No More

No More

A Story by R J Fuller

How well could we manage a second chance?

"Hey, baby, hey. What you after?" the woman called out in a hoarse voice from the darkness. 

"Not tonight, Lynestra," the man in the car said. "I got to get on home tonight."

"Allright, baby," Lynestra said with a smile. Actually she was somewhat relieved, but that was money. She moved on to the next prospect. 

"Lynestra, you need to just move on," another young girl nearby called to her. 

"Don't worry about me, honey. Take care of your own self. I manage just fine!"

"Lynestra, you too old to be out here."

"Never too old, baby. You'll find out one day."

The girl and her two cohorts laughed and walked toward a car slowing down. 

"Never too old," Lynestra said quietly to no one in particular. She took another drag on the cigarette and looked to approaching cars. She blew out the smoke and waved at one vehicle. They slowed, but didn't stop. She turned to await the next prospect. She shuffled about on her feet to keep herself moving and make herself appear lively, but also because her foot was hurting her. Not her foot. The doctor at the free clinic said it was her ankle. Something wrong with her ankle. Wanted her to stay off of it, but she couldn't do that. She had to work. 

"Hey, baby. How you doing? Huh?" 

She had bills to pay. Had to keep herself feeling good and deaden the pain, so she didn't feel those ankles, so she wouldn't even know they were there. Best feeling in the world. 

She looked up the street to see one of the young girls getting into a car. She suspected that girl was underage, to tell the truth. Probably a run-away, or her parents kicked her out. This caused Lynestra to think of her younger years. All these younger girls caused her to recall when she was their age and starting out. She had energy then, but no matter how much she tried to deny it, she could tell things were taking their toll on her. She stepped back and leaned against the wall and took another hit on the cigarette. 

She thought about friends at recess when she was a girl. She tried to remember names, but couldn't place some of them. It had all been so long now. She wanted them to matter, but they weren't going to, if ever. 

"Hey, hey, baby. How you doing, huh? What you after?" 

Maybe that was what her addiction was for as well, to deaden the pain of her tragic youth of uncaring adults and others who used her for their whims. She clenched her teeth. 

"Yea, baby," she said to a motorist that slowed down as she leaned on the door. If she tried to underbid the younger girls, she might get the client. It's worked before. 

The night wore on. She did what she was paid to do, then returned to her location. It was all just beyond routine. Focusing on this line of work, she might as well just take note of washing her hands. It was all baseless. She leaned against the wall again and lit up a cigarette. How striking she must have appeared to the approaching headlights. They slowed down to talk to her. Money in the bank. 

Surely she earned enough already, she could knock off, but the night was still young. She might as well take advantage of the time. If she walked away now, who knows who she might miss. A big tipper perhaps. 

She was going to need to cut out soon anyway. She was feeling the pain again. She needed to do away with it. Her feet were hurting her. She might not be able to walk very well after a while. No, what was it the doctor at the free clinic said? It wasn't her feet, it was her ankles. 

Lynestra raised her head up and clenched her teeth. A tear actually rolled down her cheek. The hand holding the cigarette was shaking. What was doing this? She could tell what was there, but she couldn't see it. 

One of the other girls was watching her from further away. Lynestra decided she didn't want to talk to anyone. Didn't want to hear anyone. Didn't want to hear. She wasn't hearing, but was there someone there? She walked down the nearby alley, vanishing in the dark. She couldn't see anything, but with each step, her feet hurt more and more. But it wasn't her feet. What did the doctor at the clinic say? 

Lynestra clenched her first as she fought back the pain she was feeling, pain brought on by her hurting feet. Not her feet. What did the doctor at the clinic say? 

She couldn't maintain her thoughts. She was completely in darkness and just wanted it all to stop. With the faintest of light shining from up the alley, or moonlight above, maybe an apartment light, she could make out faint objects and detected a box. She placed her hand on it and pushed on it, making sure it was sturdy. Deciding it would do and would support her emaciated frame, Lynestra sat down. Once she could get off her feet, the agony subsided a little bit, but still there was pain. She brought one foot up as if crossing her legs and rubbed at the ankle, where the hurt was. If she pulled her shoe off, she'd be going home barefoot and that would be even worse. Maybe she should just close her eyes in this dark location, soothing, cool area and just close her eyes for good. She wanted to put that money she earned to use, but she couldn't. She was too weak. Maybe she could rest a bit. Just rest a bit, girl. Yea, that's it. Then she will be able to get up and move some more. Just rest. She closed her eyes. 

Even tho the alley was in total blackness, she held her eyes closed. She honestly thought she might nod off to sleep, which, again, the rest would be so good. She was so deep in the alley, she could barely hear cars passing by. Voices were distantly faint and muffled. With her eyes closed, she detected no light whatsoever in her presence. 

Unexpectedly, Lynestra began to sense some light coming from a way's off. It seemed to be getting closer. She expected it might just be a lightbulb turned on in a window around her. Then she felt a tinge at her right arm, near her elbow. Like a bug bite. She opened her eyes.

Lynestra slowly turned to see where the light and sensation were coming from. It was emerging from beyond the brick wall in the alley, near to where she sat. Something was on fire! She had to warn someone! She would be a hero! She stood from her seat and looked around the corner to see what exactly it was that was burning. Might just be trash in a garbage bin or something. 

Lynestra viewed where the glow was emerging. It was now a bright orange of sorts. It was very blinding. She turned away and blinked one time and looked again. She didn't sense any pain anymore in her body anywhere. 

