Friday, June 7, 2013
It was a dark hallway. Some sort of underground room with the piping in the ceiling unconcealed from view and there were work lights illuminating a yellow orange corner or wall here and there. The man. He stood in front of the three of us, knife in his hand. The guy in our group, Stan, is in a ready position, alert for the slightest movement from the man. Stacy, she was in shock and unsure what to do and was waiting of instruction from Stan. I was standing, alert, in my own corner. I was in the dark, but given the dim lighting that lit up most of the space down here, I’d say I wasn’t hidden in the dark. There were pipes to the right of me, a giant one at my head level. I assess the situation, looking for something anything that I could use to defend myself. Some lose pipe? A rod on the floor? Something the man doesn’t notice? Something about the man I could use against him? Anything. But I saw nothing. I wasn’t getting out of this one. The man was in a suit calmly standing and waiting for us. A smile creeps up his baggy old guy face. It reminded me of a mafia king. Or one of those rich dogs who do nothing but order people around while he sits and lounges, packing on the pounds, getting old and more arrogant by the day. He points the knife at us, and I think Stan gives up. He, like me, could not find anything to use against him. The knife itself was threatening us not to do anything brash up close next to him. Not unless you were trained for it, you were a ninja, or you were the main character in a movie and the worst you’ll get is a scrap here and there and you magically and impossibly defeat the villain. But I did not see any of this happening. Not in this lifetime. The man over there probably saw himself as that main character, cornering the villains.
Cornering… This gave me an idea. We weren’t really trapped. There was a door behind us. It was big. Heavy. And it had one of those mechanical door knobs, the ones that aren’t really knobs but bars and could be connected to a computer that could lock. But we had to try. I went for it.
It didn’t budge and I turned to run but saw nowhere. The man, startled from my outburst, headed towards me to stop me and process this thought later. He didn’t hesitate. By the time I’ turned and faced the hall, he was halfway here. What if I did some football tackle/dive and he missed? In the back of my mind, yea, I heard the hopeless snicker of some nameless character. But I needed to try. It was too late to just give up. And shouting out a warning for the other two to make a break for it wouldn’t work. I learned from watching too many movies that this usually ended badly and the villain, the man down here, he’d stab them to slow them first, then come to finish me off. No, I couldn’t. I couldn’t scream. I had to think. I started running towards him, not sure what would happen if I did reach him. Not sure what I planned to do when he got to me and his knife decided to plunge into my flesh. But I couldn’t think about pain right now. A lot worse could happen if I didn’t do something.
I ran. I reached him. He grabbed my arm. I couldn’t duck or move out or tackle him. Plus I’d be too afraid of tackling him when he had a knife anyway. I saw his knife rear back, prepared to stab my gut. The best I could do now was get creative. Gripping his shoulders, I spun him around. I hoped he’d get disoriented, but he was still coordinated enough to know where I’d be. Just he missed my gut and sliced my arm. I was done. I’d never felt pain like this and never imagined what a knife through my flesh would feel like. Now I knew. It stung. Worse than anything. The blood pouring out only helped a little. But just knowing I was losing that much blood, I panicked. I forgot the guy and I focused solely on trying to ease this pain. My arm was tingly now. By instinct, I slapped my hand over the wound and tried to stop the bleeding, but once my fingers felt the gash, I let go. My fingers stung the wound and feeling this gash on my own arm was just too much. I tried to just ignore it, tell myself this wasn’t happening.
Didn’t help. At all.
I didn’t notice my friends, but when I finally remembered they’d been down here, I looked for them. I saw them at the end of the hallway, glancing back at me just before rounding the corner. Good. See I knew I didn’t have to shout for them to run. Atleast I wasn’t hurt in vain. I was a goner. I knew that. I was prepared for the man to just stab my heart slit my throat and be done, but no.
No. He dragged me with an arm around my neck. I used both my hands to try and free myself, but my stabbed arm just didn’t help much. Using my muscled there ached. No, it was more than just an ache. It was horrible. From my struggling I guess I’d bit my lip because I could taste blood.
