Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)
TITLE: The Boulevard
By Joanne Cordaro
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Sarah did not allow herself to think about her lifestyle. But, when she looked into her mom’s eyes, Sarah’s felt humiliation. Her drug addiction had reached an epic level. She had lost everything, including her self-respect, as she sold her body for cash.
Each visit, Mom prayed for Sarah to return to church and promised that Jesus would cure Sarah’s addiction. Her words fell on Sarah’s deaf ears. Sarah could not bear to hear her mother’s words.
It was a hot, humid night. The steamy weather gave the air a foul stench of rotting garbage and low tide. Still, Sarah went out into the dark to sell the only thing she still had, her body.
She was desperate for heroin. The shakes of withdrawal had already started. The money she had stolen from Mom’s wallet was long gone, as was the heroin she had purchased with it.
Tonight, she planned to earn her drug money. Justice, an interesting name for a drug peddler, refused IOUs now. He required payment from Sarah in cash or sex. She preferred to give him cash.
For an hour, Sarah walked up and down the boulevard along the tracks on the north side of town. She tried to entice the city’s tourists. As cars slowed for the traffic lights, she approached each and asked “Looking for a date tonight?”
There was a time when this parade would have made Sarah red with embarrassment, but that was many heroin doses ago. Sarah was now one of the regular prostitutes on the boulevard.
Sarah’s pale skin began to glisten in the heat. Her overly dyed red hair sat limply on her head. She began to get impatient for a customer. She wanted money so she could buy the drugs and get high.
Even though the traffic light was green, a blue mini-van slowed to a stop near her. Sarah quickly walked over. With a smile, she said “You looking for date, honey?” She couldn’t see his face, but she could tell he was a big man.
He did not speak. When the door lock suddenly released, it caused Sarah to jump a little. He threw open the car door for her. She entered the car. In silence, he drove around the back of the buildings where it was more private. The constant click-clack sound of the freight trains moving along the tracks filled Sarah’s ears.
Sarah completed the customer’s purchase and said “$20, honey, and if you could, just leave me back off on the boulevard?”
The customer had yet to utter a single word. In one sweeping motion, he grabbed Sarah’s hair from behind and slammed her face into the dashboard. The crack of her nose breaking resounded in the car. The man reached across the van, opened the door, and kicked Sarah out onto the pavement.
The sound of screeching tires brought Sarah back to awareness. She sat, dazed, in the grimy dirt. Her nose bled and her head ached. In the empty blackness, Sarah finally began to cry. How did she find herself here? In her youth, she was a good student, popular, and full of promise. How did she wind up here on the boulevard? Where was her Mom’s so-called savior now?
Suddenly, there was no sound, no traffic, and no trains. A shiver ran through her. She thought she heard a faint knocking sound. She quickly scanned the darkness. She expected to see the cruel man back to hurt her more. However, she saw no one.
There it was again, a tiny knocking sound. Frantically, Sarah strained to see in dark, moonless night. While she didn’t expect a response, she meekly called out “Who’s there?”
Again, the only sound she heard was a light tapping. Sarah sat up straight, her head moving quickly back and forth, side to side. It was as if she were blind, she could not see a single thing. Fear gripped her. Then there was a familiar lump in her throat.
The sound of Sarah’s own raspy, whispered voice surprised her. “Jesus? Is that you?”
“Yes, child, can you hear me now?”
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