Tick tock, tick tock, they’ll put you under key and lock. Lucinda had made good on her threat.
Too skinny from institution mush, my skin peeled off a layer at a time. Curled on top of a thin, lumpy mattress on a rusted bed frame, the fingers of my left hand Traced the wall where another’s bloodied nails had scratched—dark red stains proof of another’s determination to escape a world unworthy of its inhabitant.
Earlier, the attendant had pushed my forehead back and forced open my jaw. Unnecessary effort on his part. The medicinal haze thickened. I found myself calm but without spirit.
Strange how I felt erased by a pencil yet without the rubber remnants reminding me I once existed.
Any bits of green paint that remained on the wall, I peeled off the first day. I didn’t know if I had been there three weeks or three months.
The chamber’s confines remained still, inactive, and almost empty. A bucket to catch my excrement. The bed fetid like the bucket, the whole place a shithole.
A cockroach scurrying across the floor would have been a welcome sight. Or, a black widow working tirelessly to create a fine net to catch its prey. I stared at idle hands.
I wanted to float outside where flowers bloomed, where the great oaks of San Antonio provided shade from the sun. The rattle of trains and trolleys would have been welcome sounds over the never-ending cries and moans of despair.
Despair. “Do not cry. Do not cry,” I told myself. But tears came anyway. It didn’t matter. If they heard, they never came.
My eyes blurred as if drunk. My body trembled like the women escorted to surgery before their reproductive parts were cut away and discarded like the contents of my bucket.
I heard the click of a door key. It wasn’t mealtime. They had already drugged me. What did they want? Confusion—as potent as a heaping spoonful of laudanum laced with arsenic.
The attendant in white stood firm, stoic. “Come with me.”
Excerpt from The Last Bordello
Daily word prompt: Trace