Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Ariel Whitworth
Darkness. Vision is fuzzy. Blood. Blood. And a roaring in my skull.
In my ears. A man is yelling at me. A woman at my window, holding my neck. We have to stop the bleeding. Stay awake she says. My eyes are closing, there are so many dots, too much light. Eyes open wide to the blaring siren, flashing lights.
Am I going to die?
Wiggle your toes. Wiggle. I sit up straighter, a crunch of bone, a nauseating scrape. That dull thud in my skull.
I look down to a sea of red. My left collarbone is jutting at an inappropriate angle. Has it gone through the skin? I touch it with my right hand. No. I hear my skeleton scraping across itself again. Gravel inside my body. A jolt of electricity. It is getting hard to breathe.
In my ears. Splintering into my legs.
My car is folded in half, the firemen tell me. They'll have to cut the roof off. Stay still, the EMTs tell me, you may have fractured your spine. You don't want to die in a wheelchair. Don't move at all.
They cover me with a thick blanket when they start the chainsaws.
"Will you sit with me?" I ask the young fireman. "Will you hold my hand?"
Yes. His hand is gloved and warm. When the noise gets louder, I squeeze his fingers tight. He tells me I'm ok.
They pull me out flat on a board. Stab my arms with their needles.
"You don't have any blood left," they tell me, "the IV won't take." Needle in my arm. Needle in my wrist. Needle in my hand. The pricks are dull slices in my dead flesh.
"The cut's not on her neck. It's her head. Pull the skin together. Stitch it up."
Needle in my skull.
I hear the siren overhead. Wheels screech. The light is blue.
Screaming in my ears. I don't know. I don't know what happened. I can't remember. Go away.
I am on a table in the emergency room. A body surrounded by six doctors and an armed officer. They rip off my clothing with scissors. My new bra. My nice skirt. As they pull it away the glass shards scrape across my body.
Their hands are cold against my skin. Pushing at my orifices. Straining. Fingers on my belly, on my breasts, in my ass.
It is a blackness. Creeping and complete. My mind cannot connect to my body's memories.
I lurch back in time, again and again searching. And there is nothing. Only blood. And glass. And gravel. And my skull.
Don't make me go back again, I tell the officer. I'll give you my address. Just no more memories.
White light. Naked in a bed. My body is on fire as I slip into the blackness of sleep.
Ariel Whitworth is a writer and editor in the Washington, DC area.
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