Fitness Magazine

The Damage Done - A Little Story About the Big Horrors of Heroin

By Xmarkm @matthews_mark
The following is the story of Jervis, one of the main characters of MILK-BLOOD. Promise it is worth a read. 
After years of suffering with mental illness, heroin has opened up the gates of heaven for Jervis Samsa. It is all that makes life bearable. But when he gets trapped in his basement without a scrap of dope to shoot, he needs to go to any lengths to get high. The results are something monstrous, and his basement bedroom becomes a hell for those who enter.
The Damage DoneJervis Samsa lay awake on his bed, twitching in and out of detox dreams. Poison sweat ran from his pores and dampened the sheets. He wanted to scratch and itch away at the flesh that covered him and then rip out the muscles that cramped in pain. The lifeblood was gone from his veins. No dope for a day now. Not since yesterday when he popped a vein with Tara, and he hoped she’d return with some cash but never did. Now he had nothing.
Millions of tiny cramping cells fought for life in his body. He imagined them like little desperate amoebas, squirming in frantic fear before they imploded to their death. Inside his legs the cells were butchering each other, sucking at each other’s marrow like little cannibals since no heroin life blood was available to feed on. But the darkest of pain was in his back. He was sure that if he cut open a vertebrae, black burning liquid would boil out of him. It was torture.
He opened his eyes and saw Tara’s black hoodie crumpled up on the carpet. He traced the orange letters of “Slipknot” written in flames on the sleeve. Tara was twenty years older than he was and using heroin for all those years, but she could still get away with wearing a Slipknot hoodie. Her fingerprints were stamped everywhere in his basement bedroom; Pantene hair conditioner in his shower, a pink razor on the counter, the scent of her pale white skin and faded tattoos. But he hadn’t seen her eyes in a while. Gone. She was gone.
Probably a dirty drug screen and probation violation and it meant Tara was now spending the weekend in jail. County lockup. He pictured her with the orange smock on and just as bogue and sick as he was. Maybe a nurse came to her aid with some Suboxone, but probably not. He’d seen what she was like bogue, and to kick in jail was the worst. She’d be stuck in holding for the first 24 hours taking wet shits alongside twenty other inmates who shared the same toilet.
In days past, they would lie together in his basement bedroom. With the tip of her fingernail, Tara would give a soft caress of his back. Black hair would dangle like a curtain, and her pale, clammy skin would stick to his. She soothed his soul like none other and mothered him like his own mother never knew how. And, more importantly, she would help him come up with ways to get dope. Always needing money for dope. And Tara had a brain and a body that always came up with something.
But now Tara was in a fucking city jail smock. Without his dope, Jervis would feel like a monster, like the red-devil the voices inside had told him he was. For years the atoms of his brain had been turning on him, but when he found the H, it was the perfect medicine.
Loud bangs blasted from the basement door. Bang bang bang bang. His mother was pounding louder than she ever had and it felt like a hammer to his brain. Each pound vibrated his skull and unfocused his eyes. She would stop soon. He tried to let the sounds smash through his body. Finally, his mother stopped; but not before some Neil Young lyrics came into his thoughts.
I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door…I love you baby, can I have some more…
Neil Young understood what a burden life was. How ugly it was. Life was pain, and the suffering was only interrupted by the beauty of a heroin higheven in this underworld of his. This basement was a pithole his mother exiled him to while she lived in the world above him, and without a scrap of Heroin to shoot, it felt like he’d been buried alive.
Baseboard windows let rays of light shine through and dust danced in the sunbeams, all of them part of Jervis’s aching cells, amoebas floating and imploding everywhere. He wanted to flail his arms and legs and fists. He couldn’t stay still, just moved muscles back and forth trying to appease the shaking inside.
Cotton, spoon, and lighter sat on his desk next to used, sad-looking needles. Those needles once shined, newly bought from the drug store while dope was in his pocket and his girl Tara was by his side.
Life was shiny and beautiful with money and dope on days like those. They would go to the park and call it a perfect day. They would listen to Linkin Park and 50 Cent, watch movies on DVD as if in timeless slow motion; Drugstore Cowboy, Trainspotting, Sid and Nancy. It made him feel important, like he wasn’t stupid, like he wasn’t special needs, like what they were doing in real life was interesting enough to be watched by someone.
Next to his works was the picture of his dad on the dresser. Tara framed the picture because she said it showed him as a happy soul. The picture was his dad holding up a fish with a surprised look on his face. Look at me...what do I do with this damn thing? Dad was no happy soul, but a dark-spirited God ready to scold him or beat him if needed. Growing up, Jervis always felt safest when dad was nodding out from dope or in prison for 90 days. Last fall, when Jervis came home after a stay at the psych hospital, dad was home from prison, but not alive. Mom had the ashes.
