There is no string of words to describe what happened; no known set of vocabulary that can give you even a semblance of the pain that ripped through me.
Must have fractured a hundred bones. Organs probably became jelly from the impact. A bone and tissue soup. Yeah, that’s it. That’s a nice set of words, isn’t it?
But I didn’t die.
What the hell. What in the actual living hell. I would have screamed, I would have cried. God, I would have even laughed at the absurdity of it all.
But there was nothing left of my face.
I was just…there. The pain had stopped and I was simply existing, aware of all that happened. I couldn’t quite see, hear or even smell. My senses were dialed down a few thousand notches, lacking the whole sensory perception thing which we usually have.
Hashtag I’m alive, right?
Time went by. Moments, seconds, minutes. I should have been losing my grip on reality. Should have. But the whole thing was just so…insurmountably absurd. Did I die? If I did, how did I retain my consciousness? Or was this a long drawn out hallucination before everything went dark? Was this some sort midway point where my soul was patiently waiting to be severed from my body? I didn’t know.
Time marched on.
Would you be surprised if I told you that I would have rather preferred hitting the ground again? No? Jumping off was quick; it hit hard and it hit fast. This time though, oh boy, this time the pain was slow. I hadn’t realized due to my mulling over the situation, but a few seconds earlier I had begun feeling sensations again. Thank you, human body. You never fail to disappoint, even in death.
It was as if I was being fed through a meat grinder in reverse. Very intimately. Very slowly. The pain tunneled through my arms, legs and torso. I felt my body split open a million times over. Every synapse reconnecting, every nerve ending coming back to life tore me open from the inside. But it was the head. It was the head where Satan himself had perched down with the entire weight of hell. Have you ever seen soup clumping together to form flesh? Because that was happening to me.
I opened my eyes. My head had almost returned to a fully functioning form. Once the rest of my body had become solid enough, convulsions and writhing took over automatically. I flailed here, I flailed here; limbs cracked and smashed against the ground and one another. If I didn’t re-break bones in the process, then hurrah.
And then, my new throat climbed up the inside of new neck.
And then, my vocal cords returned.
And then, I screamed.
My cries ripped open the dead of the night, rising in intensity, building and cascading and drowning itself. I wanted it to end. I wanted to die. But this WAS dying. No, this was worse.
This was me being denied the one thing I had been building myself up to for two months. This was punishment. This was God, or karma, or whatever the hell was out there shoving the middle finger to my face. This was life saying in ever so an unsubtle manner: fuck you.
Panting, gasping and bleeding I pushed myself up with whatever muscle I could use. My consciousness was distorted. Comprehension of the whole ordeal was out of the question, but even in that state, I knew that being found by the neighborhood would be a horrible follow-up to everything that had happened so far. I crawled: elbow, drag, elbow, drag and pulled myself into the bushes.
To me, the entire experience felt like it had lasted hours, when it could not have been more than fifteen minutes at most. Still, that was enough time for the residents of the surrounding buildings to begin snapping open one after the other. Crap. This was bad. My brain had just come back to life. How the hell would I have any time to plan my way around this? I needed to run. I needed my legs. Effing hell, they were still part jelly.
Through the narrow passages of pain and helplessness, fleeting sparks of anger cried out for attention. I had suffered enough. I had been in constant agony for weeks. I had been mutilated by the laws of physics, only to have the laws of biology turn themselves over on their heads. I couldn’t die. I was angry. I was furious. I wanted to scream. But before being able to do anything, the laws of biology had one final thing to say; as I focused on my legs, they accelerated in reconstruction.
In seconds, I pushed myself to my feet and looked around the darkness, still panting, still bleeding, but still alive. What the hell?
‘Who’s out there?’