It was three AM and Charlotte was in pain again. Her veins pulsed and contracted tight with every breath. The headache was so bad even the gentle moonlight outside the kitchen window was burning her eyes.
She plucked at her pain pills with shaking fingers, managing to free them from the pack on her third attempt. Her hands were quivering so much that the first few pills fired down the sink. Charlotte watched them go, almost wishing she could go with them. To disappear into the darkness away from the pain.
If you could get up at dawn, make small talk with strangers, and smile at babies then the world was yours. But it wasn’t built for people like Charlotte, where every day was a non-stop parade of agony and humiliation.
“Are you okay, babe?”
Charlotte spilled a few more pills down the sink. It was the guy she’d picked up at Reilly’s tonight, she couldn’t recall his name. But he was a big, heavy-footed man — it should have been impossible for him to creep up on her.
She hadn’t heard him because she couldn’t hear anything out of her right ear. Even her right eye was beginning to fade. This was how it started. First her hearing would go, then her sight, then she’d lose all feeling altogether. That was what the pain did, day in and day out, with no reprieve. This was her life. Her curse.
Unless she did something about it.
The guy wasn’t expecting her to move so fast. Few did. Desperation made her strong. She had him down the ground with her teeth at his throat before he could even scream.
Once she’d drained him dry, Charlotte sat up and took air into her sore lungs as the pain flooded out of her. Again, the pain was gone.
— By Matt Holland 02/05/18
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