She looked at the illumination. Bright and red flames, licking at the black, wooden boards making up the walls and the floor. Right in the midst stood a young girl. Lynestra didn't recognize her from the streets, so where did she come from? Lynestra sensed she was moving closer to the burning design, or was it reaching out to her? Then she heard the voices. 

"We said what we would do!" a male voice yelled from beyond the wooden walls. Lynestra looked up to the roof and around and saw through a window that it was nighttime, but a different night. 

"We're gonna burn you out, then!" another voice outside yelled. 

"You're not takin' my baby!" the girl yelled, holding a solid, rought stick like a club in her hands.  

Lynestra looked at the plainness of her dress and her bare feet. She looked to the girl's face and her hair. Her hair was all up in braids. She was actually quite a lovely young girl and Lynestra was amused with herself for actually envying her for those young feet. 

Then she heard the baby crying. Slowly she looked over to where the naked infant sat on the simple wooden bed. She looked to the girl with the club again. This time, the girl saw her. 

Gunfire rang out. The baby screamed more. The fire began covering more of the wall. And Lynestra and the girl stared at one another. 

"Who you?" she asked Lynestra. 

Lynestra couldn't speak. She turned as if to go back where she came from, only to find a rickety wooden door. Where did this come from? She turned back to the young girl. 

"I'm Lynestra," she said. What was she doing? Who was she talking to? What was all this? 

"They wanna take my baby, but I'm not gonna let them," the young girl said again. The flames were burning at more of the dried up wood, growing brighter around the two women. Lynestra instinctively reached down and scooped up the infant to protect it. 

"You gonna take care of my baby?" the girl said, tears rolling down her face. Lynestra looked at her with such sorrow. The wall was burning more. There was gunfire again. The flames grew closer to the young girl. 

"Save my baby!" she yelled. 

Lynestra turned once more where the mysterious door had appeared and instead found the alley way again. She walked into it, still clutching the infant, then turned back to the young girl. She could bring the girl with her. 

As she turned to beckon to the girl, the young miss had already made her choice. Lynestra watched as she ran out the front of the small shack, swinging her stick weapon, screaming as she did so. Lynestra stepped back when she heard the gunfire greet the brave soul. She continued moving back, holding the baby in her arms, steadily moving further back into the dark as the room was engulfed in the burning flames, turning it into smoldering embers, becoming more and more distant in the darkness. 

She too was going further and further into the darkness of the alley. She rounded the corner to once more find the wooden box she had sat upon. Calmly she walked toward the box and sat once more, but this time, there was no exhaustion. She sat silently and thought about what she had just witnessed. She sat with not a sound about her in the cool, dark alley, the breeze all but reviving after that burning. What was burning? The room. 

The baby began fussing from the cold air. 

Lynestra detected the infant in her arms and cradled it close. What would she do with this child? All she could think was take it to child welfare. She couldn't raise it. She was an old, broken down, decrepid creature with no years left on her to tend to this infant. No, she'd best let the experts handle it. She couldn't do a thing for it. 

Lynestra stood again and looked around the alley corner once more. If something had been burning there, it was extinguished by the dampness of the ground. She began making her way out with the infant. She'd take him (or her) home tonight, then see it to child welfare tomorrow. It was almost morning anyway. She drew closer and closer to the entrance to the alley, coming back out onto the street. As she walked further and further toward the opening, she began to sense something had changed. There was no pain in her feet anymore. What did the doctor at the free clinic say? 

No. There was no more pain in her feet. She held the baby and likewise felt more exuberance in her legs carrying this bundle of joy. 

As she stepped out onto the sidewalk, Lynestra looked to see the other girls had already vacated the premises. The sun was just beginning to dawn. She didn't have far to walk to her place, but didn't see how she'd make it carrying this baby, but now she could detect there would be no problem. As she appeared in the light of dawn, she looked at her arms. 

No longer were they strained and old. They seemed to be younger. And holding the baby, she began to notice her breasts were likewise more than they had been before. 

Lynestra moved on down the street and looked into the closed shop window at her reflection. It was her. 

It was the young girl fighting so valiantly to save her child. Lynestra turned her head, and the reflection did likewise in reverse. 

How oculd this be? She now had the body of a young woman to take care of the child she cradled in her arms. She was almost home. 

Lynestra sensed the young girl's sacrifice was actually part of Lynestra's as well; she couldn't take an infant to raise in her previous condition, but now she could with this young body. 

She entered her one-room dwelling and set the baby on the bed and covered it with a blanket to warm up. She sat on the other side of the bed and opened her purse. All that money for making herself feel better, but now she had the body of no addiction. She could buy what the baby needed. 

She looked at her reflection in the mirror, studying the young face who would do better. She detected it was still her face, tho now younger, but she could see that girl stil. 

Lynestra decided she would apply for everything as a single mother she had coming to her. She'd go to school, get some sort of education. She'd find new people to be in her life, so no one would miss Lynestra. She hardly had anything to do with anyone then, anyway. Who is going to miss her? The other girls on the street?

Lynestra moved back to the bed and sat on it once more, now studying the baby. She looked at the sleeping toddler. What had she witnessed? Who was that girl? Who was this baby? Were they slaves? Were those men wanting to sell her child? 

She looked to the sleeping infant once more and softly patted it on its back.

"Child born into slavery no more," she said quietly. 

"No more." 

© 2021 R J Fuller

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on February 10, 2021
Last Updated on February 10, 2021
Tags: prostitution, addiction, slavery, aged, pain, misery