She looked around her: the flat was a mess. There were empty bottles strewn on the floor, corpses left after another crazy night and morning. Here and there cigarette butts were scattered – not all of them crushed in an ashtray – and some proofs that tobacco might not have been the only thing smoked in the house. It was always like that when Josh crashed at her place. He’d come by saying he’d invited some friends and 40 people would turn up.
Heather smiled at the memories; it had been fun. It was always fun to have guests. And she cried. Because it was no longer fun. She gazed up at the strict looking lady in her dark suit, holding Shania in her arms. With one last look at the flat, she turned around and left, the child not even crying for her mother.
“Please Miss, don’t take my baby away.” Heather had pleaded and explained but the woman hadn’t budged. It was dangerous for Shania to live in such an environment. And now she was gone.
What could she do? There was no going back. Shania had just been taken away from her. Because she was a bad mother. And she was. She hadn’t planned to get pregnant. She was too young; she wanted to have fun, to enjoy life. Then it happened. She was careless. And everything had gone to shit. But fuck! She loved her little girl. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe Shania would get a better life without her.
Heather grabbed a garbage bin and picked up the empty bottles, the cigarettes – some had left burn marks on the floor – the beer cans. Once she was done, she opened the fridge and pulled out those bottles that were still half full, or a quarter… She emptied them in the sink and into the garbage they went. She made a tour of the apartment: Josh did tend to hide bottles everywhere. She found everything and then some. What the hell? He’d put some bags of weed underneath Shania’s crib. What an idiot!
She weighed the bag of weed: at least 5000$ worth of it. Shit! She could do with the money… she left it on the kitchen counter. She’d decide later. For the better part of the day, she cleaned the house, trying her best to ignore the pile of cash in the kitchen. She dusted, vacuumed, mopped and scrubbed until the place was spotless. She opened the windows to let the place breathe before sitting back at the table, a glass of water between her hands.
She nursed the drink for a long time, her eyes darting towards the weed once in a while. She couldn’t decide what to do. Or maybe she did. When the door opened and Josh said ‘hi’ she called him.
“Hey, someone got the cleaning bug today. Give me a beer Heather.” He sat down in front of her, the keys lying between them. She didn’t move. “I said give me a beer.”
“There aren’t any.” She replied, sounding a lot more confident than she felt.
“What do you mean? You didn’t buy any. What the fuck have you done all day?”
“I saw a lady from social services take Shania from me.”
“What?! What the fuck for?”
“Oh I don’t know Josh, what do you think?”
“Because the apartment was messy. Bitch! I’ll grab some vodka.”
He stood and went to the fridge. She grabbed the keys and walked to the kitchen counter.
“What the fuck Heather! Where’s the alcohol? There were at least 3 bottles in there. Have you drunk them all?”
When he turned, his eyes widened. He was pissed. She knew him well enough to read it in his face.
“What the fuck did you do? This is my weed.”
She turned the tap.
“Josh. I love you. You’re my brother and I love you. But this… You coming here, crashing the place, smoking, drinking. It’s over.”
“Why? Because they took your fuckin’ baby? You didn’t care so much about Shania yesterday when you were getting wasted, or when these studs banged you last week. In your baby’s room if I might add.”
“I know.” She trembled. “I’m not saying it’s your fault. It’s mine. I’ve enjoyed feeling like I had no responsibility. I didn’t want it. I hated having to stop living my life for a kid I never planned to have. But Josh, Shania is my baby girl. And I’ll be damned if I prove mom and dad right.”
“And so what? You’re going to blow 5k$ of weed? You know I’ll be in trouble if you do.”
“Josh. I’m asking you.”
“What are you going to do? Call the cops on me?”
“I’ll call mom and dad. Tell them what you’ve been up to.”
“You wouldn’t!” She raised an eyebrow. “They wouldn’t believe you anyway. You’re a liar, a slut who got knocked up. They loathe you. They love me.”
That hurt. He was being a jerk. She moved the bag.
“Don’t, you bitch! It’s my money in there. My life.”
“Then take it and go live it elsewhere. Not here anymore.”
He stepped to her; he was oozing anger. Heather knew it could go badly but she’d made her choice. She’d fight the devil inside and find herself again. That started by cutting off her baby brother.
“I don’t want to see you ever again.” He whispered venomously before he grabbed the bag and left the same way the lady of social services did.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tarot Card writing prompt The Devil