Author's Note: This is the version I'll be using going forward. It was written between April 21st and 22nd, and I may have done a little #NaNoRebel work and re-typed/re-wrote a scene from a few months ago.
This story talks about abortion, drug use, sex--nothing in great detail--but if those concepts bother you, I suggest you read something else. I have a dark fantasy story that doesn't have any of those things in it (yet), that you're welcome to try.
These were easily the hardest 3,000 words I've put to paper (well, only about 750 of them really hurt). It's unlike anything I've written before, and we're just skimming the surface of where the story will eventually go. This is a fusion of real life memories, of past relationships and experiences, some new and some old, but never forgotten. It's as much fiction as it is reality (ie: parents, don't freak out over the details, and don't read too much in to it).
The story started to make decisions for itself, characters appeared that I hadn't planned on, and a certain rent-a-cop decides he's going to be a hero... when I never planned on him sticking around.
The Renegade Messiah - Day 21-22
Word count: 3,088
Raize couldn't hate him, even standing outside the abortion clinic alone. The sign said the clinic opened at 7:00 AM. It was 7:09 and she was still waiting in the rain. She could have sat in her car in the parking lot but it was full of angry, sign bearing picketers. People who didn't understand; people who weren't pregnant and alone; people who weren't her. Their signs cut deep, their sputtered curses and accusations made her thankful the rain washed away her tears. “Whore!” A woman's voice cut through the rain like lightning. The word made Raize twitch slightly and she felt her stomach tighten up. She couldn't hate him but it didn't stop her from hating herself.
Not because of what she was about to do—she knew it was the best decision for her—but what had brought her to the cold steps of Blue Mountain Clinic alone. She focused on a puddle of water and watched as the rain drops tried to destroy it. She focused on the water to drown out the voices behind her. 7:20AM and the doors finally opened. The willowy woman at the front door apologized softly but Raize didn't hear her. She stepped through the doorway, soaking wet and numb.
“Do you have an appointment?” The woman asked. Raize nodded and brushed a strand of hair aside with a trembling hand. She stared at the woman. Donna. Her name tag said Donna.
“What's the name for the appointment?” Donna unlocked the next set of doors and opened them both in to a dimly lit waiting room. Inside, a man with dark skin, broad shoulders and a navy blue rent-a-cop uniform waited.
“Go and clear them out, Brent. They started early today. Vultures.” The security guard nodded a thick neck and left the two women alone in the waiting room. Raize listened as the man went outside and began barking at the picketers. The rain drowned out his words but she heard the fervent chanting begin to subside.
Raize had fallen asleep in the stiff waiting room chair with a magazine in her lap. A light tap on her shoulder startled her awake.
“Sorry to wake you. The Doctor is requesting you take this pre-operation medication.” Donna held out a clear plastic cup with two pills in it. She held a water bottle in the other hand. Raize blinked the sleep from her eyes and sat up. The waiting room was still as empty as when she had arrived. She took the cup and the water bottle. Donna looked down at her.
“I'm afraid this isn't going to be very pleasant. The medication will make you feel ill, but it's necessary for the operation. The bathroom is just down the hall.” Donna pointed politely.
“Once you take the pills, the abortion cannot reversed.” Donna whispered.
Raize stared at the pills in the cup. They were a startling shade of red, like crystallized blood. She knew somehow she'd never forget the color of them. Or the bitterness as they slid down her throat.
Donna lingered just long enough to make sure Raize didn't spit out the pills and returned to her desk. Raize watched the older woman shuffle some papers on her desk and went back to watching the silenced television.
A black ticker across the bottom of the screen announced another bombing across the city. Another abortion clinic, a three-story building. An underground terrorist group known as “E.V.E.” claimed responsibility. She saw the remote sitting on the waiting room table and tried to turn up the volume. The remote was broken.
“You don't want to listen to that, honey. E.V.E. is far away from here, don't you worry.”
Raize wasn't worried at all until Donna had said something. Her stomach started to rumble so she closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep. Just before she had fallen asleep, the door opened and the chanting from outside rushed in like a cold wind. Brent closed the door behind him.
“Donna, go ahead and call Central. They're not backing off this time. That bombing's got them all sorts of riled up.” Brent rested his back against the door as a barricade.
Outside, fists pounded on the outer door and demanded entry to the building. She heard a cardboard sign ricochet across the window, and the sound of shattering glass as something harder made contact. To Brent's credit, he did not flinch at the sound. Before Raize could begin to ask questions, her stomach began a protest of it's own. She shot up from her chair and rushed down the hallway.
She barely made it to the toilet before she became sick. The noise outside muffled the sounds of her groaning. Sweat dripped down her forehead and she put her face in her hands. The pills had wasted no time in stripping away her dignity. She reached out and fumbled to lock the bathroom door as the sound outside became louder.
