Alley Kid Twelve.

I don’t normally post warnings on my posts. Especially not Alley Kid, but I think the contents of this I should. If you have read my books, you’ll know what to expect, except. this isn’t so graphic, but there are details of abuse.

 

I don’t know how much time has passed. It feels like hours. My head is heavy inside, and it’s still daylight. I’m laid on a makeshift bed on the floor with my mattress from my room. Maz is laid with me. She is asleep. I don’t know what woke me. I look around and try not to wake her too. The place seems quiet. It takes me a moment to realise he is still here.

I can see the door. He’s waiting. Hiding.  I see shadows and darkness; it’s where he likes to hide. I see his eyes in my mind. The wide open discoloured whites of them. The way his skin wrinkles underneath. The dark spots on his cheeks. I can see them like he is right in front of me.

Something touches my foot. It’s soft, like a feather.  I don’t know what it is, I have a cover on me. I lift it and look down, but there is nothing there. I put my foot back down, but it’s there again and I move my foot, reach down and brush off whatever invisible thing it is. I close my eyes and then open them again. I can’t keep them closed. He’s going to come at any moment. Maz is asleep, she won’t know and no one will hear me, no one will help, just like always.

Maybe it’s his hand on my foot. Maybe he’s about to grab me. I can feel it. Next will be his nails in my legs like when I was little and he would drag me down and claw at me. I try to move and get away. I can’t. Inside I feel dead and heavy. My mouth is dry and I can’t take in enough air. My throat feels constricted; my lungs won’t go deep enough. I start to gasp and Maz wakes and sits.

“What’s wrong?” she asks me.

I try to talk. I say the words. I hear them perfectly, but Maz doesn’t understand. She asks me to repeat them and I do, but still she doesn’t know what I am saying.

“You’re slurring,” she tells me.

I try to speak clear. I try and tell her that he’s there. I try and move back and get away. I’m shaking and crying because I can’t tell her, all I can do is make sounds that aren’t even words. I try and push myself back, but just hit the front of the sofa. I am trapped.

“There’s nothing there,” she says to me. “It’s just the phet, you took too much.”

Joanne comes into the room. She must have heard me. She has a bag and Froggy is with her.

“Is he okay?” She asks Maz.

Maz nods. “He needs to sleep it off, but he won’t.”

Joanne has cans in her bag. She pulls one out and passes it to Maz, Maz offers it to me, but I don’t want it. Maz tries to put it to my mouth and I try and push it away.

“You need to drink,” says Joanne. “It’s been days you haven’t eaten or drunk at all.”

“If you don’t drink something your body is going to shut down,” says Maz.

I take the can from Maz, but she holds it with me. My hands are unsteady. I put it to my mouth and as the drink hits my mouth I realise how thirsty I am. I don’t waste time. I don’t sip it. One gulp becomes another and another, each one is not enough. I can’t take enough to make the thirst go away and within seconds, the can is empty. I need more. I hold my hand out and try and say the words, but I can’t. Joanne knows what I want though and she reaches in her bag for another. She passes it to Maz and Maz opens it, but my stomach flips over. I feel the heat of it inside as it sloshes the juice I have just ingested. I retch but nothing comes out.  Maz gets off the mattress fast and I try to move.

She tries to help me get up, but in her position she can’t. Joanne tries to help, but its Froggy that gets me to my feet and I know that any moment the drink is going to come right out. I can hardly move. I try and steady myself on all of them and in a rush, they manage to get me to the bathroom. I vomit in the sink and collapse on the floor. My body hasn’t finished though, but I don’t have the energy to get up and vomit in the sink or the toilet. It’s down my clothes. I can smell it.

Joanne runs out of the bathroom and comes back seconds later with a bowl. I ask her for a cigarette, only managing to get the word smoke out. She reaches in her pocket for her pack and gives me one, but I can’t even light it. Maybe this is death.

My mind wants to sleep. It wants to shut down. I feel it pressing on the inside making my skull ache. My eyes try to close but I fight them. I smoke my cigarette and sit forwards to wake myself up, but then he is there. I see his shadow out in the hallway. I lean back and he moves too. I lean forward and so does his shadow. I do it over and over.

“What are you doing?” asks Maz.

I try to talk but say nothing.

“You’re rocking.”

I still don’t say anything. I stop rocking, but I don’t take my eyes off the shadow. Maz has the shower running. For me I guess. I just keep my eyes focused on him, but they keep closing. They close for minutes at a time and I don’t realise. I don’t want to sleep. Maz and Joanne are there. They take my top off and I don’t stop them. Joanne tells me to stand and I have to lean on them and she tries to unfasten my jeans, but I don’t want her to, not with him out there.drug

Somehow I am in the shower and I don’t know how I got there. I’m leaning against the wall and sat in the base. Time slips in and out and I don’t see it. I try to ask, but they don’t understand and my words won’t come out. I keep still as they clean me up, get me out of the shower and put me back in bed.

