Last Week’s FFF: Seven-Year Firestorm
I want to say I felt cold. Truth is, I didn’t feel anything. That should have been a comfort. But it was so easy to forget.
My mind and eyes seemed to be the only things working. However, they weren’t working well. My eyes were stuck, fixed looking up at the ceiling and anything that happened to pass into field of vision. My mind felt like it was running on reserve power. Not quiet enough to fuel the system, but enough to keep the smallest spark ignited.
I wanted to move. My mind instructed my arms and legs to get me out of here. At least sit me up. But they wouldn’t listen.
I began to wonder where I was. My memory was hazy. I knew my name and what my job was, but the last few days seemed to be missing. I could remember a lot of darkness, but not much else. Then today, I think it was today, I was rolled into this room.
How long had I been laying here all alone? I had no reference for time, but it felt like forever. After all, I could only see the white, drop-panel ceiling. I longed for something else to happen.
I quickly regretted that thought. A man came into the room. As it turned out, my ears were working as well. I could hear his footsteps. But they sounded further away then they should have. It was as if I were hearing everything from inside a long tunnel that was underwater. Sound was muted, distorted, and it echoed.
A moment later he was standing over me. If my body had let me, I would have sighed in relief. It was a doctor. He leaned to grab something from the other side of me. From what I could see, he was wearing scrubs. He also had a paper mask covering his mouth.
He’d make it all better.
He stepped back until he was no longer over me. It was kind of rude for him to reach by me like that. So close. He was practically on top of me. He moved an overhead light until it shinned directly on my face. I wanted to close my eyes, but couldn’t. What kind of a doctor was he?
My anger spun to fear as I heard the garbled wail of an electric saw. I couldn’t imagine what he would need a saw for. At the top of my vision, just beyond my brow, my eyes picked up the silhouette of spinning metal. Light flashed as it reflected off of the turning blades.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell him, whoever he was, to stop. That he was making a mistake. I wanted to plead for my life.
But there was no sound. No breath. I couldn’t make a peep no matter how hard my mind struggled.
My sight grew unsteady as the saw sliced into my skull.
At least there was no pain.
I heard a sicking suction sound. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, until he spoke.
“From initial inspection, it appears that the cause of death was an aneurysm. Most of the devastation appears to be in the lower brain. This likely resulted in a quick death. While the higher brain functions would have been undamaged, it is unlikely that they knew anything was even wrong. That is, until the thunderclap headache and then the cessation of breathing and heart function. The processes would have lasted only minutes. No foul play is suspected. Cause of death is natural causes. Per the family’s instructions, the body will be sent to the crematorium.”
Cause of death? He couldn’t mean my death? Surely, he was mistaken. Because I was still right here. Hearing. Thinking. Seeing.
Then he took that away from me. He pinned the right eye closed first. Through the slit, I could see the needle working as he sutured it shut. Then the left.
It was dark again.
Even though the doctor said horrible, surely incorrect things, I wanted him to speak again. I was motionless, blind, afraid, and all alone.
There. His voice. I couldn’t make out his words. They were drowned in a sea of I don’t know what, but all I got was the tone. He was talking to someone. I heard squeaking. I racked my brain to recall the sound. Wheels, maybe? Was I being moved?
For a moment, my mind dared to hope. He had realized his mistake and was taking me to get actual medical attention. Then I remembered the words he had said. I remembered specifically the word ‘crematorium’.
The squeaking stopped.
A mechanical sound took it’s place. It sounded a little like a factory. Like you’d see on television when there was a converyor belt. Oh god. Was I on a converyor belt?
Something was happening. I couldn’t feel my body, but suddenly, it started to feel like I was missing things. I wanted to run away, but somehow I knew that I didn’t have any feet. Then no legs.
I heard the roar of the fire. My mind raced. I prayed to all of the gods I could think of, and I think I made up a few on the spot. The light was so bright that I could see it through my lids. Not the flames themselves, but the light that they imparted.
I could feel my mind going out. Everything went silent. But that light, that bright light, it remained. It was all I could focus on, despite everything else…
The light filled my eyes, but I could blink again. I could see. I screamed out. There were no words, only wails. But it felt so good to make sound. Another doctor was above me. No, he was holding me. He handed me to a woman.
How was I so small? How…
I felt peace wash over me. My eyes studied this body, and realized it was new. It was pink and tiny, and somehow, it was mine.