I signed up to [livejournal.com profile] apiphile's Llamas Eve Ficathon, and then failed repeatedly to write anything inspired by the prompts that even vaguely hit the criteria. Eventually I found an internet connection on my way out of the country last week in order to bail officially, because I may be intermittently uninspired, but I do try not to be rude. I had a bunch of ideas, wrote four different starting points, and in the end, this little snippet is the only fragment that's not going to be dismembered into it's constituent 1s and 0s, and turned into something else entirely.


You should have left a long time ago.

You tell yourself that, all the time, like it's this place, with its streets and its people and its traffic and the pub on every corner and the clubs in the town centre where the hen parties mock and leer and the boys - always fucking boys - see you looking and turn away. Like it's this place that's eating into you. Stopping you. Like it's this place that's breathing too loud to let you sleep, and burning up body-heat to make the sweltering night unbearable.

You should have left.

You turn over with a huge exaggerated sigh, flopping back onto stained sheets as though maybe the movement of your arms through the air will cool you down. Trev doesn't even grunt, and the rasp of his breathing - just this side of snoring, just too quiet for it to infuriate anyone but you - grates over your last remaining nerve. You count to ten, to thirty, all the way too fucking sixty, and the only reason you don't take your sad, flattened pillow and hold it down over his stupid, slack-mouthed, sleeping face is the voice in the back of your head that shrugs and says 'too much effort'. You close your eyes and listen to the police sirens in the distance. This place? There are always sirens.

The effort required to roll off the bed is less than the effort of straddling Trev and smothering him, so you walk, barefoot and sticky, over the cracked lino of the kitchen, where there's no beer left in the fridge but there's whisky in the top cupboard, which Trev knows about, and a bottle of gin tucked behind the sticky cluster of cleaning products and encrusted sponges under the sink. Trev doesn't know about the gin, because Trev generates mess and doesn't clean it. Eighteen years, you've lived together in one shitty place after the other, and you've given up thinking that he's going to change.

It's nearly five, the sky shading to navy above the artificial halo of the street lights, so you put water in the kettle, listen to it rattle to the boil as you deliberately scrape out the last of the instant coffee - a full spoonful more than you really want - and slosh a gulp of whisky into the mug over it, little dark clumps floating on the swamp surface of the mixture.

You should have left.

Left him, left this place, left all the shitty jobs and shittier DSS training schemes, all the dreams and hopes and the stupidity of believing it would be different in the city.

You should never have fucking come here.


(riffing from my assigned song, which was No Children by The Mountain Goats)
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