Alice and the Warden – 3

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Alice had met Damon when she was sixteen-years-old, and he had talked her into bed with him that night. Shortly afterwards, she dropped out of school to run away with him on his motorcycle, and somewhere along the road she lost her sense of self.

When Damon asked her to have sex with a friend to repay a favor, she did it. When he wanted leverage over someone, she became a seductress on his behalf. He taught her to steal, chose her clothing for her, and pushed her into drugs and alcohol. After four years, Alice had disappeared completely underneath Damon, to the point that when he asked her to confess to murder, she did it without hesitation.

Until the moment Alice found herself alone in the stall of a public restroom, staring down at the two lines of a nicked pregnancy test, too numb to feel her heart beat. It was then that the word ‘dignity’ had risen up sharply in her mind, spoken by that stupid, impotent warden she had vowed to hate just three weeks prior.

Dignity.

She still didn’t know what it meant, but she knew that if she told Damon he would insist on an abortion, and she wouldn’t argue against him. That wasn’t what she wanted, and she knew that it wasn’t dignified to be so blindly obedient to someone like Damon. There was no doubt that he was the father, but she couldn’t trust him with her baby.

She never told him.

A couple weeks later, they checked into a motel where Damon began to undress her as usual, but Alice didn’t have it in her to go through with it. She was more tired than she had thought possible, slightly nauseated from the pregnancy, and angry at Damon for using her too much. For the first time ever, she snapped at him to ‘fuck off,’ then for a terrifying second afterward thought that he was going to hit her in response.

Instead, he grabbed his bag and left.

When dawn broke in the morning, Alice awoke with the realization that he hadn’t returned. She waited, staring at the clock until the motel staff chased her out to prepare the room for the next guest, and she drifted to a nearby diner to continue her wait, knowing full well that he wasn’t coming back for her.

She had a $20 hidden in her bra, so she ordered blueberry pancakes with whipped cream to help make up for skimping on dinner the night before, and she ate slowly as she wondered about what she was going to do. Her mom wasn’t going to want her back in the state she was in – especially after four years of estrangement – and everyone she knew was exactly like Damon. She didn’t have any resources, but she couldn’t live in the gutter with a baby growing inside of her.

By chance, the small TV in the corner of the diner showed a mugshot of her with the words, “Wanted for questioning.” Alice stared, seeing herself for the first time. That girl, glowering at the camera with flamingo pink hair and far too much eyeliner really looked like the sort of person who would be involved in murder, even though Alice had never felt that way on the inside – she didn’t want to hurt anyone.

She dialed the phone number provided on the screen with her cellphone, then put her $20 on the table before slipping outside.

With nowhere to go, Alice turned herself in.

NEXT

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