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Now

by Melymbrosia

Mama, mama, mama, don't go. Don't go. Mama, don't go--

He hits her so hard you can hear her neck snap before she hits the wall. You can hear, but he can't, so he goes on hitting her, hitting her, hitting her, for quite some time after she is dead.

She tugs your hands up through the sleeves impatiently, and then jerks the sweater down below your waist. Swipes drool off your lower lip, rubs her hand against her hip. She can't do anything about the blank look in your eyes, but you look neat enough and there aren't any visible bruises, so she figures you'll do. The doctors at the center don't want to ask any questions anyway.

She buys the rat poison two weeks before. He dies in convulsions, bloody froth on his mouth.

Your mama drowns in minutes, and the last thing she sees is dark. You drown for years, floating in light.

Baby, listen to these people and be good. Baby, be good, okay? Oh, baby, can you hear me?

He gives the children candy first. It isn't even drugged. He does horrible things to them before he kills them, but you make yourself not see them. Those are the things you can make yourself not see.

The alarm rings in his ears like blood or the blood pounds in his ears like an alarm, and he doesn't know why he's on the floor or why his chest has begun to ache.

She stabs him five times.

She gives the man five thousand dollars in twenties, and he folds away the crisp bills he loads the shotgun in the muggy predawn glass breaks and breaks and breaks.

You see ghost futures spread out before you like an unfolded fan. The sound of the lives that never happen deafen you; the sight of what isn't makes you blind. You are floating in milky water and you can't even scream.

Your mother lets go of your hand.

A strange woman bends over you and touches your cheek with cold fingers.

You beat your head against the wall no no no no no but they don't hear you. They don't stop. They raise their hands.

Mama, don't leave me. Mama, don't go.

Your mama bites the neuroin capsule in two. Sweet spurt of the drug numbing the inside of her mouth; she can't tell she's bitten her tongue until she tastes the blood. Your father slips a hand inside her jeans, watches her smile. Your mama bites the neuroin capsule in two. Your father pants like a dog as he thrusts inside her. Your mama bites the neuroin capsule in two.

Mr. Burgess, I've been clean for six months now. I want my daughter back. The counselor says I can have her back.

John Anderton bends over you. Your mama bites the neuroin capsule in two. You reach up. John Anderton bends over you. Your mama bites the neuroin capsule in two. You reach up and pull down.


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