6 // FIGHT

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I leaned in close and inhaled

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I leaned in close and inhaled.

Deep. Hard. Again.

Closing my eyes, I tilted my head back, my hands braced against the wall on either side of the mirror.

Breathe, Casey, breathe.

And I did, inhaling and exhaling slowly, knowing that it would take a while to hit, but feeling calmer already, the trembling in my limbs finally easing up, even if the pain hadn't yet.

Bloody footprints caked the floor, a macabre map of my movements that trailed all the way from the front door, up the stairs and into the bathroom where I now stood.

It had been inevitable I suppose that my first point of call as soon as I had arrived home was to head straight to the bathroom and cut some lines on the flat-top of the basin unit, using Davey's razor blade to slice up three perfect little rows. I'd probably lost a few layers of skin on my feet and was bleeding all over the tiles, but what did a bit of blood matter when I needed to get high?

And I needed it so fucking much. I opened my eyes and remembered watching my hand disappear into the void, felt the air sucking voraciously on my flesh and immediately leant down and inhaled the last one. One more for luck. One more to forget.

How much would I need to forget everything?

Brushing away the last powdery specks from my nose, I hobbled over to the shower, reaching in and turning the dial until a wispy cloud of steam rose from the water hitting the tiled floor of the cubicle. Unzipping the dress, I threw it into the corner of the room, feeling the weighty shame once again when I remembered Oscar's hand on my thigh and hating myself for wearing it, hating Davey for making me. With the hand-towel, I rubbed half-heartedly at the stains on the bathroom floor, doing little but smearing them in a wide bloodied arc and in the end, I just lay the towel out to cover the blood while I showered.

I stepped into the warmth of the stream, letting the flow hit me on the back of the neck, watching numbly as the smoky tendrils of blood and dirt snaked out from under my feet, making swirling patterns in the water as it drifted closer and closer to the plughole. I might as well have been standing on hot coals, but I bore the pain, relishing the sting and just praying, hoping, that the coke would kick in quick and make everything okay again.

Because everything would be okay. It would.

I'd read once, having had a leaflet shoved into my hand during a visit to my doctor's surgery accompanied by the usual look of weary disgust and despair, that long-term abuse had numerous side-effects. Read it, Miss Brogan the doctor had said, it might just save your life.

Yawn. Whatever.

But I had read it, skulking just inside the park entrance and probably looking like one of the junkies that queued up outside the drop-in centre in town. I'd love to have said it had been a riveting read, but there was nothing in the two-page glossy pamphlet that inspired me.

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