Seth Himmler had always been popular, ever since middle school. He had a talent of manipulating girls that no other guy had. He was funny, popular, and highly attractive; what girl wouldn’t fall for him at first sight? Seth had shaggy brown hair and green eyes. He was long and lean. No matter what he wore he always looked good in it, and no matter what he did he always looked good doing it. He was the most loved guy in all of Atlanta. Whenever he winked at a girl she would fall to his feet, and he took advantage of that. The one girl that he would never hurt though was his sister, Noble, she was five years younger than him, and he loved her more than anyone else in the world. Seth wanted to protect her, and take care of her. As long as Noble was happy, Seth had no other worries.
Seth started smoking marijuana in high school, and by the end of his first semester in his freshman year of college he was snorting cocaine and shooting heroin. Seth was using almost every drug imaginable, all except for meth that is. He was a fun guy that everyone loved to be around. All he did was party, have sex, drink, smoke, and do a variety of illegal substances. But before his first year of college even ended, Seth dropped out. He felt that it was getting in the was of his lifestyle. With the money he was supposed to have used to pay for his second semester of college he paid for a small condo near Little Five Points. He soon needed money, however, but his parents refused to support him since he dropped out of college. Eventually Seth started to owe a lot of people a lot of money. Most of the people he borrowed from just so happened to be drug dealers. It all caught up to him though, and soon he needed money fast. Seth found himself in a tight place, because mid-July his cocaine dealer, Connor, wanted his money back, “Seth man, I’ve been really nice to you so far. You know that I never loan out money, but you promised that you’d have it for me in a week. It’s been almost three.” Connor knew that Seth couldn’t pay him back, but he wanted his money. He couldn’t look weak to other dealers or else he would get eaten alive. “Connor, look man, you know I don’t have a job right now. I’m trying to get all of your money back to you, but it’s going to be a while.” Connor stared him down. Seth was afraid of him, because he knew that Connor would do anything for his money, he would kill a man for $40. “I’m going to be generous to you Seth. I like you, so I’ll help you out some more. You’re going to find three or four girls, really cute ones with low self-esteem, and you’re going to get them to work for you. Then you will pay me my money back.” Seth was confused. He didn’t know what Connor meant by finding girls to ‘work for him’; did he mean like in a sweatshop? Connor sighed, he could tell that Seth had no idea what he meant. It was probably all of the weed he had been smoking, “I mean prostitute them. All you have to do is make a couple of girls feel good, and then you can get them to work for you.” Seth liked this idea, because it sounded simple, easy, fast, and very high-paying. Seth agreed, “All right Connor, you’ll have your money soon. I promise.” Seth couldn’t think of a downside to prostitution; the only people that would get hurt would be the prostitutes, and he didn’t care about them.
Lexi was the first girl, or victim. Three days after his conversation with Connor, Seth saw Lexi at the Starbucks on East Ponce. She had just gotten dumped by her boyfriend, and she needed a shoulder to lean on. The perfect opportunity had just occurred for Seth. He walked up to her, “You want some coffee, beautiful?” Lexi, still upset, agreed to this offer. This attractive, seemingly sweet guy was talking to her, an opportunity that she thought only happened once in a lifetime. It wasn’t that Lexi was unattractive, but her last relationship left her feeling ugly, and although many guys would have fallen for her rosy red hair and bright blue eyes, she felt unlovable. Seth knew this, so over the next three weeks he made her feel beautiful. Eventually, Lexi started to rely on Seth for everything, from advice to intimacy. It was a dangerous attraction that Lexi had towards Seth. At the end of three weeks Seth managed to take her virginity, and because he was her first, Lexi thought that he loved her. She agreed to having sex with him and his friend, then with just his friend, then with strangers for money. After a short two months Seth had employed his first prostitute.
