felt the daemons hot, rancid breath brush across my cheek over and
over again. It watched every move I made as I carefully assembled the
triangular prisms I had been assigned. I knew it was watching for me
to mess up.
A chill ran down my spine. The daemon was hideous. It stood a little taller than me, about 5'7". Its head looked like a lizard, but with a sharp beak. It had long slender arms with piercing talons on the ends. The creature's tail shot out of its side, and curled up near its wings, stinger poised and ready to shoot.
My hands were shaking so badly that I couldn't get the bolt on correctly. At the same moment that I was praying to not mess up, I dropped the bolt into the sludge we stood in. Before I could even reach to grab it, the daemon lunged for me. I had finally messed up, and it could attack. It went for my face first, ripping the flesh to shreds. The pain was unbearable. I started to make this shrill scream I barely recognized as my own.
I reached up to block the blows when it stabbed me with its stinger. My body went limp and I couldn't move, but I could still feel the pain. God it hurt so badly… I only dropped a bolt… I blocked the pain, I went back to Anna.
"Is this the last box?" Anna asked as she
carried a box into the side room of her apartment.
"Yeah," I winced as a jolt of pain shot jaggedly down my cheek.
"Does it still hurt?" Anna asked as she gently traced the ragged cut my aunt had left earlier this morning, "You still haven't told me why she did it."
The earlier events ran through my mind and I couldn't push the pause button. I could still see me walking into my bedroom and seeing my aunt reading my journal. I had taken a sharp breath and she must have heard me. She whirled around and stared at me cruelly.
"I should have known. You are just like your mother. You are disgusting you little dyke!" she said as she hurled the picture of my mom at my face
she stormed out still clutching m journal. I followed her into her bedroom, still shocked at her words. She grabbed a studded belt and turned on me. "You watched what your father did to her for being wicked and evil, and yet you still followed in her footsteps. She's burning in hell you know." She slapped me with the belt as hard as she could. I backed up and stumbled to the floor. She saw the disadvantage and pummeled me harder. "You all should burn in hell! You're a disgrace to God! Disgusting and vile!" Her foot decided to join in and she randomly alternated between kicking my ribs and using the belt. "You are wretched! See what it gets you? Huh? Do you like the punishment you must receive? I hope you die you little cunt! You're just wasting oxygen." With a final slap in the face from the belt, she dismissed me, "Leave my home before dinner faggot."
I forced myself to get up and made my way to my room to call Anna.
"Abbi? You okay?"
she asked, bringing me back to the present.
"Mmhmm. Just thinking… It was nothing; I just couldn't handle my aunt anymore." Not a complete lie.
"Well, I'm glad. Now you're with me, you're safe. No tears?"
"No tears." As she pulled me in for a kiss, I reached up to run my fingers through her soft curls. She bit at my lip and giggled. We made our way over to her bed and continued where we had begun. I layed back on the bed and let Anna's petite fame compress me. She slowly undressed me with expertise, and then I her. She caressed me with gentle kisses in all the right spots. Like a butterfly, her delicate lips fluttered over my neck. My head shot back and she used it to her advantage. She then abandoned my neck to gently nibble on my earlobe. When she was satisfied with that, she slowly kissed her way down my body. I was in ecstasy. Then she traveled lower. My body shuddered in appreciation, but my mind whirled. Brad was suddenly on top of me. The bedroom was now the alley. Everything was wrong. No, that was a little too far for me right then…
She sensed that something wasn't right, "Are you okay?"
"Uh-uh… not yet… not that… I-I'm sorry… I just… I'm not ready."
"Its okay Abbi, you're fine. I forgot that you're still new to all of this, we'll slow down, its only been a month."
I nodded, but I still felt as if I was letting her down.
"Can I hold you?" she asked timidly.
I nodded again. That was all I really needed right then. As she stroked my face, my eyes grew heavy and I started to doze. Then she stopped and lightly rubbed my left forearm. I stiffened.
"Abbi… What happened?" her voice shook.
"It's nothing, okay? Just my aunt's cat. She's… testy."
Shit. I had forgotten about the patterns. Shitty shit shit. I had stars and x's carved deeply into my flesh. My arms had literally become a canvas for my hate. Mostly at my aunt, a lot towards myself. Slices crisscrossed over veins making spider webs. I was practically a walking scab.
