This first chapter of These Lives I Walk remains on this site as an indicator of my ownership of the work.
The following chapters are not in chronological order, but are instead one shots I have written for the purpose of developing These Lives I Walk into a more convincing trilogy.
Tuesday July 18th
I shivered from where I sat in the dark empty gutter, as the streetlight above me flickered on and off unreliably. I hated this with a fiery passion, I really did. But this was the only way that didn't involve honesty, and I sure didn't live my life by my moral compass. Honesty was something that only cropped up when it desperately had to.
It was nothing in the grand scheme of things. Besides, I needed money, and I needed it fast.
"Hey! Hey you!" My head flashed around rapidly; there was no one else on the street for this person to be talking to, and the path of their words so direct into my ears that the words had to be spoken to me. The staggering stranger stopped several meters away from me. He was clad in a tattered hoodie, pants that looked as if they had been fished out of the garbage, and eyes full of cruel, cold intention.
"Hey you," He clicked his fingers along with his words, sending a deep chill through my spine and putting the hair along my arms on high alert. Yuck. No way. Never. I still had standards – even now – and drunk hobos did not meet said values. The alcohol inclined part I could probably deal with, the smelly old man segment of it all…
No, thank you very much.
"What's your name, doll?" Uh, okay…dirty old pervert man just called me doll. Is he implying that I'm Barbie like? All plastic, and stringy hair…? Unperturbed, I turned away again. His kind of people didn't faze me – there wasn't anyone who really did anymore.
Anymore. Once upon a time I had been a different kind of girl. But 'once upon a times' come and go and in the end I'm just left sitting here, on high alert, waiting for it to all fall apart. He continued to blabber away to himself. His tone was rising and falling a lot, a dramatic story? Inflection paired with a question? I didn't have the curiosity or interest to care.
And then – just like every other night of the last week – the doubts began to wash through me. Maybe it wasn't such a great idea that I was out on the streets on such a empty, dark night…maybe I shouldn't have been out on these streets at all…maybe I should just get a respectable job in the local Starbucks...These goals always seemed far more achievable when I was sitting in a gutter, when anything was better than the situation I was in. Hopeless optimism among hell: the definition of this retched emotion I was feeling.
I fiddled with the hem of my skirt that I was incapable of really seeing in the dim light. It was as if someone had turned down the contrast to the point that everything had become nothing more than dark gray smudges of indecision. The closeness to darkness didn't bother me so much, it would've if there was no light, but that wasn't the case. Living in a world of blankness – in a world without any foreseeable direction – was worse than any imaginable torture. Without anything to pin my life to I was spiritually fucked. My soul would wither and I would fall apart. That's why I needed to see.
The air became crushed by the gentle sway of a party a few blocks over, the moon shone down onto the black of the road. Cars were uncommon down this street – the locals had to know what its only use was. Both sides of the street were full of old industrial buildings, half broken down car yards, dirty looking brothels, and high walled clubs. Only the forgotten, unsatisfactory people walked this pavement. Only the lonely, desperate, sex-deprived drove that street.
It would do something to your social standing to be caught where I was currently. But to me, it didn't matter. How could this new world be any worse than the half life I'd left behind when I'd packed my bags that cold night and fled? Back at home the frost would be beginning to touch down as the small, cozy people snuggled into their warm beds. At home it was winter, but it hardly seemed warmer here.
"Fuck this," I muttered bitterly to myself, "Fuck the whole entire world!" I yelled this time, hoping that the whole entire world could hear me. Not hesitating, I snapped to my feet, and took of back along the road as I fumed quietly to myself. Everything was full of darkness; nothing within the limitations of my life shone with a great enough light to change that. Not when I'd run away, not when I'd boarded the plane with my long, lank hair covering my bruised face, and certainly not now.
My feet impatiently tossed up loose stones, kicked cans, and blew through the odd pile of grass clippings. For some reason I noticed how the tapping of my feet on the cracked concrete went along perfectly with the flickering of the streetlight that I had left in my wake. I felt as though I was being followed, I didn't even care. Maybe if I was raped and murdered, dumped in the pressing ocean then I'd be truly out of the way, properly forgotten. Maybe it would be an easy way to end this pain.
Tendrils of my hair melded with the darkness. In the drenched out saturation of midnight, it looked as good as black. I hated that. It was the dreaded color that I was trying so hard to hide from, the horrible color that my life was completed with. There was no escape from the reminder as soon as I glanced into a mirror. It was the darkness that was clung to me no matter what. My darkness. My face – all of my skin, really – was washed out and pale. If you were to stick me in the middle of a pond, you could almost mistake the light bouncing off my face for the reflection of the moon in its home. Copied into a lake. Torn from the sky.
I had piercing eyes, the craziest shade, they were so deeply gray that sometimes I could swear there was silver in them…but perhaps that was me being hopeful to the fact that it signified I was worth more than I really was. To stare into the soul and see silver, what did that mean? Or was it that my eyes were nothing more than two little pinpricks of stars in the sky? In the end, what did it really matter? All these factors added up to make me feel as if it was right for me to be stuck on the side of this crappy street, partially engulfed in darkness, selling myself.
