You Can’t Save Me

Read Here, There Be Monsters, Do Svidaniya and Silent Night to catch up with Lara.

         There was so much. So much blood. The water was icy cold but I kept my hands under it, watching the thick swirls of red wash down the drain. So much blood. The sleeves of my new coat soaked it in; there were streaks of it on my face. I could smell the copper tang and I gagged again. There was nothing left. The mirror in front of me was vibrating, swirling. No, that was me. My whole body rattled and for a moment I thought I could hear my bones grating together. I retched again. The bus to New York was long gone and the only person at the bus stop was lying in a puddle of his own blood and piss. I scrubbed furiously at my arms. The blood had run down inside the sleeves of my parka, soaking my favorite sweater and coating the soft, white weave with rust. I peeled it off and balled it up, afraid to throw it away. I pulled on a clean shirt after several failed attempts to get my arms through the sleeves.
         Someone pounded on the door and I stifled a yell.
         “Lady, you okay in there? I gotta lock up.”
         “Just a second,” I said, hoping he could hear my breathless answer.
         I pulled the parka back on and shoved the bloody sweater deep into my bag. The sleeves of the parka were wet, but I hoped the fabric and the darkness would hide it. I pulled the hood over my soaked hair. When I opened the door, I nearly collided with the gas station owner.
         “You okay?” he asked again.
         His eyes flicked over me and a speculative light came into his eyes. I knew what I looked like—wet, bedraggled hair, wide eyes. I hoped I got all the blood off.
         “Yeah, sorry. I spilled a coke and it just went everywhere—” I gestured at myself, knowing it was a ridiculous excuse as I took a step backwards away from the half-smile on his face.
         I took another fumbling step and ran into something—someone. They grabbed my elbow to steady me and I felt a scream bubble in my throat before the hand released me, resting lightly on my shoulder blade instead.
         “There you are,” the newcomer said. He turned to the gas station clerk. “Sorry sir, my sister is a little…” he made an eloquent gesture towards his head. “Ready to go?”
         He looked down at me. I nodded numbly, letting him lead me away from the leering man. He slung his arm over my shoulder and lifted his hand in a wave—an elder brother retrieving his crazy sister. I was stumbling, his arm tightened to hold me up.
         “Almost there, can you make it?”
         I didn’t even look to where he was pointing, didn’t stop to wonder if he was taking me down a back alley, or about to throw me in a van. I just kept picturing the thick, dark blood oozing out of my attacker’s throat. The way his eyes dimmed, dimmed, went dead. The horrible gurgling sucking sound as he tried to breathe. I felt my stomach clench again and breathed hard through my nose. My helper swore, looking around, and suddenly hoisted me over his shoulder. The movement didn’t help my nausea and I shut my eyes tightly as he took off at a jog, hindered by my unresisting body.
         Then, it was warm. He set me down on something soft and I tried to get my eyes to focus as he threw a blanket over my shoulders. It looked like an RV—an old one. I was sitting on a couch that had a slightly musty smell, but otherwise seemed clean. The whole place was surprisingly tidy—except for the crumpled clothes on the end of the couch and sink full of dishes. I looked up at my rescuer who took a bottle out of a cabinet and splashed some of its contents into a cup.
         “You still going to be sick?” he eyed me warily, shaking his fair hair out of his eyes.
         I shook my head. I hoped I was right.
         “Then drink some of this,” he shoved the glass at me and I took it with hands that were still unsteady.
         The rim of the cup chattered against my teeth as I took a gulp. It burned all the way down and I choked.
         “Not much of a whiskey drinker, are you?” he laughed, taking a gulp of his own cup.
         I coughed against the burning sensation and shook my head, eyes watering. I held the cup tightly, waiting for my hands to stop their palsied tremors. My new friend leaned against the counter in the tiny kitchen area, his dark eyes never leaving my face. He was tall with wide shoulders and shaggy blonde hair that hung in his eyes. I caught the gleam of metal in one of his ears and the swirl of some kind of tattoo peeked at the collar of his shirt. He was several years older than me—in his mid-twenties if I had to guess. He shifted against the counter—reaching out—and I flinched just as he grabbed the bottle. He froze, and then set the bottle carefully back down.
         “Hey, I’m not going to hurt you,” he held up his hands. “Someone really did a number on you, huh?”
         He didn’t seem to expect an answer. He reached for the bottle again, his movements carefully controlled. I shook my head when he offered it to me. He laughed.

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10 thoughts on “You Can’t Save Me

  1. Just please tell me that her new friend is not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, darling. I don’t know if I can handle any more monsters for Lara. Chilling description — your words make me ill — and that’s a compliment.

  2. Thank Jeebus! She’s bound to be shell-shocked to be sure, but at least this new character seems to have his head on tight. May I just reflect Helena’s wish that you don’t pull a Lucy and pull the ball away from Charlie Brown (where Lara would be Charlie Brown) — that would just be too cruel. Like, the kind of shit I pull on John cruel.

    • She catches a break every once in a while–UNLIKE poor John.
      Speaking of cruel—you should hear what Helena wants me to do with one of my characters in another story. But you wont…unless I decide to go against my softhearted nature.

      • Yes, but I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who said that Helena marinates kittens in Diana sauce and then barbecues them as part of the big Civic Holiday celebration. Kitty-kabobs, she calls them. Each of them branded with a big “H” for Honda.

      • I heard a similar story—must be true then! I though Canadians were supposed to be friendly and hand out donuts to all and sundry. Although, the gingergores raise all that carnage in my estimation. You can get away with anything if you know how to make a good batch of cookies and a pitcher of sangria.

  3. Just what exactly is going on here??? Character assassination on a public forum? In my defense, a) that’s not me that does that to poor little kitty cats, that’s Jessica, and she only picked it up from our Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper, who probably does worse things to them before he eats them, and b) what was my second point? Does there need to be a “b)”?

    • I beg your pardon—I believe it was Jessica who was rumored to commit such ghastly culinary creations. Endless apologies. I’m just miffed I have to wait a year to try gingergores and civic sangria.

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