“You take him. In the basement. You take him and bury him with you down there.”
The gold-colored urn had been sitting on his dresser ever since, next to the picture of the happy soul with a fish on his hook.
No, that picture was all wrong. Dad was a dark soul, and life was a burden for him. Shot a million dollars of smack into his arm and needed constant medicine for his affliction. His body morphed into a tarry bit of heroin yellow before he died, hacked apart like an army of chickens had been pecking at him. The glowing dark heroin aura surrounded him. Now all of it was burnt up into the urn, and all that remained of Dad sat on his dresser.
“Your father left us with nothing. No life insurance. Nothing,” his mother reminded him more than once. “All I got is a rusted out Toyota and his junkie kid.”
Dad would never take this shit from Mom if he were alive. Jervis had seen the way his mom ducked when Dad so much as moved his arm. The back of his hand flew over mom’s grill enough times to make both of them obey. No way would his dad ever be stuck in a basement like this. He’d seen his dad in the sickest of moments shoot a move and always pull twenty bucks out from somewhere. Jervis felt like a damn let down to his famous dad, the legendary wizard of smack.
Muscles bubbled and boiled, his back tensed, and his spine curled. Each cell inside was being tortured. Constant slippery snake-like movements were all he could do to try and soothe them.
How to get some dope money?
Last week he gathered the metal from the neighbor’s back forty and got sixty-seven dollars from the scrap yard. The week before, he had called his uncle Zack crying about owing the dealers money.
“They are going to kill me if I don’t pay. You don’t know these people.”That and promises to go to rehab got him two hundred and fifty bucks. He checked into rehab and checked out hours later to go fix up.
Right now he was out of options. Way too sick and sweaty to boost from Home Depot. No credit with the dealers...nothing. Tara. If only Tara could help him out. Lyrics from Neil young kept playing in his mind…
I know that some of you don’t understand. Milk-Blood to keep from running out...
Milk-Blood. He needed to learn how to Milk-Blood: leaving some blood in the needle with just a trace of heroin inside for moments like these. If only he had a bit of Tara’s dope blood with him, but he didn’t have shit and no way to get it. The chamber was empty.
Mom was his only hope. Just two days ago, he hit up mom’s gold jewelry locked in the cabinet. Dug deep for that one. Unscrewed the locks on the hinges and grabbed jewelry that hadn’t been worn in years. He tightened the screws back on good enough so she’d never know it was gone. The pawn shop gave him a hundred and twenty bucks for the gold.
He needed to shoot a move just like that. Now.
He would go upstairs and figure this out. Mom doesn’t want me to hurt like this. I am dying. I can’t live in this pain. It’s not right. I need something. If only she knew how I bad I feel. I will explain it to her so she understands. She loves me. She gave birth to me. We can talk about detox and going back to rehab again but first I need something to get me through. Just twenty bucks. Or fifty bucks. And when Tara comes back we will go to detox together like she says sometimes.
He lifted his empty shell off the bed and dragged the weight up the stairs, happy to have a purpose and a plan. His sweaty hands tried to twist the doorknob but could not. It was stuck solid. Didn’t turn. What the hell is that? He twisted harder and palms spun around the knob, and yes, the damn thing was locked.
He made a fist and pounded, three times solid. Bamm, Bamm, Bammm, and the smacking felt good.
“Mom, what happened? Mom! Mooommmm...what is this? Unlock the door!”
Then he noticed the door jam. Tiny ends of nails were splintered through. They were pounded through the wood, angled from the door into the frame. The door wasn’t just locked, it was nailed shut.
“Mom! What the fuck is this?!”
He pounded harder, and with each pound he noticed another nail.
Energy surged in him as his dying cells fought for life. He smashed his body into the door, bamm, bamm, bammm, but it wouldn’t give. The door was on the top of the stairs and he couldn’t get any leverage, and certainly not a running start. He needed an axe or something.
“Mom, come on. Please. I know, Mom, you’re right. I’m hurt, Mom. I really am...I’m hurt bad.”
The tears started to come. Real tears. This was so unfairand he wanted to kill her right then and there.Why would she do this me? How can she make me suffer?
As if to answer, his mother spoke from the other side of the door.
“You think you’ll steal from me? You think you’ll steal? You think you’re slick? I went through this with your dad, so I know how to handle you. That gold was your grandmother’s, you little piece of shit. You should have shoved it up your ass instead of your veins. Now look at you, you dumb fuck. I’ll open up in three days. Three days you can stay down there, and you can come up when you’re no longer full of poison. You got a toilet and you got water. You’re fine.”
“What? What are you talking about? Mom come on, open up and show me. What got ripped off? I didn’t steal a goddamn thing. Maybe it was Tara. She maybe did that, she does those things. Damn Tara, she’s in jail, Mom. Come on.”
