Taking Heart

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The air was cold, so cold that it stung against my skin. I shivered violently, jerking myself against the gravel and scrub underneath me. My brain felt tangled and fogged, and there was something wrong with my body. More than one something, I thought, but the cold had numbed any immediate feelings I had. Trying to move, stand, sit up, something, was more difficult than I had anticipated, my muscles stiff with cold and some unknown exertion. I found that I couldn't move my left arm, and when I opened my eyes and blinked them into focus, my entire right side was covered in blood. I felt sick to my stomach, bile rising in my throat, but refusing to come out.

I was right next to a paved road that looked like it might go days without having the company of any cars. From what I could see from my position on the ground, the far side of the road was filled with scraggly trees that hadn't seen leaves for some time. Thus, the cold.

My ears were ringing, but other than that, there was no sound that I could hear. No one was coming. And I thought, perhaps, that it had been someone's intention that I die here, alone, or maybe they thought I was already dead. From the state I was in, I knew that I was lucky—or unlucky—that they had been wrong.

I had to get up. I had to find a way out of this. Maybe there was a house or a town, somewhere.

Trying to use my face and right arm to push myself into a sitting position without the use of my other was harder than I expected. I kept finding that I was in worse shape than I thought, and my heart stuttered with fear and worry, before I pushed that away. From my stomach, my right arm was too weak to hold my entire weight, so I tried rolling to my back where I'd have better leverage.

I was surprised when a scream, a horrible, pain induced scream, ripped its way out of my ravaged throat. The sound rang out into the sky, echoing my pain back to me, doubling, tripling, quadrupling it. I slumped back to the ground, gasping, feeling my ribs burn. Some of them were definitely broken.

I couldn't do this. There was no way I was going to live. No one was going to come, there weren't any towns close to here, I couldn't even roll over. My thoughts jumbled as if I was working them too hard, like they were just as broken as my body, and I trembled.

What had happened to me? Who had done this? What had I done to deserve this? I realized that I couldn't remember and the more I tried, the more my brain rebelled, clouding over and blanketing all my thoughts with a dense, heavy snow that burned when I tried to dig it away.

And I cried. I felt hopeless and angry and betrayed—by what I don't know—and I imagined that there was nothing in the world that could save me, nothing that even wanted to save me.

My pity party ended when I heard shouting. There was a neighing sound, like a horse, and voices, and they were so close. I yelled, but my desperation clogged my throat, and only a croaking sound came out. They would find me. They would bring back a car and take me to a hospital and I was going to live. No matter what, I was going to live.

There was a clomping of boot near my head, and then I passed out.

When I woke up, I was shivering violently, unable to stop. I knew that the air around me was warm, and I thought that maybe it was shock. My eyes blinked open to the image of a streak of blood that I had left on the car seat in front of me. A car. I was laying in the backseat of a car, and it was moving, and I knew that there was warm air blowing on my face, but the shivering didn't abate.

I was starting to feel a deep ache throughout my entire body, all the way down to my bones, but it was a distant feeling, less important than the cold permeating my skin and muscle and bone. And then I wasn't cold, just shaky, shivering, jarring my head and clenching muscles that had already been abused enough.

I croaked a meaningless sound of pain, and there were voices, reassuring, afraid, brave, and indistinct, coming from somewhere, entering the darkness, and then I couldn't hear them anymore.

The dreams felt real, but not. In some I was floating outside of myself, watching doctors and nurses, with their fast, confident motions while a body lay motionless on a table. I others I was myself looking in a mirror and not seeing a face, running with joy in my heart, and running with panic, feeling hungry and angry and afraid and knowing that there was something I needed to do. Someone I needed to save.

And then I woke up in a hospital room with only vague memories of my dreams and very distinct memories of waking up on a roadside and no memories from before that. But I woke up. And I was alive. And I wasn't going to give up.

I would survive, I was strong, and whatever life threw at me, I would always know that I had endured something beyond most imaginations, and anything else, be it bigger or smaller, was less important than this. This moment and whatever horrible events that led to it, they were my starting point. They had taught me how to be strong, and from now on, nothing could truly hurt me.

Not while I was here, and I was living.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm
I especially admire how nobody speaks in this piece; it is all an internal soliloquy, and that suits it. I also like how so much is left to the reader's imagination – a lesser writer would have felt the need to explain everything. Good job!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback