My life was pretty happy until John. John ruined my life, and I never even met him. I was 19 when he changed my life forever. I was walking home from the local club in the small hours of the morning when he dragged me into an alley and raped me.
When he was through, I was left for dead in that dirty place. The smell of my own blood and the urine of the many men caught short down here filled my nose. I couldn't get up from the cold hard floor, everything was just too painful. I heaved and threw up a few times, and passed out.
The next morning when I woke up, I was in hospital. A stranger had found me and called an ambulance. I wondered if he had used me too, before they arrived. The damage to my body was extensive, but would heal over time. The damage that had been inflicted on my brain was worse.
After I was discharged from the hospital, I was sent to a victims meet. Here I met another woman who had been abused and hurt the way I had. She introduced me to a way to forget about the hurt for a while, and I was so grateful to her for her help.
I was afraid of men, but the one who came to my house daily was a lifeline. He brought me the heroin I needed to get through the day. The days I couldn't pay him, he raped me for his troubles and went on his way. I didn't care any more, I was numb to the outside world.
My family tried to save me, they watched as I slipped deeper and deeper into addiction in an effort to forget my troubles. I didn't listen, they didn't understand. Without my heroin I would remember what John had done to me. I would live it all over again every time I closed my eyes. I continued to use anything I could that would help block out the pain.
One summer's day, I had the kitchen window open to let a fresh breeze flow through the house which had once been home. Now it was a dank, and dirty prison that looked and smelled like the alley I have been found in. I sat at the table with the man who never told me his name, as he cooked at the table. He would stay like he always did, to help me tie the tourniquet and find a vein.
After he had taken his money, and the plunger of his needle had sent me to the moon, he left. I was warming soup on the stove, tomato, the only thing I ever ate these days. I stayed at the table for a minute, meaning to go get it as soon as it was done.
This time though things wouldn't go to plan. The drugs I had taken were bad, I quickly lost consciousness at the table, while a strong breeze from the window blew out the flame on my gas hob. Gas filled the room, the house and my bloodstream. I was already overdosing, and the gas helped to polish me off.
I watched from a corner when my baby brother found me when he came over to help tidy things up a little. I had promised him I would clean up, my house and my life. It was too late now. I stood over his shoulder as he wept, holding my body close to him. I stroked his cheek, making him shiver and look around.
He saw the hob and switched off the gas, then called an ambulance. Only in death did I realise how much suffering I had caused my entire family. In my efforts to block my pain, I had caused them so much.
I wondered why I was still here, and roamed the streets. I wasn't aware of it then, but I was looking for John. I didn't know his name until I had found him and followed him home. Nobody could see me any more, because I wasn't there. I was a spectre, a ghost.
I watched him enter his house, I saw his wife and his daughter. She was my age, and wore a familiar haunted look. That look was the reason I used. Rage filled me and I vowed to save her and get rid of that monster.
When they were sleeping, I searched their home for something I could influence to destroy the man who had ruined not just my life but his own daughters too. She had left a white candle burning on the window ledge.
With enough focus and will I was able to direct the flame with waves of air, leading them to light the curtains of the room. I stood and watched as they all burned in their beds. She was free now, and he was no more. With my revenge complete I was free to do as I wanted with my afterlife. I chose to stay with my family until they too moved on. John ruined my life. He was the reason I died.
© Copyright 2016 R A B Bradbury. All rights reserved.
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