The curl of smoke rises slowly; grey figures dance and twirl within the fading mist. Their voices wash over me, haunting and melodious. The angels that frolic within the swirling clouds will protect me from Them. When the shadows lengthen, They will come. I trail my fingers through the craters on my arms; tracing silken paths that lead to Heaven. Heaven can wait, I watched that once, where? The television I think, no it’s broken; the same static scene glares back at me from high up on the wall, never changing, dogs playing pool with little hats. It’s crooked, smashed, like me. My Aunt gave me that picture, not the television stupid, a picture, Aunt Mary; she had a little lamb. The drums rumble in the hills. Zulus? Too far away, rain tapping at the window to be admitted, names not down; sorry. You have to invite them in. Something wicked this way comes.
I catch a glimmer of movement on the table top as brittle laughter pierces the seraphic chorus. They have arrived. My eyes try to follow the turn of my head but my vision follows at a crawl as if caught on a soft close drawer. Another scuttling behind me and I try to rise; the concrete in my legs denies me. I feel them moving around my feet, nipping at my ankles as I struggle to move, laughing at my inability to engage even the most basic motor function. I hear the crunch of bone as one of them bites into my trembling hand, his yellow tongue darting to and fro and he starts to climb my arm towards me. Others join him scrambling up my legs. “LEAVE ME ALONE” I scream as they edge ever closer, reaching to embrace me with those tiny black hands. A familiar face melts in from the left blocking my vision, a voice soaked in cotton wool soothing, calm, “nothing there, just relax.” I feel the scratch on my arm and the golden horses carry me away into the soft light.
The sun shining through the window blinds me as I drift back to reality and the hell in which I live. There are bodies still sleeping all over, some I recognise, others not. Syringes hang from yellow-grey arms and mouths gape in silent echoes of ecstasy. How many started as I did? Watching others inhale the soft tendrils of smoke then drifting off with eyes at the horizon. Watching and wanting a taste, just a little, just to see. The first time the Dragon bites is nirvana, like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Trying to grab its tail as it runs further away to recapture that rush turns inevitably to the needle. I placed my mat upon the junkie helter skelter and let loose. I hit the bottom and as the song goes, behold the tracks of my tears. Someone, somewhere in the days when such things mattered, wrote of Captain Trips, the super flu; a virus tearing through humanity killing all those that it touched. I live that tale every damn day.
The speed freaks and the stoners that drop by call us sleepwalkers, the insomnia that shackles us only fixed with a fix. What do they know? Do they get the reaction we do out there from the nine to fivers? They shrink from us as we go about our day, wide eyed and panicky, expecting us to attack; to take their money to feed the monkey gnawing constantly at our throats For the most part, we ignore them; we’re just taking care of business. What use would we have with them? Will they carry us away on a cloud of happiness to quiet oblivion? Will they ebb and flow with orgasmic pleasure through our veins as they unclench our muscles and lay acres of feathers beneath us as we float on a summer breeze? I was told once that heroin is named after the German word for heroic so why do they cower, we could save the World?
Don’t get me wrong, I want to stop. Living wrapped in these chains is not living in any sense of the word but I’ve tried. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. The days of shaking, agony and panic an unending misery that your body knows can be cut short with just ‘one more time’. That single moment that eases the pain sending you back down the snake, back to the floor. Easier to go on then go back I guess. I need a drink. I weave my way through the undead littering the floor to the kitchen. Plates and cups jostle for space in the stained sink, why can’t I find a spoon? The click of the kettle wakes someone from their slumber, Ed; I think that was him last night, chasing them away. I make two cups.
“They were there again then?” he asks scratching at the scabs bisecting his arm. “You need to do something if you wanna stay. You scared the crap out of that new lot from the park. They were just starting to cook up and there’s you thrashing and screaming until I topped you up. Sort it out.” I nod and light a cigarette, watching the flame flicker, wishing he too would leave me alone; why can’t they all just leave me be. I need to sign on later and she’ll be there; that woman with the moustache and name tag hanging round her neck. Jean, Joan, Jesus woman give me a break. She hates me, hates us all I guess. Hands out, asking for help; help to go on, help to get by, help to forget.
I stub the half finished cigarette in my tea and reach for my kit. I’ll go later.