Oxygen, Code One

dark, blurry city street at night

He has a Reputation, but she needs, and she is shaking so hard she can feel herself tearing at the joints. A friend warns her not to seek him, and cries in the nape of her neck as she rips apart her story’s canvas. She spends a week’s worth on one, instead, so she can hope she will not remember in the morning.

(She doesn’t.)

The last penny she held is now fire in her veins, and she finds herself up for auction, closing her eyes as they’re open and trying to pretend it is anything else. He runs his hands down her bones and whispers how hot it is to know that she is flaking away. It has to hurt, so much. So much.

(It does.)

She is clean for three weeks. And then five. And then two. And then one. And then one.

And then one.

Lights, and sirens, and the compassion in their eyes fading away as they see her marks, and the clinic turns clinical. They are very professional, and very professionally takes her blood through the scars, and very, very professionally tell her they can’t help with the pain. They write a note of discharge in regret, and come back soon! in invisible ink.