Chapter 1: Hell Is For Children

The room was dark. Blinds down and closed so no one could look inside into the darkness, and no sun could glimmer into the room. Shelves covered in dust as though they have never felt the feeling of having a rag on top of them.

The shelves felt sad. Neglected and lost in the room.

The carpets had lost their white colour and now have a brown tint to them. The sofa was outdated and filled with holes. Holes of cigarettes burned in deeply from parties that occurred while the guests had been sitting on them.

The dark wood table with scratches that ran deep on the surface was decorated with rings from beer cans with the water-stained body. The white marble ashtray that always sat in the middle of the table. It brimmed over with the cigarettes that matched the empty packages of cigarettes lying on the table like dead soldiers during a battle.

The little glass pipe is what was Candiace’s most prized possessions. The brown burn marks on the bottom. The haze of white on the inside. Nothing like a clean window on the outside of a happy family that lived in the suburbs.

Candice lived in a trailer. Brown on the outside. In the middle of nowhere. The only thing you could see when you looked out the window was tires scattered across the yard, empty beer cans on the porch and broken down cars on cinderblocks decorating the driveway.

There were people over today like there is every day of the week—people there to party.

Not like one is used to seeing with plastic red cups and chips on tables strategically place around the room. This party is cheap beer in cans, pipes and marijuana.

Smoke filled the air. The air filled with cigarettes mixed with marijuana. It filled the trailer like the smell of someone running around with a can of air freshener.

K95 “Your Classic Rock Station!” played in the background of the stereo.

Candice lit the glass pipe, took a deep breath and snorted as she drew her long brown hair (that looked like it has washed for weeks) and then moved her head forward.

“This is some great shit!” she exclaimed to the rest of the room: her brown and rotting teeth displaying across the room like a movie star in the latest blockbuster.

One man sat next to her. He took a firm grip on her leg and laughed in the sense of pride in his laughter. His big hands did not match his otherwise lean frame. He looked more like a stick with giant arms placed outside car dealerships to draw customers into the dealership.

“I told you it was good shit!” he said while still holding his hand on her leg.

“So do you want to buy?” he said as he whispered into Candice’s ear.

His breath smelled like a mixture of marijuana and stale beer. The feeling of the warmth and smell in the air as he came closer.

“How much?” she asked as she looked around the table looking for someone to go in with her.

They looked at her and then looked down on to the floor. She owed them all money. She usually blew through her welfare check in one day. The only things she did pay were her trailer for the month (because the state is on her ass), water (you need that) and electricity. The rest went to various expenses, but most of it lied in the pipe and marijuana.

As if it was a grand entrance at a concert Tiffany walked into the room. Her face had a thin layer of dirt that has become embedded in it. Her shirt was green and white (at least you could tell it was at one time) and her diaper hung as though it had been unattended in years. It dragged after her as she wabbled into the room.

Candice’s mother would get on her nerves about the diapers.

“Candice! The child has dried shit in her diapers!” she would say with her menthol cigarette hanging in her mouth. “Go and change her fucking diaper for once. She has dried shit in there!”

Candice did not listen. She did not care. Candice did not even know who the father of the child was. She has fucked around so much she lost track of who she had fucked.

Tiffany sat on the sofa next to her mother and reached for the pipe and grabbed it. She looked at it as though it was the only toy she had. She turned it upside down, looked at the brown burnt marks on the bottom with wonder and sucked on it.

“Give me that!” Candice said as she sat on the sofa next to her and grabbed it from her hand.

Tiffany knew not to say anything, cry or show any emotions. If she did, she would push her into her room for the rest of the day. Door locked and not being allowed to come out.

The adults began sharing a joint. Candice still had it on her mind about how to get more money as she took a deep breath. She passed the joint to Tiffiany, which was nothing new.

Tiffany already had enough experience to know that she just handed it to another person.

One woman on a chair across the table looked at Tiffiany.

“Your mommy is busy right now. Why don’t you go outside and play in the dirt?” said a woman with a long face and dyed blonde hair.

Tiffany walked out the door and closed it behind her.

Candice started going up again and reached for the joint. (She has some theory that if you mix the stuff from the pipe with a joint, you get the best high.)

“How can I get more? What do I have to be able to buy some of this good shit?” she thought.

“I am going to the bathroom,” she said while sliding her small frame (she does not eat much these days) by everyone sitting on the sofa.

Candice went into her room. It covered in dirty clothes and junk on the floor. Some cheap jewellery she had bought a long time ago that was worth nothing, and some papers from the welfare office were by her nightstand on the floor next to the bed.

She threw her clothes on the bed and started checking her jeans that were lying around.

She has this problem where she leaves cash in them and forgets that it was there.

Nothing.

She checks her drawers. Rumaging around like a hungry, homeless man in the dumpster outside a resturant.

Nothing.

She walks out into the room and whispers to the man with the big hands his long brown hair has fallen over his face, and he slowly brushes it back with his long fingers:

“How about I fuck you for a couple of hits?” she says it as it is winning the lottery.

He nods his head and silently says under his breath.

“I’ll fuck you for twenty dollars worth.”

She grabs him by the hand and pulls him down the short hallway filled with stains in the carpets to her room.

They walk by Tiffany’s room. A room with a dirty used mattress with stains on the floor and a few broken toys lying around.

Candice throws her dirty jeans on to the floor.

He grabs her hips and tells her:

“Take off your pants, you fucking whore!”

She pulls her pants off in a fury as she leans back onto the bed. She lays there like Jesus on the cross. Dead and full of lifelessness arms spread apart. He quickly pulls his pants down with no underwear and begins to fuck her at a fast pace, hard and without a care.

“You fucking whore! You fucking whore! I am going to fuck you so hard! You love my cock! Tell me you love my cock!”

“I love your cock baby,” she says with a stale day-old stale bread.

Five minutes later, he groans with pleasure.

She lies like a lifeless doll.

He quickly pulls up his pants, digs in his pocket and throws her a packet of white powder.

“Here you go bitch!” as it lands on her stomach.

Candice throws her clothes on herself and runs out of the room straight out to the couch.

Outside under the window, Tiffany throws sand against the trailer’s wall, creating a cloud of dust as the wind blows on her face. She has no toys, and this has become her favourite new game. She was throwing dirt, feeling the grains of soil in her mouth.

Her around her mouth lies wet sand from her saliva that has moistened it.

Candice runs into the living room and sits on the sofa as though her place is holy and should belong to a queen. No one touches it. Even in the world of junkies, their home is a place to be cherished.

She lights up the pipe, and the powder becomes a clear liquid as she inhales it. Her body shakes. Her pulse raises. Her eyes roll to the back of her head, and she stretches out her hand for a smoke of the joint getting passed around.

She takes a deep breath and makes a snorting sound as she inhales.

“This is a good life,” she says as she looks around the room.

Her happiness will last only a couple of hours; she will need more to get through the day. For now, she enjoys the moment. Getting some more will be a different problem to tackle.

Tiffany starts digging a hole in the ground. She covers her bare feet with the sand outside the spot like a child at the beach. Except there is no water here, only when it rains.

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