Being sick is miserable. Physically and mentally. I’ve got pollen allergies so every single spring and fall I spend like two weeks suffering. This time, though, its not just the physical annoyance of a sore throat and a headache its my head going haywire every which way pushing every thought in the world at me. It is beyond painful and frustrating and so so so annoying. I had a math test this morning. I failed it. I know I did and my head won’t back off of that calling me stupid and worthless and a waste of space. My head is pounding and my heart is aching. In software I have two days to write this essay. an autobiography about me and my family and whatever. Well, I had like four horrible years I have zero interest in writing about. I don’t want to write that stuff for this essay, and I’m not sure I physically can right now. So, I am here instead. Working on a fiction story I’ve been struggling over for a while. It’s not much easier than my essay right now but it is, a little. So I’m here. Struggling, but I’m here. Cause this place and these words…they’re my therapy now. They’re what keeps my sane and what I look forward to going to when I need to find my reason to shove my head through the surface of this ocean in my head. So, my story’s beginning is below. I’d love some feedback please!
Tic. Toc. Tic. Toc. The clock on the wall never stops. I stare at it, watching the hands move till it makes me dizzy. And then some more. Whoever is going to take me now hasn’t shown up yet. They say this is the final leg of my journey. “Almost there!” They tell me. I don’t believe them. People have said that for days. Weeks. I don’t know how long I have lost track of time. The man is back. The one who picked me up from the last plane. The forth fifth sixth plane. I don’t know which, not anymore. He bends over to look at me and says something. Focus, I tell myself. I try to pay attention but the words get lost. I nod, letting myself look oblivious. I have learned this is the best and only way to live like this. The people around me move and serge but I am motionless. Frozen in time, just for a moment. Then I am boarding a plane. It is small. The whole plane rattles as we hit turbulence. I grip the sides of my seat to anchor myself to it. Hours pass like seconds or maybe seconds pass like hours. Sleep lures me into its arms as the plane settles.
Crack! Crack! I am jolted awake, panicked, as I am thrown across the body of the plane. My shoulder strikes the side of the plane with a loud crack. The pain that hits me makes me see black. I desperately hug my arm to my body with my healthy arm as pain spasms through my body. The plane shifts and rolls under me. Suddenly, in a moment I feel the plane dipping. I am thrown towards the head. Towards the cockpit. Then, everything is tearing away. Metal screams as it is ripped from the plane. Trees and water and soil rush up around me. I am flying. Then. Nothing.
Pain. Worse than anything. I try and raise my head up but the pain makes me see black. I lie, very still, and try to remember. I slowly wiggle my fingers. My left arm works but when I try at all with my right, it send wave after wave after wave of pain through my whole body from my arm to my head to my legs until my whole being throbs. I gladly let the darkness take me.
Cold. Water comes around me. The rain cuts into my skin. I have to move. I know it. I am not safe here, in the water and the cold. I crawl, my hand tucked to my body, as I look around, desperately, for somewhere to shelter. Anything. But I can’t see through the rain. I touch a hand to my head and it comes away bloodied. Who knows how long I have been bleeding. All I know is I must get to somewhere dry before I get sick. So, on my hands and knees, I crawl. Inch by Inch I crawl from wherever I am up a shallow embankment. And then I see it. A narrow rocky ledge, covering a small area. I collapse under it and shake.
Somehow, my pack is on my back. I don’t even remember grabbing it. Slowly, I ease it off and start to examine myself. My legs are cut and scraped, but nothing too bad. My good hand seems to have no major deficits, except being my non-dominant hand. But on my right hand I am lost. I can’t move my fingers, or anything on the arm. It is limp. I slowly begin at my hand and go up, probing at my arm every few millimeters. When I reach my shoulder, agony. I can’t tell what is wrong, though. I take a shirt (One of two) out of my bag and fashion a sling for my arm. With it elevated, though, the pain is even worse. When I finally look at it again, I get it. It is dislocated. I know it. Groaning, I find the joint and, biting my lip to keep from screaming, and slam my shoulder back into place. The pain is like nothing I have ever felt, like a thousand knives striking my whole arm. My vision is fuzzy. I collapse back again the wall, shaking, as I clutch my arm to my chest. Slowly, I ease the shirt back into a sling and tie it with my good hand. Then, slumping back on the rocks, I let myself slip away.
Sunlight shines into the narrow cave, though a hole in the roof. I ease myself to sitting up, and pain arches through my back. My stomach, long since empty, growls in annoyance. I sigh and fumble around to see my pack. I didn’t have a chance yesterday to examine what I had. In the pack are a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a small medical kit, a notebook and pen, and a pocketknife. I immediately take the knife out. It has a simple sheath and a plain blade, but it is fair sized. Almost like a small machete. What I thought was a medical kit was really more of an emergency kit. I was ecstatic. In it was rope, a small tarp, a blanket, some medical supplies like gauze and antibiotics, and, in the bottom in a small pouch, flint. I knew in a heartbeat that that would help me. I looked at my legs, Criss-crossed with scars, too weak to walk more than a few feet. I slung the bag over my good arm and crawled. At the entrance of the cave I paused. The ground all around me was soaked, and the lake had ridden to almost being right in front of the overhanging ledge that made the cave. I groaned inwardly. “Well,” I groaned, “This is certainly a predicament.”
I sat there for a moment, watching the water, before deciding clearly there wasn’t a way for me to leave the cave. At least, not yet. So, I slowly started turning around to get back in. And then, I heard the voice. A human voice, sharp, breaking into my head till I spun around. Well, crawled around. I scanned the water desperately. “Is someone there?” I called. Suddenly, I saw a flash of dark material. What I saw when I looked close startled me so badly, I almost fell intro the lake.
There was a canoe, lodged up against the side of the overhang, about four feet away from the dry spot where I was. It was caught between an old tree trunk and some rocks, but every wave seemed to almost push it loose into the water. I scanned the cliff like side of my “shelter”, searching for a way to the canoe. But there was only one way and I knew it.
The water was cold as I hit it. Floundering, I fought to keep my head up as waves battered against me. I fought, twisting and writhing, to stay afloat. And then my hands were on the canoe. It was wood, and seemed to be roughly made. I dragged myself into it and almost tipped the whole thing over. A body lay slumped in the back of the canoe. I very, very slowly began my to crawl over to the body. My legs and arms shook. When I reached it, him, for I could now tell it was a boy, I gasped. His thin body was crisscrossed with lines and gashes. Blood still ran from some of them. His face was pale and the right half of it was badly scarred, wrinkled and distorted, like severe burns maybe. His breathing was rapid, his eyes barely open. But he was breathing. And I almost wished he hadn’t been. Because how on earth could I get this kid back to the cave. I had barely pushed through the water on my own. How would I carry this boy, who was at least two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than me. I was torn. We might both die if I was stupid enough to try and carry him back, but he would for sure die out here and I couldn’t live with that. So, I tied his hands together, slipped them around my head, and dove into the water.
His weight dragged us both down. My head barely broke the surface and, suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cave. I shoved myself towards it with everything in me. Just as my vision grew rocky, my hands hit the shore. Twisting, I got his hands off my neck and gasped, struggling to fill my lungs.