I try to protest at being in just my underwear. I am cold. But Maz gets in with me again. They throw more covers over me and I can’t fight it. Sleep takes me away and I am gone.

I see flashes of moments. I open my eyes and people are in different places. Joanne on the chair watching the television. Maz on the chair. Froggy sat playing my games console. I don’t speak, just reach for a drink each time. The bowl is next to me just in case, but I don’t drink so much.

Someone is shaking me. I feel them and tell them to stop it.

“Wake up,” he says and I realise it’s my father. I didn’t know he is here, I didn’t remember. Did I let him in? I don’t know. No one else is there.

“Do you have the money you owe me?” he asks.

“In my wallet,” I try and say, but my words don’t come out.

“What?” he asks me to repeat and I try. “I can’t understand what you’re saying,” he tells me.

He kneels down to me and I try and tell him again. He grabs my hair in his fist, pulls my head up to him, I can’t move. I try and get out of his grip but I can’t.

“You’re such a waste of space,” he tells me. He clutches tighter, pulling my hair and I can’t fight him off. “You’re nothing to me.”

There isn’t anything I can do. It all goes dark and I fall asleep again. I forget my father is there and when I open my eyes he is gone. It is dark again and Joanne is watching the television with Angela and Colin.

I need the bathroom. Something feels wrong. It feels like I got turned off for a few hours as though I were a machine. I didn’t dream. Just darkness. I ask Joanne what time it is, she tells me. It’s been hours and I don’t remember them.

I try to stand, but my legs are shaky. They haven’t stood for I don’t know how long. My underwear feels wet. I look at Joanne and Angela and Colin, but they aren’t looking at me. They have a film on and I wonder if somehow I managed to wet myself. I don’t want them to know I slept so much I wet the bed.

I pick up a towel that’s laid on the arm of the sofa and wrap it around my waist so I can go to the bathroom.

In the bathroom I take the towel off and then my underwear. I just stare at it. My mind expected just to see wet clothes, but the red glares at me and I stare at it as though I have never seen blood before.

I feel nothing. No pain, no bruises. I don’t know why it’s there. I don’t feel ill. I feel panic inside. Fear. I don’t want Joanne to see. I don’t want to know where it came from.  I get in the shower instead. I don’t care that it isn’t heated yet. I want to hide from my blood soaked shorts. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe they aren’t there. Maybe it’s from the phet. I shower, but I can see them through the door. I have to get rid of them.

They are still there when I finish showering. Part of me wonders why. Why didn’t they just vanish? I can’t sneak them out. I’m sure that Joanne will see them. She’ll come out of the lounge the moment I come out of the bathroom with them in my hand. I get the envelope that holds my needles instead. I tip those into Joanne’s makeup bag and then I put my shorts in the envelope.

The blood is wet, it marks my hands and I just stare at it. I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t understand why I am bleeding.

 

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Alley Kid 10

I follow the police into my lounge, the anxiety in my chest feels almost too much. I’m sure the moment they walk in they will see the phet like and hone in on it. I promise myself no more. Just this last one and if they don’t see it, no more. I’ll be done with the drugs. I realise what I’ll lose if they find them. I think about Will and him at his mothers, I can’t give him up for the drugs; I’d have nothing left at all. I think about Maz’s words, what I promised her. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to my son and let him suffer for my choices. That would make me no better than my own parents.BaseballBat

I look down and the phet is gone. I’m relieved but I’m afraid Joanne has it on her and they will search us. The police look everywhere. They lift up the cushions off the sofa, take out drawers, I have no real clue what they thing they are going to find, but it isn’t anything I have that they would want. The police finish, but they don’t clean up and the flat is a mess.

They leave but don’t really say anything to me and I sigh at yet another invasion from them. Its beginning to get to the point that I fear each time I open the door it will be them, many times it is, mostly they are looking for Mark, and usually they have just missed him. I am glad of that, but I know if he is there and he is caught, I’ll hand him over, maybe that makes me a coward. But I don’t care. I put my child before Mark and if that means I become a grass I don’t care.

I asked Joanne where she put the phet and she gives me a smile like she knew I was worried. She reaches down into the box that holds Wills toys and pulls out one of his bears, such a classic place for drugs but the police didn’t look there. I guessed they weren’t looking for those.