By late April, Seth had seven girls working for him: Lexi, Calli, Rachel, Sophia, Becca, Steffi, and Maddie. Callie was his second victim. She was like Lexi, sad and alone, feeling unloved, and she was vulnerable. Rachel and Sophia had been his next two targets. They were two very good friends that ran away from home together, because they were both abused. He saw them at the park sleeping one night, and offered to take them in. He acted as their night and shining armor. They started to work for him when they were only fifteen. He lured Becca from the Hartsfield-Jackson airport with promises of love and companionship. Steffi was the unlucky German tourist that got lost in the large city of Atlanta. She couldn’t speak very much English, so when Seth offered to help her find her way she came with him. He eventually drugged her and she became his sixth prostitute. The last girl was Maddie, and she had been trafficked. She was kidnapped in Missouri at twelve and sold at a virgin auction in Atlanta at fourteen. Seth bought her because she looked like a good investment. His life had become any stoner’s dream. All it consisted of was drinking, sex, drugs, and money. The only work he had to do was keep his girls in check, and since that wasn’t very hard for him Seth considered it to be a hobby. When the girls caused him trouble he would use his fists to remind them of their place. He knew that he basically ruined what futures they had, but why would he care? The only connection he had with them was that they worked for him. Seth felt invincible.
Every other weekend Seth spent one whole day with his sister, Noble. One Saturday, mid-August, he decided to take her to Six Flags since she was sad. Noble was feeling worthless, because the guy that she had fallen head over heels for didn’t like her anymore. In an effort to cheer her up Seth brought her to her favorite amusement park. Ever since he could remember, the one thing that always cheered Noble up was a ride on the Great American Scream Machine followed by a giant smoked turkey leg. They were sitting together by the Wheelie eating their turkey legs when Connor walked up to them, “Hey Seth, is this a new girl?” Connor gave Noble his naturally disturbing smile, “Seth what is he talking about?” Noble asked him, “Do you have a girlfriend?” Seth laughed nervously; he didn’t want Noble to find out about what he did behind closed doors. “No, he was just joking around with me.” Noble smiled at Connor, and when Seth wasn’t looking she slipped Connor her number. Connor winked at her, “You know Seth, you still haven’t paid me all of my money back yet. I want it, and I want it soon.” Then he bent over to whisper in Seth’s ear, “You know that I’ll do anything to get my money back, and I mean anything.” With that he sauntered away. Seth was nervous. He didn’t know what Connor was going to do for his money. Noble, still intrigued with Connor said, “I like him, he has something about him.” Seth started to worry, “Noble, don’t go for him. You don’t know him like I do.” Two weeks later, when Seth was supposed to see his little sister again, Noble called him, “Seth don’t come pick me up today. I’m meeting with somebody.” Seth knew that Noble loved him as much as he loved her, so he figured that it must have been important. A month passed, and Seth hadn’t been able to get in contact with Noble, so he stopped by his parents house, “I don’t know where she is. She hasn’t been home in weeks.” His mother told him. Seth began to panic. He searched for her in all of the corners of Atlanta. He even began to search neighboring cities, Bankhead, Conyers, Newnan, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Doraville, and McDonough. He couldn’t find Noble anywhere. A few months later he got a call from her, “Seth, big brother, I miss you. Where have you been?” She didn’t sound like herself, “Are you drunk?” Seth demanded. Noble giggled, “Connor gave me something to drink, that’s all. He’s really nice to me. He even lets me live with him. He makes me feel really good.” Seth knew where she was now, “Wait for me there Noble, and don’t drink anything else. Don’t do anything with him.” In ten minutes Seth was at Connor’s apartment, “Open the door!” he screamed, “I said open the door!” Connor answered it, “Seth, it’s a good thing you’re here. I just finished with your sister. You have impeccable timing.” Seth got angry, “What do you mean you finished with my sister? What did you do to her? What did you do to my fourteen year old sister?” Connor laughed, “What do you think I did with her? Do you think we played with Barbies? Listen, I already told you that it was in your best interest to pay me back quickly, and you didn’t listen.” Seth jumped on Connor and started to choke him, “Don’t touch my little sister!” One of Connors neighbor heard the commotion, and dragged Seth off of Connor, “Here’s your money.” he scoffed, and then he threw the cash down at Connor. He went into the apartment to get Noble. She looked terrible. “What happened to you Noble?” Seth was on the brink of tears. “What do you mean what happened to me? I feel good right now. He makes me feel good.” With a drunken smile she added, “We even smoke together. I think he might like me. He buys me vodka too. Isn’t that nice of him?” Seth didn’t know what happened to his little sister. He took her in to live with him until she could get herself together. After a couple of months Noble started to show signs of recovery.
