A Story by Kami Grace

Hope might as well be a mere hallucination.


        I counted the cash and walked out of the mansion. It was almost surreal to have earned five hundred bucks in a mere hour. The process was more exhausting, more painful than usual; but still, that was definitely worth it. With this, I could perhaps take a day off, or even reward myself with a nice sandwich. I just couldn’t help smiling at those sweet fantasies.

        The sky had long fallen dark by the time I was done with work. The dim lamps were dying out one after another, and the streetlights weren’t really living up to their names. It might as well be a good thing " people would get suspicious if they saw a boy walk alone in the streets at midnight. It would be better for me to be cloaked by the void, get into stealth mode, and sneak my way home.

        Home. More like, hell.

I used to despise my mother for constantly buzzing around, but now I wished she were still here. After her death, my world crumbled completely. It was like an apocalypse, searing my soul, scorching my flesh, incinerating everything I possessed; until all that was left was ashes, and nothing was normal anymore. Since the moment she expired her final breath, my life was finished.

        It wasn’t like I couldn’t live without her. The problem wasn’t her. It was my father. He was the one who would prefer dying a million times to losing his lover, and when she was gone, his sanity broke with his heart. His kindness and warmth were lost, only to be replaced by violence and indifference. He resigned from work to spend every waking hour on alcohol and television, and never for a single time had he spoken to me except for when he growled at me for money. We might be staying in the same room, but there was an unbreakable barrier between us. He was no father and I was no son. We were no longer related.

        With every pillar destroyed, my family quickly descended into poverty; but earning a basic living wasn’t at all difficult as long as you knew the shortcut. A lot might walk on conventional paths, sacrificing every second of free time to a job that hardly paid anything; but a few went the unorthodox ways, taking risk after risk, and had their pockets filled with gold at an unfathomable rate. If you were willing to dwell in danger, your reward was destined to be huge " but just as huge as the toll the tasks took on you. I knew a six-year-old girl who drowned in drugs after just a month of trafficking, and an eight-year-old boy who shot himself after assassinating two men under contract. When we decided to drink from the grail of corruption, a curse was cast upon us, pitting us to an eternal battle against never-ending paranoia.

It was a game of no fun whose only possible ending was the “game over” screen.

        I walked past the snoring drunkard and went for a shower. The boy in the mirror was fragmented, broken from the inside out, bruised on the body and the mind; he was barely clinging onto the lifeline, likely to slip off anytime. A mixture of red and white leaked out of him and patches of black and blue covered his pale skin. He was a defective product, an object destroyed beyond repair.

        In the water, there was a slither of calmness. The icy stream seemed to be cleaning off the ugliness, numbing the senses, and healing the wounds. But then it returned " that damned lichen. No matter how hard I cleaned, it would always be a lingering phantom, coming back again and again and again.

        I rubbed on it. I rubbed, rubbed, rubbed, desperate to get rid of it, get rid of my curse, my fate, my sin, get rid of everything in my life. But even when my skin was glowing bright red, it didn’t come off. I rubbed harder, harder, harder, and harder, but all was in vain. I screamed at my reflection, scratching my tainted skin, severing wherever the blight spawned; I watched as the clear droplets turned crimson, and then overtaken by a blackness of damnation. Tear poured out of my swollen eyes and blood gushed out of my fresh wound. There was no escape, no salvation, for corruption had anchored so deeply into every part of me. Not even the most powerful exorcist would expel the devil residing in me.

In all of a sudden, the curse vanished. There had been immense agony, then peace came without an omen. The chaos in my world had fallen silent. I panted, dying to catch my breath. At least the daemon was tamed. At least the dirt hibernated once more. At least the boy in the mirror finally looked clean for a brief moment.

I put on an oversized vest and a pair of shorts " this combination never failed to seduce and even earned me a few extra notes sometimes. I took a few pills and glanced at the table, only to discover that the few hundred dollars I left on the table yesterday were gone. I counted the medicine in my hands and sighed. I wasn’t too sure for how much longer I could sustain, especially when my father was devouring the money like drinking water, while the drugs I needed were getting more and more costly. Maybe sooner or later a random flu would come by and take my life. I feared its coming, yet part of me yearned for it. It disgusted me to die in such an unsightly manner, but death was so tempting. If it had to arrive, it better did so like a breeze " it was only fair when I already had to endure pain all the time.

I stepped out of the door and changed my status to “available” on the networking app. I was exhausted, yet right now I had to earn some more to afford what I needed to stay alive. A figure of “$200/hr” popped up, only to be dismissed at my swipe. Tonight, I would make a coin toss. A toss that would decide my destiny. If I got the deal I wanted, I would be able to survive the dark times and embrace a bright future. What would be your jurisdiction, the Sisters of Fate? Would you bring me an impossible deal of two thousand?

I wandered around for what seemed to be millennia. There was no one out there; everyone must be home, sleeping safe and sound. I envied them, loathing all who possessed the privilege to taste warmth. In the silvery moonlight, there was no solace, only solitude; in the howling gale, there was no mercy, only suffering. I gazed into the vastness of the night as I dove into my inner kingdom, digging out every fragment of memory I locked up. I leaked a smile " they were fortunately intact, unpolluted by my plague. There were faint pictures of my parents holding my hands, guiding me as I wobbled on the skates; clips of Dad tickling me on the sofa, while Mum demanded us to take a shower; scenes of me singing on stage, when I saw their eyes glitter in pride. The dusty reminiscence struck like ebb and flow, infusing into me hope, yet leaving me vacant at the next instant. Cascades of tear fell along my cheeks. Back in those days, my life was bright and colourful, for I was bathed in an ocean of love, and not for a second was I chained by worries and misery; yet at this very moment, the world was only black and white, for no longer could I escape from the bane carved into my bones, only eternally collared by a foul overlord.


A notification popped up.

“$2200/hr, toilet, deal?”

I was petrified. It was a heavenly deal no one even bothered to dream of. I clicked on the “accept” button: This might as well be my last customer. After the trade, I would get what I needed. I would talk my father out of his trauma and get him to find a job. I would go back to school. I would live the life my mother wanted to see. I would be normal again.

I walked towards the venue with my heart pounding heavily. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t wait to work. I couldn’t wait to embrace the long-missing twilight.

I loosened the button on my shorts and took a deep breath.

For my father and myself, I would do this one final time. When it was finished, I would get a clean slate, and we would start all over again.

I knocked.

The door popped open, and in the cubicle was a naked drunkard. He waved at me, signaling me to sit on top of him.

A teardrop slipped through the corner of my eye as my smile faded.

I closed my eyes and took off my shorts slowly.

It was a face I was too familiar with.

© 2016 Kami Grace

Author's Note

Kami Grace
It has been a long time since I last posted on WritersCafe. Feels good to be back (I'm now 16, time flies haha).
Please feel free to leave comments! :)

*WARNING* Material related to prostitution but no explicit scenes

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Added on October 31, 2016
Last Updated on November 1, 2016


Kami Grace
Kami Grace

Hong Kong

I'm a student from Hong Kong. I enjoy writing poems and I wish to get advice from different writers! :) more..

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