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drinking made me moth wings

Drinking made me moth wings. After I blinked I was back in my bed. If I was any crazier I would’ve thought alcohol had teleported me back, but that was just my roommate.

“First hangover?” He asked. It was as if his voice box detached from his body, echoing further from where he stood.

Something warm almost scorched my hands. It took me a while before a bowl of broth emerged from a cloud of blur.

“Did I drink that much?” I said. The soup soothed the burning sensation in my throat.

“You drank as much as my uncle did all the time when he was your age,” he replied, eyeing me like a sinner in church. “He’s in the hospital now.”

“Who cares about what he thinks, Noah?” Sneered Sasha. “This was your idea. Running around for me to forget—”

“Another scotch, please!” I ordered.

“It’s your fifth drink, sir,” the bartender narrowed her eyes.

“It’s for my friend here.”

Sasha laughed it off and pushed a drink towards my direction. “Come on, prove that you really mean it.”

“Come on,” I said. “I can’t…it’s bad for you—”

I by no means wasn’t a therapist. Yesterday was the first time I saw Sasha collapsed on the ground, smelling like nicotine and her ex’s perfume in her room. I just had to help her. Alcohol might not have been the best choice, but you name something that could’ve dragged one of my best friends out of bed. Even if that cost me a headache that reached down to my ears.

Sasha narrowed her eyes.

“Alright,” I said, pushing the drink to my lips. A sour tang burned my throat.

“Come on, take a drink with me.” Sasha eyed the half-full shot when I put it down. “Please do.”

I winced as the bar tables warbled like the heat in my stomach.

“Let’s go somewhere.”

My legs were shaking even when I was sitting down. Hesitating, I pushed my drink away, croaking for water. Sasha made her way out. Her whiffs of champagne-like perfume dwindled from recognition.

“Wait!” I hissed, coughing.

“I was just heading back to my dorm,” she said. “Since you didn’t want me…”

Stumbling towards her, I tripped and a chair fell off its hinges. “Wait! I can accompany you.”

Never had I thought a city would’ve had a shortage of taxis.

“Come on, Sasha,” I said. “Let’s get you back home…”

She groaned as some sort of resistance. “No…”

One step at a time… God, can the sirens stop blaring and people stop shouting? Every footstep stabbed into my ears and bled further each metre closer.

Blood warmed my hands more than alcohol did. Blood did look like wine stains.

“Shame they don’t taste as good,” Sasha told me one time when I visited her dorm room. If only drinking gave her moth wings, but she’d only fly to a car headlight, drunk.

A stabbing pain shot straight through my gut. The room spun around in sync with the warm spreading through my torso. My keys jangled in my pocket as a coarse hand squeezed my mouth shut.

“Sasha…” I mouthed, trying hard to bite that person’s hand.

A scream split the air and I finally bit them. Hurtling towards them, I tackled them to the ground. A sting dug deep into my skin as footsteps puddled closer, then father, as if in a ripple. A loud scream worsened my headache.

If he had just mugged me, I definitely would have just broken his arm. But the fact that I heard Sasha’s screams, I definitely did more than that. Otherwise he wouldn’t have shook so violently, and his chest wouldn’t have been so soft the third or fourth time I had struck him.

Broth warmed my lips.

Disco lights outshone the glare in my roommate’s scowl.

“Come on, take a drink,” I said, tipping Sasha her scotch. “What’s wrong?”

“We really shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t have done that.”

Sasha narrowed her eyes, chugging her drink that gleamed purple under the flashing lights. “You nearly killed him!”

“But I didn’t Sasha!” I spat. “And nothing’s happened me to me or you—”

“Because your friend bailed us out.”

“Thank God he did, right?

“Next time you kill someone, remember to find me one.” She glared at me, ordering another round. Her face got redder and redder.

“We should be grateful for someone like him!” I shouted.

“No, you should be!” Sasha snapped her head back, nudging her drink towards me. “If he wasn’t here to drag you back home every time you got drunk, you would never have cared about me!”

