The news was grim but somewhat expected.
Stacy had been battling the cancer for quite some time now, so it came as no surprise to her that her doctor's visit today resulted with her knowing about how long she had left to live.
Eight to twelve months was the expected range. The doctor had told her to start making preparations and letting her loved ones know.
Funny, she didn't really have any loved ones or anyone that she was even close to.
Flashbacks of her childhood flashed through her mind as she walked down the crowded streets of the city, bringing a tear to her eye.
Her parents had both been drug addicts and she recalled the day she walked into the bathroom to find them both dead from drug overdose.
She was six years old at the time, to young to grasp the concept of death, especially the deaths of her parents.
Since then she grew up bouncing between foster families, never staying with any single family for more than a few years at a time until she was old enough to go out on her own.
Having little experience and even fewer life skills, she found it extremely difficult to hold down a job.
She never was a good people person, she could barely read and write, and she hadn’t had any stable education her entire life.
Needless to say she had made it to be in her thirties, getting by on a lot of help from the government as well as partaking in some shady activities for extra cash.
She had even done some time in the county jail for a few years due to the nature of some of the organizations and activities she was involved in.
She felt the cool breeze chill the tear that had began to roll down her cheek, wiping it away with the back of her hand as she started down another busy walkway.
Everything she had done was for survival she thought to herself as she continued down the busy streets, headed back to the shelter which she now called home.
As she was on the final stretch, she caught the eyes of another woman walking past her heading in the opposite direction.
The woman's eyes were filled with sadness, Stacy noticed as they locked eyes for what felt like an eternity. “I wonder what her story is?” Stacy thought to herself.
She had begun to think about the fact that everyone has a story, different experiences, different problems, struggles, and goals in life.
The sadness in those eyes was different however, deep and almost angry looking. It sent a quick shiver through her as she tried to brush it off and put the thought of it out of her head.
That combined with the setting sun and cool breeze made Stacy pull her coat around her a little tighter,
quickening her pace to reach the shelter before curfew when the doors would be shut for the night.
As she rounded the last corner Stacy could see the shelter towards the end of the street.
This street wasn’t as busy and crowded as the others had been, a small two laned road that lead to nothing but a dead end.
Stacy had always hated walking this stretch alone, alleyways scattered the sides leading to the backs of buildings that sat on the main roads,
it seemed that this was a go to spot for users and sellers.
Having dealt with plenty of both, and actually being a dealer in these very parts for a short time for some extra cash, Stacy knew what kind of people lurked down those side alleys,
and she wanted nothing to do with them. As she passed by one of the dim lit alleyways she heard a voice calling her name from the shadows.
“Stacy! Hey Stacy!” She heard without seeing who it was calling to her. She yet again quickened her pace to something of a slow jog, knowing that whomever it was, she wanted to avoid them.
“Stacy!” She could hear the thudding of heavy feet begin to catch up to her. Figuring she didn't have much longer to live anyways, she decided to find out who it was and what they wanted.
She stopped and spun around, right fist ready to strike at anyone there who she perceived as a threat.
“What do you want!” She shouted as she spun around to face the unknown person.
“Whoa there killer, its me Jack. Say, do you have anymore of that razzy rainbow rock you used to sell back in the day? I’m fixin for some bad ya know.” Jack said with a twitchy laugh.
“No jack. Go home, that was years ago and I haven’t been dealing anymore. Please don’t bother me again.” Stacy replied, happy that it wasn’t someone with a more malicious intent.
Jack stood there and stared at her for some time before dipping his head and walking back towards the alley.
Stacy could hear him mumbling to himself as he disappeared back into the shadows of the alley.
She let out a sigh of relief, letting herself relax as much as the cold weather would allow her to.
She turned and started towards the main entrance of the shelter which was now only two blocks or so away.
She maintained the quickened pace in case there was another addict that had recognized her, or heard her name being shouted by Jack.
Past another alleyway, and another, nothing out of the ordinary since her encounter with Jack which she was thankful for.
She reached the shelter and and took a step onto the small set of stairs that lead up to the entrance when again, she heard her name coming from behind her.
“Stacy is it?” She heard a woman's voice from behind her. As she turned to see who it was she felt a sharp pain shoot through her skull, and the world went dark.
Stacy woke up to find herself tied to a drain pipe within a damp musty room, a basement of some sort if she had to guess.
Her head was throbbing and she could feel that her head was bleeding from where she had been struck.
She could hear someone walking on the floor above her and make their way to the door that led down to where she was tied up.
The door knob turned and the door opened slowly, the footsteps began descending the stairs and Stacy could make out the silhouette of a woman.
The woman made her way across the room over to Stacy, and as she knelt down Stacy could see the womans face.
Those eyes, the ones she had seen on the street, the ones that were so filled with pain were staring right at her, almost as though they were staring into her rather than at her.
“Wha-what is this?” Stacy managed to get out, still shook from the blow to the head. “Who are you?” The woman gave her a long look over before answering.
“You ruined my life.” The woman said. “My son was a recovering addict, and you sold him the drugs that he overdosed on.
” She began to check the knots that attached Stacy to the large pipe, ensuring they were tight. A tear rolled down Stacy’s cheek as she formulated what to say to the woman.
“I’m sorry, that was a long time ago and I never meant to hurt anyone. I was just trying to survive and keep myself off the streets.” She explained to the woman.
“If it's any consolation I just found out that I don’t have long to live anyways. I have terminal cancer, and less than a year left.” She told the woman trying to play the pity card.
Judging by the look on the womans face it didn't work, she continued to tighten the knots before looking at Stacy.
“Oh, cancer? Well, I guess that throws a wrench into my plans for you then. In fact, I might just keep you around down here and let mother nature deal with you.
That’d be a hell of a lot less messy for me.” The woman gave Stacy a sideways grin as she started towards the stairs again. “Hope your comfortable.
” The woman said as she turned out the lights and slammed the door closed, leaving Stacy alone in complete darkness to live out her remaining days.