Fear has seeped into my sixty-year-old bones. Dread is my shadow and accompanies my every step. Terror has hollowed me out, emptied me, leaving me broken and brittle.
Alicia snapped awake. There was a fine silk cobweb covering her face. It felt as if she was suffocating. She reached out, clawing at her face, scratching off the surface texture. She was down to the scars when the blood started to flow.
It’s sort of hard to put into words.
Well, it happened a long time ago. You’ll think I’m wasting your time. But I’ve been thinking about it, going over and over it. And it means something.
Sleep in any odd alley came piecemeal to Chris Banntry (and never luck, he would add, if anything else.) He called it bonesleep or curbsleep, or a number of other things, just as long as minutes of it were sometimes accompanied by a kind darkness. He liked the minutes where his bones could soften for the merest of moments and his mind go blank and his stomach cease its horrible arguments, and the insects, the ants and other crawling enemies, might take a night off from arduous labors. The darkness, inevitably, could bring enemies of all sorts with it, or the strangest of friends.
They never tell you how hard it is to love someone. Or how hard it is to be loved.
The first person you ever think you love is the shift manager of the restaurant of your first job. He’s twenty, four years older than you, and you don’t even know him. He doesn’t know you. All you remember about this first love, the one you aren’t ever supposed to forget, is that your first kiss was a shotgun hit of weed that turned into tongues and teeth mashed together, that later he vomited tequila in the sink and then you fucked in the spare room of your friend’s house. You were so drunk you didn’t realize you started your period and it looked like a crime scene, which seems appropriate now. Anymore, sex and love seem like crime.
“Tell me where it hurts,” he says.
Are you fucking kidding me? There isn’t enough time for that. But I know he’s not asking about that. My eyes are black from the corners to across the bridge of my nose, swollen across the bridge. My nose feels like hamburger meat rotting on a kitchen counter that we forgot to put away because Kenny actually showed up on time with the dope for once. That meat sweated and swelled and stank for a week before we finally came down and realized there was a dead animal rotting next to the empty cans of beer and overflowing ashtrays and stacks of dollar bills from a great weekend at the club.