Permission To Shine

Written by: Stormy

Her eyes sparkled like a watery domain, and as the wind blasted angrily across her face, a single tear fell and landed on her lips. She tasted the salt, bit her lip and closed her sore eyes. The air was frightfully cold and she breathed out a translucent sheet of white smoke, and tucked her raw hands inside her coat pockets. She continued to walk, almost breaking into a run, but she couldn?t see much in front as her hair kept slapping her against her face. The force of the wind was annoying, and she reached out her hand to swipe the loose stands of hair and then huffed as another strong breeze blew it right back onto her face. Lightly shivering she hunched her shoulders in towards her body and re-attached her hands to the lining of her pockets. She sniffed, trying to stop her nose from running, and blinked continually, demanding that her eyes should stay dry.
It then began to rain, lightly spitting at first and May sped up even faster, feeling the intense coldness getting stronger and heavier. She felt the shock of tiny droplets land on her head, and she made a slight moan when the chilly water dribbled down on to her face. Feeling like things could not get any worse, she left her hands warm inside, and surrendered to the harsh weather.
She turned around a corner whiles looking down at her feet, trying to shield her face, and then recognised the building that stood before her. May then looked up, took a deep breath, and knocked on the door. As she waited for an answer, she looked around trying to familiarise herself with somewhere she hadn?t been in a long time. Everything looked dark and grey, there wasn?t a single shed of colour anywhere to be seen. Shivers spread down her body, and she began to feel nervous and she could sense that someone was watching her, and she darted her eyes around the following buildings but she couldn?t see anything. This dark wet evening reminded her of her first time here, when she was younger and alone and just after the virus. She hurriedly knocked again, the coldness was getting to hard to bear, and then a voice spoke from beyond the door.
“What?s your business here? Not a place for a lady like you” May was relieved when she recognised the voice.
? Its May, you still remember me don?t you?"
The man went silent for a second before answering, “No its not, now go away!”
She banged her fists in anger against metal door, causing a shooting pain through her hands, “I’m not going until you let me in! its May, let me in and you’ll see”

There was silence, and May crouched into a heap on the floor, nursing her hands together. The rain began to pour heavy, and she felt her clothes beginning to stick to her wet skin, and as the wild rain furiously hit her head, her mind disappeared into obscurity. A few seconds later, the door opened and she fell backwards, landing on her back. She squinted her watering eyes and a faced blurred in and out, and slowly it became more recognisable. She smiled, and the man’s face above her smiled too.
“So, it is you”
May nodded, still lying on her back.

“You just look so different, not the way i remember you” he laughed, and reached out a hand. May took his hand and pulled herself up, and as she pressed down her wet clothes, the dark haired man slammed the door shut. Instantly she felt warmer, but there was still a slight chill in the air. The man, who was about the same age as May or maybe a little bit older, stood staring at her. When she noticed, she found it quite creepy, and replaced her hands inside her pocket. He stared at her face, it was red and wet from the harsh weather, and her make-up had almost disappeared. A few dribbled lines of mascara lay under her red eyes, and a few blotches of foundation was still attached to her cheeks. Then he looked down to her clothing, it was girly and bright and not the way he remembered her.
“Haven?t seen you here in a long time May, what do you want now?” he said focusing on her rat-tailed dark brown hair, just noticing a hint of a red streak.

May followed him into a large room, and it was just the same as she remembered. Through the grey dark smoke, she could just make out 6 other people. Most of them sat around chatting and giggling, but there was one man who laid passed out on a broken sofa. As she followed him, the smoke and smell was repulsive, she coughed and almost wanted to throw up. The smoke stung her eyes and she blinked hard to stop the pain. She watched her feet walking through the untidy room, stepping over food packets and cigarette butts, and she noticed the sleeping man was dribbling. The man stopped at a table, and stood up in front of her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small see-through package, he opened it and laid its contents on the table. May watched closely as he rolled the green-brown dried mixture between his fingers, and then he held up the roll up cigarette to his mouth, and gestured to eyes focused on the blue lighter, and careful she picked it up and lit the end of his cigarette. May watched the end spark up as he breathed in, and then he puffed out into her eyes, she grimaced with pain, and tightly shut her eyes pressing them harder and harder to release the sting.
“So tell me what i can do for you” May was afraid to talk but she had already made her decision the night before, so she just gently nodded. “Do you want your job back or something else?”
“No, i don?t want my old job back” she replied, “Its defiantly something else”

