“Do they fear me because I lived? Because I survived?”
Every time he closed his eyes he could feel the impact; the spine shattering shake ripping through his body, a moment of weightlessness, and then water and blackness. He wanted to see them. He wanted to see their faces so badly. His last memory was the back of their heads and their hair drifting in the bubbles of escaped breath.
“To see their eyes, even lifeless…”
He caught himself and stopped the tear from rolling down his cheek. At the beginning of the week he would have given into his sadness, into the medicine that dulled his pain, but now it was different. In the loneliness the relief had become just bitterness: just bitter wonderings of how his life was spared and theirs not, how he walked and they did not breathe.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The boy started; breakfast had arrived. A key tremulously scratched at the keyhole, the bolt screeched as it was reluctantly dragged from its hole, and then a very nervous nurse entered the room, trembling. He eyed her curiously. This woman was clearly distressed. Carrying a banana, oatmeal, and a glass of milk on a tray, she did not meet his eyes as she approached. The closer she drew, however, the louder the tray rattled. By the time she was setting the tray on his lap, her shaking had become so violent that his milk overturned covering the boy and soiling his
The woman looked up in fear, finally meeting his eyes and then ran. The tray clattered as it fell to the ground, the oatmeal becoming a white smear on the blue tile and the glass a million pebbles. Stunned, he just watched as she slammed the door. No iterative thought entered his mind just an overwhelming feeling of why. It was so powerful that his potential freedom was almost lost upon him. Almost.
“She did not lock the door.”
He had actually prepared all night for this and had even planned on trying to frighten the nurse when she tried to close the door to leave. He had underestimated her fear. Getting to his feet, he took the banana and brushed off the unabsorbed milk. He was only ten steps from freedom. The feeling was almost surreal. He paused.
“What is that whining coming from?”
The wall behind him exploded, the point of impact of the device spewing ribbons of flame, which wrapped back upon themselves forming a sustainable ball of fire. Thrust to the floor, the boy watched in horror as the ball grew, consuming both wall and floor. Its hunger was so ravenous he could feel it consuming the air and pulling him towards it. He clung to the door handle with all of his might, but both heat and fear had already lubricated his grip. He slipped. For an eternal second, he hurtled towards the maw of flame, gaping, ready to accept him, but with just a flicker the light collapsed and died, gravity returning.
With a thud, the boy skidded across the laminate, tumbling uncontrollably. He grasped desperately at the smooth surface for friction, but instead found a slick of oatmeal. Momentum carrying, he slid towards where the floor ended. The ball of fire had eaten a massive hole where his bed had been. Just as his feet poked over the edge of the newly charred chasm, the skid ended and his hands tugged upon
gnarled linoleum. He tried to pull himself to his knees, but the ashen floor gave way. In a cloud of soot, he slammed into the hospital bed of the room beneath. Now dazed, he stumbled from the collapsed bed through a second gaping hole in the wall and into an endless haze of smoke.