Monday, 14 January 2013

Not So Different

Written for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge.
Prompt: Bad Girls In Prison
Conflict: Enemy At The Gates (I’m not sure how I did with this…)
Must include: A bottle of rare whiskey

She’s back. She’s sitting down, making herself comfortable. I hear her sigh as she settles her fat arse onto the chair next to my bed. She’s gearing up for another go at me, another lecture on how sick I am. She’s swigging at her bottle. Smells like whiskey. She’s about to begin.
“So, Ellen,” she says. “How’re you feeling today? That disgustin’ little head o’ yours still hurtin’?” She laughs. “’Course it is. Fractured skulls don’t heal overnight, do they?” She pokes her whiskey into my ribs. It hurts, but I won’t give her the satisfaction of seeing that.
“Actually, the painkillers they gave me are doing the trick. I’m remarkably well, considering.”
“A right good kicking they gave you. Nothin’ more than a whore like you deserves, though, wouldn’t you say?”
“No, Ms Cattan, I wouldn’t say.”
“You whores are a breed apart. A particularly abhorrent breed. I looked that up specially for you.” The chair creaks and I hear the sound of whiskey being poured into a glass. “This is nice stuff you had on you. Looked it up as well. Rare, this.”
“Glad to know you’re using me as an excuse to learn something.”
“Learned a lot in the service,” she says. “Like how your lot are the lowest of the low. Filth.” Her face is right up against mine, whiskey-loaded breath tickling what little I have left of my nose.
I count to ten. And then twenty. “My lot? Who’d they be?”
I hear the creak of the chair as she leans back. Her boots squeak along the lino of the ward floor. She’s getting comfy.
“Filth,” she says. “All o’ you.”
“Actually, not all of us. Your lot think we’re all the same old kiddie fiddlers.” I try to ignore the pain in my ribs, still throbbing with the imprint of Jessy’s kicks.
“Pity they didn’t finish you off.”
“They would have, no thanks to you.”
“A few more kicks and no one would’ve been any the wiser.” Her chair protests feebly as she stands up. Her prison-issue boots squeak across the floor and I imagine her standing at the window.
“You got a husband, Ms Cattan?” No reply. “Kids?” Silence. “I doubt you’ll tell me, but I’m guessing you have. You’re, what, thirty-nine? Forty? Two kids, probably more. I’m guessing Mr Cattan’s body isn’t what it used to be.” She hasn’t said a word. I try to breathe through the pain. “Tell me, when he’s lying on top of you, do you fantasize? Do you shut your eyes, conjure up a younger, smoother, firmer body? I bet you do. How old is he, this young thing who keeps you going? D’you have a name for him?”
I hear her turn around. Her footsteps come towards me. They stop at my bed and I sense her bulk above me, taste her heavy breath on my face. Then she turns away and I hear the whoosh of automatic doors expelling him into the corridor.
She’s not so different from me. Oh, she likes to think she’s on some moral high ground, looking with disgust at the likes of me. But deep down, somewhere in the oily darkness of her soul, when she’s fucked by that inflated, lumpen mound she calls her husband, she wants it too. She wants to feel young flesh. The difference is, I can.
She’s back. I hear her popping a cork. Beer? Rosé? Or my whiskey? She slurps noisily.
“Do you have a name for your fantasy lover?” I press. “I’m betting he’s real. Your first boyfriend? The one you felt up in your school photo? He was twelve, right? Thirteen at the most.” I hear her shift in her seat and I force myself to carry on. “So if this fantasy of yours is underage and you’re forty, what does that make you? Not a whole lot different to me.”
The effort’s exhausted me and I’m relieved when the doors swoosh open. Now someone’s fiddling around with the machinery keeping me alive. And I am alive. Hello, I want to call out, I’m here and I can hear everything you’re saying.
“How’s she doing?” I recognize the voice of Prison Doctor Isabel, my saviour.
“Same as before.” Cattan doesn’t sound amused.
There’s a period of hushed whispering before Cattan speaks again. “I don’t know why they’ve got me sat ’ere all day. Not like she’s going anywhere any time soon.”
Doctor Isabel laughs and Cattan joins in. I hear footsteps, not the heavy, obnoxious clumps Cattan’s boots make, someone else’s, retreating.
“That’s it? Not even a bit more morphine?” Nobody’s listening. The doors slide shut, and Cattan tramps back over.
“Looks like you’re going to get what you deserve, despite Doc.” Cattan sounds pleased.
Not if I’ve got anything to do with it. I concentrate on my left hand. I will what’s left of my brain to send a signal to it to move. Just one finger. Now, damn it, move.
I’m sure I felt something. A twitch. A slight trembling. But definite movement.
“Hah! See that, Cattan? Did you? I moved. Who’s paralyzed now, brain-dead?”
“Aren’t you going for help? Come on, this is your chance to redeem yourself, you bitch.”
She lets out a loud belch and sighs.
I take that as a no.

This is the first flash fiction I’ve written. What do you think?
Love always,

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