Raize spent the next hour waddling back and forth from the waiting room to the bathroom. She felt sick and embarrassed and hoped Donna didn't notice. The rent-a-cop spent his time going back and forth from the waiting room outside, each time returning wetter and angrier than before. Brent was older, with patches of white in his black corn rows. He had the look of a patient man—but one whose patience was wearing thin.
Eventually Raize was able to sit again without fear of getting sick. She was positive she didn't have anything left in her intestines anyways. Maybe she'd get lucky and start excreting excess fat. The thought made her dry heave in her chair. She gripped the armrest and made sure she didn't throw up; she had to keep the pills down. The waiting room began to spin and she laid back with her eyes closed.
The door opened again and another rent-a-cop showed up to stand beside Brent. The new arrival was much younger—a fact that did not escape Brent by the rolling of his patient eyes. Taller, leaner with pale skin and blond hair. The two men spoke briefly; Raize listened only because there was nothing else happening in the waiting room. She didn't have much choice. She cracked one eye open to watch the TV as they spoke.
“...Central's short-handed, Brent. I'm the best you'll get this morning.” The other rent-a-cop said with a smile that Raize could hear in his voice.
“Why do they send the charming ones? I needed someone who isn't afraid to use that taser and crack a few heads together if they break down that door. Instead, they send me the Prince of Dirt Town himself, Dirk Letum. Next time, tell Central to send me their secretary.”
Brent gave one last look at the door and shrugged.
“Stay here a minute, I need a cup of coffee.”
Brent held up his hand to silence the other man.
“Coffee. Now. Keep those lunatics from breaking down the door for a minute, will ya?”
Brent disappeared down the hall of the clinic without waiting for an answer. Donna craned her head around to watch the man walk down the hallway.
“You'll have to make it yourself, I haven't made it back there yet.” Donna said and went back to shuffling papers.
Raize returned to watching the TV as Dirk looked around the waiting room, checked the taser at his side, and braved the outside. Distantly, she could hear him raising his voice over the crowd.
She watched an episode of a Spanish soap opera after the news and was about to begin the next episode when a nurse finally met her in the waiting room.
“Raize?” A young woman called to the empty waiting room. Raize nodded and stood up sleepily from her seat. The nurse pushed open a set of double doors down the hall from the bathroom. Bright light poured in and momentarily blinded Raize. She could hear the buzz of florescent lighting. She hadn't been afraid until that exact moment. When her vision returned, her heart fluttered a little less, and she was standing in the hallway with doors on all sides.
“You'll be in room—C, for Cat. Right over here.” The nurse smiled and led Raize by the shoulder gently to the room. Raize began to feel a little weak in the knees.
The nurse took some notes, checked her vitals, and then left her alone. That was probably the part that hurt the most. Even getting her blood drawn hadn't made her as nervous as the silence of the sterile room. She waited, shifted in her seat, did everything she could to not think about what was going to happen. It wasn't that she regretted it. She knew it was too late now. She just didn't want to be alone, and she had no one else. The emptiness began to clutch at the inside of her stomach and claw its way up her throat. She was dry heaving again when the Doctor knocked on the outside of the door.
“I just needed clarification before we begin,” the doctor said as he looked at a clipboard in his hands. “How are you paying for your operation?”
The question made her stomach cold and her breathing halt in her throat. Why now? Of all the times he could have asked, why ask when it was too late to run away?
“What?” She asked and tried to swallow back the fear. The doctor flipped a page on the clipboard and his eyes scanned the pages. He reached in to his pocket and took out an orange plastic pill bottle. He began to open it while he continued to read.
“You're going to want to take these. Let it dissolve under your tongue, it will help with the pain--” He popped the cap without looking and flipped the page back on his clipboard.
“Oh, I found it. You've been referred to our clinic by E.V.E., and they're payment plan doesn't cover this part.” He put the pills back in the bottle and set the clipboard down.
“Shall we begin?”
Tears streamed down Raize's cheeks.
“What brought you to Blue Mountain Clinic today?” One of the assistants asked, as Raize tried to relax on the operating table. The last injection they gave her started to kick in. She couldn't remember how she had gotten there. She remembered crying and being ushered out of the room and in to this one, and given medication and getting help to climb on to the table. The staff was nice, and she didn't want to see that doctor again.
“I thought it wasobvious,” Raize said and her words slurred together. She lifted a hand weakly to point at her stomach. She knew none of them would laugh, but she thought it was witty. She closed her eyes for a moment to block out the bright light of the surgical equipment.
“A boy,” she whispered and a tear followed her words. She closed her eyes again and let the memories overwhelm her.
Five hours too late, Raize would discover the man she'd just had sex with was a black out drunk. She remembered everything; most of the words, all of the motions, all of the pain. She remembered that she felt like she was in love, and that he was the most amazing man she'd ever found herself half-naked in the back of a car with.
And he would remember nothing. She'd be left with guilt, and he'd be left with a memory that stopped a few hours before he even started kissing her. The lust of her life, delivered drunk and hard to the passenger seat of her car after he'd just said he loved her... and it was all a lie.
