THE NIGHT “YOU’RE THE NIGHT, LILA, A LITTLE GIRL LOST IN THE WORLD.”

DELILA WOKE UP TO FIND HER ALARM, WHICH WAS SET FOR 7:30, HAD BEEN GOING OFF FOR OVER THREE HOURS. ONE TOO MANY PILLS SHE THOUGHT. SHE WAS GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL. SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW? SHE WAS IN NO DANGER OF LOSING CREDIT AND IT WAS ALREADY CLOSE TO THE END OF THE YEAR SO THERE WAS NO NEED TO RUSH. SHE RUBBED HER BIG BROWN EYES AND SCRATCHED HER HEAD THAT WAS A NEST OF DYED RED HAIR AND ROLLED OUT OF HER FUTON BED.

THERE WAS NOBODY IN THE HOUSE BY NOW SO SHE FELT FREE TO WALK
AROUND THE HOUSE IN WHAT SHE FELL ASLEEP IN, A TANK TOP AND HER UNDERWEAR. STILL BLEARY EYED SHE OPENED THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR AND LOOKED AROUND UNTIL SHE FOUND A BLUEBERRY MUFFIN. SHE GRABBED THAT AND AN ORANGE JUICE CARTON, CLOSED THE FRIDGE DOOR WITH HER HIP AND PUT THEM ON THE COUNTER.

AFTER A BIG YAWN SHE TOOK A BITE OUT OF THE MUFFIN AND OPENED THE ORANGE JUICE CARTON. SHE OPENED THE DRAWER UNDER THE COUNTER. THE DRAWER WAS FILLED WITH VARIOUS PRESCRIPTION BOTTLES BUT SHE COULDN’T FIND THE ONE SHE NEEDED. FINALLY SHE FOUND IT. A SMALL AMBER BOTTLE. SHE GAVE IT A SHAKE, OPENED IT AND DROPPED THE LAST TWO PILLS INTO THE PALM OF HER HAND. TAKING ANOTHER DRINK FROM THE CARTON SHE DROPPED THE PILLS INTO HER MOUTH AND SWALLOWED.

“THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS” SHE WHISPERED TO HERSELF.

THE PHONE RANG. SHE WALKED TO PICK UP THE PHONE AND SHE NOTICED THAT THERE WAS A NOTE ON THE MESSAGE PAD NEAR THE PHONE. THE PHONE RANG AGAIN. IT READ:

‘LILA,

DON’T FOR GET THAT I AM IN CHICAGO TODAY AND I WON’T RETURN UNTIL SUNDAY NIGHT. IF YOU WANT, YOU COULD STAY OVER AT CANDY’S FOR THE WEEKEND. DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A LIGHT ON IF YOU DO. SEE YOU ON SUNDAY.

LOVE, MOM

“CANDY CAN GO FUCK HERSELF.” DELILA THOUGHT.

THE PHONE RANG AND THEN THE ANWERING MACHINE PICKED UP. DELILA WALKED BACK UPSTAIRS TO TAKE A SHOWER.
SHE ENTERED HER ROOM AND WENT TO THE CLOSET. AS SHE PULLED OUT A PAIR OF TORN JEANS AND TINY T SHIRT, THE PHONE RANG AGAIN… THIS TIME SHE ANSWERED IT.

“HELLO? …YEAH… JUST DIDN’T FEEL LIKE IT… SO? …WHATEVER… BIG DEAL… OK… I FUCKING HATE THAT… OK I’LL BE THERE.”

IT WAS FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE EVENING WHEN DELILA FINALLY LEFT THE HOUSE. SHE PUT HER BACKPACK IN THE BACK SEAT OF HER CAR AND SHE DROVE DOWN THE BLOCK OF HER CLEAN SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD. AS SHE DROVE SHE LIT A CIGARETTE AND LOOKED INTO THE REARVIEW MIRROR AT HER EYES, LINED IN CHARCOAL AND PUPILS A LITTLE DILATED. SHE PULLED SOME SUNGLASSES FROM THE VISOR AND PUT THEM ON.

WHEN PULLED INTO THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT, A CUSTODIAN WAVED HER DOWN TO STOP.

“A LITTLE LATE ARENT YOU?” HE ASKED. CHARLIE WAS ONE OF THE YOUNGER JANITORS AT THE SCHOOL AND PROBABLY WORKING HIS WAY THROUGH COLLEGE.

“EARLY FOR TOMORROW?” SHE SMILED AND LEANED FORWARD. “C’MON CHARLES, DON’T GIVE ME ANY SHIT. NOT TODAY.”

CHARLIE’S EYEBROWS FURROWED, “WHATS WRONG ’LILA? THIS ISNT LIKE YOU.”

DELILA PUT THE CAR BACK INTO GEAR. “HOW THE HELL WOULD YOU KNOW?” SHE PRESSED ON THE ACCELERATOR AND TORE OFF, LEAVING CHARLIE IN MID REPLY FURTHER BEHIND HER.

