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Fallen - Based on a true story (almost)

A group of young guys had gathered around a lifeless body on the road. A minivan had just hit a girl and sped off. The girl bounced on the road and rolled around once and came to a stop. The rest of the girls on the street scattered. A couple of guys came to check on the girl. A crowd gathered and collected what little valuables she had left with her.

A girl saw it all from her second floor window on Sheil road, Liverpool. Natalie was aware of the hazards of what she used to do. She knew the roads were dangerous, especially at night. But then, day or night - she was never truly safe. Her escape was only in heroin. She did not dare to build a world of her own by her own means. She tried before. It never worked out. So she had transferred the responsibility to what society calls ‘substance’. Heroin gave her a cushion, her sleep and let her keep her sanity. Or so she used to think.

Natalie was alone. Her addiction was not. It came with dependence, depression, homelessness and rejection. Her longtime pillar of support, her boyfriend eventually got too tired of her selling herself for a couple of pounds of heroin. He was not the one to abandon her though. Nat herself was too ashamed of ‘dragging’ him down. Will used to come down in the afternoon after work occasionally to see her, but Nat was barely capable of seeing her sober anyway. But everytime she met him, she wanted to get better. Even though she would never accept that openly. Even to herself.

But this day was different. She was able to stay off crack for almost two months straight. For someone who needed a shot or two every four to six hours, this was an achievement. This change had been gradual. Over the past three months she had been going to support group discussions that helped her get in touch with people who (for a change) did not judge her. She had motive. Just a couple of months back she had seen her self test pregnancy stick turn blue.

There had been a show on girls like her in the past. The local area got some bad press but some organizations did come forward. The politicians did what they do best. Talk big. But Nat stayed on track. She was close to 3 months clean now.

As part of her outreach and rehab program, she was supposed to stick to a strict regimen. Not of drugs, but lifestyle changes which included her staying away from the old neighborhood. But this was Monday. Every Monday evening the Doctors without Borders teams would come and give free medicines to people in need. For Natalie, without any medical insurance, they were almost the only hope. State medical services were beyond her reach - and there was a chance her would be born child might be taken away from her too. The doctors came every Monday but were meticulously punctual. If she was to get her prenatal vitamins and supplements she would have to hurry. They never gave more than a week’s supply. Girls like her were considered high risk. There were instances where even these drugs were sold to score a hit.

So she ran. 

The local gurudwara where she used to get her meals was about a mile and a half away. But she had made it. It was just about nine and she dashed across the pavement and turned right over to Sheil road. She heard a couple of screams nearby. This was not uncommon. She could see the medical van just about 30 yards away. They were on time, as usual. She was panting. As she was crossing the pavement over the right, she came right in front of high beam headlights of a fast moving minivan. 

The BBC followed up the story the next evening. It was about a burglary gone bad and a dead junkie. No names were mentioned. Such cases were rife in the area and investigations were a rarity. After about a month, the unclaimed body of the girl was exhumed and the case closed.

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