Word Count: 1381
It was cold. Really cold. I felt like someone had left me at the North Pole without any fucking clothes. I pulled the blanket around me, trying to keep myself warm with it. It didn’t really help, and I definitely didn’t want it touching me, but what could I do?
Rayn was curled up in my arms, shivering with me. He was having a worse time of it than I was, I think. It was hard to tell when he was so quiet. But that was enough of a clue for me, really - Rayn was the loudest person I’d ever met. He just kind of soldiered on through the puking and the hot and cold flashes.
These withdrawals were more intense than I’d had before. The one time I’d been without, I’d felt sick - been sick a few times - but it was nothing like this. Maybe the fact I knew I was never going to have a hit again made it worse somehow. It was a physical and a mental withdrawal.
Rayn slipped out from under the covers to go use the toilet. As he lifted the covers from over my face to get out of the bed, I spotted my bag. I had weed didn’t I? A bit, at least. That’d help, wouldn’t it?
I crawled over to it, wincing as the cold floor sent shivers through my body that threatened to knock me flat on the floor.
Quickly, quickly, I pulled it back into the bed, wrapping up again before setting to work rolling myself a joint.
I’m not sure how much time passed between finishing that joint and Joe getting back. I don’t think I fell asleep, but somehow that time had slipped by unnoticed. Either way by the time Joe was back, I’d kicked off the blankets, sweating out, and Rayn had moved back to his mattress.
“I couldn’t find anything,” Joe was saying as he put his gun away. “Sorry.”
“You just didn’t look hard enough,” I mumbled. I knew he wasn’t gonna come back with anything for me, whether he found it or not.
“Sure I did.” I forced myself to sit up, just about getting to my feet before my legs gave out under me, my muscles screaming in pain at me. I wanted to look for myself, but I wasn’t going to get very far feeling like this. My /bones/ were fucking hurting. “Sit back down,” Joe ordered, “you’re not strong enough.” I didn’t like the new in-control-bossy Joe. Then again, I wasn’t used to being the one in the passenger seat - I’d gotten used to being in control of my life and what happened in it. This was not something I’d planned for, or seen coming. And I’d definitely never seen it coming that Joe would be the one in charge. “It won’t do you any harm to go without drugs anyway.”
I felt like it was doing harm. “What if the withdrawals kill me?” I asked, feeling about as pathetic as I sounded. I was trying not to slur my words, but making my body cooperate with me was getting harder and harder.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Joe scoffed, “they won’t kill you.”
“I feel like they might,” I groaned.
“It won’t last. You’ll get stronger the longer you’re off them.” I just groaned at him again, wordlessly.
I gave up trying to keep track of the days. It’d been a couple. I couldn’t sleep, though, so fuck knows how long it’d been really. This withdrawal was like shock therapy to my guts. I’d ended up camping out in the toilet half the time, just sat on the floor waiting to either vomit or shit. Or both. And every time I thought there was nothing left to puke or shit out, my guts growled at me and made me run for the toilet again. Not that I could run anywhere.
Joe was doing his best to look after me. If I came out the other side of this, I’d have to remember to find a way to thank him for helping me through it. Rayn came and went, but he was just as bad as me when he was there. He did try, though. When he stopped puking in the toilet in the next cubicle, he’d give me a few words of encouragement. When I couldn’t find him, I’d ask Joe where he went, or when he was coming back.
I felt like the most useless lump of humanity to ever have existed. I was no use to Joe like this. Most of the time I just wanted to curl up and sleep and never wake up. I couldn’t even had that - sleep was as scarce as Rayn.
“I got some food for you,” Joe said quietly, kneeling next to me in my bed. I was shivering like I was cold, curled up with my arms wrapped around my stomach, but the moment the blanket was on me I felt like I’d been thrown in a volcano.
My nose wrinkled at just the thought of eating anything. For the past three hours or so - I think - I’d not thrown up once, and I wanted to keep it that way.
“And drink some water. You don’t wanna be dehydrated,” he continued, putting a bottle in front of me. I pushed it away.
“I’ll only throw it up, you have it,” I slurred. I was amazed that anything I said was making sense to him by this point. If I’d been physically capable of lifting a gun, I’d have just shot myself in the fucking head and gotten it over with.
“Drink it anyway,” he told me, unscrewing the cap for me. There wasn’t any arguing with Joe anymore. I complained, but I half propped myself up, doing my best to ignore the feeling that the bones in my arm felt like they’d shatter if I leant on it too long.
I shook the last of the codeine pills out of the box and downed them with a few mouthfuls of water. I felt my stomach trying to shrink away from it, but I forced it down anyway. It wouldn’t stay there long. I looked in the box miserably, wishing more would appear.
I was about to ask Joe if he could go and find me some more - surely he wouldn’t object to codeine, right? He hadn’t so far - when I was cut off by the sound of banging somewhere out on our floor of the hospital.
Joe looked up, motioning for me to be quiet. I shut up, sinking further down into my mattress. I thought at first it was just some zombies had broken down one of the doors to the other floors we blocked off and they’d just found their way downstairs.
But then there was gunfire. It echoed off the walls, too loudly. I winced, feeling like my head was going to explode.
“Fucking brilliant,” Joe jumped up and locked the door, grabbing his gun. I watched uselessly as he barricaded the door with the coffee table, piling up as much as he could find on top of it to weigh it down.
Feeling so useless knotted my stomach with an unfamiliar emotion: fear. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so vulnerable. That’s a lie, I could. I’d last felt like this when I was a kid. I couldn’t do anything to defend myself when my mom and dad went for each other or me, I was too small and weak, and that was exactly how I felt now.
“We’ll be fine,” Joe said as calmly as he could manage. I wondered vaguely if he was unnerved by how alone he was in that moment, or if the fact I was probably looking as shit scared as I felt made it worse. “Just stay quiet,” he whispered. The noise grew louder and louder, closer and closer. The fear and the nausea were making me feel sick again. I didn’t want to move and make any noise, but I couldn’t just throw up in my bed, could I? There were voices just down the corridor, now, and I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I crawled out of the bed, doing my best not to let the door slam behind me as I rushed for the toilet again.