Drifter

In Hartingfold the laws which constrained society have long since altered due to the fall out from the collapse of the EU. Tax is optional, but without paying to be on the tax register people become drifters, free of societies conventions, they travel for work, living wherever they can and paying for everything. The drifters aren’t trusted notorious for being the figure heads to the wave of organised crime sweeping the English nation.
The story follows Gracie Taylor through her strugggle for survival and her desperation to cling on to what defines her as a human being, rather than being defined by her unfortunate circumstance as a drifter.
contains some expletives, not for sensitive ears

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2. "Booze and tha' hooker from Riverley"

He sat on the wooden deck sheltered slightly by the overhanging porch which Shay had painted green to match the stripes on the statics side. The rain distorted his figure slightly, so that he appeared like an impressionists painting; a blur of colour in water droplets.  I considered turning back, my stomach lurching at the sight of him. The rain failed to mask the stench of his cologne which instead tainted it with the smell of misplaced lust.

Taking my time I tightened my grip around the rusting handlebars and exhaled, counting the steps until our confrontation. I pushed the bike slower, silently cursing Shay. I’d heard him take the car in the early hours, a loud old ford fiesta, yet he still wasn’t back to save me.

 I was glad I’d opened the old biscuit tin that morning to assess the damage.  The tin had revealed we were behind on ground rent by £53.70, much better than last month but evidently not enough to avoid this.

My hand reached into the left pocket of my tired leather jacket and found comfort in the envelope inside. After realising the extent of our debt I’d ditched college and headed to ‘The Bread Basket’, a small café in Hartingfold, which despite having low wages of £3.40 an hour often had extra shifts going for us drifters. I knew Shay wouldn’t be happy, my education was one of the few things he was willing to fork out for, but us having a home was just as important. I’d rejected my lunch break for the extra money and, despite the hunger, was glad of that decision now. I held on to the £23.20 from my eight hour day in a tight fist.

He watched me as I propped my bike up against the deck, securing it with the chain to the banister. I refused to look at him, fumbling with the lock and shaking my drenched hair from my eyes. My gaze rose and his eyes met mine, a predatory stare; eyes emotionless, empty from the substances coursing through his blood stream, poisoning his heart.

“Gracie.” His lip curled, into a sly smile, baring yellowed teeth. The way he said my name was foreign to me, like it was not my own; a threat rather than a comfort. I straightened my posture, rounding the deck to confront him. He stood up and leant against the static, gesturing me up to him, hand outstretched, expectantly. My envelope was snatched from my grip the moment I extracted from the safety of my pocket. I stood robbed as he ripped it open, its contents poured into his greedy palm to be suffocated by bony fingers as they clenched around it. 

Without warning he pinned me against the banister so that the wood lodged itself against my spine, fist still clenched. A shiver decended over me as he bent his head against mine, mouth to my ear, his warm tobacco breath irritating my wet skin. "What the fuck's this?" He questioned in a malicious tone, tilting his head to raise a half shaved brow at me, while gesturing with his outstretched palm.

“The rest’s inside.” I mustered as his cologne filled my nostrils making me short of breath. I saw his bicep clench so that the corner of his tribal tattoo peeked out from under his shirt sleeve as he constrained me more, searching my face with his puddle grey eyes.

“It best be.” I registered the disappointment amongst the threat, as he pushed his crotch against me with a smirk before releasing his grip. “Get it then.” He readjusted his semi inside his baggy jeans. I didn’t move.

“would it kill you to be nice?" I asked him indignantly, massaging the dent in my back where the wood had been and my shaken ego.

“Get it please.” He faked a smile stepping away from the door, putting my money back in the packet. I got the key from under the mat and unlocked the door; we couldn’t afford to have a second key cut after Shay lost his old one on a drunken night out, alcohol and cigarettes the indulgence which lead to the scraping of our pennies.

The ceremonious kick at the bottom right of the door whilst lifting it inside the frame made it creak open and, uninvited, he followed me inside, ducking to avoid hitting his head. I emptied the tin on the faux granite work top, took the envelope from him and pushed the coins and notes in. I knew we were still short but hoped Shay would have been lucky today and would be considerate enough  not to visit the pub on his way home.  

“That it all?” he eyed me suspiciously, “My pops don’t want t’ be ripped off again.”

“It’s slightly short but we’ll get it you by tomorrow.” I admitted, he’d only go and count it anyway.

“How short?”

“twenty six an’ fifty five, but Shay’ll bring that home today he don’t rip old Bill off, they have their understanding.”

“Only ‘cos we do, d'you know how much I’ve payed for you over the time you bin here?”

“Not for nothing in return you didn’t, and its much less this time.”

“Don't you think you owe me though Gracie?" he taunted, coming closer. " I’ve been there for you when no one else were. Kept this here roof over your pretty head.” He tucked my hair behind my ear and gently stroked my face, I pushed his hand away, seething from his touch.

Deep down I knew he was right, without him Shay and I would likely be living out the back of the fiesta in some grimy dump, but it hurt to be grateful, he hadn't done it selflessly. A tear escaped staining my already damp face, leaving a streak of mascara in its path. “Remember that time Shay spent all your rent on booze and tha’ hooker from Riverley.”

“He was going through a rough patch.” I whispered, my full voice too shaky to use as I pursed my lips in an attempt to stop the tears.

“But I helped you, paid my pop all your rent, for just a few nights with you.”

“Jacko," I breathed, "It was a few nights fucking me, don’t try and make yourself out to be the hero here, cos you sure as hell aint.”  The volume of my voice grew to a shout as I swiped at my tears angrily.

“I tell you love, I'm the closest thing you got.” he retorted forcing my head towards his, until his wet lips covered mine, tongue attacking my tonsils with greedy strokes, thrusting me against the kitchen worktop with strong arms and a now erect penis. His dirty fingers searching my thighs as I kept them locked together. It would be a lie to say I wasn’t aroused, which was the only reason I kissed him back for those few seconds of shock before biting his tongue. he recoiled looking at me in shock as my knee made contact with his groin. His yell making the hair of my body stand on end as I bolted from my home.

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