich came back up in waves until once again my stomach was completely empty.

“I told you to slow the fuck down.” He walked to the far side of the room and opened the window, tossing the entire basket out. “I’ll hose that out later.”

I never cried when I woke up in the hospital and couldn’t even recall my name. I didn’t cry when I was told I might never regain my memory. I didn’t cry when I was thrown into a group home full of perverts. I didn’t cry when I ran away and had to live on the streets. I didn’t cry when I came to the realization that using my body was the only way I was going to be able to survive. I didn’t cry when a bullet grazed my ear. I didn’t cry when I was handcuffed to a bed by a tattooed psychopath who I was certain was going to kill me.

But losing the first full stomach I had in weeks?

I cried.

Not just a few little tears. I sobbed. Loud and long. Shoulder shaking. No end in sight.

Ugly cry.

Hope. It’s something I hadn’t yet given up, but right then and there, I was ready to throw in the towel. I didn’t care if I stayed attached to that bed until I died and the skin rotted away from my bones.

I was done.

I’d been dealt all I could handle, and I was more than fucking over it.

Over being afraid. Over being hungry. Over redheaded hookers. Over being shot at.

Over this sorry excuse for a life.

I sat back on the bed and rested my head against my arm, which hung at an awkward angle. I let my body go limp. Looking out the window, I noticed the sun was out. I didn’t even know what time it was. I didn’t care.

No one looked for me when I might have been someone, so no one would be looking for me now that I was absolutely no one.

It’s ironic really. I’d been wishing for a bed and a roof over my head and in a really fucked up way, for however long they kept me alive, I had it.

The guy whose name I didn’t know left the room but left the tray on the bed. How much of that stuff did I have to take for it to be lethal? Half? All of it? Maybe, King’s plan was to inject me with the drugs himself. Or maybe he was a coward and would order his friend to do his dirty work for him.

Maybe, if I was lucky, my death would be quick. Just a nice bullet to the head.

Either way, it didn’t matter how I was going to go. I just knew it was the end, and oddly enough, it was comforting to come to terms with it instead of spending my remaining hours fighting it.

I was beyond exhausted.

Maybe, King thought I would make things easy on him and off myself with the drugs. I huffed. I wasn’t about to give him that satisfaction. If he wanted me dead, he was going to man-up and do it himself. I used every ounce of strength I had and kicked the tray off the bed. The mirror bounced off the carpet. The coke billowed into the air in a white cloud of fine powder.

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