No, this wasn’t happening. I’d gotten myself into a position that allowed me to not choke on the man’s pressure around my throat and I’d just gotten oriented enough to notice he was headed in the direction my friends had gone. The man was bringing me with him to hunt down my friends. no, I had to do something. I’d already made a break for it, gotten hurt and risked everything. Doing one more thing to at least slow the man or better yet, stop him for a minute couldn’t possibly hurt. Ok, maybe it’ll hurt, but I was going to die that night, why not spend my last few minutes or hours doing something useful? I tossed and turned and against all the protests from my injured arm, I continued. I was only doing this long enough for me to come up with something better. I knew this man was 4 times my size and my struggles wouldn’t be too much of a hassle for him to continue murder. Then I saw us pass a pip standing on the ground. I didn’t care that it was next to the wall, I knew this was better than all the other stupid pipes that were way up out of my reach. I kicked out my leg and curled my foot, latching on. The man was strong, I’ll give him that. One pull and I’d dislodge from the pipe. But not before he had paused and turned around to see what slowed him down. I looked up at him the best I could. He glanced from my foot to me, and I threw him a smug grin. He thinks he’s the only one winning tonight, well think again. He gruffly turned back and continued. But not towards to door, oh no. He headed toward a utility closet. He opened it and without hesitating, threw me inside. Hurt like hell. I’d landed on my elbows and that hurt like a hell I’d never known before. But now in the silence I took my time to relax a bit. I put my arm down to prop me up as I rested on my side. It wasn’t the wound, but the surface stinging it that caused my arm to jump up and let me fall the rest of the way to the floor. I just laid there. Crying To myself. This was crazy. Seriously. Police reports of murders never seemed this bad. But then again, they always mention murders and crime scenes and write up reports as if it’s so common place, I, and the rest of society, have become immune to the fact that the victims had to live through the murder. They had to feel everything that I’m feeling now. And for some, they felt more. I got up. At least I have a break, whereas some of those victims never had any break from trying to survive. I needed to take advantage of this time.
I knew he was keeping me in here to save some time for himself to hunt down the others. But I couldn’t let that get to me. I had to use that as motivation to do something. Now. Back in school, they’d always say you had to do this or that and that this thing or other was important. Urgent. Well, none of it seems urgent compared to this.
My eyes had adjusted to the dark. Now, I realize it’s not pitch black here. It must be pretty bright out there for the light seeping in to light this room well enough for me to see. And this was an electrical closet, not just a utility closet. Really? Why, god? Seriously? Help me out a little won’t you? But I knew he was probably up with his smug old self just watching me like a movie. I mean, why would he help me if I’d never believed in him in any religious form? I’d always believed something was out there, but I’d never name him any sort of a god.
I brushed that thought aside and focused. I have an electrical closet. Now what? I could tamper with it until the power goes out, but who would that help? And would turning off the power mean the doors will unlock? Or will it just keep the doors permanently locked until it is commanded to open? It was at these times I wished I knew more about the mechanics in life. The how behind everything I saw, touched and used. The why behind every action and event in society. But that was done.
Ok, what else? Bars. I noticed a bar lying on the floor, maybe someone wanted to fix this thing up or…. Damage it like I had just thought of doing. It couldn’t hurt. It really couldn’t. Except when the electricity raced through that iron bar and sends 1000 bolts racing through your system with no way out, screamed something at the back of my head. I couldn’t break out – the guy would hear, and come for me.
Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Save myself while I still can or continue trying to save my friends? At this point I really didn’t care, but I just wanted to be doing something. The door. Did he lock it? Did it have a lock? I didn’t remember hearing a lock click when he left.
I checked the door. It opened. Strange though. The man was there. He’d come back empty handed. But he didn’t waste his time. He knelt down, grabbed me, and whispered in my ear something I couldn’t quiet understand through his grumbling. I only heard rage. Maddness. Obviously madness. I heard him finally spit out the word throat! Fearing the worst I didn't move. I felt the knife cold on my neck. It didn’t waver. I wavered. I was the one trembling. It made no difference. I felt the cut before I could even get scared. I guess I’d already expected it but never believed it. Once the deed was done, the man left. keeping the door ajar. I rushed backwards, scuttling until I could feel the wall at my back. All the while, I kept my head in the same position, taking one of my hands to hold my throat. It got slippery. Sticky. Gross. But I couldn’t let that stop me. I didn't let the cut in my arm stop me, why let this?
It hurt. I didn’t know what to do. I’d gotten into a very VERY precarious position and I knew I wouldn’t live if I moved just a bit. I also knew I wouldn’t be alive much longer if I let my arm and neck bleed out. Tonight was such a rush. My blood was pumping. Fast. My heart – it wouldn’t stop. I laid there unable to move. Unable to scream. Yell. Anything.
I don’t remember ever getting help. Or blacking out. Or dying or anything. I just remember feeling tingly all over. Numbness spreading. But now I just ached, but I could move. Slowly, I twitched my fingers from there place. They felt stiff. Almost like – like when I used to get a cut on my hand or finger and I’d hold it down and after a while – I find out I’d held it too long and too hard and the blood was clotting with my finger and my fingers refused to bend. It felt like it was too simple. Like I’d overreacted. As I waited for my body to wake up, I ran over what happened. I shouldn’t be alive. I couldn’t be alive. Yet here I was. Hesitantly my hand reached back up to my neck. My fingers had found what I’d expected to be there – a long scabbed gash. My good arm reached over to the wounded arm. I was afraid to look. But what I felt gave me a pretty good picture. A thick mat of blood scabbed over my arm. A long ridge protruding amongst this mat. It was unreal. Seeing the early morning sunlight peeking in the two windows down here replace the dozens of dim yellow-orange lights almost washed away any memory I had of last night. This couldn’t be. How could it? Right? I really wanted to curl up in bed, sheltered by the idea that I didn’t need to care about anything beyond the