She looked down and noticed the coffee she held in her hands was cold. The sun was turning a deep orange outside as it sunk further below the horizon. She couldn't say when it had cooled nor how long she sat gazing at the paper cup she clutched. It felt like a week had passed since Dr. Bell had told her the dreadful news, but it was only this morning. She was a short doctor with clear skin and up-slanting eyebrows that formed small wrinkles in her brow as she talked. She tried to break the news as gently as she could have, she knew, though the words still hit like a train. Her worst fear had finally come true. Another tear rolled down her cheek, falling and spotting the sheets with little grey circles, and without a warning, a sob escaped her mouth. She inhaled deeply to try to catch back her breath. I'm sorry she thought. I'm so sorry, if I had known... the guilt tightened in her chest. She glanced down at the skin creases just below her left elbow. She could still see the small light and dark dots the needles had made. Some even were still red, barely covered by a scab.

Her last overdose was only a week ago, in her apartment. Sitting on her couch, she realised she could tie the tourniquet around her arm skilfully now, pulling it tight with her mouth. She had gotten used to doing it by herself. Mendlin wasn't there anymore to do it for her like he used to. She didn't even know when she would see him again. When they took him away, she had expected the worst, that he would have told on her. But no knock ever came to her door. No police ever visited her work. She could only take that as a sign that she was safe for the moment, but the thought of him being gone was a sadness she couldn't escape.. at least not without her syringe. Her other hand stuck in the needle. She didn't even blink now. The pain wasn't all bad, she thought, as she looked for a vein. There was suddenly a brief flash of red at the base of her syringe, and she knew she found one. The room suddenly became lighter as she pushed the plunger further down. Her heart skipped a beat, and then she could feel it slowing down. It was sweetest feeling; those first few seconds, as if being in love again, no better. Like she was invincible, floating, and nothing could hurt her. Everything in this world was far far away, just a copy of a copy, and nothing and no one could reach her. She leaned her head back and smiled, and then laughed, and then, the world went dark.

She didn't realise the needle was still in her arm until she woke up in a pool of her own blood, her arm numb and purple with the tourniquet still wound tightly around. Her blood, she saw, was like jello and sticky and all around her on the couch. The smell of raw meat filled her small apartment. She knew the smell of stale blood all too well.  How long she was lying there, she couldn't say. At least she could remember was that the sun was still up earlier, but now as she looked at her window, she realised it was has become dark. The street lights were on and she could just barely see them through her curtains, a straight line of small yellow beads. She could also hear the faint hum of the night traffic. It must be past midnight, she thought. She tried to get up, her head felt light and the room was spinning a little. Weakly, she stood up and slowly made her way to the bathroom, pulling out the needle and letting it drop on the floor and she moved. A thin red thread of blood grew from where the needle was and started dripping on the floor. She wrapped up the tourniquet in a ball and pressed it against the small hole in the arm. How much blood did I lose?  She wondered. The feeling was starting to return to her arm. It felt like half a thousand pins sticking her arm; every nerve in her arm firing off at once. The door to her bathroom creaked open and she flipped on the light switch. The sudden brightness was blinding, and made her head spin. The pain at the front of her head suddenly worsened reaching through to the back of her eyes and she looked away. He eyelids firmly shut

...to be continued