Shelby sat starring at her sweaty cellphone, trying to wrap her mind around the astonishing events that had just transpired. She did not believe that her boyfriend was gay, on the contrary, she knew in her heart that Gabriel had another woman; or more than one other woman. She had found the indubitable evidence many times, and she no longer believed that he was trying to conceal his affairs in the least bit. Just one more slap in the face, and one more sign that her boyfriend had absolutely no love or respect for her.


Shelby yelled as she balled her small hands into fists, looking left and right for something to break or throw. There was no use, she would only have to clean it up, and besides, she knew that Gabriel would notice if anything went missing; thereby checking the trash cans to verify her story if anything had been broken.

Shelby quietly added one last word.


Shelby might have sat on the edge of the bed, lost in her thoughts for hours if she had not heard the dogs howling in the basement. The dogs knew that she was terrified of them, and on several occasions had tried to bite her. Never in her life had any animal not befriended and loved Shelby until now, and she had invested an incredible amount of time and effort to try and win both, or even one dog over, but to no avail. Finally, she had given up last year when the larger of the two Pit Bulls had attacked her. Gabriel, both of his kids, and his son’s girlfriend refused to come to her aid, and instead simply laughed and made the situation worse by teasing the dog. Gabriel’s son had thrown several rocks at the infuriated animal, one of which had hit Shelby in the back of her leg. She had always believed that he had done it intentionally, and could still see the wicked sneer on his cold face, his face not unlike that of a stranger with malicious intentions.

Deciding it was past time to act, Shelby shimmied into a pair of faded blue jeans, a black tee-shirt with the word Coach stretched across the chest, and her favorite black throwback Converse Sneakers.

Hesitating between the master bedroom and the bathroom, Shelby stared down the hallway towards the living room. Although a short distance from where she was standing to the stairs, something in the back of her mind would not allow her to take a single step. She could still hear the eerie voice from the conversation with Gabriel, and everything about the man’s words screamed danger. It was at that moment that Shelby looked to her left, and into the bathroom towards the medicine cabinet. She needed help, something to get her through this terrible challenge.

“Just one.”

Shelby’s brain begged her for help. The addiction that had taken over the past few years of her life screamed with the answer. She could take just one pain pill, just one and then nothing more. Shelby turned towards the bathroom but did not take another step.

At that moment the neighbor’s car alarm went off, the siren screeching from three houses away; loud enough to stop her from stepping into the bathroom.

“Fuck you,” she said.

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