Her head fell back, eyes closed. Her breaths slow and stilted. Nadia placed the cold latex on her tongue and then let go, letting it slip to the back of her throat. It lingered there, round and thick and threatening. She inhaled through her nose and then she swallowed. She felt the capsule’s slow descent—sinking, sinking; settling cold against her insides and then she felt their eyes. The men flanked her on either side, waiting.
She reached for another capsule, resting heavy in her palm and placed it against her lips. Her jaw went slack as she guided it back with her tongue. Then she took another breath, eyes closed, and swallowed again and again until she could feel the button on her jeans pressing hard into her skin. She stopped, something hot climbing the back of her throat and soaking her cheeks. She brought a hand to her brow, scraping at the dampness with her palms. She felt sick.
But there were four more—four more latex capsules of finely powdered cocaine. She felt one of the men moving closer, his eyes pouring over her shoulder, his shadow spilling onto her skin. He let out a gruff cough, impatient, and she, teeth trembling, reached down once more. Sweat peeled down her back as the collar of her shirt clung to the nape of her neck. She could feel the hair, moist and curling, as she forced down another and then another.
She’d been here before, trembling against this wall, commanding her body to ignore its instincts and just keep pushing. She could do it again. She would. She took the last capsule between her fingers, trying not to catch sight of her swollen belly rising over her jeans, and she closed her eyes. She stood there, searching her body for the emptiness she knew was still there and then she filled it, the last tablet forging a dry, burning trail to the bottom.