Thursday's 3 Word Wednesday

The word prompts over at 3WW are apartment, began and numb. Bone is starting something here that can’t be stopped; if you’re reading, check out the links and write. Creation is a beautiful thing. And yes, I am in a dark mood, thank you.

Indentured Servitude

The hall was painted in that Industrial Revolution green, sort of a lime Jell-o feel, slimy and wiggly. Bank upon bank of buzzing fluorescent lights, desiccated bug husks trapped behind greasy acrylic panels, ran down the length of the main hall.
Halfway up the walls ran a wainscot of steel, like this was going to stop anyone from punching and kicking those walls with misguided rage, where gang graffiti gave out complicated warnings in Braille that everyone had to look at, but a few could comprehend.
The building rented its apartments by the hour, the week, the month. Six floors of misery, green paint, broken dreams, off-colored water that always tasted faintly metallic, like blood.
She bumped back and forth between the walls, a petite pinball in a schoolgirl’s pleated skirt in red plaid, a fuzzy white sweater torn at the shoulder, white socks to her knees and black patent-leather shoes that had lost all their original sheen.
Her pale skin was made even more anemic in the harsh fluorescent light; her hair, once the color of wild rabbits, was home-bottle-dyed platinum. Her roots showed.
She banged the wall again and sank to a sitting position, numb. Legs askew, where anyone could see her cotton panties and she didn’t care anymore.
Mascara smeared in a mix of tears and sweat; hardly a trace of the special lipstick he liked, the one the color of pink cotton candy, registered on her lips.
She rests her head in her hands, each nail on each finger painted in the same cotton-candy hue, two coats to smooth the ends she constantly gnawed.
She shudders and the tears started anew.
Welts rise on her arms where tomorrow bruises would blossom. She puts two fingers between her lips, feels again the two teeth that are loose. The fingers come away slick with saliva, tinged red with blood.
He’d beat her up good this time. Her man with the money and the cute little plastic baggies that zipped shut, filled with satisfaction, the drug that kept her nightmares at bay.
She stares at her fingers and anger spreads through her, it courses electric, a surge and she beats her fists on the chipped tile until her forearms ache.
“Enough,” she whispered. “Enough.”
She pushes herself, renewed determination, to a wobbly standing position; a hip on the wall steadies her and she thinks to when it all began. Tears well in her eyes, track dark down her cheeks.
She thinks it’s time to go back to junior college, clean up, let her parents know she’s alive. Connect with friends who would pass her on the street now with downcast looks of disapproval.
But the sickness in her stomach rumbles and radiates heat through her. Cramps of desire rise, like the bile in her throat, and she jerks itchy.
She fingers the little pieces of rock crack through the plastic. She rolls them between her fingers and wet saliva of craving chases away the bile, the tears.
Still, she makes herself promise that this baggie will be her last.


TC said...

Six floors of misery, green paint, broken dreams, rusty water that always tasted faintly of blood.

VERY descriptive.

I almost thought she could do it. I thought she might get out, go home, get help.

But that last line told me she never will.

Anonymous said...

In such instances, I always what drives those?

Filled with turmoil.

Can it get any worse than this?

rebecca said...

this was so well written, but man, hard to read! it was rough...just like her life. i liked it...darkness and all.

Anonymous said...

Not enough to tell us a story, but to give us the opportunity to feel it too. Thats how good you are. Thats how good this is.

ThomG said...

Wow, thanks guys. Feedback like this makes me reach higher, reach deeper.

paisley said...

excellently told tale...

however i want to point out that a crack jones is not a physical discomfort it is a mental onslaught...

the craving you describe here is more characteristic of heroin, as it produces symptoms of physical withdrawal where as crack does not....

but few beside me would know the difference first hand....

ThomG said...

Paisley, I wondered about that, and know I know. Thanks for the input.

little wing writer said...

oh man, that was painful to read... all the more so because i've seen it daily over time the destruction.. lost everything and doin time.. just got out a few weeks ago... sober for the first time in a lifetime... no, not my story...