The room was cold and damp the bedsheets had not been washed in months. The odor of sweat and blood filled the room. The big screen tv on the wall was just for show. Riley would stare into it while she “worked” everyday. Before the earthquakes this place used to be a 5 star hotel but now it is just another brothel. For Riley it is her home, a home that she can never leave.
The Mick tonight was different. He was into the weird shit. He was rough with her. He beat her until she was unconscious and grabbed her hair tight. After he had finished getting his kicks and releasing himself he left as quickly as he came. The Micks don’t stay very long. They pay their dues and use her and every girl in the place like a lifeless sex doll.
Riley went back to the her “room” for the night. She shared the room with at least 50 other girls. Everyone had to fight for scraps to eat. The more Micks you took the more scraps you got. You might not always get food but you always got a hit. Meth to help you stay awake and Heroin to numb the pain of the constant abuse every day.
Riley sat on her cot and reached into her pocket pulling out a pregnancy test she took earlier in the day. She cupped it in her hands hiding if from the sight of the other girls. She had worked very hard to smuggle the test in to the brothel. They were not allowed such luxuries.
It was positive…She was pregnant. She immediately begin to sweat and panic. She franticly looked around the room for an answer to her dilemma. If her handler found out that she was pregnant she would be an “processed” and have to give up her food for the next two weeks. She had no clue what to do. She plugged her arm into the heroin drip and took a hit. She took another hit. She took so many hits that she was beyond self control. She began to think of her way out.
She knew what she had to do.
She unplugged from the drip and started to slowly walk out of the room. One foot in front of the other. She turned back quickly for one more glance at the life she had created for herself. It was supposed to be different. She wasn’t supposed to be here. She couldn’t let a child live in this environment.
She went down the hall way and opened the door to the stairs. The front exit was only four flights down and no one was watching. She could make a run for it but she wasn’t going down. She headed up to the 5th floor. The top floor.
There was shards of glass covering the floor and the wind was howling through the main hallway on the fifth floor. The fifth floor was empty because there is no fifth floor anymore since the earthquakes. Half of the hallway was open to the city below. Riley began to walk closer to the edge of the hall. Her heart began to pace faster.
She had planned this out every night since she had been kidnapped. She never really thought it would come to this though. She looked down at the cars passing by. They looked like little toys. She wanted to play with them…She let go and began her descent. The air was cold as she fell but she felt fresh and free. She never felt the ground when she hit.
Dameon shot up in his bed in a cold sweat staring at the ceiling. He had another nightmare about Riley again. The meds were supposed to help him forget his sister but he couldn’t she was always with him.
Riley had passed over 3 years ago but the memory of her death still haunts him. Dameon always felt like he could have done something to save her but he didn’t.
Dameon sat up and got out of bed. He managed to skip over the minefield of old cigarette butts, beer cans and dirty clothes he left on the floor. He turned on the switch to his Rube Goldberg like coffee machine. The coffee grounds poured themselves into the top of the old copper pot. He had that pot since he was a kid. His Dad had given it to him. The pot reminded him of the big steampunk craze when he was a kid and made him feel like he was Sherlock Holmes starting new case every day when he woke up.
He began to scrambled some eggs on the stove. A woman moaned in the background and rolled over in his bed. “Last night was amazing, you really blew my mind with that little move you did” she said “I knew you’d like it” said Dameon. He had totally forgotten Sarah was there. Sarah and Dameon had dated in high school. They were each others first loves but had fallen apart when Dameon went to college.
They had gotten back together at Riley’s funeral. Well they had been hooking up since Riley’s funeral. Other than sex they couldn’t really stand each other.
Dameon sat down at the table with his eggs and coffee. He began to stare mindlessly at the box sitting in the hallway old and full of dust.
“Aren’t you going to make me breakfast?” Sarah asked as she sat up in his bed. Dameon snapped back to reality “You are a strong independent woman you don’t need a man for anything right?” “I needed a man last night didn’t I” Sarah smiled and Dameon grinned back.
“When are you going to open that box of Riley’s things? You’ve had it sitting here for 3 years collecting dust” she added.
“When I’m ready!” Dameon snapped at her. He had always wanted to open it but he never had the courage too. He was afraid he would hate himself more.
“Ok damn! I was just asking a question…” “Maybe there is something in there that will make you not be a complete asshole all the time!”
Dameon looked at her with fire in his eyes. “You need to go…” “Fine!” see exclaimed. She put on her clothes then grabbed his coffee from the table and walked out the door.
“She will be back” he told himself. She always comes back.
Dameon finished his breakfast and began to get ready for his morning workout routine. He was a man of routine and though he didn’t take care of himself mentally he always found time to take care of his body. He had really gotten into Crossfit these past few years and built his own gym in the garage. The WOD (workouts of the day) were brutal. That’s why he liked them. They helped him to battle his depression. When it was all over he was too tired to be angry.
He began doing pull on the handles of his seated rower. He rowed and rowed until he lost track of time. An hour must have passed. He was covered in sweat and fell to the floor lying on his back gasping for air. His American Bulldog Flash sprang up and jumped down from the couch and ran over to Dameon. She began to lick the sweat off of his forehead.
“Ok. Ok. I get it Flash…you want to go outside. He got up from the ground. Boy was he sore from that work out. He opened the sliding glass door in the back of his house and let the dog in the back yard.
Once Flash came in and he fed her he went up stairs in his flat to take a shower. It was time to get to work before his class starts.