"But Abbi, doesn't it hurt?"
I wanted to shake her! I wanted to scream at her! OF COURSE IT FUCKING HURTS! THAT'S THE POINT! But I just laid there.
"I told you it's fine Anna." I looked up and over my shoulder, right into her emerald eyes. They were so full of fear and pain… I wanted to just erase the last five minutes so that she wouldn't have to find out. I wanted to kiss away every plump tear that fell from her gorgeous eyes. God I hated what this caused her.
"Abbi…?" she choked.
"Will you stop?"
I froze. How could she ask that? I needed this. But I also needed her. What if I told her I would and then I couldn't?
"I can try… no promises though. Okay?"
She seemed satisfied with that answer and she left it alone.
The next morning Anna woke me up in the cruelest of ways, tickling. Tickling has always been my weakness. Anna knew this and used it to her advantage.
"Come on Abbi." She attacked.
"EEEP!" I squealed along with some other incoherent babble.
I pried my unwilling eyes open and squinted up. Her red curls fell perfectly in place all around her oval face. She got a big smile on her face and let her perfectly white teeth peek out from behind her pink lips.
"Come on, get dressed," she instructed.
"Why?" I groaned.
"Because I am older and I say so."
"Not fair. Evil. Ugh. I hate the seniority card." I sat up on our bed.
"We've got to go. Come on. Don't make me get Tigs."
I laughed. The little orange and black kitten could be very ferocious and threatening… if you were a housefly. She could make people do her bidding for fear that she would never cuddle again. I was convinced she was plotting world domination… And sadly enough, she'd probably succeed.
"Okay! I'm up! I'm up!
She threw me an outfit and demanded I get dressed. I started getting dressed, and I felt her eyes travel up and down my back. I turned and Anna quickly turned her back to me and pretended to be untangling a curl.
When I was fully dressed, I turned and she was gone. I walked out to the kitchen and she was sitting at the table, just waiting.
She just sat there for another moment in silence.
"You aren't telling me everything. What happened? Why did you move in? Is it because of this?" she yanked me to a mirror and pulled up my sweater.
My jaw dropped a foot. It had bruised. There were strap marks all up and down my sides. There were triangular bruises where Aunt Monica's sharply pointed shoe had dug into my ribs. It was a sickly purple and black mixture of colours. Yesterday I had been sore, but not bruised.
"Oh my God…" was all I could force my brain to make my mouth say.
"Who did it and why? Abbigale Lynn Hampton I want to know everything."
Her look could have frozen Hell. "Now."
I swallowed down the vomit that was threatening to come up. "My aunt found out… She kicked me out."
"And…?" She persisted.
"And she didn't throw me a party, no balloons, I was very sad."
"She doesn't like people like us, okay? I became a punching bag for a little bit, no big, I'm fine."
"Why haven't you been telling me everything?"
"Because Anna! I'm a freak with a screwed up life! You're the only good thing I have going for me and I'd die if I lost you!"
She looked as if I had just slapped her in the face, she was shocked.
"You wouldn't lose me just because your life isn't perfect! What kind of person do you think I am?"
I stared at my sneakers. I felt bad because… well, she wasn't that type of person.
"I'm sorry… I just didn't want to take the chance…"
She still looked wounded, but nodded.
"We're going to be late. Come on, hurry up." She managed to say as she gave Tigs some food.
I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I ran the water and began to brush my teeth. When I finished scrubbing every last taste bud off of my tongue, I left the water running. I walked over to the cabinet. I opened the door and felt around on the top of the first shelf for the blade I hade taped there the day before. I took it out and walked back to the sink. I was crying. Why was everything going so badly? I dug the blade into my forearm and slowly drug it across my flesh. The crimson blood spilled out and skipped down my arm. It slowly dripped down my arm and into the sink. Why did I keep hurting Anna? I positioned the blade a little lower and dug further. I winced as I quickly sliced it across. More blood spilled out quicker. It no longer hurt as badly on the inside. I had pulled it all to the outside; I could deal with outside pain. I threw on a couple of band-aids, rinsed out the sink and returned the blade to the shelf. I walked back out and grabbed my messenger bag. I gave Anna a quick kiss and headed to Jacks.
