Thought I would share this captivating story about a woman looking back on what the designer drug she was addicted to had cost her, and how she got help to recover. It is science fiction but much of it could be real today.
Cil looked at her reflection in the store window and shook her head. No wonder she could not convince employers she was back on track. For a woman just in her middle adulthood, she looked very old and frail. Her once beautiful brown hair was laced with gray and getting pretty thin. Her once full figure was now just a skeleton frame with skin draped over it, and her skin was showing the wrinkles of a hard life.
The impact of the designer drug she had been addicted to for so many years was plain to see. Cil knew the only reason she had been able to break the addiction was that she ran out of credits. She had lost all her friends and family connections by borrowing and stealing from them to get more credits to pay for more drugs. But when she no longer had credits and was no longer attractive, the dealers shut her off, effectively saving her life for what that was worth now.
Once she had been an important and successful sales executive for a propulsion systems company. Now she was getting rejected for temporary jobs with sanitation and field work. How could she blame them, she still looked like the addict she had been for so many years.
Cil slipped into the pathway behind a string of dining facilities heading for the waste containers there. Her stomach spoke to her as she moved closer to the possibility of finding some scraps to eat.
This is my life now, digging in dumpsters hoping to find something that is still edible, and praying that I don’t get caught and beaten by the owners of these businesses. People like me are bad for their business and you can’t blame them for wanting us to go somewhere else. But this is all I have left to me.
Cil found a small piece of a sandwich that appeared to be reasonably fresh just as she heard the door open from one of the buildings behind her. She stuffed the find into her pocket and ran for the street, hoping she had not been seen. But as she ran she felt a sharp pain in the middle of her back. And heard the man yelling at her calling her names and telling her never to come back.
She didn’t stop running until she was a couple blocks away. Then she slipped into a small park and found a place to sit and catch her ragged breath. She reached back and felt the bruise and swelling where she had been hit with something hard while running away. Fortunately it did not feel like anything was broken, and there was no blood.
When she caught her breath again a few minutes later, Cil reached in her pocket and pulled out the small treasure she had gained. She took her time eating it savoring every bite and hoping it was not spoiled enough to make her sick.
Why do I bother? I’m really just delaying the inevitable. Not like anyone would miss me if I just gave up.
Not in the cards though. Okay, I guess I better get back over to the shelter and check on that job application. Just a two week job, but it would let me eat better than this.
Cil pushed herself to her feet and started the long walk across town to the shelter.
Twenty minutes later she was waiting in line to access the comp unit that was the hope of so many of the people who came here.
“Damn, I needed that work, how am I supposed to feed my kids. Damn!”
The man in front of her stormed away from the comp unit.
That’s not a good sign, maybe I should come back later.
But she placed her hand on the scan plate and pulled up her messages. Or more correctly message, even the spammers didn’t bother with the homeless.
She clicked on the message and it opened.
Damn! I knew I should have waited. Damn, I thought I might have a chance with that one being so short.
She quickly pulled up the available job list, but there was nothing there that she had any chance of getting. She signed out and felt the last of her optimism slip away.
Cil walked back out of the shelter and wandered aimlessly generally moving back toward the business section of town. Another day without work, without hope. Oh, she might be able to get someone to give her a credit or two to buy a small meal, or at least some jerky. But that would not change anything.
If there is no job in the future, is there any reason to have a future? I can’t believe I didn’t get that two week job scrubbing curbs. Who else would want such a job?
Cil’s foot caught on something and she fell toward the street, slamming her head into a parked traveler and she slipped into darkness.
…Cil opened her eyes and was looking up into the face of a short compact woman with bright red hair and freckles. The woman was wearing the pin of a Kre Master, though Cil could not remember how she knew that was what the pin represented.
“My name is P’Hilz. What is your name?”
“Huh? Uh, Cil.. My name is Cil… Ma’am”
Cil was very pleased with herself for remembering that a master was to be address so.
“Well Cil, you cracked your head pretty good just now. With your permission, I would like to use my talents to heal you.”
“Heal me? My permission? I’m okay ma’am and not worth your trouble even if I were not.”
“Nonsense. You are neither okay, nor is there anyone who is not worth helping. May I have your permission to help?”
“I have no money to pay for your help, ma’am. Please, I am okay, just let me rest here for a moment.”
“You don’t need any money to pay for my help, it is freely offered. And in your current state, there is no way that you will recover without some sort of help. Please, may I have your permission to help?”
Cil felt dizzy and could tell she was about to lose consciousness again. And she welcomed that thought, but heard herself consent to receive assistance as she slipped back into blessed darkness.
P’Hilz was relieved when Cil finally gave her permission to help. She had been concerned that the woman would pass out again having refused assistance.
“Just rest Cil, I will see to your wounds and other needs.”
P’Hilz drew in the power colors and formed a full diagnostic weave laying it on the frail body.
“Did you guys catch that? She has the telltale signs of long use of one of the designer drugs we were discussing earlier. But you can also see that she has not had it for a long time because the drug itself is completely out of her system.
She is, however, suffering from extreme malnutrition, dehydration, a form of lung cancer, and severe anemia, in addition to that nasty knot on her head and the broken rib bone in her back.
I will do the immediate healing here and then we will take her back to the infirmary to finish the job. Everyone in agreement with that diagnosis and approach?”
P’Hilz looked up at the three apprentices she had with her today and they all nodded their agreement.
“Okay, here we go.”
She drew in the power colors again and formed a compound weave with elements for concussion, and bone mending, strengthening and a healing coma. Once it was complete she had her apprentices inspect it before laying it on Cil.
She watched as the knots on the woman’s head and back disappeared and her breathing settled into the slow steady pace of a healing coma.
“Okay, you two teleport with her back to the infirmary and get her into the intensive care wing. I will issue orders for a high calorie diet when I return. But for now, we need to get some nutrients pumped into her. You two will see to that and watch over her until I return.”
The two men easily lifted Cil’s frail body and disappeared.
“Okay, let’s finish our rounds and get back so we can help that poor woman.”