Six Steps from Hell
To begin, less where you would think, but more where it needs to be. The action. The confrontation. The great conflagration of tumult and lethargy appeared through the gauze of drug induced sleep. Narcotics. Dope. Anti-seizure drugs. It could have been any form of cocktail that grayed the edges of his vision. The fact remained that a thick haze filmed over everything and the air felt like a ten-pound weight on his head. But it was his penis that hurt the most.
People moved in the periphery. Someone whispered death. Another hinted at dying. The cloud over his eyes swatted words out of the air, smashed the buzzing creatures before they reached his ears. He’s lucky, flatlined, car, ambulance almost hit, bad, hurt, happened to be going by, bike, lucky, bad, smashed, bad, death, lucky, dead,
The elves kept him safe. He knew that. The only thing he was sure of. The elves placed him on the hood of the cop car. No sharks could reach him here. The splashing water cooled his skin, but the sharks only frothed in the brine. He was safe. Not even his dad could throw him in, no matter how hard he tried. The elves kept the boy safe. And people continued to walk around the bed, cop car, and look sadly at him. The wires and hoses tethered him here. The sharks would not get him no matter how many times his father threw him in the ocean. The elves always carried him back to the cop car. They even tied his hands to the rails so he didn’t accidently slip out. He was safe here. For now.
Somebody fed him. But his dick still hurt. Every fog covered consciousness began with the throbbing between his legs. As hard as a rock, he couldn’t understand how it hurt. What was it they said in the movie, “a cat couldn’t scratch it.” But here he was in pain. From the inside out. As if a cat had drilled through the lonely eye into the shaft and tried to claw its way out. Every throb of his teenage half-awake excitement reminded him what pain was.
The rest of his body floated there in the bed. Detached. Not his. Strange weights pinned to one leg. Wires hid beneath the fabric on his chest. Tubes dripped things into his bandaged arm. Was this what death was? This confusion. This numbness. This piercing pain in his penis. Relief and punishment. The anguish of living over. The torment of death begun.
But they said he was lucky.
Someone whispered, “Survived.”
How could it be lucky when he wanted to die?
All the pain and anguish that held the knife to his wrist over and over again flooded through every limb. His heart broke over and over with every beat. He wanted to die. He had begged to die. So he did. Then he awoke in this sterilized hell. The elves could not protect him from himself. He reached out with his mind and tore at his insides. He searched for the death that he knew was still there. Waiting and mocking him. Hidden inside the broken shell he inhabited.
God why’d his penis have to hurt so much? Was this his punishment for failing to die? Was this the whimper at the end of the world?
The sounds of a TV show echoed in the room. His morning wood throbbed. The fuzzy color sitting by the bed didn’t notice. One if his arms could move. The elves forgot to retie one of the straps. Slowly. The limb not yet aware of the body that commanded it, slugged toward the edge of the blanket. The air pressed his head against the pillow. He lifted the cover just enough to see. There in all its hormonal glory swelled his penis, as big and as hard as ever. And impaled in the tip stuck out a small rubber hose. Yellow liquid rolled back and forth as the hose bobbed up and down with each erectile throb.
The world burned. The sharks retreated and the elves flew the cop car away. The captain said, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” The hospital bed and fuzzy shapes in the distance remained. “How are you?” Not him. “I’m fine. He’s doing better today. Not whimpering as much and no seizures.” The colors collide. “Go home and get some rest.”
For all the years that lead up to this moment, he wanted to die. After the first funeral he attended and became aware of this miraculous escape called death, he wanted it. As the years grew more and more heavy, as the small joys he knew faded away, he wished more and more for such escape. During the long summer breaks when the hell of school was far away and unable to offer any sanctuary from his home, he sat suicide on the edge of his bed wondering how big of a mess it would make, if his knife was sharp enough.
Everything he longed for, he now had. Death. Numbness. Escape. Yet here he lay, still alive. And with every surge of teenage hormones, pain. The clouded world sat just at the edges of his vision, burning, waiting for him. He closed his eyes, for everything he ever knew was over.