“Oh she ain’t in jail, that old slut who’s been getting you high with her velvet purse.”
“You stupid bitch! Mom, open this thing up before I smack the shit out of you.”
Oh, I said that all wrong, he thought, and he knew it wasn’t going to work. But still he pounded an exclamation point on the door. The solid wood now hurt his hand.
“Mom, I’m hurt. I am hurt realbad, I’m bleeding.” He looked about for something to cut himself with. He knew how to cut himself real wellvoices had convinced him to do so many times in the pastbut right now he just needed dope.
For an hour he sat next to the door, giving it a bang every few minutes. Boom, like a slow, deathly drum beat. Boom, boom...but nothing. Screams went unanswered. His brain was being scattered. His insides quivered like every cell inside wanted to throw up. It was all so crazy and he needed to get out soonand where the hell was Tara?
Revenge fantasies filled the moosh in his head and he went back downstairs to search through his arsenal. The room had already been scoured for dope. No vicodins, no percocets. No weed. No liquor. Nothing.
He needed something. Something to cut himself with, something to make her sad enough, or angry enough, or scared enough.
Something to make her open the door.
Dad. There was Dad and what was left of him.
He went to the urn and opened the top. More than once he had taken the ashes out and sifted through the gray matter. Chunky, sooty, meatier than a cigarette ash; like the stuff that fell onto the bottom of a grill over time. He had become familiar with the ashes. One time, when he was high on coke, he turned Dad’s ashes into a pile on his CD cover. Then he chopped and snorted the cocaine lines right next to the pile of gray ashes. The electrical spark of cocaine seemed to bring both of them to life.
Time to let Dad out of the urn again. Jervis’s fingers were cold, wet with sweat, and shaky when he poured out the ashes. His finger dabbed at their dryness. So rich, delicate, and flakey. He saw himself blowing the ashes under the door at Mom as a big way of saying Fuck You Mom. Here’s Dad back at you, he’s still here, remember him? Smell his smoky breath, get ready for his fists to pound.
Jervis stared at the chunks of ash. They became hazy, infected the black of his mind, and it all swirled in his head until the voices came.
Woozy. He needed water. He was so thirsty and needed water because all his liquid had seeped out from his pores, but he knew if he drank anything it would just come out in diarrhea detox shits. He’d be sitting curled up on the toilet and rocking back and forth with arms wrapped around his own chest. There wasn’t a hug in the world that could warm his coldness, but he did know how to stop the voices.
Dope saved his life when he stumbled on it years ago. Mental health teams would visit his home after he’d cut himself, or he’d have to go to hospitals and do group therapy when all he really wanted was out of this life. They pushed lithium and zyprexa, but heroin was the only thing that put the evil to rest and opened up the gates of heaven. It stopped the voices inside that wouldn’t leave him be. It rolled back his confusion, made life beautiful, and turned him into a happy being when before he had felt like a rotting apple.
The voice flickered like a candle in his dark head. It was time to curl back up in bed like a fetus, but instead the voices kept coming.
A spoon blackened from days of flame was within reach. He grabbed the metal spoon and used it to push the ashes into shapes. He mixed them around as if they were a bowl of Cheerios. Tiny piles, little mountains, rivers in between, a small land where his father was God. Eyes transfixed at the gray nothingness pile for who knows how long, until he finally scooped some up on his spoon.
Memories flashed before him of crushing, boiling and shooting up Vicodin, of shooting up cocaine, of hitting his veins with whatever got him high. Fixing up was as automatic and involuntary as breathing, and soon water was in the spoon. The ashy matter soaked in the water until the mixture became a dark pool of liquid.
There’s got to be dope left in there, he told himself.
Where else would it go?
No time for cotton filter. This is Dad. Fuck you Mom. Fuck you.
The syringe tip was old and used, but it drew the chunky liquid. The 26 gauge needle would let anything pass.
Hands shook. He held the syringe in the air, snapped it for bubbles, and felt his blood start to warm in anticipation.
The pinprick aimed for its mark. The needle puncture was bliss. He drew back and saw red blood swirl in the dark oily liquid of the barrel. Yesahhh. Angelic music filled his ears. His breath hitched as if in orgasm when he pushed the plunger in. The warmth of the womb had returned to surround him again. He felt it spread through his back. Like an army it fought back the evil sickness that had invaded his body. His back loosened as if sprouting wings and ready to fly.
He looked at his flesh and imagined he could see the new ash-blood traveling dark and fast through his body. No, he wasn’t imagining it; he could really see it, couldn’t he? Lifeblood was going to the center of his brain. He was being reborn.
The surge was ecstatic, and as he felt it course through his body, the pile spoke to him again and again, summoning him to consume the flesh of his father into his veins. There was at least three days of daddy smack left in the pile to be shot until the cellar door was opened and he was let free.
