Freak – Part Three
Serial Short Story
What he discovered was unsettling to say the least.
It wasn’t a lengthy gash, by any means — but it was substantial. Yet, it wasn’t the size of the injury that really mattered but the piece of glass that extended out of his body. He didn’t have a choice. How was he supposed to get up, grab the hair and make his way to the vault with this knife-like object lodged into his body? Nothing up to that point in his life could have ever prepared him for the experience he would go through next. His eyes blinked quickly, desperately trying to wash the stinging sweat out of his eyes.
He began to breath in and out as normally as possible to bring his heart rate down to a manageable pace. He made a silent prayer to a god that had never once been there for him and made his first move. He gingerly grasped the glass with his left hand and then brought his right hand up and over his chest placing it over the left. Taking one deep gulp of air and closing both his eyes he pushed both of his hands down south toward his shoes. Already — flames seemingly erupted out of his leg, like a furious volcano laid dormant for a millennium — the pain was waiting for the opportunity to bust out and make its presence known.
His eyes shot open yet but he could only see darkness. He fought to stay awake and pulled the glass now in the opposite direction. His will to live began to dive as he realized just how easy it would be to quit. His body relaxed and he exhaled. Quickly now, not wanting the pain to get in the way of survival, he pulled the knife back and pushed it forward repeatedly as he also tugged it outward. His chest showed its fury by having the prisoners continue to stab away with their rabid weapons but the roar from his lungs couldn’t be stopped by anything. His throat was raw and he coughed heavily as his body greedily sucked in air that it had been denied. The glass was out and lying next to him — a bastard thing, just one of the many teeth of the monster Grendel. Two strands of flimsy skin now dangled pitifully off of his shredded leg.
All was right for those few moments — he actually felt great, all things considered. There was something immensely satisfying about ridding his body of the foreign object. He glared at it definitely, a great sense of victory overcame him and he forgot the immense pain he was in, high on adrenaline. However, the most effective analogy to be used would be replacing his leg with a balloon and the glass shard with a needle. Sure, plunging the needle into the rubber hide of a balloon is going to cause a little bit of leaking, but it would be pale in comparison to the amount of water that would flow if you were to take that needle out. The red liquid of his body ran profusely down and into the soil. I’m going to die, he thought. If not by the oncoming attack but the lack of blood remaining in my body.
He thrust his waist up swiftly and then downward to make himself into a makeshift teeter-totter. His upper body heaved forward and upward, resulting with him in a tormented, upright sitting position. His arms screamed out in defiance though that may have actually been himself as he urged them to remove his T-shirt. With both arms over his head, he perceived what could have been a raindrop land onto his scalp and down his face. Up and off the shirt went with a great effort and a sigh of relief — until he saw what lurked underneath it.
His entire chest was an ugly and discolored image of purple and black. It led off into his arms and down under his waist. He was losing strength. If he didn’t do it now, he might as well be cockroach paste — that is, if there were any around after today. He lifted his left leg up slightly and gritted his teeth. He laid the head slot under and perpendicular to the bloody mess. Already blood-covered it was as it cascaded down from the wound. He then relaxed his leg downward to the ground and prepared himself mentally once again. His right hand swooped down and grabbed one side of the shirt and awaited the cooperation of the other but his left felt sluggish and drunk. Its fingers were stained red and disobeyed any concise orders given to them, as if beef sausages.
He turned his palm over and saw the damage the glass had now done to the palm of his hand. The gash went from the spot between his thumb and index finger and went down toward the right in a declining angle. It was deep and his bone was clearly visible; his tendons looked to be slash apart. He attempted to make a fist but all he was able to manage to cause was an agonizing spasm that resulted in nothing more. He let his left arm now dangle uselessly, because it was. I might as well be an amputee!
With just his right hand now he grabbed both the sides of T-shirt and was able to cross one of the side under the other. He pulled the side of shirt that dipped under and lifted his right foot to hold down the other side of shirt so the knot could be as tight as possible. He heaved now, putting as much meager strength that still laid inactive in his reserves. It hurt, but at least it seemed to slow down the flow of blood. A dark red patch formed where the gash met shirt; nothing appeared to be leaking through substantially.
next: Freak – Part Four
previous: Freak – Part Two
more by FRANCISCO LEYVA
photograph by Dakota Roos
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