Into Death's Arms (Part IV)
I was awoken by fresh waves of pain gathering in my arms. I inhaled sharply and opened my eyes, familiarizing myself with the ceiling tiles again. Somewhere near my bed I heard the soft, rhythmic breathing of someone, no doubt Serena. I sat up, wincing, and tossed the tangled, white sheets off of my body.
Fast asleep and with strands of blonde hair in her face, Serena sat in the chair beside my bed, motionless and beautiful. Moving my aching arms, I flexed my fingers. They were tense and stiff, as though kept in the same position for too long. Holding back a cough, I looked around. Everything was quiet and still. But I could feel unexplainable tension building inside my body, as well as more pain.
Something wasn’t right.
I felt so different, so dizzy. I breathed in and out, my eyelids drooping as if I might fall asleep at any given moment. Sharp pins dug into my head.
“Ouch,” I said simply, in a daze. I felt hypnotized, yet at the same time I felt a driving instinct to escape, to leave. I had to get out.
A soft vibration buzzed in my hands, an unfamiliar sensation. My mind spun.
Stay with me.
Glancing around, I assessed the room. A window was to my right, the curtains not quite closed all the way. I could see that it was nighttime. Serena’s backpack was lying next to her chair, looking quite stuffed, almost on the verge of exploding. A thought crossed my mind.
If I get out of bed, they’ll hear the heart monitor flat line.
Sneakily, I twisted around in my bed and reached my hand towards the screen. I pulled out a cord in the side and let the plug drop to the ground. The screen went blank.
Breathing slightly harder than before, I ripped off a few things taped to my neck and arm and slipped out of bed. The hospital gown fluttered from my movements and I stopped. My eyes rested on my friend’s backpack.
I unzipped it quietly and saw my clothes spill out, bloodstained and wrinkled. But I didn’t care. I moved over to the corner of the room and got dressed, slipping on my jeans first and then my bloody, black t-shirt. Splashes of red were on my pants and I couldn’t find my socks or shoes in her bag. Cursing under my breath, I zipped it back up and stuffed the hospital gown under the bed. I heard footsteps coming down the hall and looked up, my heart thumping.
I had to get out. Now.
My hands continued to pulse as I quietly opened the window and slipped out into the cool night air. My bare feet landed on soft, damp grass and a gentle breeze whipped by, rustling my bangs. The sidewalk was slick with rain.
I groaned and nearly fell to my knees. A bolt of pain shot through my stomach, making me double over. I gasped.
Something is happening to me.
I knew it to be the truth. I stumbled forward, glancing up at the night sky with misted eyes. Billowing, dark clouds loomed above, threatening rain. Further down, my blurry vision could see a collection of lights and what appeared to be vehicles. The parking lot.
My legs moved forward, unsteadily. I was gasping for air now, fighting to breathe. My heart was beating far too fast.
Stay with me.
I grunted, my eyelids falling. I felt as though I were going to faint.
Justin, what have you done?
Pressure built inside me. I continued to stumble towards the lights, feeling wet pavement beneath my feet. I could see memories now, flooding me with images. I saw a white kite flying high in a blue sky, a field full of flowers, Nia’s green eyes glowing with adoration as she smiled…
“Ahhh,” I moaned, clutching my stomach. My head pounded. My hands shook.
I was in the middle of the parking lot and felt the soft droplets of rain begin to fall. They were quite cool to the touch, icy and inviting. I lifted my head up, letting raindrops slide down my face and into my parted lips.
There will come a day when you’re going to discover something about yourself, said Nia in my head, part of a memory. And when you do, I think you should share it with the world.
I felt the tidal wave of emotions encase me again in its dark brilliance. Rain fell harder now, soaking me. I panted, trying to push away the anger and sorrow and confusion. I remembered the room, the dark shadows on the walls, the moonlight throwing itself on me in silver luminance…
I clenched my fists, which were slick with water and bit the inside of my mouth. Hard. I tasted blood and the copper flavor washed over my tongue and teeth. The world was spinning now, engulfing me in rain and silhouettes and spots of lights that danced in all directions. The pressure grew, rapidly expanding, screaming to escape. My lungs gasped faster and faster. Blood raced through my veins.
And then it happened.
I fell to my knees in a sudden flash of blinding pain that rendered me motionless. My mouth fell open and in a wave of fire that was now spreading into my limbs, I screamed.
The windows of the cars around me exploded, as did the lights, showering the blacktop with shards of glass. The pain overwhelmed me, as did my confusion. Only a sliver of my conscious could still cling to reality.
What’s happening to me?
Screams echoed in my head, like ghostly whispers, until I realized that they were my very own.
There will be a day when you discover something about yourself…
I writhed on the ground, and heard sounds. Sounds of metal crunching and glass breaking. The earth flipped upside down.
And when you do I think you should share it with the world.
My throat ripped from the force of my screaming. I swallowed blood.
Share it with the world.
Nia’s ghostly voice cascaded upon me, turning into a hundred voices. I don’t know how long I screamed for, or how long the pain continued to rip me apart from the inside out. My hands scratched at the wet blacktop as my flesh dampened with rain.
Time didn’t matter anymore, but after what seemed like an eternity, the torture stopped. Panting and lying face down on the pavement, I tried to open my eyelids. Weakly, they slid apart. I couldn’t see anything at first, for the lights of the parking lot had exploded. But how they had…I couldn’t explain.
Neither could I explain the sight that met my eyes when they finally adjusted. I gathered enough energy to lift myself up off of the ground, hearing panicked voices of people bursting out of the hospital doors to see what had happened. My heart raced as I laid eyes on the scene before me. I tried to speak, to perhaps explain to an imaginary person, or more to myself. But I could not. I choked on the sounds coming from my throat as I stared at what I had done.
Words failed me that night.