He first noticed her eyes from across the room- glittering white and a scrap of watery-blue. It was rather poetic, really, that her life would be irretrievably altered because of something that allowed her to see the world clearly. The corner of his mouth twitched upward.
She was nothing beautiful at all, really. Her skin held no glow, whether golden or pearlescent. Those eyes betrayed nothing but an empty brightness, and her hair lay dry and flat on her feeble shoulders. A wisp of a thing, he thought. Easy to ruin.
A waitress approached him with a glass of something that would do nothing to quell his thirst. He dismissed her. Glancing back to the dance floor, he noticed with a pang that the woman was gone, and the sort of feeling an architect would get if his blueprints were stolen away flashed in his bloodstream.
He felt a presence to his left, suddenly, followed by a gauchely decorated hand on his thigh. It was her. He had not noticed her attire, a sequined gold dress with a horrendous bow stapled to her front now lingered in his periphery. He wiped away the distaste that pooled in his eyes like tears and turned to face her.
Dark eyes met light, that automatic smile leapt onto his face as he had taught it to long ago. He twisted his hand beneath her own, his cold digits brushing against denim. A kiss pressed to an elevated wrist, an archaic gesture and a subsequent drunken laugh from the woman beside him.
He learned her name, quickly. He always made sure to remember the names, so he could summon the faces in his memory on slow days.
The comparison of a shiny new thing to its broken counterpart.
She said the things that they always said, how he had been eying her (he always made the first move, but never directly), an uninspired and generic comment on his looks, and finally, a hamfisted request to take her home.
“Of course.” he said. It was always his reply.
A hazy and feverish drive to his apartment, fingers on his skin, a conclusion. He left her to have a cigarette.
He always picked easy targets. He couldn’t bear the idea of something going wrong.
I only choose the ones who have nothing, he thought, watching smoke dissipate into air.
He flicked the cigarette into the kitchen sink, admiring its ashy skeleton against the clean porcelain.
He never enjoyed being in the moment. He took pleasure in reflection- there was something more musical in remembrance. He shook out a dish towel and ran it under icy water, watching the cigarette disintegrate and roll down the drain.
He returned to her momentarily.
She smiled at him, and he reciprocated. He told her the location of a shower, and she quickly swung out of bed to find it. He watched her form retreat over the threshold and out of the room. He walked to the kitchen, knowing he would have time to prepare. They often found the preparation of the syringe and the gleam in his eye disconcerting, initially.
He didn’t understand why. It was all very hygienic.
He readied a sealed jar of isopropyl alcohol, one of his belts, a cotton swab, and a warm compress. Reaching beneath the sink, he pulled out a leather bag. He boiled water, pouring powdered crystal into it as it cooled. He stirred it in, the sound of a spoon clicking against a glass mingling with echoes from the shower, and he closed his eyes and smiled.
He filled two syringes and capped them carefully. One for her, and one for him, so she would feel more comfortable. She would go first, though, and her distraction would allow for a quick injection into the bed.
He never joined them. His high came from a different source entirely.
He would drive her home afterwards, and she would inevitably turn up uninvited months later when she ran out of money for more meth or heroin or crack or whatever her poison may have evolved into. Her gaunt arms would be scattered with irritated red tracks, her skin blue and veiny, her pupils pinned in their pale orbs. She would fall onto her knees or into his arms, looking up at him with fear and reverence and…
Desperation. That particular brand which he liked most. They never blamed him, they only asked for more. He would never acquiesce. He would usher her inside, showing her to a room altogether separate from his own. She would be too weak and hopeful to try to leave, not that he would let her.
Then, he would watch. Most everything was the same in his process, the only thing that separated the different people was the ways that they died. Some expired from the seizures, others from infections or blood poisoning. It was interesting to guess what venomous forms the withdrawal would take. Either way, she would die like the rest of them.
He waited patiently for her to be done with her shower.
Rose (author) on February 10, 2018:
So glad you enjoyed it!
Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on February 10, 2018:
Grim, but gripping. Kept me on the edge of my seat. Well done!!