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  • Brian M Winningham

The Need

For M. I love you. You are my hero!!!

I shot up today. I know, I know. But you really aren’t hooked after one time. Oh my god, how do I explain what it was like?! First the needle, it scared the shit out ofme. Kirby hit me up. No way I could have done it myself, I just about fainted as it was. I puked. I was so embarrassed for a half-second and then it just didn’t matter. I was so high! It was better than any sex I’ve ever had and it lasted way longer too. Haha.


I had to crash at Kirby and Melinda’s last night. Lenny and Jesse are such fucking assholes! They said I could stay with them as long as I needed. I kept that house spotless! I even slept with that fat-ass Lenny. God, what does it matter that I smoked his fucking cigarettes? It was no damn reason to throw me out. I’d only been there a week.

Anyhow, that’s how I ended up here at Kirby and Melinda’s house. It’s better than the park. ANY place is better than there. I see shit in the park and it scares me to death. A girl could wake up dead or worse. And yeah there is worse than dead.

I guess I could have called mom and dad. They would have come and gotten me. They are so fucked though. I’m not twelve years old anymore, and I’ve had all the Jesus I can stand.

It just always ends the same way: I sleep, she bitches, he stares “Shut Up!” at me, we fight, and I leave. It’s a never-ending cycle and I’m done with it. They really don’t care what I do, they are just afraid I’ll embarrass them. God forbid, I end up in jail or something and the family find out. Sometimes I wonder where they found me.


I’ve been at Kirby and Melinda’s for three weeks now. Three nights ago, we all slept together for the first time, Kirby, Melinda and me. It was different. Melinda and I didn’t really do anything much, just some kissing and touching. Kirby seemed to really enjoy it when we kissed. It started out with just me and Kirby, like within the first week I was here. Melinda didn’t seem to mind. She even made jokes about it. “Hung like a horse isn’t he? Ha ha! Thank god you are here, and he isn’t trying to hump me every night with that thing.” Oh my lord, he is huge too! We’ve all slept together every night since.


There are some strange things going on around here. Kirby and Melinda are heavy into witchcraft, like spells and even animal sacrifices. I saw one.

Oh my god, that cat! I will never forget it. Black as blood in the moonlight, it howled and hissed as it stood tied to a stump in a clearing in the forest. The cat’s back was arched so much that its back feet touched its front as every hair stood on end. There were robed men with their faces covered who were “officiating” the ceremony. Kirby was one of them. The Robed Ones marched around and around the cat chanting and praying as it arched and hissed on the stump. I couldn’t take my eyes off the cat. It was like it was glaring into my soul. And it knew! It knew it was going to die. All of a sudden the robed ones stopped marching and chanting and all of them kneeled facing the cat. After several moments of just the noise of the cat and the hiss of the torches lighting the area, two of the Robed Ones got up and advanced on the cat. They grabbed it up and released it’s bonds expertly retying the cat down to the stump with it’s front legs and back legs spread wide over the edge of the stump. As the two Robed ones sink back down to their knees in front of the cat, the only sound is the sound of the cat, howling and crying.

I had taken heroin just before the ceremony started and now, I just drift away for a little while on a killer stone… I came rushing back to the forest as the cat screamed an unearthly sound; so human, almost like a little child in terrible, horrible pain. I look up and there is Kirby with his mask pulled up on top of his head as he holds the knife and the black cat’s black heart up in the waning moonlight. The robed men begin chanting again as they passed the heart between them. Each “priest” tearing off a tiny chunk of the heart as they devoured it all.


Each day I promise myself that I’m leaving, but I don’t have the energy. The satanic stuff and the witchcraft are too much for me. If I wanted this, I could have stayed home and got religion with mom. But, I stay because the dope is good and I don’t have to do very much. Kirby treats me like shit now though. He says that I need to come join in on the next ceremony. He says they are sacrificing a goat this time. I can’t do it and I think he knows it. I wonder if I’m going to have to leave.

I can’t leave though. Kirby keeps teasing me with the heroin. He says no more unless I “shape up and join the coven.” I think he’s just kidding though.


He wasn’t kidding. The ceremony is in two weeks at the next full moon and I’m supposed to play a part in it. They weren’t joking about the heroin either. Kirby cut me off for of the heroin for awhile. I went crazy. After half a day, I swore I would kill my own mother, “Just please fix me!” I probably would have too. Kirby ended up leaving me to die in a locked room with nothing in it except bars on the windows and a mattress on the floor. He didn’t really leave me to die, I just wished I was dead. Well I didn’t die and Kirby finally hit me up after a day and a half of going without.

Kirby says I know too much about their operation. He had heard me talking on the phone to my sister and her son. He told me that if I leave Melinda and him, he will make something bad happen to Ricky, my 10 year old nephew, on his birthday in June. I didn’t say anything, but if he so much as looks at Ricky, I will kill the son of a bitch!


I left three weeks ago today. It was the day before the full moon. I hid for two days in an old abandoned house on the other side of town. I had stashed some dope back for this and of course I had my own rig. I learned how to shoot up on my own very early with Kirby. He would just throw the balloon down in front of me and curl his lip up like he smelled something bad. I stayed high just as long as my stash lasted and then I did the only thing left to do. I called Mom bawling. She called Dad at work and they came and got me at a bus stop near the abandoned house. They took me home and mom bathed me. I was too weak to bathe myself. I think I remember them burning my clothes too. I guess they were too bad to even throw away.

I wanted to die before the withdrawals were over. The really bad part lasted about a week. I feel a little better now, but time is still fuzzy. The only way I can really keep track of stuff, is mom tells me. She talks to me a lot, even though I don’t say much. It feels good listening to her, almost like being a kid again. She talks about the house and all the things she and dad have planned for it. The things they are making or fixing. She talks about Jesus a lot too and I tune some of that out, but there is a certain amount of comfort in “hearing the old familiar refrains” that have been around my whole life. She isn’t my best friend, but she is my mom.


It’s been eleven months since I did heroin or anything for that matter, not even a drink. I can’t afford to. I’m living in Reno with Blake. We lived together for a while a long time ago, back before everything happened. I love him. We are pretty happy but we are so poor. Rent is so outrageous here. I’m trying to get a job, but I don’t have a car. The bus stop is three blocks away and we don’t exactly live in a nice neighborhood. Manuel and Maria, in 15B across the hall, are nice though. She is so pretty! No wonder they have 5 kids, that and they are good Catholics. Maria’s enchiladas are amazing! I am asking her to teach me how to make them so I can surprise Blake with a special dinner this Friday.

I call mom and dad collect every Sunday. They seem to be okay. I can tell they’re worried about me though. Mom won’t talk about anything but work around the house and Jesus. She may be worried but her talk calms me. It’s the soundtrack of my childhood and I smile and remember. Some days I feel really lucky.

Other days I don’t. The TWINGE is like your mouth watering when it hits you. There is no way to know what brings it on. Stress of course, but other times it seems like it just shows up for no reason. If it’s not too bad, I will take a couple of Tylenol and find a dark place for a few hours. But if it’s bad, really bad – the NEED – I sit in that dark place and silently cry, remembering back a million years to the flowers and puppies I colored as a child while listening to my mom talk about Jesus and work on our house.

*****The End*****

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