THE ARCHWAY CHRONICLES: CHAPTER VII
Again, special thanks to Cindy for giving me solid constructive criticism after I posted my last chapter. I also must thank my fellow Aussie Lloyd for also giving me constructive feedback. It is much appreciated! Hopefully I can get more feedback… hopefully from Ruth, who has just finished her script! Go check out her site now, it is fantastic.
If you think any part is plain crap, PLEASE, let me know! Just give a good reason, and what you think would work. Any and all comments are very much appreciated.
Again, thanks to anyone who is reading this. Hopefully I will finish this story and get it out there… If my story can help just one person I’ll be satisfied.My aim is to finish by the end of the year. I’ve got this one finished, so three left. One per month should be doable I think!
ANYWAYS, if you want to catch up on my roller-coaster ride through a cult-based rehab ‘clinic’:
Thanks to some very loud, abrasive music to use as my alarm, I was able to haul my sorry excuse for a human out of bed this morning, the sheets again soaked in sweat. I can hear the irritatingly up-beat voices of other residents gathering at the back gate, ready for their unavoidable morning walk. I looked at the clock. It was 7:50. I knew my clock was slightly fast, but it was time to face the stars and to remove myself from isolation, even if against my own will.
I haven’t managed to annoy every person here yet, so I am able to walk with the few guys here that I am friendly with. All we seem to talk about though was this MRA malarkey, which I have not yet fully grasped, so my input to the conversation was limited. I despise small talk in normal circumstances, but to talk about the counselling program of the facility non-stop? Ugh, please let it cease!
For the first time since I got here, I am starting to feel doubt. I am fantasising and picturing jumping the gate I just left once it is dark, but before 9pm, allowing me access to a late-night chemist and hence access to my DOG, my enemy, my drug of choice. I’m in Port Adelaide. Not only is a late-night chemist guaranteed, so is any judgement or questioning from any pharmacist. I know where I am. They must get people like me all the time.
What is playing on my mind is which chemists care? Some do, they’ll ask for a driver’s license sometimes. On the other side of the moon, other chemists are too happy to sell addictive opiates over the counter, as profit margins usually out-way concepts such as ethics or humanity. A random test of my piss lurked in the back of my mind, but I figure, hey, I came here with a fierce addiction. No shit it is in my piss!
Lost in my own dream world I was stirred by my name being called, my opinion asked by one of the few who didn’t mind walking alongside me. More questions about my opinion of the facility, the residents, the people in charge. I was not in a state to converse such trivial matters. As we walk and walk it is occurring to me that my headphones will pay for themselves, and then some, while walking this compulsory route. An opportunity to block out everyone. An easy way of making these torturous walks as bearable as possible.
With the cold stinging my face and causing a headache born of cold, we proceeded to the water front of all places. We walk along it in several groups split from each other; I saw obvious bonds between residents and obvious rejections. And it was of course of obvious that most of my fellow residents were already forming their negative judgements of my insane behaviour, my incessant eccentricity.
I was at the back of the split groups, walking with a fellow addict who had attempted suicide twice, and was at Archway for not only alcoholism but also amphetamine addiction. Someone who understood what I had experienced on my roller-coaster of a journey to this place. Someone he had obviously formed a bond with walked with us, Bill, who was a quiet guy who also seems to be shunned by the rest of the group, but in reality he was a man with a kind soul who had suffered from heroin addiction. Opiates. A guy who got it, understood the horrors of it all.
As we were walking I began to discuss with Dale more in-depth topics such as music and writing, the two subjects that make my consciousness feel alive with purpose and inspiration; dreams and aspirations. We were discussing authors and different genres; we agreed that ‘weird fiction’ is what its about, as the great H.P. Lovecraft coined. We were discussing authors when we were interrupted by a guy I didn’t know from a fly’s outlook on life, asking both of us for a spare smoke. And a light.
“Are you kidding me,” Dale smirks. It was clear that there was no friendship of any kind between these two.
“Hey I gave you one when you were desperate to sleep and it was too late to leave on a day pass!”
