Author: Lauren Everling

I didn’t want to end up here. I didn’t want to be in a holding cell with five other women who looked like funhouse mirror versions of themselves, wrinkled and geriatric, although one of them was only twenty-five. She got aged sixty-five for robbing a convenience store. I was waiting for my punishment, but after looking at that cellmate, the suspense wore away, as I knew whatever it was wouldn’t be good.

The day they took me away was cold, with stabbing pains in my stomach. I clutched it while shivering, the snow piling on my eyelashes. My family was everything but well-off. I’m sure now that I was in prison they felt a sense of relief, knowing that they had one less mouth to feed. Some older woman walking out of the grocery store next to where we lay our heads took pity on me and my family and gave me a slice of bread. One slice was all it took for the cops to think that I was stealing. When they forcibly grabbed me by my waist I kicked back, which the officers took as resisting arrest.

Now I sat here and watched a clearly middle aged woman with tattered clothing being pulled out of the cell. The officer threw her to the ground, grabbed her arm, and stuck the needle in. Immediately, her body thrashed and she gasped for air. Her gasp turned to a groan as her face sagged. All the skin on her body now hung off of her bones. Her diminished self got thrown back into the holding cell as a warning to the rest of us. The other un-aged women moved away from her. She became less than them now.

At this point my mind filled up with ping pong balls bouncing from one end to the other, each time reminding me of the horrors that soon would distort my body. The worst part is, they never warned you. As far as I knew, my next breath could be my last before I was forever someone who my brain could no longer recognize.