I used to fear her dying. Now I fear her living.
The paramedics find her on the kitchen floor this time, unresponsive and chilled like a popsicle.
“A couple more hours and she wouldn’t have made it,” they tell me.
I’m still the emergency contact, but no matter how powerful my love remains, I’ve never won a round with The Monster. For years, the denizen of addiction held us both captive. I’d had to save myself.
When I get to the hospital, the nurse glares at me suspiciously. Pulling back the warming blanket intended to unthaw Molly, the nurse points to multiple bruises on every extremity.
“What’s going on here?” she demands.
I’d seen this before, knew about the drunken falls and collisions with sharp-edged furniture. “This is the fourth time this year she’s been hospitalized. She does this to herself.”
Two days later Molly wakes up, the same haunted defeat in her eyes I’ve seen a hundred times before. I hold her hand as we silently mourn our lost dreams.
The Monster cackles as I look away. Molly lets go of my hand.
TRACI MULLINS writes short fiction and has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Dime Show Review, Spelk, Ellipsis Zine, Palm-Sized Press, Fantasia Divinity, CafeLit, CommuterLit, and others. She was named a Highly Recommended Writer in the London Independent Story Prize competition.