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Rain flew downward, faster and faster by the minute. The windshield streaked and distorted the views of the world outside; lights flashing by, rain splashing like tears from a concrete titan. Caelie sat in her car, afraid to leave its confines. The doors were locked, and the window open a crack to let fresh air in. Every so often, she would look over to see a drop forming on the edge of the glass, and stick out her hand to let the drop strike her palm. The icy sensation of the water shot up her veins, and she relaxed.

It had been weeks since she quit. It felt so horrible to be alone like this; sitting in her car, outside the 39th Street Auditorium. There was a support group there. Her counselor told her it would be a great place to help her "heal," even though she knew she wasn't sick. It wasn't an addiction to her. She knew how to handle herself, and she would be alright. No one believed her, though. Her parents, her boyfriend, her best friend...they all shunned her now. But she didn't need their help. She could do this alone.

She reached down for her umbrella. "Shit," she grumbled, "Left it on the couch." Looking around in the back seat, she grabbed a few pamphlets she got from the hospital, and fashioned a make-shift umbrella out of them. Sliding the keys out of the ignition, she got out of the car and locked the door, running towards the auditorium.

Her eyes were pointed at the ground, and she ran across the street, avoiding what little traffic there was, and making sure her feet didn't slip out from under her. She ran, faster and faster, the rain pouring on her pamphlets, drowning out the noise of the city, smearing the black texts hanging over her head. Lines of "heroin" and "family" slipped down her wrists, and the black ink stained her white sleeves. Her mascara ran down her cheeks, filling the corners of her mouth with a dry taste of chemicals. She ran harder, and reached the curb, tripping and falling on the sidewalk below. Sliding hard, she scraped the skin from her elbow, tearing her blouse from the forearm down.

Wincing in pain, she screamed in frustration at the world, and began to cry. There she lay, by the mailbox on 39th street, alone and waiting to die. Everyone was right; this was harder than she thought. Her brain flashed images of horrid nights and blurry days, the last three years of her life gone in a mist of distorted enjoyment. She lost it all, and she could never have it back.

Caelie rolled over, tossing the pamphlets into the road. She lay there, arms spread out, crying tears of hatred, and tears of need. She lay there, crucified on a cross of concrete and cigarette butts. Abandoned and alone, she was a modern angel.

Dedicated to those who struggle.

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