It was almost laughable, how much my image could be linked to my life.
As a person, I was forever awash in a world of monotones; somehow it was as if I'd never been good enough to have the rights to color… It was black and white, really. My worth was little to none. Leaving had achieved nothing, starting again was just as bad. I had nothing now, nothing but the long harsh road, my body and the last minute things I'd been able to pull together and stuff in my duffle bag on that impulse decision.
I plonked myself down, this time under an encroaching old oak. I wanted to cry, I really did. But the harder I tried the deeper needles against the backs of my eyes stuck in. It was no use. My heart was starved, and all that sat behind my eyes was a great mess of grey matter. My brain was so fuzzed over with the malnutrition and the cold that I could barely begin to piece together why I'd left. Oh God, why had I left!
Lights flashed around the corner, washing over me. The darkness that was to come was enveloping me and turned my sights to white from between my fingers. I was the only girl out here on the street, the only option. But I still couldn't bring myself to lift my head, give myself some sense of dignity. Ultimately it was because I didn't want to look at the car and have the reality of it driven home. As much as I needed the money, I didn't want it to have to be tonight. Another tonight lost to a bitter, old stranger.
The air pulsated with the noise of the stereo as the car rolled to a stop at the curb by my feet. It trembled through the ground and deep inside my bones in the otherwise quiet night. A buzzing noise, the music surged before fading into the dark. "How much?" a low voice asked, its smooth texture trickling down my spine like honey. Those two words were so suggestive, yet he wrapped his mouth around them as if they were the most important things left in the world.
I looked up.
There was no way I would be able to see the man's face in the darkness, it was lighter out here than it was inside his car. God, his car. Could I ever see that! Sleek, flashy and no doubt, highly expensive. It was the kind of car that says the owner is trying to make some kind of statement. "Four hundred," I replied briskly, deciding that it wasn't worth pretending that he was being presumptuous by thinking I was selling myself, "I charge by the hour." I continued, my voice beginning to waver.
He was young - too young - and that scared me.
The man must have heard my uncertainty as the motor cut with a rumble and the scissor door on the drivers side rose. How typically Lamborghini. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping that he would disappear and I wouldn't have to do this again. Deep breath in... I didn't have a choice. Before his shadow could fall upon the cracked pathway at my side I got to my feet in my heels and my exposed legs, feeling like a newborn foal.
He didn't ask if I was okay, didn't say a single thing. His face became shadowed again in the low light as he made his way back around to the drivers seat. The bright headlights of the dark grey car shone upon his jean clad legs and slim hips. I averted my eyes, my pulse too heavy in my throat. He must have realised that I was going to come willingly, without persuasion. The other door lifted in front of me, I got in.
In the dull green light from the dashboard my pale hands and arms look ghostly, I turned them and the scars on the insides glinted in the light. I could feel his gaze on me, even through the tangle of my hair that separated us. "Four hundred dollars," he whispered hoarsely to me over the thrum of the motor. One of his broad hands rested in my lap, and a cold chill seeped through my nerves. No, not already... But then he took it away and a weight remained on my thigh. Bound twenty dollar notes. I looked over to him. Dark eyes met mine under deep set brows and a flop of dark blonde hair that covered his forehead. My throat constricted and I could no longer voice my thanks. His features were so perfectly aligned, as though angels had personally arranged them. He flashed me a quick grin that was both arrogant and somehow humble at the same time. God, I felt naked!
He quickly turned the wheel as he accelerated out; it surprised me how fluent the movement was – his body tensing attractively as he moved with his car. I looked away. "Hotel, motel, the hood of my car?" Not the backseat? Maybe that was because there was no backseat. When the backseat wasn't an option you had to improvise, right?
I'd had worse than what he was offering, it didn't bother me either way. I shrugged my shoulders weakly. From there I kept my lips pursed as tightly closed as my thighs, just letting this golden haired stranger take me. I'd let him take every scrap of dignity I'd built up. Here I was, yet to not shiver merely at the sound of his voice. What was it going to be like when we got to the part where our two naked bodies would have to touch? What was going to happen to me then?
My job was nothing more than to have sex with him, to pleasure him in a solely physical way… to mean nothing to him.
Could someone please tell me why that hurt so much?
I didn't know – not at the time – how dramatically these streets were going to affect my life. I didn't know how everything was going to pan out in the end. Gold and shadow. But in the end – this end – so many things happened because of them, around them…
Really, I wasn't walking the streets, I was walking a fine line between too many lives.
Hello again readers!
So, I have decided to post up oneshots of theoretical situations that the characters from my These Lives I Walk trilogy never actually got up to, or did, but things that occur outside the narrative.
I've been writing these irrelevant pieces to develop character and understand the function of the story outside of what was actually written. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to share more of the series with any of you old readers that may still have the stories on alert :)
The following chapters will be these said writings. They are not in any order - chronological or otherwise - and do not function together, but rather as individual snap shots. If you are interested in reading something meatier - with a plot - then please do check out my new story Pretend to Chase.
Thanks again, definitely tell me what you think!