Last Stand

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Satisfaction cut through the engraved stress marks on his face that belied his young years when he received the invite to Nashville. He had earned it. Rough schedules, racking up miles across the country, opening shows with a mixture of envy and admiration for those who had paid their dues.

Billed as the new Hank Williams Senior those close to him shuddered at the commonality.

Blinding lights, applause, screams, hands reaching to touch him played in his head.  He splashed water onto his face and patted down his hair. The paraphernalia used earlier set on the counter beside the sink. He forgot to put it away in the guitar case, he told himself.  He wouldn’t acknowledge that he left it out to use. The effect didn’t last that long and he needed it just before he walked on stage.

“Fifteen minutes,” the chauffeur said through the phone. Muscles tightened. His stomach quivered with nausea. He washed white pills down with beer and gulped  bourbon from the bottle before going into the bathroom one last time. Before the show, before walking onto that famous auditorium rebuilt with pieces of the original wood.

The wood Hank Williams stood.

Bright lights dimmed. Garbled voices came from distorted faces. “Can you hear me? What’s your name?”

Author Vivienne Gardner Edwards says drug addiction affects more than the person using the drugs.  What do you think? Your COMMENTS are appreciated. If you enjoyed this post, please SHARE below.

Invisible

file4241270227593 (2)             She sat in the assigned seat although her demeanor expressed dislike in leaving the far back corner of the classroom. The corner protected her from sounds of gun shots fired in the middle of the night, boisterous laughter, groans, cursing, and rhythmic squawking of the lone bed separated by the thin wall of her room. The smell of smoke, crack, meth, and putrid body odor seeped through the rotting wall’s cracks and crevices. Even the cockroaches ran over each other getting to the bare floors of her room.

Wearing the jacket over the bulky sweater she wore night and day to disguise any resemblance of a girl with female parts, she sat huddled on the single bed, back against the wall, eyes glued to the door.

The girl’s fear burned at a constant level while her mother worked the streets and spiked each time a second pair of footsteps returned with her.

She relived every second as the tape played inside her head. It happened two years ago. Ten years old but far from innocent, no child should hear, see, or experience what she had. His putrid taste and smell stayed with her no matter how strong the mouth wash, or how red her skin turned as she scrubbed. Her mother promised that it would never happen again, but the words offered no consolation.

They found her underneath the bed, the sanctuary she visited when she escaped to that place in her mind with grass, daisies, sunshine, and blue sky.

A voice crackled through the police car radio. She sat in the backseat with her jacket pulled over her head, but it wasn’t the dispatcher’s words she tried to deafen.  The sounds of kicking, splintering wood, and firing gunshots rang in her ears.

The woman in the second police car hadn’t lied.

 

 

Do personal struggles and those of friends and family affect the way you relate to characters in a story? Does personal tragedy enhance the story and create an emotional bond to the characters? Please share your thoughts.