This forty-something bald man, obviously intellectually affected by what drugs he had been having issues with, seems to have a defective memory that rivals my own, and I have to admit, super-seeds it. It feels massive in proportion to the memory defects I experience.
Dale smirked again, but his eyebrows have changed slightly, he is obviously becoming irritated.
“And how many did I roll you in the first month you were here? I didn’t see you buy a pack or a pouch at all! I handed out rollies to you as if you were starving… of fucking nicotine. But I didn’t act like a cunt like you are now. I handed out tailers, rollies, hell we even shared a jar of coffee during your first week man!! Christ mate, I swear you’re-“
“-Yeah alright, whatever,” he said. “Prick,” I heard just as he walked out of hearing range. Dale heard him and just shook his head.
“Yeah that’s Shane. He, uh.. doesn’t really think properly.”
Amused by the minor incident, we walked in silence admiring the beauty of Port Adelaide, docks and goods ships dotting the minor river. It really is a pathetic sight; cranes everywhere, the scene littered with unfinished upgrades, demolitions and general improvements in a seemingly feeble attempt to rescue the empty businesses dotting a rather sad attempt at a mall of restaurants and cafes.
One remained open I noticed, and as I walked past I thought I’d have a look through the darkly tinted windows – there was not a soul to be spotted. For a second I felt bad, a man’s business going bust. But I immediately moved on, issues such as this, business, money, it matters little to me. Taking out a loan is jumping into the sea with a shark and a rusty cage that has a rather obvious problem with the space between the bars as far as I am concerned. Hell, the concept of interest is enough for me to know to steer clear. Not to mention that nobody needs that much money to live; to be happy. Christ, I am paying to stay here from a disability pension! And previous to arriving here, I survived just fine.
I am rambling again. I feel I may have gone off topic. Ah, right, Dale and I are walking vaguely walking towards the facility. More construction sites greeted us as the smell of pollution and dog biscuits filled the air and travelled through my nasal cavities
“This place is a shithole,” I lazily said.
“Well yeah mate. It’s Port Adelaide.”
I muttered some sort of murmured gibberish, intended as an agreement. He sensed it and we continued walking.
Another resident jogged toward me. He was a drummer, and had decided to latch onto me as his best friend of the house. He is talking rapidly, and I can’t focus on what he is saying, his speech is simply to fast for me as the voices in my head attempted to drown out his droning.
“Man I can’t wait for this afternoon bro! We can have a jam and rock the place down!!”
I wasn’t keen on the idea. I am already beginning to walk on a fragile ceiling, and I don’t want to cause more trouble.
“Sounds good man,” I heard myself say, annoyed at my own kindness and general terror of conflict with other people I don’t know well.
Andy is a nice enough guy. But his enthusiasm for mundane tasks is beginning to irritate me. In addition, I had spoken to him in my first week, discussing our reasons for essentially locking ourselves up. To my utter surprise, Andy told me that he is spending six months here for a supposed marijuana addiction. When I heard this I was somewhat speechless for a moment.
Rehab… for weed? The whole idea confused me, but fortunately he is almost at the end of those six months, ready and excited to move into a ‘halfway house’. To put it lightly, his reasons for being here, and his enthusiasm is slowly drilling a hole into my sanity.
It is no secret to these people that I love drumming. But if it causes complaints, fuck it! I want to stay here, I want to be clean for six months. The temptations are demanding. But the fear of being caught erased any fear of lapsing; I knew I could never muster the energy and confidence to sneak out of the facility unseen. Not to mention I was yet to complete my first step, which meant that if I wanted to leave the facility for a walk, I need to be accompanied by someone who has completed a certain amount of steps.
Damnit, I just want to go to the library! I NEED A BOOK TO LOSE MYSELF IN!!
But to do so, I am forced to ask around, to the people who don’t already despise me; a small number indeed. Promises were made, I was guaranteed by two residents that they could take me to the library tomorrow. But my gut, it was telling me otherwise. I am not feeling confident that I will be able to visit this library. All I want is one novel by Stephen King. I am not asking too much am I?