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Drain Away: Chapter VI

“Call him again,” Lori pleaded. “Call him again, Lucian. Come on. It’s been long enough.”

“It’s been five minutes, Lori,” Lucian reminded her. God, but he felt sick. Lori was desperate and unafraid to show it, but it had been even longer since he’d dosed. He could feel every bone in his body. His head throbbed, his stomach thrashed. He fought to resist expressing it. Expressing it meant giving it power. Giving it power meant no self control.

Finn had texted them an address and gone dark. “1887 Division Street.” No apartment number, no further instruction, just a street with a number. It was three miles away, and it was pouring rain. The walk had been long and grim, and by the time they made it to the crumbling front stoop and huddled under the awning, they were soaked and dispirited. Division Street was one of the arteries of the city, but number 1887 was almost at the outskirts of everything, way beyond where the bus ventured. Their trek had been riddled with potholes and crumbled asphalt and the occasional abandoned shopping cart full of beer bottles. A single streetlight flickered in the dark at the edge of the driveway. The building itself was isolated by tall grass. There wasn’t a single light on to indicate that Finn or anyone else was there.

“He’ll dose us first, right?” Lori asked, for probably the third time now. “Whatever he wants us to do, whatever, but he’ll dose us first? He’s your friend. Right?”

“Lori, I don’t know. Come on, now.”

“I just don’t understand why you won’t fucking just call him. If he’s busy he won’t answer the call. What’s the fucking worst that’ll happen?”

“You know how he gets sometimes, Lor. If he thinks we’re desperate for it he’s just gonna make us wait out here longer. Just be pat-”

His words were cut off by the loud, brisk rapraprap of her knuckles against the door. She had thrown all her weight into the knock.

“God damn it, Lori,” he cursed, but then the knob began to turn.

“Who’s there?”

Lori’s arm dropped back to her side. Lucian furrowed his brow. The voice had drifted out sinuously from the other side of the cracked door, unmistakably Finn’s, but softer, dangerous, somehow. Everything about it put him immediately on guard.

“It’s us, man,” he said. “Lucian. And Lori. We just got here.”

Silence from within. Lucian felt every taptaptap of the winter rain against the pavement in the hollows of his teeth. Each drop of water sounded like a drill bit. Heroin, heroin, heroin.

“Lori’s there too?”

A simple request for affirmation, yet the feeling returned, that instinctual, visceral wrongness. To hell with this, he wanted to whisper to her. We’re out of here. But she was sicker, her inhibitions were shredded whereas his were only torn. She answered before he could.

“Hi, Finn!” she called, in a tone that was jagged with saccharine cheer. The moment she spoke, the door swung all the way open.

The smell hit them like a truck.

Lori visibly recoiled from it, but Lucian managed to hold his composure, despite the protests of his gorge. A mélange of foulness burst forth from beyond the threshold-rotting things and sour milk, garbage and stale cigarettes. Finn stood between them and a mostly lightless hovel. His dark brown hair hung over his face in greasy strings. A thin, toothless smile trembled on his lips. Some drug had deepened his eyes into empty, irisless pits.

If anything should have sealed Lucian’s mistrust of the situation, it should have been seeing the state of him, but it was too late, now.

“Lucian. Lori.”

His eyes darted back and forth between the two of them. A sliver of pale tongue slipped out to spread saliva across chapped lips.

“Hi!” Lori blurted. “What’d you need help with?”

Jesus Christ, Lori.

Finn didn’t answer, but instead fixed his vacant gaze entirely upon Lori in a way that made Lucian’s skin crawl.

“Yes,” he murmured, tonelessly. “Let’s get you both right, and we’ll get started.” 

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