SHE PULLED INTO A SPOT, GRABBED HER BACKPACK AND GOT OUT IN A HURRY, SLAMMING THE DOOR BEHIND HER.

SHE MADE HER WAY TO THE THEATRE AND OPENED THE DOOR. LOOKING INTO THE DARK THEATRE DOWN THE CENTER AISLE, SHE SAW HER FRIEND, AIMEE READING A BOOK BY THE STAGE LIGHT. EVEN IN THIS DIM LIGHT SHE RECOGNISED AIMEE’S SHAVED HEAD AND SPIKED BANGS. DELILA MADE HER WAY QUIETLY DOWN THE AISLE AND SAT DOWN BEHIND HER.

“SORRY I’M LATE.” DELILA WHISPERED.

AIMEE JUMPED A LITTLE BUT DIDN’T TURN AROUND.
“YOU MISSED THE WHOLE THING.” AIMEE SAID THEN TURNED AROUND. “I PULLED SOME STRINGS TO GET YOU IN THIS PLAY AND YOU CANT EVEN SHOW UP FOR REHEARSALS.”

“I’M SORRY AIMEE…”

AIMEE CUT HER OFF, “BESIDES THAT YOU’VE BEEN BLOWING ME OFF FOR A WHILE NOW. AT LUNCH, AFTER SCHOOL, WEEKENDS…”

“AIMEE, ITS JUST THAT STEVE…”

AIMEE CUT IN AGAIN, “IT’S ALWAYS STEVEN. I UNDERSTAND THAT HE’S YOUR BOYFRIEND AND THAT OCCASIONALLY I WOULD LOSE OUT TO HIM, BUT I’M FUCKING TIRED OF IT! I’VE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR YOU. I’VE ALWAYS STUCK UP FOR YOU. YOU DIDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT WHAT CANDY DID TO ME OR WHAT SHE SAYS ABOUT ME, LIKE YOURE EMBARASSED ABOUT IT, OR YOU THINK ITS TRUE…”

DELILA CUT IN THIS TIME, “LIKE I FUCKING CARE WHAT THAT BITCH THINKS. IM GOING OVER THERE AFTER I LEAVE HERE ANYWAY TONIGHT AND TELL HER WHAT THE FUCK IS UP.”

IN HER VERY MELODRAMATIC WAY AIMEE LOOKED UP AND SAID, “DON’T BOTHER.” SHE STOOD UP AND PUT HER BOOK INTO HER BACK PACK AND SAID, “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO ANYMORE.” SHE SLUNG HER BACK PACK OVER HER SHOULDER AND MADE HER EXIT THROUGH THE SIDE DOORS.

DELILA SIGHED AND REACHED INTO HER BACK PACK AND PULLED OUT A BOTTLE OF STOLI VODKA. SHE TWISTED OFF THE CAP AND TOOK A LONG HARD PULL. IT BURNED INTO HER STOMACH THAT WAS ALREADY WARM WITH THE THREE PILLS THAT SHE HAD TAKEN BEFORE SHE LEFT THE HOUSE (WERE THEY UPPERS OR DOWNERS? SHE COULDN’T KEEP TRACK ANYMORE). ONE MORE PULL OF THE BOTTLE AND SHE STOOD UP. THE STAGE LIGHTS WERE ALMOST DANCING. SHE PUT HER HANDS UP IN THE AIR AND SWAYED WITH THEM. THE BOTTLE FELL OUT OF HER HANDS AND BROKE LEAVING A SMALL TRAIL OF VODKA RUNNING DOWN TOWARD THE STAGE. STARTLED, DELILA LOOKED DOWN AND REMEMBERED THAT THE BROKEN BOTTLE WAS SIGNIFICANT. STILL SWAYING SHE KICKED AT THE BROKEN GLASS AND ALMOST FELL DOWN.

SHE STAGGERED TOWARD THE STAGE AS HER BODY BEGAN TO LOSE FEELING. HER KNEES BUCKLED AND SENT HER TUMBLING DOWN, JUST SHY OF THE STAGE.

SHE REACHED UP THE BEST THAT SHE COULD AND PULLED HERSELF UP ONTO IT. “DON’T NEED NO BROK-KEN BOTTLE STE-EVEN” SHE WHISPERED, “I’LL SEE YOU S-OOON” SHE ROLLED OVER ONTO HER BACK AS THE LIGHTS FADED IN HER VISION AND REACHING INTO HER JEANS SHE PULLED OUT A REVOLVER. SHE HELD IT UP TO HER TEMPLE AND SQUEEZED.

“COULDN’T FEEL A THING…” WAS HER LAST THOUGHT BEFORE EVERYTHING WENT BLACK.

THE NIGHT “YOU’RE THE NIGHT, LILA, A LITTLE GIRL LOST IN THE WORLD.”

1073

Joined May 2008

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chapter 1 of a collection

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