(Also posted on Fanfiction.net)
Soon, my hair will no longer be matted by the blood that coats it. My fingernails will no longer be stained crimson.
Until the day I die, the last two minutes and thirty six seconds of her life will haunt me. No soap and water will cure that.
I’ve given the best years of my life protecting victims. I know there are many who have better lives now because I was able to help them, but they’re not the one who leaves an impact.
The battered wives who are still with their abusive husbands. The little girl still in the custody of her bastard of a father who’s been raping her for as far back as she can remember.
The victim whose rapist was never caught.
The victim whose rapist was caught but never charged.
The victim whose rapist was caught but never convicted.
They needed me to help them. They needed me to save them.
I failed them all.
This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in my cramped shower having to wash what is left of someone I’ve seen die off of my body. Not the second time either. Or the third.
When around me, people seem to drop like flies.
GSWs. Stabbed. Slashed. Not many people can cop to seeing two people bleed out from a slit throat within two calendar years.
I can. Lucky me.
Even days later, it still won’t wash off. No amount of home remedies do anything more than the crimson remains from other people’s dying bodies fade slightly.
It never goes away. Not really. People may not notice anything different about me, but it’s still there. Every spot of brain matter ever to land on me. Every speck of blood I’ve picked up along the way. It doesn’t appear on the UV light that shines on crime scenes, but it’s there. It’s all there, hanging onto me. My olive skin becomes grimy with more than enough flaws and scars on my own accord to need anyone else on me too.
It hurts now. My skin. But I can’t stop. I’m not clean yet. My fingers are now wrinkled and throbbing from chocking my loofah sponge with a vice-like grip, but I can’t stop. I’m not clean yet.
I hear a key in my lock. Then I hear a knock, knock, knock. My deadbolt is on. Opening the door means getting out of the shower before I’m clean and I can’t do that.
You kick my door in. Not the first time this has happened. You’ll replace it easily enough. Mutter something about not buying another door with a deadbolt on it, but knowing I won’t feel safe enough to stay here otherwise, you’ll relent, telling me not to use it if you’re not here.
When you’re here, I don’t need to use it. You keep me safe. You know this.
It’s when you’re not here that the bad things happen.