It hurt. So much. I pulled the blanket over my head as I groaned. Noise hurt. Air hurt. Light hurt. Just existing hurt.

I was lying on a bench. In prison. How the hell do I end up in prison? I mean, I'm a smart kid. I get good grades. I was kind to people and went to church and had a part time job on the weekends.

Ok, I knew exactly how I ended up in prison. Cocaine. Obviously. I was addicted, and it had been ruining my life. My grades weren't actually so good any more. I hadn't gone to class very often in the past couple of months. And I was probably going to get fired from my job. Julie, the manager, kept taking pity on me because I came in so exhausted when I bothered to show up at work. I should have been fired already, what with the drug free policy.

And now my family knew. God, I hated the way my mother had looked at me when I had admitted it and been sentenced. She had been in denial about it for so long. But her big brown eyes, just like mine people always told me, looking at me like I was such a failure. Like she was such a failure. I wanted to grab her and shake her. Somehow pound it into her head that it wasn't her fault. I had told her it wasn't, but she didn't believe me. I could tell. And now she always cried whenever I left the room. When I was there, she would be strong for me, but as soon as I left, then she would cry. She felt like she should have noticed something. How I was losing weight, or that I had started coming in at four in the morning if I even came in at all. That I suddenly stopped having any money, and started helping myself to the little bits of cash that she kept in her purse or in a basket in one of the kitchen cupboards.

It wasn't her fault, or any of my family's fault. My father, who was always so stern and hardly ever really there anyhow. Or my little sister. God, I loved her and I hate myself for ever doing this to her. She used to look up to me. I used be a good example. And now I fucked that up too. I fucked up my whole life, and now I was taking my whole family down with me.

And it hurt. So much.

I flopped over onto my other side, writhing there on the bench my hands came in contact with a wall, and I dragged my fingers down it, trying to somehow get my mind on something besides how much this all hurt. Why wouldn't they give me just a little bit of it? I needed it! Right now! They were killing me! Torturing me!

My left hand found itself wrapped around something. Something smooth and long and thin. I forced my eyes open, and found myself looking at one of those cords that connect your phone to the wall. The phone was on a table by the bench a bulky black plastic thing. But I didn't give a shit about that phone. I knew that I couldn't call anyone for help.

It hurt to even try and stretch my arms out, but I managed to get the cord detached from the phone. I'd never done anything like this before, but it seemed simple enough, in principle. I tested the cord, yanking at it with as much strength as I could muster, and all that happened was my grip slipping down it a little bit. A girlfriend of mine had told me about this before. How you could manage to get sort of a high from lack of oxygen. Anything, anything could help. Or if I screwed it up, then I wouldn't have to hurt anymore, or to hurt any of the people around me.

I wrapped the cord in a circle, and drew it over my head, all while staying under the scratchy green blanket that was keeping the light from assaulting me. Though little bits kept getting through and making me cringe and start crying. After I managed to recover from one burst of light, I gathered myself, and tried to pull the cord tight. I couldn't hold it for more than a second before my trembling muscles gave out. I pushed on end around and under the other, like I was starting to tie a shoe lace. Light flooded in when I had lifted my hand to tie the cord and I squeezed my eyes shut against it's onslaught. God, I could feel it burning on my skin and eating through my eyelids, getting brighter each time I shut them against it.

I breathed deeply, another mistake, after I stopped shaking from the light. God, breathing even hurt. I took both ends of the cord in my hands, and I yanked in opposite directions as hard as I could. I felt it dig into my neck a little this time, and it gave me enough strength to yank a little more. I tried to take a breath as I yanked, but found myself just gulping strangely. I kept pulling as much as I could, even though my arms were shaking so hard I could barely grip the cord. After a little bit, and several slips of my hand, I found that the pain had gone down a little. I hurt a little less. I yanked some more as I realized this, pleased that my efforts were having the desired effect. But I didn't feel my arms respond any when I tried to. At least my hands still had ahold of the phone line so it didn't slip any.

I started seeing bursts, spots of purple and red and yellow light against the back of my eyelids. I opened my eyes for a moment, and found that they continued, and that someone had turned down the light a bit. Soon I should probably loosen it, and take a breath. But everything was dulling. It didn't hurt so much, and I wanted to try and stretch it out as long as I could. It would hurt so much again when I tried to take a breath.

I finally let go with my hands, but I couldn't tell if anything happened. I couldn't feel if they were still wrapped around the cord, or if they were even under the blanket. Or if there was any blanket.

"Holy shit! What are you doing?"