Music filled the basement for the days he was down there. His soul hummed on fire. Instruments played from inside of him as if using his veins as strings. Cramping gave way to strength, sweat and shakes left and precision and laser focus grew. His veins soaked in the pile of ash-blood and ages seem to pass through him. Unlived memories built in his brain, unfelt sensations of a history larger than his years. Blue veins were being filled with shades of gray and black. Old skin was discarded and new skin sprouted forth. The high wasn’t the floating, beautiful buzz he remembered; it was an infiltration of the dust of life from all around him giving him power. Dead cells of his old body were being blown away and left floating in the air.
Beams of golden sunlight from baseboard windows faded into gray and then darkened to black at nightfall. The sun rose and fell over three days and the pile was dwindling. The banging noises returned from upstairs. Boom, boom, boom.
I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door, I love you baby can I have some more…
The noise didn’t make him flinch, not this time. The air and light of the upstairs world did worry him, but his body was powerful and ready. Ready for the steps that were coming down the hallway.
“Jervis, come on up now. Damn it, you must be hungry. Come on up, the door is open. Let’s talk about this.”
He said nothing. He felt so large standing there and she had become so small.
“Jervis. Jervis,” she said his name with each step.
“Jervis, what is going on? Don’t you want to come out?”
She turned the corner from the stairs and Jervis saw her face freeze. Whatever she saw shocked her eyes open wide. She seemed unable to breathe. Lines in her face spoke to him with their history, and those eyes summoned a voice from his gut that he didn’t recognize as his own.
The ashes made his heart burn and the words came out with power. Rage built and fired through his nerves. His flesh gleamed with a pulsating redness from the blood boiling beneath. His muscles ripped and he cocked back a fist ready to strike.
He didn’t know how long he beat on her, but he felt the meat go mushy with each strike like it was dough and could be beaten no more. He stood over her for minutes, or maybe days, or maybe hours. Waiting for her to move. She couldn’t be done...her life couldn’t be over. Could it? She’d always been there, always had something to say. But now her blood was set free and running like a river on the floor. Finally, both his parents were dead.
A voice from up the stairs woke him from his trance. Somebody was calling his name. It was an angel, or his girl, Tara. The patter of her feet descended, and soon he was looking at her face. It seemed fresh, more aliveyounger evenbut shocked. Neither of them could speak. The air of death in the basement gagged them both.
“Jervis? Jervis? Is that you? What happened? You don’t look right. And what the fuck did you do?”
“I…I… didn’t do anything. I was trapped. I had to get out, you see. Where were you?”
“Detox, like I told you. Me first, you second. We agreed. You don’t remember?”
“You never said that.”
“I did too. I did say that. I did and you agreed. I said that. I left you voicemails every day to come get me. But when you didn’t, I knew that meant you loved me and wanted me to stay.”
Tara bent down to the body on the ground.
“Your mom…she’s…what did you do Jervis?”
“I don’t know...I don’t know, Tara. I don’t know what’s happening to me. What’s happening to me?”
The strength had left him. He put his arms to his side and pleaded. He wanted a hug, but she looked at him like she was too scared to get close. Cramps flooded back into his muscles. The army of strength retreated out of his blood. The implosion of cramping cells was returning and nausea spread from his gut to his body. He needed to be held. He needed the warmth of the womb of his mother or his girlfriend or his heroin.
Finally, he forced himself against her and fell into her arms. A sober energy filled his hands when they embraced.
Detox. Now he remembered. She went there like she said, like they had planned. But he had lied. He never planned on going. He thought she was full of shit, that she wasn’t going, that she’d be back to get high. But she did go get clean. She was something different now.
The black strings of her hair brushed against his cheek and seemed to have grown softer. Her skin against his own seemed more pure. Three days clean had made her more alive; younger, even. But the history of shooting smack was still there and couldn’t be erased. He sniffed at the base of her neck and it came out of her pores. He felt the dope in her flesh at his fingertips. It was there in each and every cell, and always in her soul. A quarter century of smack at least. No detox could get that out of her.
The sickness came back in a wave of black nausea. He needed to do something. Now. Get high now and stop the evil and swing the gates of heaven back open.
Tara wasn’t going to get high with him anymore, he could feel it. But she would get him high. All of her. Every last cell. He was more worried about how he could burn her up into ashes than how he was going to kill her. That part would be easy. But she needed to be ash. Just thinking of what her boiled up ashes would look like in the chamber of the syringe made his blood warm. Soon enough, that heat would spark a flame, and burn her body into tiny bits.
His hands clutched around her neck. How soft her flesh was. His thumbs pressed against her windpipe. How easy to crack. He began to squeeze.
**Jervis lives on. Check him out in MILK-BLOOD, available on Amazon for $2.99**The Damage Done - A little story about the big Horrors of Heroin


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