It’s easy to blame my poor choices on the abuse I suffered as a kid, but the truth of the matter is that I was a bad person. I led a shitty life, and it was no surprise when I died from the bullet wound in my chest, a drug deal gone bad. As the world faded around me, I tried to reflect on those choices, and I felt nothing.
I awoke, sitting on a flat stone floor with my knees tucked to my chin and arms around my legs. The area I was in was dimly lit, and seemingly infinite. I tried to stand, and it was then that I realized I was completely naked. The ground was icy cold, and my butt was stuck to it like a wet flagpole in winter. Crying out in pain as my skin resisted coming with me, I finally gained my feet.
I began to walk, heading aimlessly in any direction and trying to see if there were any shapes in the distance. I saw nothing, but pressed on. Soon the frozen stone began to hurt my feet as I walked on it, and before long it felt as if the skin was being torn loose with each step. I sat back down, and felt my backside once again adhering to that icy floor. After some time I stood and again trundled onward.
There was no way to prevent the tearing pain – nothing to put beneath me and the ground as I rested, and any skin I put in contact with it would have to be ripped off of the smooth surface if I wanted to keep moving.
Time passed. There was no way of knowing how long I’d been there. Days, weeks, months, or years – it could have been any. Eventually the skin all over my body became shredded as I shifted, trying to relieve the pain which constantly flowed through me. I finally gave up on the walking and merely sat there with my legs pulled against my chest, as I’d awoken.
Then the light came. A beacon ahead of me, seeming to call out with a warmth I’d convinced myself could never exist. I tore myself from the ground, crying out in that muffled, distant way as flesh freed itself from my body, and I ran toward it.
Each step sent shivers of exquisite agony through me as the cold seeped into me and took bits of my already ragged feet with it. The light loomed closer, and I dared to shed tears of hope. These droplets froze on my cheeks, cutting into the palms of my hands as I tried to clear my eyes. But the light was there before me at last, and I jumped into it.
“Hold him steady, looks like a gunshot wound. I’m checking for a pulse…yeah, it’s there. Weak, but he’s still with us. Let’s get him on the stretcher, and for Christ’s sake get a blanket on him, he’s shivering.”
Credit: Rob Wright