Nat must be going about 120. I can't tell. Everything is in slow motion now. I'm hanging onto Nat now, for fear that I'll fall off if I hold anything else. Hang on... I must hang on... My helmeted head drops and I see the ground rushing by. I try not to think about anything, other than staying alive. Nat's turning off. I look up. We're at the second stash point. Nat stops the bike in front of the little garage, surrounded by trees and brush. She helps me off and I lie on the ground as she putts the bike, which is covered in my blood, into the garage and shuts its engine down. I'm bleeding again, I guess. I look down at my leg and it's soaked. I want to throw up but I don't have the strength. I just lie there and moan weakly. Hands grab me by the jacket and she's dragging me up. I try to get my other leg to help, to push me up, but I can't coordinate anything. I just end up flailing around until Nat tells me to quit it. She walks me to the little house by the garage. It's some place that we found on a ride one time. The plumbing still works, off of a well so there's no chance of no water because the water company turned it off. Why am I thinking of this right now? Nat sets me down inside, in the kitchen. I just lie there again, on the cheap linoleum floor. She starts looking around the place, for something to help her deal with the mess that I'm in. I can't remember what happens after that because I pass out. I dream: I'm riding down a mountain with impossible turns. I hit gravel and off the side I go, kicking in the air, falling, the ground rushing up to meet me. I'm underwater, but I can breathe for some reason. I'm still trying to kick to the surface because there's blood billowing all around. Nat is killing a man in sheriff's blue, sticking her knife in his gut and turning it. He screams and pulls his gun from its holster and shoots her in the head. Her brain explodes on him, bloody chunks of bone and gray-pink globs. I scream, waking up in pain. The dreams are gone for now. I'm in the little house again. Nat is asleep in a chair next to me. I'm on the kitchen floor still, stripped down to my t-shirt and boxers, wrapped up in blankets. I pull them away and look at my leg. It feels like someone has rammed a corkscrew in my bone and is turning it. I moan a little as I pull off the bandage. The wound has been cleaned but it's red and swollen around the edges. My hand is wrapped in bandages as well but it doesn't hurt as bad. What I am really feeling more than anything is The Need again. Need that fix. Need my fix. Nat is awake now and next to me. She takes my hands into hers and moves them away from the bandages. She looks down at the hole. "I got the bullet out. It's not too bad, actually. He missed your bone, I guess. The bullet isn't damaged or anything." She reaches into her jacket pocket and produces the bullet. It's clean, except for the spiral marks of the barrel it was shot through. "I have a friend who's coming to make sure. He works at a hospital in the ER so I'm sure he'll be able to deal with this." I can't believe that this isn't going to kill me because it hurts so fucking much. I take her word for it, though. I'm shivering now. She re-wraps the blankets around me. "Nat..." I start. The trembling is getting worse. My body is screaming for smack. "I know, dear." She gets up and rummages around for my kit. She finds it and starts preparing it for me. She kneels down to me with the hypo. "I can't give you much. You've lost blood..." She motions for me to hold out my arm which I do, after fighting off the blankets. I flex my muscle and produce a vein. I was blessed with good piping by the Gods. Never had to use a belt yet to get them to pop up. She gently pushes the needle into the vein in the crook of my arm, pulls out the plunger a bit to get blood and then pushes it in slowly, almost lovingly. The pain has lessened and the urge is gone. She cleans the hypo with bleach and puts it back into its case. She then sits down on the floor next to me. I lay my head on her shoulder and she wraps her arms around me. "Jack should be here soon. He's off of his shift soon." "Okay." I whisper. I'm clinging to her jacket. I bury my face into her hair, smelling a few day's worth of grime and sweat. I don't really care at this point what she smells like, I just need to feel another human, especially her. She whispers to me about her father and her mother, about how they met at this bar in Ojai, California. "There's this crazy-ass bartender there who will pour you a big-ass shot of Goldschlager and one for herself. Fuck, she races you and always wins. I saw that chick do ten shots in a row and she didn't even slow down. Fuckin' nuts, huh?" "Yeah." I whisper. I'm drifting in and out again. Nat is still talking to me, shaking me when I nod off. There's a knock on the door. Nat sets my head back down on the floor gently and pulls out the gun from her belt. She walks cautiously to the door, muzzle of the piece up in the air, ready to go. She leans against the door frame and carefully peeks through the rotted curtains covering the window set the door. She sighs, lets the gun down and opens the door. A guy walks in with a duffel bag, which he sets on the table. I'm still on the floor, wrapped in blankets. Nat and the guy talk quietly. He nods, looking over at me. "We'll fix her up." I moan, knowing that I'm in for more pain. The guy unwraps my blankets and then unwinds the bandages around my leg. He cocks an eyebrow at the hole in my leg. "Dig it out yourself?" "Didn't know what else to do." Nat shrugs. "I stuck my finger in and felt it and it came right out." She takes the