The Cold Room
The Cold Room
By Tony DeLorger © 2013
The bone snapped like a celery stick, clean with that fresh crunching sound. The pain was intolerable, but not a sound left me, the terror and a strange exhilaration all encompassing. My mother always said 'stop being a sook, its just a scratch,' but perhaps even she would have forgiven a moan, if I'd let one out.
Amazing what goes through your mind when fear takes hold and life teeters over the abyss. It struck me how inadequate my plans had become, meagrely put into place and lacking conviction and the abundance I'd hoped for. I simply hadn't finished with life, and here I was having to fight for it, having to justify some moral stance of right in my mind. Was I worthy, to live? But I couldn't, couldn't muster a viable argument, beyond emotional pleading. I'd reached an impasse, a self fuelled crisis point that could define my longevity, my existence. But what would please my captor; what possible motive could drive him to mercy?
Dim light infused the cold room, his leather mask barely discernible, those black holes where eyes should be, bottomless and void. He carefully removed the heavy metal clamp and a lightning bolt of pain shot up my leg, branching out like the roots of a tree until my head exploded with razor sharp excruciating agony. I held my breath, rigid, until the wave began to fade and then slumped back against the gnarled wooden bench, out of breath.
He looked down at the clamp, undecided as to using it again; after all I hadn't said a word, not a moan, a cry. Perhaps that's what he wanted, the sound and struggle of suffering to satisfy his warped desires. He turned and perused a small table under the wall light. I heard the clanking of metal and without warning my body reacted to the shock, shaking convulsively. I was out of control, my tied arms, legs and torso shuddering, as if being electrocuted.
The dark figure turned, agitated, and stepped forward, cutting the fabric of my jeans with a large pair of scissors. He stopped at the crutch and roughly tore the fabric away from both legs. I tried not to think of what would come, until a mallet drove a six inch iron nail through my thigh. The pain burnt, like a red hot fire inside my leg. One more slam and the nail pierced the wood beneath me.
I was in a field of clover, my son running around in circles until he became dizzy and plopped down on the soft green carpet, giggling and pleased with himself. The azure sky was cloudless and a cool breeze wafted across the open expanse, the hairs on my arms alive with feeling.
A second nail plunged through my left thigh and combined with the shin break below, brought me back to that searing, overwhelming pain and the reality I prayed was a nightmare. I looked up, still shaking and my captor looked down at me and mumbled something in another language. He removed and threw his leather gloves to the floor and stormed out of the room, the open cell door revealing a well lit hall. I closed my eyes, a numb feeling of warmth enveloping my twitching body, as if to lull me into some sense of security. But how could that be?
The last thing I remember I was in my hotel room, packing up after a two day sales conference. I had one coffee and the rest, I had no idea. My life is simply at the mercy of some lunatic; I'm far from home, and if this continues I'll shortly be dead. I began to regret my past, all the moments of wrong decisions, the self-denial, the pigheadedness I held so pridefully and momentarily felt disappointed in myself. Then those I've loved appeared, there faces in and out of consciousness, passing like some parade of all the good I'd experienced. Memories flooded me, all at once, smothering me in those tender moments that life bestows, that makes it all worth while. And I, for a moment, didn't mind that it was coming to an end, realising what I had.
The cell door slammed shut and I looked up to see that masked face over me. I tried to tell him it was ok, whatever he wanted, then fell into darkness, like being dropped over a cliff into a bottomless pit. The feeling was freedom, finally letting go. Unperturbed and just floating in the air, I imbibed the darkness and slipped away.
'Can you hear me?'
'Do you know where you are?'
I slowly and begrudgingly opened my eyes, trying to make sense of it. The room was brightly lit and I cringed with the intense light.
'Where am I?' I slurred.
'I'm afraid you've been in a car accident. Your legs were badly broken. Try not to move them, they are both in metal frames, pinned to the bones until they knit. Are you in any pain?'
I just remember grinning 'are you in any pain?' 'What pain?'
My mind then closed the door, they would have to wait. I was done.
Memories and experiences under anesthetic are not uncommon. Dreams turn to nightmares.