She bounced her body down onto the broken sofa and landed with a thump, she expected it to be softer and not so hard and he dark haired man who sat next to her laughed. May looked towards the sleeping youth who had fallen onto the floor, his short dreadlocks and funky make-up suggested he was another Zoot wannabe, and she sighed and wondered how someone so dead could be so alive. This thought then stirred her inner emotions, and she felt tears beginning to form. She crooked her head back to stop them from falling, and gazed her eyes around the smoky room. She focused on the 5 people who sat at the other end of the room, they were all huddled together, and giggling uncontrollable, breathing out infectious substances. She felt giddy and nervous, not the way she expected. May had been here before, a long time ago, this used to be one of her hideouts, but now she felt scared.
“So what kind of thing do you want?” he asked, gesturing his hand around the room
She gulped, she hadn?t really thought about what she really wanted. There was so much going on in her mind, she couldn?t sleep at night, and she suffered painful migraines from the stress of thinking.
“Anything, nothing to hard though…well not for the moment” she said sadly
He nodded, and reached for a navy blue rucksack that lay beside him. May watched him unzip it, and he handed her a clear package and some dark coloured roll paper.
“This will start you off, your be ok on this”
May bite her lip and nodded, this wasn?t such a bad idea. The man smiled, and then laid his hands out as a reminder.
She stuffed the gift into her jacket pockets, and reached down inside her boots. She felt her way around and pulled up a pair of shiny earrings that glistened as she held them up to him. He smiled in approval.
“Fancy, where did you get them from?” he asked raising his eyebrows
“The owner is dead so i figured she wouldn?t mind” she smiled
It wasn?t the answer he was looking for but it was good, he gripped his fingers around the treasure, and looked at May.
“Why you need the stuff now for? Before you never touched the stuff” he asked intrigued
Her mouth was silent for a moment, she was trying her best to get the words out but she didn?t want those words to reminder her of the tragedy. She almost broke down just thinking about it but instead she lowered her head, and widened her eyes, trying not to cry and she willed herself up again. She looked towards the familiar man, and he saw the sadness between her eyes.
“I?ve been getting these terrible migraines” she suggested, touching the sides of her temple, “And i can?t sleep, my brain feels like it?s going to explode. I just need some peace, even just for a few moments”
He nodded again, but knew it was something much deeper. He knew the people who came to him for help, he knew all the reasons, and knew all the signs. He looked up at her again, she did seem very sad, not the way he remembered her at all. Not the May he knew.
“Well, just don?t get too hooked, not like those guys” he said motioning his head towards the giggling group, “They hardly leave” he laughed, “And if you find its not working, come back and you can have something a little better”
May then stood up, and he followed her out of the room, and into the cold corridor.
“Thank you” she said softly
“No thank you” He smirked. He then watched her as she left the building. Knowing she would be back again.

When May got back outside, she took a huge breathe of the fresh air. The rain had stopped, but the ground was still wet, and the sky was still grey but there was a glimpse of sunlight on the horizon. She spread her hand along her face and rubbed off the excess make-up that had formed in clumps and wiped the dirt in her damp trousers, and proceeded to walk fast, Sector 3 was not a good place to be when it was nearly dark. After a few minutes, she sneezed, and then sneezed again, and after sniffing her runny nose back she hurried up her pace, determined to get to her destination as quick as possible. The thought of a hot bath, and a dry pair of clothes, stretched a smile across her face. As she turned a corner the sun turned so bright she immediately closed her eyes and lowered her head, it was powerful, but the slight heat felt good. Another few steps and the sun disappeared behind a large warehouse building and she lifted her head up again. A cool breeze made her shiver and she pulled her jacket close to her and entered Sector 10, and the gritty atmosphere disappeared.
She approached The Mall, but then swiftly changed her direction, heading to somewhere more scenic. She went in the direction of the city outskirts, not somewhere she went very often.

Stepping out of the industrialised background, she entered the colourful world of nature, and instead of hearing her boots clank along the hard concrete, she heard them rustle forth between autumn leaves and dewy grass. Even in the early evening gloom it was beautiful.
She bent down and squeezed through an opening in a thicket, and she untangled her hair and stood up right in the middle of a green meadow. She scanned her eyes for a familiar way and then headed north towards the back of the pasture. Her heavy boots sunk into the soggy grassy mud but she carried on walking, determined to reach her goal before nightfall. When she saw the hidden doorway, in between some trees, she began to run, her heart raced, and she ducked her head and passed through the gap. May then gasped, and then shrieked a high-pitched wail, and crumbled to her knees. Her sadness overwhelmed her, and the tears that had been waiting all day suddenly fell. As they streamed down her face, brittle from the harsh weather, she cried out, so loud that a cluster of nesting birds retreated and flew away. Facing the mound, she desperately crawled along the grass, and then rested her muddy hands on the shallow tomb of her beloved. Her tears and cries were uncontrollable, and pictures of him flashed through her mind, every single one making her cry harder. She had intense crushing pain in her chest and she knelt clutching her broken heart, wishing that she would just die there and then. She gasped for air as the pain spread along her mouth and jaw and along her head. Then she collapsed weakly, leaning over the mound, her body aching.

What a stupid girl she had been. Right now she hated herself, she hated her life, it was all her fault. If she hadn?t been so stupid, He would still be alive, with or without her. She knew that now.

She wished she could start again, to go right back to the beginning of the virus. She would find a nice little tribe, and stay with them. This mess would never have happened. She wished she were a better person, she wished she had more will power. She wanted to turn back time,
But time travel was impossible. She had to live with her crimes.

The pain of grief was unbearable. She had never felt this way ever, not even when her family died of the virus. She was a child, loved in her own way but not looked after. She was numb, but relieved when her parents died, they were never around anyway.
But this, this pain was new. It was like all the bad things she had done in her life had all turned around and attacked her head on.

By now, she had stopped crying, but she was still struggling for breath. She wiped her face, and brushed her salty tears along her clothes, shifting position to a sitting one.

She felt selfish. Being here, crying over his grave, knowing she wasn?t the only one grieving. Salene was too.

Her thoughts drifted to her close friend, her only friend. Salene had always been good to her, she took her in when no one else would, and always accepted her for who she was. A tear escaped again as she remembered what she was responsible for.What was she thinking? It was a mad moment, a desperate moment. She regretted telling them to kill Salene the moment it escaped her lips. It was all her fault. If only she had thought for one second.

She regretted everything. She hated herself. She dug her hands into her pocket, and pulled out the help her old friend had given her. Shaking, she quickly assembled it, and held it in her mouth, bringing the lighter towards her and lightning it. She took a long deep breath, letting the toxic smoke fill her lungs & then exhaled, releasing all her worries. Her body relaxed, and she slumped backwards gracefully hitting the grass. She gazed up into the nighttime sky and as she smoked in and out, her mind drifted in and out of her body, and she forgot where she was, forgot who she was & forgot what she had done.