"Happier Times"

11. Brigitte Fitzgerald

Brigitte isn't really addicted to anything. She needs the monkshood, because the Curse is slowly consuming her. But that's not an addiction. She needs the monkshood extract to stay alive, so unless she is addicted to being alive, she isn't addicted to anything. She has other vices she can confess to.

Brigitte is addicted to death. That particular drug was first bridged into her by her sister, Ginger, and she's been hooked ever since. Corpses, tombstones, six foot deep, tombs and coffins, funeral dresses, dead flowers on the water, cypress trees and the marble polish... it sets her teeth on edge.

Brigitte is addicted to her sister, Ginger. She sees her, even though Ginger is dead – maybe that's because Ginger is in her bloodstream. With every beat of her cursed heart, Ginger courses through her veins, the veins she often cuts to release that addiction.

Brigitte is addicted to the memory of Sam. It's not as clear as she wishes it was and she doesn't have many memories to go on. All she remembers is a brief discussion about Z-grade horror movies over a monkshood cook-up. His flowered, yellow shirt. Chestnut hair. His lopsided smile and ever-present cigarette. His voice and how she used to see him, too, just like she always sees Ginger.

Brigitte's addictions all have one thing in common: she needs to survive in order to feed them all. She needs to feel alive in order to think of suicide; she needs to live to mourn Ginger's death and passing through her veins; she needs to make it, in order to be able to say that she did right by Sam, who only ever did right by her.

In the end, she guesses, she is addicted to monkshood, because it's the only thing keeping her alive... and the withdrawal is slowly killing her, so the only other addiction she has is for finding a way out of there. But she doesn't have the means to escape, so she lies in her bed, lost in all her addictions and wonders how long she has left.