The Brink (#0131) - Rodney In Love, Part 4
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Volume I - Episode 128
Where: Melbourne, Australia
When: 30 days after E-Day, 11:54 pm
Kim's childhood years felt like a lifetime ago. Or, perhaps more accurately, like somebody else's life entirely.
Nine years before Kim started taking her clothes off for money, the Walker family went on a holiday to the sea-side town of Torquay, a hundred kilometres south-west of Melbourne. It was a trip they made every Christmas holidays, and it was a vacation they all very much enjoyed.
The summer of 1995 had been particularly hot. The family had arrived at Uncle Kevin's holiday house at 3 in the afternoon, hot, tired and cranky. The second-hand air-conditioner Kim's father had jury-rigged into the family's 10-year-old station wagon was barely functional at the best of times, but this was the trip when it had finally given up the ghost completely.
So, when the family had rushed into the holiday house only to find it buzzing with flies and stinking of sewerage, they had begun to wonder if their holiday was cursed this year.
Things took an even worse turn when Kim's father had poured Drano down the toilet to clear the blockage. Kim remembered the strong chemical smell that stung her nose and made her eyes water. Half an hour later, as her dad bent over the toilet bowl to check the progress of the blockage, his sunglasses slipped out his shirt pocket and landed in the white, frothy water with a plunk. Without thinking, he reached his hand in to retrieve it.
The house rang with the sound of his screams.
Kim spent the rest of the day in the waiting room at Geelong Hospital while a handsome young doctor treated the burns on her father's arm. The pain was excruciating, and the twisted rubble of scars on his flesh would never fully heal.
That was Kim's first experience with caustic soda. She hadn't thought of it again until fifteen years later, in the the lunch room of Bendelle Shopping Centre, when Abby handed her several grams of the highly acidic white powder in a small plastic bag.
Kim threw the cupboard door open and reached inside. The chemical smell was almost overwhelming. She fought the urge to retch. Her head was pounding.
Rodney's hand clutched her ankle. Kim tripped. Fell. The room spun crazily.
I'm going to faint, she realised, fighting hard against the feeling. But if I faint, he'll kill me.
Grunting, she kicked Rodney's hand away from her and grabbed the coffee mug from the shelf inside the cupboard, struggling hard not to inhale any more of the toxic fumes.
Rodney grabbed her ankle again. She shook him off and climbed unsteadily to her feet. The room spun sickeningly around her.
Rodney's hand snagged the front of her tank top, trying to pull her down, trying to drag her to the floor so he could punch and kick her into unconsciousness.
"No," Kim said to nobody in particular.
She threw the cup of caustic soda in his face.
- December 25, 2012
- Mixed Medium
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