We all clean up when the police leave and in a way the place looks better than it did before. Maz comes back with the phet and my earlier promise is soon out of the window. I have every intention of not taking more, but it’s just this time, while I have the money. I have to be ready to quit I tell myself. A fake promise I know, but I still believe it. I have to quit, but not today.

I take the phet to the bedroom. Maz comes too. It’s not a big room; it fits the double bed and a single bedside table, that’s it. The window has a large crack through it, but it has tape across it, not that its much use, it still lets in a draft. We don’t have curtains, we can’t afford them. Joanne has tacked an old towel across the window to keep the privacy, but it doesn’t bother me. I feel better when the window is open and the curtains aren’t back. I don’t feel trapped when it’s like that, but she likes it dark.

Maz sits on the bed, but she doesn’t say anything as I prepare the phet and inject it. She does the same with her own concoction of things. She gets onto the bed properly and leans against the wall, crossing her legs at the ankle. I put the things away, light a cigarette and give it to her and then light one for myself. She doesn’t say anything when I climb on the bed with her and lay my head down on her legs.

She runs her fingers through my hair and sometimes I think I could stay there forever when she does that. We talk about the baby, about Froggy, about me working for Lorraine and a million other things that I can hardly remember, but we just talk. Putting the world to rights in our own little ways, with dreams of what we could do if we were able. And when it reaches midnight I wonder where the time has gone, me and Maz have hardly moved and save for a few disturbances from the others mostly we were alone.

I tell Maz I have to go out.

“Karla?” she asks.

I nod my head and smile.

“I’m surprised Joanne hasn’t caught you yet,” she says.

“I’m sure she doesn’t give a shit.”

“If you were mine I’d kick your arse,” she tells me and I laugh.

“If I was yours, I’d be dead.”  I sit up properly and lean to her and kiss her. It’s what we do. We don’t even hide it. Froggy and Joanne never seem to complain, they do similar. I wouldn’t care what Joanne did with Froggy.

“I love you, you little shit,” she says to me and I grin and put my arms around her to say goodbye.

“I love you too,” I tell her. She’s the only one I can say it too and feel happy about it. I hold onto her for just a second. “I’ll be back soon.”

I don’t tell Joanne as I leave the flat and race down the steps, I’m not even sure she is in herself. Colin is in bed I noticed though.

Karla is already finished when I get there. She’s sat on the counter with her small black coat on, hair done and a smile on her face. She jumps down and wave’s goodnight to her colleagues. She comes outside and flings her arms around my neck.

I take her hand and lace my fingers through hers. “Where are we going?” she asks me.

“I have something to take care of,” I tell her and then she starts to tell me about her day. I’m not listening so much, my mind is racing and alive. Most people bore me, Karla is one of them, but for some reason I keep her in my life. I’d say it was for the sex, but I can get that anywhere and most of the time, I’m on the phet, it makes the sex part hard.

I walk us all the way to Phil’s house. Not where he lives with Sarah, but where he keeps his car. Silly idiot keeps it at his other place in case Becci ever drives passed. I know where he keeps his bat too. I give Karla and cigarette and tell her to wait there.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“You’ll see,” I tell her, then I duck down the side of the building that Phil pretends to live at, go into his shed and pull out his baseball bat. I’m hardly thinking as I do it, it’s been cooking in my mind since the moment I realised who had called the police.

I don’t feel bad as I charge back to where his car is and launch the bat into the driver’s side window.

“What the hell are you doing?” asks Karla, startled at my attack on his car, but he deserves it.

“Pay back,” I tell her and then I knock out the back window on the same side.

Karla comes at me; she grabs my wrists of the hand that holds the bat. “Someone’s going to come and hear you,” she says.

I shrug. “What are they going to do?”

“Call the police.”

I raise the bat to take out the rear window, slipping my wrist from her reach; she folds her arms and stares at me, waiting for me to make my decision.  I pause with the bat ready to strike. A light comes on in a house over the road. “Fine,” I say and then I throw the bat into the car through one of the already smashed windows. “We’ll go.”

 

 

 

Alley Kid Six

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I can see Froggy in the distance, stood waiting for me where we agreed. He leans against the wall, cigarette in his mouth, as he watches the world like he has no cares. I wish I was like that. I wish I could just stand and watch and not feel anything.

The dull heaviness I feel inside is a constant battle. Life seems like one long sigh and getting to tomorrow feels impossible. I wish there was a way to induce the simplicity that some people seem to have. That zest for life, like they can’t wait for a new day, yet I wonder why they don’t see the truth like I do. Why are they happy? I don’t really understand it let alone know how to feel it.

