Guiding Light

Where there should be smooth flesh, there are scabs, blisters, scars. Dried blood. Where am I?

Where am I?

All I see are bright headlights, disorientating me until bubbles of colour dance in front of my eyes. Raindrops smash to the ground all around me, soaking my thin t-shirt, embedding themselves deep into the roots of my hair as it becomes stringy and damp, sticking to my face uncomfortably. My limbs are numb and cold, my head reeling from both confusion and the sound of loud beeps everywhere.

Where am I?

I remember nothing. My hands fumble in the air, subconsciously stretching towards another pool of off-white light, but, finding nothing, I fall forward from my previous sitting position, hitting the concrete beneath me with a wet slap. Pain rushes through my body, but I hardly feel it. The loose stones dig into me, but I hardly notice.

Where am I?

More lights find me. I stir, lifting my arm slowly to cover my eyes - it feels like dead weight, and I struggle. My fingers find my face, feel my skin, and I gasp involuntarily, shocked. As splinters of pain echo the simple movement across my face, I instantly regret it, though my hands still move across my skin gently, in wonderment. Where there should be smooth flesh, there are scabs, blisters, scars. Dried blood.

Where am I?

A slamming door sounds, and, my hand falling from my face to land painfully on a sharp rock, I glance up. It's dark, darker than I'd noticed to begin with, but my eyes ache, so the only things by which I can sense the person's proximity are the loud footsteps, splashing heavily in the falling rain, and the ever-growing fuzzy figure.

Where am I?

"Oy, you," his voice is gruff, his words slurring into one another. "Get the fuck off this road. Bloody teenagers, you're shit, the lotta ya!"

He stands his ground for a few moments, not seeming to notice the rain streaming down his face, swaying slightly on the spot. All I can see are his feet, encased in brown loafers, his words flying past me, useless, meaningless. Nothing.

Where am I?

"Bratty bitch," the man speaks again, this time leaning right down to spit it in my face. I flinch back automatically, though I don't move to defend myself. His breath is tinted with the bitter after-taste of alcohol, his hair greasy, falling into his crazed eyes in thin strands. Without warning, his mouth tightens, his knees bending right down, and his arms stretch around me to encircle my torso. Roughly, he yanks me upwards, and I sink into him with a gasp. He lifts me with no effort, I am completely limp in his arms, a broken rag doll. I have no control over my body.

Where am I?

With a grunt from my captive, I am airborne, soaring through the pitch-black skies, and, just here, for these short seconds, all I can taste is this moment, and I feel like giggling. Then I hit the ground. Metallic-tasting blood fills my entire mouth as my head smacks into tightly-packed soil, only slightly loosened by the ongoing rain. My body crashes into the ground milliseconds after, crumpling instantly. I try to spit out the noxious red liquid, but my mouth won't obey, and I swallow what seems like a gallon of rust, almost gagging on the bitterness. Grass obscures my vision, strangely blurry, and I wonder why it doesn't tickle my mangled face. In this hazy darkness, they seem like grey slashes in the sky.

Where am I?

Slowly, carefully, I close my eyes. My knees dig against my chest with no support, and my arms will not move to enfold them. With my eyes closed, I feel broken beyond repair. Damaged with no way back. Marred.

Dead.

Where am I?

The next time my eyes open it is to light, again, though this is softer, and it only takes a moment to adjust to it. Torchlight. It illuminates the grass in front of me, but the blades blur into a single slash of emerald.

"Hey, you!" It's a boy's voice, not a man's, his tone harsh. Footsteps sound as he rushes towards me, the grass falling under his feet until he stands right before me. "Hey..." his voice is softer now, laced with gentleness. He kneels down before my face, his movements seeming jerky and unconnected, though I know it's my eyesight, and there's nothing wrong with him. The next moment, his face appears in front of mine, though I can't tell one eye from the other, and his nose from his mouth. Hair clings to his face like weeds to sand, reminding me that the rain still falls.

Where am I?

One hand reaches out to my face, slightly curled in on itself, but my necks jerks back from the one kind movement offered to me since I regained consciousness. He withdraws, his face blurring again as it rearranges.

"Can you talk? Are you okay?" he asks, leaning away. I almost miss the proximity, the warmth radiating from his face. "What's your name?"

I have no name, I ache to tell him, but though my mouth opens, the words stumble, catching in my throat, and I know in that one instant I'll never speak again. For a moment, he waits. Then he nods, and turns away from me, walking back to a mess of reddish-brown and lights. His house.

Where am I?

My lower lip trembles a little, though my eyes do not tear. I know I am going to die, as I lie here, loved by no one, completely alone, shrouded in the darkness of the night. Crushed. Curled against the grass. Washed away by the rain. Nothing.

Where am I?

In a moment of pure befuddlement, I think I see a light, the light, but my body is frozen, paralysed, and I try to cry out as it fades. My voice doesn't come. My guiding light is gone.

Where am I?

"Hey!" A raised voice, running. The next second, or so it seems, I'm being lifted by strong arms, bundled into a blanket which I can't feel. "Please don't go to sleep." The desperation in his voice, in this stranger's voice, almost makes me tear again, and I long to reassure him. But even though I am not, my voice is long dead. The fact that this person, who I've never spoken to, and never will, cares about my safety is enough for me to keep my eyes open until a white van arrives. An ambulance.

Where am I?

Paramedics grab me from the boy, throw me down onto a stretcher with rough hands I can't feel, start clipping bands around my wrists, digging needles deep into my skin. I don't move, not a millimetre. As a woman whispers words into my ear that I don't hear, pressure is being pressed against my hand, and I look up to see the boy again, standing by my side, both hands folded around one of my own. He meets my gaze, and smiles. A true, genuine smile that sets my world alight. The ambulance starts jerking its way down the street, and everyone is thrown around in a blur.

Where am I?

Too soon, I'm being rolled out, straight into a warm room. The walls seem to push in on me, the warmness seeping into my brain, giving me a dull headache that doesn't really hurt. The pure whiteness of everything around seems to glow, and I close my eyes against it, hoping for relief. I drift into unconsciousness easily. Is this this the end?

Where am I?

When I awake, the first thing I notice is that I can feel again - every part of me is on fire. Nothing is spared, and I almost cry out in pain. Except I can't. The realisation of being mute brings back everything from the night before, and, surely enough, the boy is sat by my bedside, cradling a paper coffee cup within his hands. My mind is clearer now, sharper, though my eyesight is still poor. He blurs again as he stands, reaching out a hand to brush the back of it against my face, smiling again.

"You're going to be fine," he says, his voice choked up with emotion. His hand provides a cool relief against the fire on my face, and I tilt my head against him.

My guiding light.

Where am I?

Throughout the day, words are tossed around over my head: 'fire', 'death', 'nothing spared', 'lucky survivor'. I understand nothing, and hear nothing except a few snatched words, and the boy, who never leaves me. I don't know him, but he means more to me than anything left for me in this world. Is it time for me to die? I don't know. From what I've managed to hear, I had three sisters, a mother, and a father, all of whom have died in a fire recently, the one that did this to my face, the one that made me mute.

All along, I've been asking the same question: where am I?

But, after all this, I suppose the real question is who am I?

A/N: I don't know where this came from, or why I wrote it. Like my other one-shot, I guess it's a matter of interpretation. Inspiration came from Muse and their beautiful song 'Guiding Light'. I wrote this at 2am, so... yeah. Hope you liked it.

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