“I saved you,” I hissed, taking my scotch like a shot.

“Only because you could,” Sasha laughed. “You only fight battles you can win.”

Sasha caught my hand before I slapped her. “And this clearly isn’t one.” She chuckled. Sasha left her seat and headed to another crowd in the dizzy distance. Turning around, she shouted, her voice drowning in the wave of drunken yelling, “let’s see if your friend is here to save you in this crowd!”

Her brown hair trickled from sight the moment I blinked. Taking a big chug of my cocktail, I shouted with no target in sight, “You should have told yourself that before slumping on the floor of your room for the next 24 hours after you dumped your boyfriend!”

A mass of ear splitting hollers quieted down a bit. A ringing in my ears throbbed as painfully as my larynx.

“After so much I’ve done for you? No wonder you’re truly friendless enough to see me kill myself for you! I bet your depression sobered up after seeing my alcohol addiction grow!”

It was too late. Sasha had already disappeared into the crowds of dancing drunkards. Squinting harder, her slight glint of light brown hair frolicked amongst a much wilder gang of friends.

Stumbling my way forwards, colour and colour blurred away from sight. A familiar smell of champagne wafted towards me as a secluded opening led me towards that source. A deafening beat drop nearly made my knees buckle.

“You didn’t even know how much I hate him…”

“Glad you left that clingy ‘friend’ of yours…”

“He’s more like a dog, isn’t he?” Sasha laughed, throwing not even a glance at me.

A part of my conscience teared away as they left. Paying after her, I hurried over to tail them. I threw a sympathetic glance at someone whose foot I stepped on. A brief moment after they had turned a corner in the loudest ruckus possible, I followed the sound of Sasha’s clacking heels. They took a turn, and another turn, until they went back to the place where I could’ve been mugged.

The hazy moonlight barely pierced the dark forcefield of an alleyway, not a single taxi in sight, that was all I could remember before passing out the night before. The only difference I could fathom was that there was a cruel laughter mingling with the smell of alcohol, blood and sin.

“Maybe if he wasn’t that much of a coward, he would’ve had fun with us…” Laughter and sirens cut into my ears again, trickling out blood.

A dog whined in protest. Glass shattered and splatters of blood pooled only a few feet from where I stood.

A band of college students attacked a whining animal. Some of those students I recognised. Sounds of their laughter echoed through the desolate alleyway. Blood scattered across the glass littered ground, snagging between the wired fence. That was the only barrier between us.

I gripped the fence as hard as I could. My fingers were at the brink of bleeding from how the metal dug under my skin. That throbbing headache would not stop shooting stars across my vision, migraines mingled with the flickering street lights. I mustered all the energy I had to squint my eyes through the brightness of my phone screen, dialling the police hotline.

“Sasha, leave!” I said as the phone still wasn’t getting picked up. Shaking the fence, she could not go through any more trouble. “Sasha!” The police still had not picked up. “Sasha! Sasha!”

“Bet you won’t come near us, Noah,” she laughed. The band of delinquents sneered at me from the otherside of the fence. “You’re no fun! Under your friend’s protection all the time. He’s always here to save you! But I have never gotten such treatment!”

Sasha’s free hand gripped the dog by the throat. It whimpered and groaned as she lashed out on it, raising a beer bottle before slamming it over the head.

The ringing in my ears still left enough room for a deafening siren.

“Stop it! Stop it! What do you think you’re doing?” I pushed the entire fence off its hinges. Knocking away a bottle that Sasha gripped, her knuckles burned white hot.

I pushed the dog away from her grasp, leading it away from her. “Go! Go!” The pelt of colours whizzed from left to right. My grip tightened as I told her again, “leave!” I hurried away, stepping over something hard, a bottle or something cracked. A whimpering seized. Something rough crashed into me.

“Sir, you’re under arrest.”

When I looked up, there was no Sasha in sight.