bullet out of her pocket and tosses it to him. He flinches, catches it and then rolls it in his palm. "Pretty clean." He looks down at the wound. "This is pretty clean too." He pulls on a pair of latex gloves and starts his own brand of pain in the name of medicine. I clench my teeth as he cleans out the hole again. He re-bandages it after he's finished and then looks at my hand. "Not too much here. Keep it wrapped up. The cuts aren't very deep." He picks out a few stray shards of glass. He then pulls out a suture kit from his duffel and starts stitching my up. He doesn't bother with anesthetics or anything. I just lie there, taking it. What else can I do? When he's done, he pulls off his gloves and packs his stuff. He tosses Nat a ziploc bag full of pill bottles from the bag when he's done. "This'll do it." He says. They both look at me again. "Coolo." Nat's face is still, like she's thinking of something rotten. She lets the guy out with a bundle of 50s for his time. My hand and leg are throbbing from the guy's proddings. Nat takes a few pills out of the bag and sets it down on the counter on the way over to me, pocketing the pills. There's a bottle of Jack Daniel's on the counter too, which she picks up and takes a hit off of. She takes up my hypo kit after she finishes swallowing, carrying it over with the bottle. Good, another fix. I'm really feeling it right now. "Looks like you're under my control for the next couple of weeks." She's standing over me with the hyp in one hand and my bag of smack in the other, which is also holding the bottle. She drops the hyp on the floor and crushes it, grinding the glass into the linoleum with the heel of her boot. I can't even get up the energy to moan now. She takes the smack, walks to the bathroom adjacent to the kitchen. I hear a flush. Oh fuck... "Nat..." I call. "Shut up. We're gonna take care of this 'little problem' now." I want to yell at her but I can't. I'm too weak. "You've been given a whole fucking hell of a lot of methadone by my friend. So, we're gonna do some detox." Every part of me wants to scream "Fuck you" at her but I just don't have the wind to do it. I know she's right, too. I've done this junkie shit for too long. But, I don't want to give it up in a way. But, she's got the gun and threw out my shit. What can I do? "Okay." I surrender. "Good." She squats in front of me, JD bottle in hand, taking another swig. I'm leaning up against the lower cupboards, propped up. "I can't see you fucked up like this anymore. I can handle a little 'recreational' use but not this addiction shit." She takes the pills out of her jacket pocket and hands them to me. "I guess this means you care." I grin, tossing whatever she gave me into my mouth, dry swallowing. "I guess I do." She feigns a punch at me, I flinch, and then kisses me on the forehead. Then she pulls out the gun again and points it where she kissed me. "And I'll kill ya if ya don't clean up." We both start laughing. I start coughing and sputtering so I have to quit. She pushes the gun back into the belt and leans over again, this time for a real kiss, which is better than any smack high. She's very close to me now, grabbing my shirt, stroking my breasts and face. I can smell JD on her breath. "I want you in the worst way but it looks like the only thing you can do is lie there." She grins and shrugs. She's a little buzzed. "Well..." I grin back. "My mouth still works." "I'd rip you apart, girl. Sheeeit." She shakes her head. I am not going to let her off. I grab her by her jacket lapels and pull her onto me. She hits my bad leg by accident and I yell. She says sorry and I tell _her_ to shut up. She finds another way to sit close, straddling me and I grab the bottle from her hand and take a swig myself for the pain. I set the bottle down beside me and kiss her again, running my good hand's fingers down and up her belly, which she loves. She wraps her arms around me. Fuck, if I didn't have this stupid hole in my leg or a cut up hand. Had to mess up my left hand. I fumble with the belt she's wearing with my other hand - useless. She laughs at me, pulls out the gun again, sets it down by the bottle of Jack and unbuckles the belt herself. She then starts at her pants. I help her - more like hindering, though. Sliding the pants down her hips a bit, I run my hand down her belly into her boxers. We're both panting by now from lack of sleep, stress and major hormones. I slide my fingers down her, stroking her hair. Her breathing quickens, which seems a little weird since she always seems so in control, and she pushes her hips into my hand. "Nat, you need a bath." I whisper into her ear as I stroke her. "Fuck you. You taste like a fucking sewer, heroin mouth." She's thrusting her hips rhythmically into my fingers, breathing hard. We laugh again. She's gritting her teeth, eyes flashing, movements speeding up. "When was the last time you brushed those teeth?" "Probably the last time you washed out your crotch." She's going to break my hand, she's pushing so hard, hands grabbing my shirt. I feel her tense up and she gasps a bit, digging her fingers into my shoulders. "Fuck..." Her grip slackens and she leans over, kissing me again. I am about to die, I'm so worked up. I'm quivering as I run my hands over her body, kissing her neck and breasts and mouth. "Nat..." I whisper. "You aren't getting anything until you swear you'll never shoot up again." She is still stroking my face and kissing me. Her voice is silky sweet. "I, ahh..." She punches me hard in the leg, by the bandage. "I SWEAR, FUCKIN-A!!!!" "Good." She's grinning like a cat. She starts pulling at my boxers.