Ruin had been drinking for thirteen hours before he poured himself a double Whiskey and Coke. Raize was stoned on something, she wasn't even sure what she had taken, and smelled like cheap vodka. Neither were in any condition to drive. Ruin didn't care; as soon as she rolled to the first stop sign, his lips were against her ear. He bit her the first right-hand turn she made and her fingers began to tremble against the steering wheel.
“What was I supposed to do?” He spoke between breaths. “I just gave you everything. Everything I had, it's yours.” He was rambling but Raize didn't care as long as he kept panting against her neck. Empty words, perhaps, but they still made her heart race. She waited a heart beat longer than she had to at the stop sign just to soak up the feel of him. It was 4:30 AM. The foggy back roads were empty.
She turned on her blinker. “Go straight,” he said, in a surprisingly firm voice. He wrapped his fingers in her hair as she corrected the swerving path of her car. He wasn't going to make the drive easy. The next few blocks were a blur; the double lines on the back road swayed in and out of her vision. Every time his tongue touched her neck, the steering wheel went a little more sporadic.
“Next time we stop,” his hand drifted down her thigh, “I want you to pull in to that church parking lot.” Raize knew the one. Across the parking lot from his cramped apartment, just a step below a crack house. The church was probably safer at this time in the morning. Safety didn't seem to be a concern of his. Raize nodded, and Ruin's finger brushed her lip. She stuck her tongue out long enough to taste his skin.
Ruin wasn't a short-statured man: 6 feet of lanky, goth-pale skin managed to slip through the center console and in to the back seat of her car—then reach out and pull her with him. She fell in to his arms with surprising grace. Through some small miracle they both managed to fit in the back of her car. The windows were already fogging up. She could see the dim lights of the house behind the church. Their little town was waking up soon, and she hoped they'd be gone before it did.
The last thing they needed was the police. Raize still had a bag of pills in her jacket, and Ruin was violating probation for a number of reasons. Drunk, out past curfew, probably high on something she didn't know about. Also, trespassing and having sex in public was illegal for a felon, too. Raize shoved the buzz-kill aside and took off her jacket.
Ruin pulled her forward and snaked his hand in her hair. He gripped her harder than anyone had ever done, and pulled her dangerously close to his mouth. The pain made her vision flash white, the reality made the breath catch in her throat.
“I'm not asking if you do now, but—could you—love me?” He whispered against her ear. Raize should have realized right then that he was gone. Her heart took a nosedive off a three story building.
“Yes—” He cut her off with a kiss.
“It's time to wake up,” a voice spoke, somewhere distant. Maybe it had all just been a dream? She struggled to open her eyes. She saw a shape float in and out of her vision. Taller than the rest, black hair to his shoulders, dressed for a funeral. Ruin was there, she could see the glint of his tongue ring as he smiled down at her. She blinked away the sleep and pain shot through her entire body.
“Steady now, steady.” The nurse's voice this time, a woman, and she was gripping Raize's shoulders. Raize was trying to sit up. Her nightgown had fallen down one shoulder. Her legs felt like jelly. She felt like she was dying from the waist down.
“Hurts,” was all she could manage to say. Her throat was dry. She looked around for Ruin. She knew the truth: he wasn't there, and never would be. She'd never see him again, and she had to deal with that. He didn't even know she was pregnant. Her irrational, fractured mind just kept wishing he'd show up. The pain snapped her out of her thoughts.
She sat up on the hospital bed and let the nurse help her stand. She clenched her jaw against the pain and took a shaky step forward. It felt like it took an hour to walk back to the first clinic room. The nurse settled Raize down in to a padded chair. Next to the chair was a round coffee table with a red, leather-bound notebook.
“You're welcome to write in the notebook while you wait. Many patients like to say... goodbye, or leave a note for the next woman. The doctor will be with you shortly for your post-op instructions.”
Raize didn't know why she was crying as the nurse shut the door. She stared at the notebook for a long time then picked up the pen and began to write. She wrote goodbye to a child she would never know; to a life she would never have; to a love she'd never feel again.
She wrote a story about Ruin, about a misguided night that both created and destroyed lives. Her own, her baby's, and if Ruin knew, probably a piece of him as well. She tried to explain that she'd never be a good mother, that she was too selfish, that she didn't want to care for anyone but herself. That she'd made a mistake and she'd think about it for the rest of her life—but she didn't want the child to suffer a life full of pain. So she granted it death and silence, a life without knowing the pain of love.
She tried to apologize but she knew she couldn't. She'd never have the words, all she could do was try to justify her actions and continue her life. And hope that the pain went away.
As soon as she signed her name at the bottom—a loud explosion sounded outside. Her chair shook; the room shook. The journal fell to the floor. Jars full of cotton swabs and boxes of rubber gloves crashed over the side of the table. The magazine rack and one muted painting clattered to the floor. Smoke began to roll beneath the door to her room. Outside the door, she heard Donna scream. The unmistakable sound of a gunshot cracked through the air. Donna's voice went silent.