Before I got a taxi, I turned into the little jiffy store. I walked to the aisle and grabbed the little blue and white box that sat near the condoms and dirty magazines. I turned on my heel and inconspicuously slipped a few into my bag. I returned to the front of the store and bought a cup of boiled peanuts and quickly paid for them.
I left the store and my heart was pounding so hard I was surprised it didn't shake my entire body. I decided to ditch Jack. One time wouldn't kill.
I walked back to the apartment and called Jack to cancel our mall trip. I silently slipped into the bathroom and pulled the boxes out. I stared at it, I hadn't done this before. I didn't know what to do. What if I read it wrong? I held my breath and slid my thumb under the lid. I pulled out one of the sticks.
"Oh god… Oh god… Oh god…" I'd never been so scared.
I followed the instructions, and forty-five minutes later, six out of six sticks boldly read yes. What was I going to do? My eyes stung and they blurred. The dam behind my eyes had opened. I sat for another twenty minutes in a pool of my salty tears. If I'd only gone to the clinic… Just gotten checked when they had begged… We couldn't afford a baby.
My mind was flooded with thoughts. I ripped open my bag and pulled out another blade. I was suddenly starving for blood and I quickly ripped my pants over my knee as quickly as possible. I let the blade dance across my skin with a hunger I'd never known before. The strawberry gashes were long and deep. They mixed with my tears and stung, helping to fulfill my need for pain that stretched beyond words.
Scarlet relief spilled down my legs in rivers, and slowly fanned out around my feet onto the white tiled floor. The blade slipped from between my fingers and splashed in the crimson pool. I let my head fall back against the wall, and my eyes fluttered shut.
"A-Abbi? Holy fuck!" My eyes snapped open as I heard Parker's quivering voice.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
"I came over to steal food, but instead I find my best friends girlfriend bleeding profusely on the fucking bathroom floor! What the fuck Abbi?" Parker responded as he pressed a towel against my leg. I winced. "That's what you get."
"Fuck you." I shot back as I bit my lip.
Parker grabbed a box of band-aids and started applying the sticky strips to the wounded areas. "If you were trying to be a dumb ass and kill yourself, I hope you know you cut the wrong place."
"I wasn't trying to kill myself asshole."
"Then what the fuck do you call this? And for god's sake lock the damn door!"
I rolled my eyes and let him finish playing doctor.
"So," he began, locking eyes with me, "if it wasn't suicide, what was it?"
"None of your fucking business."
"Unless you want Anna knowing, it is my business."
"What's got you so stressed out that you're doing this shit?"
I let my eyes wander to the trashcan and let him follow my gaze.
"I'm not a fucking psychic Abbi, tell me."
I crawled over and took out one of the boxes, "Are you psychic enough to figure it out from here?"
"What? You like boxes? You're having feminine issues? I don't want to hear about your bleeding… Wait…" he took a better look, "That's a pregnancy test… But you're a dyke…"
I slapped him. "Parker come on. For once I can't deal with your bullshitting."
"Well, it's obviously not Anna's, so, who'd ya fuck?"
"I didn't fuck anyone!"
"So, what? Are you the next Virgin Mary or something?"
"Yes, I'm the next fucking Virgin Mary!" I rolled my eyes. "Did Jack ever tell you what happened between him and Brad?"
"Yeah, what's that got to do with you?"
"Well—the same thing kind of happened to me."
I sniffled, "With Brad you dumb ass, who the fuck was I just talking about?"
"Well, I mean, you mentioned Jack, and Brad's a complete homo, man, I know he is."
"Well, obviously not as much as you think, that or he's just a nympho."
"I'm going with the latter, because if not, my gaydar is really off. So, that means Brad's the dad?"
"Nope, you are. Evidently you're not as much of a fag as you thought either." I replied sarcastically.
He smiled and shook his head. "Id have to be really fucking drunk to be with you. No offense… What about Anna? What are you gonna do about your about your… fetus problem?"
"I have no idea, hence the freak out."
We were both really quiet. I began mopping up my mess.
"When are you going to tell her?"
"Well, I was hoping on never, but that wouldn't go over too well. Probably tonight… how do you think she'll react?"
"She'll be upset and worried at first, but she'll be fine, she loves kids."
I nodded and rested my head against his shoulder. I felt him tense up, but I fell asleep anyways, just for the hell of it.