Audrey's in the back, on a call, and I'm not listening, so I'm left with the mess in my head to listen to instead. My head's full of mess today. It makes its way in there from the rest of my body and sometimes I'm not so good at keeping it out.
The nerves in my back feel like worn strips of leather tied around my bones. I know that's not how nerves and bones work, but that's still how it feels, like my body's a stone age war hammer and there's nothing gentle left in it, if there was ever anything gentle in it to start with.
I try not to think about it too much because I don't know what it means anymore and thinking about it doesn't help. It just feels how it feels and I can't point at some fucking chart with numbers and drawings of faces on it to tell a doctor how close I am to screaming or punching a wall.
Sometimes it makes me want to drink in the middle of the day, but I don't. Other times it makes me angry. Not angry about how it happened - I got past all that a long time ago, mostly - but this other kind of angry that comes from hitting my fucking limit of shit I can deal with and still having more shit to deal with because it's my own body and there's no getting away from it.
I can't explain it. I don't think I've ever really tried, at least not to anyone else. It doesn't matter. There's a level of aggression there that I never know what to do with, so I just kind of sit with it and let it be part of me until it doesn't want to be anymore. It doesn't say much, but neither do I. So we're good.
Audrey looks at me in the mirror and rolls her eyes. I know where she's at because I've been there. We all have. We've all had to put up with it politely until the moment we don't, then all hell breaks loose because we're good at that. People forget though. They say you're crazy or hysterical or whatever, but they think you're harmless and they don't remember the time they saw you break some asshole's hand because he touched you after you told him not to. Sometimes you have to remind them, keep them right.
"We'll be there in fifteen minutes." That's Audrey. "I don't think you understand. It isn't optional. We will be there. In fifteen. Minutes. And you will be waiting. Don't try and leave, and don't call anyone. I'll know if you do and it won't end well for you or whoever you call." She hangs up.
"Where are we headed?"
"Wait a moment. I'd like to ask you a favour. This isn't technically part of your contract, so you're absolutely welcome to refuse and I won't hold it against you."
"Do you know Warren Deacon?"
Jesus. I haven't seen him in a few years. I'm kind of surprised he's still around. "Yeah."
"What's your opinion of him?"
"He's a fucking asshole." I'm pretty sure that's everyone's opinion of him.
"I'm going to break his legs."
"And he's just going to sit there while you do it?"
"He will when I point a gun at him. And when I shoot him in the knees, he'll have to sit there because he won't be able to get up."
"I thought you were going to break his legs?"
"I am. Technically."
"What's the favour?"
"I need to make a phone call while we're there and I want some other things broken too, if you wouldn't mind helping with that."
"Sure. It's been a while, but OK. What did he do? I mean, I know a whole heap of shit he did, but what specific thing did he do this time?"
"He behaved irresponsibly and hurt my niece. My brother and sister-in-law are absolutely beside themselves about the whole thing and the police have been utterly useless, so I'm resolving the issue."
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Winter FollowsGeneral Fiction
One month, one city, five lives colliding with the forces of fate. A thrill-seeking tech genius with an appetite for dangerous extremes. A retired contract killer fighting to escape his past and himself. An underworld driver tempted deeper into a li...