I don't want to be here.
The rough coarse material is wrapped around my face, shutting out my sense of sight. It's tied almost unbearably around my head and the putrid scent of rotting flesh won't leave my nose.
I can make out a whimper, it's my friend, Ellie, to my left, who's laying next to me.
My hands are tied, blood cut off and slowly developing into a deep purple and they're numb to the very tips of my fingers. I can feel Ellie's foot brush against my bare leg and it feels like ice.
I am not meant to be here.
This was supposed to be a game. A simple game where we pretended to be detectives looking for the culprit behind a series of kidnappings.
We found out.
I'm going to die.
I can hear the grind of sandpaper on wood, or something like it. I can feel Ellie's blood drenching my stomach and she's not making noise anymore. I wish that he gagged her, but I know it's not true. My friend, my best friend since we were toddlers, is laying next to me, dead, and I'm laying in her blood. I can taste blood, a mix of my own and Ellies. Mostly mine though. I can smell the metal.
I don't know where I am, but there is metal. The room has that trademark coppery scent that told me it was filled with metal. Though that could just be the smell of blood, because this room certainly smells rotten enough for it to be so.
Suddenly, I'm not so sure that it's all Ellies blood on me, but perhaps the blood of someone who no longer exists in the world at all.
It's my turn next. It won't be quick, I know that much, judging from the hours of agonizing screaming that poured forth from Ellies mouth.
I wanted him to shut her up, to stop her endless grief. I wanted him to make my friend quiet. I longed for the quiet, for the sound of her groans and quiet whimpers.
Because I knew that she wouldn't be hurting anymore. As long as she made noise, she was hurting, until the very second she died, and I wanted it to be over for her quicker.
God, please make this quick, let me fall unconscious, let me pass out. I don't want this.
But I know that God isn't listening, as the metal blade clinks against something else made of metal, again and again and again.
My head feels like it's been split open on concrete. It's too white.
I should be dead.
My stomach hurts. Underneath the bandages there is a stitched wound journeying across my belly diagonally, from my left ribs to my right hip. I get the feeling that there is a similar pattern on my organs.
"Charlie." I don't know who it is. The voice is familiar, yet foreign, but I can't open my eyes. It hurts too much.
I moan out, it's simply too much effort, too difficult, to make my lips and tongue form words right now.
"Charlie, it's your mum, please, look at me Charlie."
I can't open my eyes, but groan again, and suddenly there's an excruciating weight on my chest, the skin of my stomach is ripping apart, comparable to a great fissure opening in an earthquake.
"Kat, you have to get off of him. I know, I know." The weight is lifted I can hear sobbing. "He's awake dear, he can hear us. He's simply in too much pain right now to respond. You need to let him rest."
My dad, rational as always. I wonder if he was there. Did he watch? Or did he himself piece the shredded pieces of my skin back together?
"..M...Ma..." It's weak, throaty and it hurts. It's the most I can say.
"Charlie, it's okay son, you're going to be fine. I'm going to sedate you."
I try to nod, but even that's unbearable. I don't want to hurt.
But I'm scared of the darkness.
Are my moments in hospital real? Or is it the desperate longing that's causing me to dream these things? Maybe my prayer was answered, maybe I've passed out, laying on that warm, sticky floor next to the body of what used to be a person, my friend.
Or perhaps I really am in a hospital room, my mother never leaving my side, while my dad attends to my medical needs. Maybe those flashes are my nightmares. But I can feel the sensations, like it's new.
Maybe they aren't dreams, but simply me reliving my memories I keep losing as my mind goes hazy under the influence of painkillers. Maybe each time I wake up, my mind is trying to remind me of what happened.
The problem is, I don't know whether I want to forget it or not.
"Charlie, I'm so sorry to force you to talk about this, so early too. But we need you to co operate with us, okay?"
"...A...Ah." It hurts to talk. Did something happen to my jaw? It hurts, but I don't remember why.
"You can stop at any time." The police woman, Jen, has been with me all morning. She's spoken to me about normal things, to try and make me more comfortable around her before I have to talk to her. It's working. I like her.
Jen is following my words, a keen ear.
I nod, it hurts to talk, so much. What happened to my mouth?
"When they brought you in, Charlie, your life was so fragile, you were barely holding on by a thread. The doctors were so frantic to get you into the theatre as quick as possible. Because of this they got clumsy. Your jaw was hit on the side of the door and it fractured, only slightly though."
Ellie. If they saved me, maybe...
"I'm sorry Charlie."
She didn't need to say anymore.
"Charlie. I need details."
"...don...re..mem...ber.." I don't know if I want to.
Jen left. She said she would come back. She did. My speech was better, though still very slurred.
"I was laying in blood. Ellies blood." My words seemed to mingle together, and there was confusion on the faces of my dad, Jen and on the other policeman that came with Jen. "That's the earliest point I remember."
They share a look. Am I missing something? Thinking of Ellie again, and I can only feel that empty hollow in the centre of my chest. I feel empty. The nightmares won't go away.
"Charlie. When we found you...Ellie...she was bruised, she'd been...beaten to death."
You think I don't know that? Do you think somebody else lay there on the floor for hours, maybe days, listening to her cries, her shrieks of agony?
"There was very little of her blood. The blood you were found in was your own."
Wh...There was so much...how...
"That...I might be able to explain it later." My dad offered.
"For now we need to know if you saw anything."
"I was...blindfolded. There was blood." And Ellie's blood curdling screams. That's all I remember.
I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to remember. I don't want to remember. Dad says my body may have gone into a kind of mode where when the body is danger the pain response means the survival instinct can't work properly, so the body shuts off the pain receptors, or something like that, until the person in question can get to safety.
I don't want to talk to them. I want to be with Ellie. I want Ellie. I want to hold Ellie. They let me home today, armed with painkillers and antibiotics for the large fissure in my stomach.
"Charlie, please, you have to eat something."
I lay on my bed.
"Charlie, reply to your mother."
"...I'm not hungry." My speech is still slurred, but I'm faster at making the sounds harder to understand.
I roll over onto my side. It's agony, but my back aches and I doubt my stomach will feel any less like fire anytime soon.
I speak again. Low and deliberate.
"I'm. Not. Hungry."
Aye, well hi there! I wanted to try a new kind of story for a while, but I wasn't sure how it'd be taken...sooo here it is!