Today there are both natural and synthetic opiates. Doctors prescribe many of them liberally, including Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet. All of these drugs work on the receptors of the brain the same way. When you use them, you build up a tolerance. It requires more and more drugs to get the same effect. Eventually the addiction costs too much and the person turns to heroin, which is both cheaper and more deadly.
In our Dime Store Novel series, Regan Worth uses opium. She obtained her taste for it in the womb. Her mother Sue-Li became addicted to heroin while she was pregnant with Regan.Sue-Li’s gateway drug was opium. A doctor prescribed heroin to cure her addiction to opium. This story will be told in Louisiana Snowflake. We have a few nitty gritty plot complications to resolve yet, but we are hoping to release Louisiana Snowflake sometime in 2015.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Coffin Hop without a devilish contest. This year we’re giving away a signed copy of Seeds of Love and Anguish and a signed copy of our first book, Bones of the Woods. You can enter the contest three ways:
Each thing you do will add your name once to the devil’s derby. Yes, that’s John E. Miller appearing as the devil and he will be the one to draw the winner’s name.
And now it’s time to take a ride with me….
Riding the Black Horse
by Rachelle Reese
“Hey lady,” a small voice spoke near her. A child’s voice edged in fear. “There’s something wrong with my sister.”
Aimee opened her eyes and saw a young boy, maybe the same age as Colby, staring down at her. He carried a bundle in his arms. She sat up. He held out the bundle.
“Mama said to feed her, but she won’t eat.”
Aimee looked down at the child. It was shaking the way her mother had told her Colby had. She didn’t remember any shaking, but she had been too concerned with getting her next fix to notice. “Where’s your Mama?” she asked.
“Gone a few days. She said she’d be back later and to make sure Sissy eats, but she never came back.” He shrugged. “She does that sometimes. I asked her where she goes and she said China. Is that far away?”
“Very far away,” Aimee said. “Where do you live?”
“In that building.” He motioned to a rundown tenement. “Number 203.”
“You know your numbers?” Aimee asked.
“Just that one. Mama said there was time to learn the rest when I’m in school.”
“Have you eaten anything today?”
“Sure I did. I made myself a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and old Mrs. Shields gave me a chocolate bar. Milky Way. That’s my favorite kind.”
The baby gave a weak cry. She looked down and saw the child spindly and yellow. “I think we’d better get your Sissy to a doctor. Do you know where there’s a hospital?”
The boy nodded. “There’s one right around that corner, but I don’t like it there.”
“I know. Hospitals are scary, but I think your Sissy needs a doctor and that’s where they work.”
“Will you come with me?” the little boy asked.
Aimee looked around. She didn’t recognize the street and Justin was nowhere around, not that she wanted to see him. At least, at the hospital, she’d be able to find out where she was and maybe how to get home. Besides, the boy was no more than four. “Of course I will. I have a little boy about your age. His name is Colby. What’s your name?”
“Shawn. Does Colby miss you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you miss him?”
“I bet he misses you too.”
Colby opened all his presents and exclaimed over each one. He especially liked the Michelangelo action figure his mother had chosen for him. Joanne popped popcorn and they settled in to watch an animated movie. Colby curled up on Frank’s lap and Ashely dozed off on Joanne’s lap. It was just the way Joanne had imagined it, except that Aimee wasn’t there. She looked over at Frank. She could tell by his expression that he thought the worst. Aimee had gone back to using again. She couldn’t blame Frank for thinking that. The first two years after she’d finished the 90-day shock therapy in jail had been a roller coaster of rehab and relapse. But she’d been clean for nearly two years. Joanne wanted to believe in her.
When the movie ended, Sarah carried Ashley to her car and Frank carried Colby to his bed. They all said goodbye without saying the name that was on all their minds. No one wanted the drama or the “I told you so’s” tonight. There would be time enough for that in the days ahead.
Aimee stood with the boy in line at the emergency room. She was amazed at how rude people were, bumping into her, jostling the small boy. At last, they reached the desk.
“This little boy needs medical attention for his baby sister,” Aimee said. “I think she’s going through withdrawal.”
The receptionist did not acknowledge her.
“Hello!” Aimee called out. “Is this a hospital or what?”
“She can’t hear you,” Shawn whispered. “Lady, he spoke up.”
The receptionist leaned her head over the counter. “There you are. Where’s your mommy and daddy?”
“Mama went away and told me to feed Sissy, but Sissy won’t eat. She just shakes like she’s scared or something.”
“I’ll get someone for you, honey,” the receptionist picked up the phone. “You take your Sissy and have a seat over there.”
Aimee followed the boy to the waiting area. She took the seat next to him. “Why could she hear you and not me?”
“Sometimes it’s like that,” he shrugged. “Mama can’t see a lot of my friends. Neither can Mrs. Shields. Do you think they’ll be able to fix Sissy?”
Aimee thought back to Colby’s bright healthy face and happy laugh. “I think so. My little boy was like that and he turned out fine.” Mostly fine. She remembered the night terrors and her mother telling her that Head Start was concerned he might have a learning disability. He seemed perfect to her though. Her heart felt empty, she missed him so much.
A woman in a white coat came and took the baby from Shawn’s arms. She examined her and asked Shawn to follow her.
“Do you want me to come with you?” Aimee asked him.
He shook his head.
“Alright then. Be brave.” She kissed the top of his head and watched him walk away. She wandered through the hallways, looking in on patients connected to tubes, tiny babies in incubators. A gurney wheeled past her, a man laid out prone, bleeding from his chest. On another gurney a woman convulsed, held stable only by the ties that bound her to the bed. No one noticed her.
She decided to leave the hospital and go back to the spot where the boy had awakened her. The small time dealers stood in alleyways and paid her no mind as she walked by, not offering to sell her so much as an Oxy. She passed through the admitted addicts lined up at the methadone clinic for their dose to keep the dope sickness at bay. Another line of junkies formed outside the door of what was once a butcher shop, waiting to buy their daily dose or two of the real thing. Now and then a police car drove by. She tried to wave the first one down, but it didn’t stop. The second one passed as if it didn’t see her. By the third car, she knew there was no point in trying. She was stuck here for good. The only hope she hung onto was it was all some kind of heroin-fueled nightmare that would end when the drugs wore off.