needles .

I run down the corridors of Museum Station, hurriedly following the restroom signs. Left… right…. Another right… down some steps… fuck why is it so far in? I know Museum was one of the first underground stations and all, but what the fuck is with the long tunnels? I begin to get agitated. I knock past a tall, blonde woman with an air of superiority. If I had emotions to spare, I’d laugh. But my heart begins pounding in anticipation. I can hear it beating in my ears as I reach for the restroom handle. I push, and a stream of blue light flows out.

Fuck.

I close my eyes in attempt to calm myself. The syringe I had started reaching for sits in my pocket, jabbing my thigh and causing a raw discomfort as the adrenaline subsides. I lean back against the wall, steadying my breathing, just as a new idea floats into my head. McDonald’s.

Slowly I straighten my body and I take a step forward before I open my eyes. The blue lights have long been associated with bad things in my mind, and, really, what man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder. I hate blue lights. But then, I could make a very long list of the things I hate. I’m not quite sure where the blue lights fit in, but that’s the least of my worries right now. I walk out of the bathroom, slowly but steadily.

I have to weave through all the narrow corridors again, and it makes me wonder whether there is a claustrophobic atmosphere during peak hour. I’ll never know though; fucked if I ever come down here again.

The sharp stab of the wind makes my desire stronger as I emerge from the underground tunnels. I start walking to the closest McDonald’s my photographic memory can picture. Park Street. Just one down. I try to relax.

I hardly notice as the drivers beep as I jaywalk in front of them. Their headlights blind me, but I can’t look away. There are different coloured lights everywhere and I can hardly see; all I can do is walk. I don’t know if it’s the heat of my skin, but there’s a cold breeze that seeps through my jumpers and into my legs and arms where my scars hide. I’m hot and cold at the same time.

I walk faster.

The amount of people I shoulder past becomes innumerable, and at one point I can even hear someone yelling at me from behind. But their voice is an insignificant blur, and I don’t turn back.

Someone grabs my shoulder. Mistake. I swing around, readying my fist just in case. The syringe in my pocket is craving for attention. So is the huge police dog barking at me. Shit.

The man on the other end of the leash opens his mouth to say something. I look at him blankly. He nods to another man. That man steps forward. I step back. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Following orders mate,” he says, as he pats me down. I don’t have the energy to move. Or maybe just no adrenaline. Everything is dull; the prospect of getting high can’t keep me going anymore. I fade out.

I wake up on a hard bench in a dimly lit room of ugly, grey concrete. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out where I am. But at least I’m thinking more clearly. I stretch, feeling the muscles strain in every part of my body. I groan. The groans trigger a chain reaction; the guard inside the room calls for someone, someone outside the room walks in, the doors slam, people start talking, and I get a headache.

A man strolls over to me, waving a syringe in my face. My syringe. He frowns.

“Unfortunately, you weren’t carrying enough heroin on you for us to convict you of trafficking. I’m sure you know that, and I’m sure you also know that it’s an illegal substance. You got unlucky tonight. But, in a way, it might also be your lucky day.” He taps the syringe. “I want to show you something.” A tray is brought out, seventeen syringes in a row. My veins start tingling, but then I realise there’s something wrong. I refocus.

“What’s with the colours?” They’re pretty and all, the pattern of red, blue, green and yellow. But why would someone want to put dye into their veins?

The man smiles. “If, hypothetically, I were to leave you in this room for the next two days with food and water and this platter,” he looks down at the needles, “what do you think would happen?”

I frown. “Nothing.”

His eyes light up. “But if I were to tell you that one set of these colours contain heroin, what would happen then?”

I think. Two days. I had already gone without a hit for two days, how long would I be able to resist? I could always work from the middle, where there was the least, and see what happens. Hopefully it would be the red set, not the green set. Yellow or blue shouldn’t really matter either…

“You’re choosing, I see.” The man sighs. “Your desire no longer considers that there is colouring, or could be harmful liquids in the other colours. You are already seeking the tube with the heroin. Even if it were the red, would you stop with the middle ones? Or would you take all of it, potentially causing you to overdose? How can you know how pure the liquids are?” He shakes his head. “People make this mistake every day. They don’t know what they’re paying for, or putting into their bodies when it comes to this drug. They don’t care. As long as they get their hit. Is it really worth it?”

I look at him, my sense of hunger rising. “Is there really heroin in one of those colours?” I know he’ll give it to me, because if he’s as experienced as he seems, he’d know what addicts are capable of. So I wait.

He finally closes his eyes, defeated. “The blue ones,” he whispers, just loud enough for me to hear.

So I reach for all four tubes. I tap at them lightly so the bubbles deflate, and I stick it into my arm. The man winces.

“It wasn’t your lucky day after all.”

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