Maybe they are fortunate enough to experience the highs without medicated help, or perhaps, they take the health service’s offer of wonderful happy pills. Perhaps that’s it; prescribed happiness.

I drop the piece of metal from my father’s garage over a wall, and into someone’s front garden. The evidence of my shame is discarded and hidden behind the picket fence of someone else’s happy life. I push everything aside the same way I pull the sleeve of my coat down over my physical self-inflicted wound. I pull the inside sleeve down as well and cover everything with a smile.

I hold up my twenty pound note and nod at Froggy to show him my victory. He smiles back as I pocket it again and offers me a cigarette.

We walk back to my place and Froggy tells me about the phet he just scored. It’s like music to my insides that I can’t quite hear, but the desperation of it has me straining my ears until, not only can I hear the words, but I can feel them, too.

“Do you want some?” He asks me.
Every part of me screams yes. Yes, I want some but, I can’t even bring myself to turn him down. I can’t make the words come out. I force my head to shake from side to side and that’s about all I can manage. Pathetic, but it’s one of the hardest things I ever had to communicate to anyone.

“I can’t afford it,” I say.

“You’ve got that twenty,” he says, and nods in the direction of my pocket.

I’m grasping for breath on the edge of what’s right and what I want to do. Colin isn’t my child. Why should I care? Why is it my problem to feed him? I want to reach into my own mind and break up the war that reigns within. I can’t make either side shut up. I want what Froggy offers. I want it so bad; perhaps even more than I want to be able to live in happiness. Its right here being offered right in front of me and all I have to do is say yes. Just three letters and its mine, but I can’t. I can’t do it. My guilt worms its way through me. Torturing me.

“What’ll I tell Joanne and Maz?” I ask him.

I’m not really asking, I’m just saying my thoughts out loud. I can see their faces. Maz’s in particular with the look of disappointment on her face when I tell her.

“F**k ‘em,” he says. “They don’t have to know. Tell you what. Split that twenty with me and I’ll sub you the phet. Some for Joanne too, then she won’t moan about it.”

It’s possible. My mind gets excited at the thought of it.

Yes, yes. I can. I tell Froggy okay. I’m getting the television tomorrow. Easy money. I can pay him back then.

I smoke a cigarette and drink a coffee while I wait for Froggy to cut the phet. He does it with heroin, not glucose, but I don’t care. He can cut it with mud and I’d still want it. My mind can’t say no now, not now that it has a way. That would be worse than anything.

It takes everything I have not to snap Froggy’s hand off as he offers me the wraps for Joanne and I. I give him the twenty to change.

“I’m just going over the road to buy cigs, you want some?”

I nod and he leaves.

I light another cigarette and grab the envelope of needles from my bathroom. I sit with my back against the door in my bedroom and roll my sleeve up. I stop and look at the wound on my arm. I guess it’s my own fault. Its scabbed over, but the blood that was there is dry and smeared along my arm. I look at it and remember the disgust at myself, hours before. I pick at it, reciting each word my father said, in my mind; one at a time, spitting them with my thoughts as I pick and make it bleed once again.
Failure. That’s what it amounts to. That’s what I am and always will be. I prove it each time.

I grind my teeth. My breathing is harsh as I look at the phet and my needles.
I am nothing. I know this. I am useless and worthless. I can’t even put a child’s needs before my own. No better than my own father, I am sure.

I get the cigarette from my mouth and the urge to run the hot end along my skin is almost too great. I could take the phet and do it wrong. If there’s air in a syringe, won’t it cause a heart attack? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere. I wonder if it’s fast; If it hurts. Do I even deserve such merciless things as time and pain free?

I’d be gone in an hour. That’s it. Sixty minutes and it would all be over. No one would know.

But I can’t. I think about Will alone without me. What would he do? Would he end up like Colin? Or like me even. I can’t do anything. I can’t leave.

I cry at the unfairness of it. I want to hold it in but tears of frustration roll down my face and I clutch my head to try and make them go away.

I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to exist. I wish someone would just kill me and get it over with. I curl up in the corner. The pain in my head bangs with my heartbeat. I wish it would all just go away.

I close my eyes, pick up the needle, and plunge it into my arm. I don’t care. I don’t pull it out when the contents are gone. What’s the point? I open my eyes and stare at it. This is me. All I have to offer. Colin needs better than me. Will needs better. I spent their food money on my hit, again.

As each thought of pitiful self-hatred begins to fall away, the euphoric release of adrenaline rises up my spine and I can breathe again.

I stand. The person I was, moments before, is gone; nothing but a laughable memory as I clean everything away before leaving the house to acquire food for Colin.

Once again, I am happy.