A sharp cut seared right through my bones. The ground felt much softer than how I had thought it to be. A metal, cold and hard, cut into my wrists before I was back in my bed, the same warmth trickling on my tongue.

“You have to stop.” His voice sounded drearier than ever.

“I didn’t kill it,” I said. “They tried to.”

The door closed before I even started to talk.

I hurried over to his room, fumbling with the handle as my head throbbed like fatigue. A lock turned and I stumbled over. The smell of champagne seemed to awaken me. It was the first drink me and Sasha had.

“You seemed to have taken an interest in this drink,” an unfamiliar voice sounded from above. Standing back up, there was an older version of my roommate. I guessed it was his uncle. The shadow of his alcoholism still hadn’t left him as he had described. A glass of champagne was just out of his reach, and he eyed it hungrily before his nephew took it away.

“He hasn’t got much time left,” he muttered in disdain. “Before you get any more ideas about going to jail, take a look at him.”

“Please excuse him,” he said, “he’s always cared a lot about me, albeit in a different way.”

At this time I would have gone out drinking already, but I was on probation, my friends hated me and a school suspension letter just came through. I had to return the money my roommate had sent on bail, and his uncle thought I had a supposed kill count of one.

“You should quit, kid.”

I realised I had already begun drinking his beer he told me to hold for him.

“I’m not like this,” I said. “I didn’t—”

“That’s what they always say,” he replied. “Don’t let them even see you hold something with alcohol intent.”

“Listen, I—”

“You shouldn’t have killed that dog,” he snapped. “And neither should you have taken my nephew’s help for granted. Running around, giving your life away…”

“Sasha did that to me!” I shouted, taking the biggest gulp from his glass before making the most noise possible pouring the glass full with champagne. “I’m never like you, nor will I ever be. Who would be stupid enough to drink, to party, under the curse of wine and alcohol. Not me, not this person, not someone who has at least a morsel of kindness!”

I shoved my lukewarm glass of champagne up to his lips. I watched his hand instinctively clutch his glass. Grabbing the nearest bottle, I uncorked and poured it when he finished.

“Might as well drink up when he isn’t here,” I sneered. “Maybe you would want to make use of the last of your days with your murderer.”

I poured more as he drank. “If that’s what makes you happy, sir.”

He denied none of it.

Even as he hiccuped, he still drank more. I even went out to buy several more bottles. If that was what made him happy, what did it matter? A burning sensation reached down in my stomach though I was completely sober.

It was as if we shared the same stomach, the more he drank, the warmer I felt. You could get drunk by vengeance.

Even when he choked I poured an entire bottle down his throat.

“He’ll understand,” I said, twirling on the spot, laughing to myself. Pulling another bottle from the fridge, who knew such a saint had so many bottles right under my nose?

Reaching for a new bottle of wine, I uncorked it. Spasms and groans had made my friend’s uncle roll off his bed. His blankets tugged against his tightening grip. A rancid smell of beaded sweat and beer cooked the air. Making my way back to him, I thrust that bottle down his mouth. The glass clanged against his teeth. I groped deeper, feeling the bottle grow lighter the more I tipped it.

“You like that, sir?” I mumbled, stumbling back to the fridge. I took his spasmic moan as a ‘yes’. I must’ve tripped over a shattered bottle. The door opened and it hit me.

If blood tasted like champagne, I would’ve drunk it all that day. That smell was buckets full in the air.

A warmth seeped into my lips but my stomach stayed cold.

“There’s more in the pot.”

A horrible smell reached down to my bowels as my roommate glared down at me. Walking over, I stumbled to the kitchen, a source of that excruciating headache.

Down in a sizzling bowl of broth in the crock pot, a set of ribs, still peeled with sallow skin. That warming scent of broth still withstood a waft of sweet-smelling champagne, boiling farther away. A strand of chestnut hair dangled from the handle of the crockpot.

When a few minutes later did the sirens grow louder than the roaring flame. There was no phone ringing today.


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