Waking up in a cluster of your own vomit on the orange shag carpet of some dude named Brian’s house was nothing compared to the rude awakening that my protagonist faces on a lovely April morning, some 7000 words into Grindstone Baby. The next several chapters turn into a macabre mash-up between The Hangover and Blue Velvet. But instead of a puppy-faced Kyle Maclaughlan, we have a sassy Toronto lesbian with a great German name to live vicariously through. Hope you like it!
The moon shines across the meadow as I stand looking at the forest around me, cold in my nightgown. Something is stopping me from moving forward, and when I turn around, Nick the tattooed bartender is holding onto my waist. I turn to face him. He speaks to me, and I hear him this time.
“The woods get so loud that sometimes it’s hard to hear yourself think. A woman dies and is born again at times. When you can’t recall the start of where you fall, that is where the answer lies. You haven’t lost anything to speak of, nothing but a child.” He looks down upon me, and I follow his gaze. I feel warm now, and a red mark is oozing through the white nightgown. The forest begins to make its customary hum from afar.
Sabine was barely aware of the shift from dreaming to reality. But the forest’s noise switched from the inorganic humming to the sound of the real outdoors. She kept her eyes closed and heard spring birds singing and a breeze passing through some trees. She was laying on her stomach on a dewy slope of grass.
What the shit?
With this harsh realization Sabine slammed open her eyes. She was indeed lying down on a grassy meadow surrounded by woods. It was a park. There were no people milling about; it was still too early for the morning dog-walkers and joggers. It was just daybreak.
Sabine sat up with some difficulty and took in her surroundings. She knew this park. It was downtown, thank god, and relatively near to her place. She could probably walk home in thirty minutes. But she took a moment to examine herself more closely and thought twice about this plan. Her jeans were covered in dirt and grass, and they were soaking with the morning’s dew. Her white blouse was torn at the shoulder, and covered in what appeared to be red wine stains and cigarette ashes. Then Sabine realized how freezing she was. It couldn’t have been more than five degrees outside, and she started to shiver.
Why was she here? And how?
She remembered leaving Adorable to go with Gordon to the after-hours party. But after that…things were a little hazy.
Not only did she look a right mess, her body ached all over. There were bruises over her arms, some of them resembling hand-prints.
She had to get out of the park before someone saw her looking like this. As Sabine struggled to stand upright, she realized just how damaged her body really was. Her hips creaked with the effort, and she felt a pain between her legs.
“Jesus Christ,” she thought. “What the hell happened last night?”
After Sabine stood up, she weighed out her options. She could take the potentially mortifying twenty minute walk home, or she could find a taxi. She knew that going to the hospital was probably the wisest decision, but all she really wanted was to get home and collapse into the bath. And talk to Gordon. Maybe he had some idea of what happened.
Before Sabine started to walk she checked her pockets. Some bills, her keys, and her cellphone were still there, thank God. She would start walking and then decide to either get a taxi or take the bus on the way. Luckily it was a quiet Saturday morning and not many people were out and about. By walking brusquely and with little show of pain, Sabine managed to bypass most attention. She just looked like a slightly more decrepit than usual girl doing the morning walk of shame (she hoped). Mortified at her state, she managed to walk home in a little under twenty minutes. She sped up to her front door and fumbled to open the lock, shoving the door open simultaneously. Sabine stomped up the stairs to the second landing where her apartment door stood and repeated the action, slamming the door shut with her back as she entered. She stayed like that for a moment, safe at last. Breathing in and out with her eyes closed. It was only when she shut off her senses and her fear that she noticed a swelling pit of nausea in her stomach. It was rising. She put her hand to her mouth and rushed to the bathroom. The toilet seat was fumbled open and she began to retch into the porcelain hole, although nothing came out. She hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, but still she heaved, with nothing escaping but poisonous air. Her skull fell onto the seat with exhaustion, and she remained there for a short while with her eyes closed, calming down gradually. Her body felt like it was made of chemicals swimming through her veins. Little pills floating on sailboats through the tubes of her brain. Plastics and chemical dyes churning in her stomach.