Steffi had been causing Seth a lot of trouble lately. She used to bring him the most business, but then she got pregnant. “Are you stupid? Do you not know how to prevent this?” Seth demanded. He slapped her, “Is this what you need to get your act together?” Seth continued to hit her, and then he continued to beat her. Blood began to trickle down between Steffi’s legs. Seth had just caused her miscarriage. Before he stormed away angrily he called out to her, “Maybe now you’ll have learned your lesson. I hope I won’t have to do this again.” When Seth got home Noble wasn’t there. He called her, but she didn’t answer her phone. Fifteen minutes later he got a call from her principal, “Your sister has been doing - *ahem* - favors for the young men at school for money. I apologize, but we will have to suspend her, because this kind of behavior is not tolerated at Riverwood High School. It truly is a shame, because she was such a good student.” Seth shook his head in despair. He really thought that Noble was getting better. At that instant, Noble walked through the door, “So I guess you got the call.” She sat down on the sofa, “You seem surprised Seth.” Seth could smell the liquor on her breath, “Noble, I thought you were getting better. I thought I was helping you.” Noble scoffed, “Really? Nothing’s changed, I’m still drinking, smoking, but now the difference is that I’m making my own money.” Seth hugged his sister; he was on the brink of tears, “What happened to you? I told you not to mess with connor, but you didn’t listen to me. Why didn’t you listen to me?” Noble looked up at her brother with tears in her eyes, “I was sad Seth, and no one was there for me. You changed ever since you dropped out of college, and mom and dad fought every day. My friends were ignoring me, and I felt so lonely. I couldn’t take it anymore, and Connor made me feel better, he made me feel good.” Seth started to cry. It was his fault, “Noble, I’m sorry. Please stop this. I’ll change for you. I love you. I don’t want to see you like this anymore.” Noble pulled away from him, “I’m sorry Seth. I love you too, but I think it’s too late for me to stop. I can never be the little girl that I used to be.” She was only fifteen. That night Noble left Seth’s apartment. She didn’t come back the next day either. Four days later, Christmas Eve, Seth got a call from his parents; Noble was in the intensive care unit. Seth rushed to the hospital, and his entire family was standing about, crying, in the waiting room. “What happened? Is Noble alright?” his mother attempted to answer him, but she couldn’t keep herself from choking on tears. The doctor came out, and he answered Seth’s question instead, “Your sister overdosed on heroin and meth. She’s suffering from epileptic seizures and her lungs are severely damaged. She won’t be able to breathe on her own anymore. She is lucky that her condition isn’t any worse.” Seth fell to his knees, crying he screamed, “How can her condition be any worse? Look at her! She’s only fifteen. She had a future, but this, all of this, it’s my fault. I did this to her. If I had just paid Connor back sooner, or if I had just kept a closer eye on her, or if I had stayed in college, if I- if I.” The doctor felt sympathy for Seth, “Stop with the what if’s. What’s done is done. There’s nothing that you can do for her now.” As the months progressed, Noble’s condition worsened. Her kidneys were failing, she had suffered from two strokes, and her seizures persisted.
Seth could only blame himself. He continued to prostitute women, but he no longer cared about how much business they brought him. He began to slip away from life’s grip. Nothing could make him happy anymore. Clothes, money, sex, or drugs didn’t do anything for him. The only thing that could numb his pain was alcohol, and so that’s all he did; he just drank. Every morning he would wake up with an empty bottle in his hand. Seth spent the remainder of his life in agony remembering the sister that he once had. With each memory another bottle of liquor was drained, because he knew that he played a large role in Noble’s downfall. What happened to his little sister was exactly what happened to his seven prostitutes. It was Seth’s karma. Four years later, Noble died when both of her kidneys stopped working, and her family couldn’t find a donor. Six months later, unable to handle the loss of his sister, Seth committed suicide. She was nineteen, and he was twenty four.
© Copyright 2016 Nia Hammer. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Young Adult
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