I hear a sound. I can't make sense of it, though it seems familiar. I think I should know what it is. It comes from up above me, a vibrating hum that gets louder until there's a red glow, and then the red light fades away as the sound becomes fainter. But, soon, it happens again. And again. Then it happens again but this time, the noise gets louder as a white light gets brighter and brighter and, then, the light turns to red and the noise and red light both fade away. I don't understand it.
I don't know where I am. I am in a box full of broken stuff and the box is surrounded by bushes. I can't get out and I don't know why. Why can't I get out? Why can't I move and why does everything hurt me? My head hurts so badly and my left shoulder is burning with pain—for that matter, my whole left side hurts me. I can't seem to move my legs and my back hurts. I'm stuck. My stomach is cramps up. Maybe that is why I am not hungry or thirsty. Maybe I am sick. Yes, that's it! I must be sick. I think I might throw up. I reach my right arm to my belly but I feel tremendous pain in my armpit when I move my arm. Doesn't matter. I throw up anyway. I don't care. I don't think I can care.
I close my eyes and talk to God. Lord, why is this happening? Why are you doing this to me? Please, Jesus, help me to remember that, in all my sufferings, I am united with you on the cross. Help me trust that my suffering is not in vain. Help me to know that you are ever close by my side. God, I offer up my despair and weakness to you. Please, give me strength and hope. Please protect me.
I open my eyes and I think I've been asleep. I see flies swirling around me. I lose them, though, as I am dizzy, spinning. It is hard to keep my eyes open. But I feel something strange along the seatbelt line, spots that hurt, from my hurt shoulder down to my right hip and across my pelvis. It doesn't feel like bruises, but like I have new cuts there, raw open wounds. I don't understand it. I look down and see new, red blood on my white shirt near a spot that hurts on my chest. My knees hurt, too, where they're pressed up against the front of the car. The skin on my knees feels raw. I look at the grey mist through the blackberry bushes. I feel cold. I want to get warm. What can I do? Nothing, I guess. I close my eyes to shut out the spins but, in the darkness of my mind, the dizziness continues. I moan. At least, I think I moan. I am not sure.
From pitch black to pre-dawn, Tom stood at the end of the street, watching and waiting for Tanya. Where could she be? He knew that she was coming home but he didn't know when and he feared that, if he nodded off, he'd miss her arrival. He hadn't slept in three days.
As Monday morning came, he was listless. He staggered to his truck and drove to work on autopilot, and then he sat in his truck, listening to a sad song, over and over, waiting for seven o'clock.
He tried Tanya's number again. This time, it didn't ring. It went straight to messaging and, in that sickening moment, Tom realized that Tanya's phone had died. He began to sob and his whole body shook as if he was having a seizure. He couldn't move. He felt as if part of him died, as terror that ripped at him bubbled through his tears. He couldn't handle it. His thoughts descended to primal fear and dread and it was more than he could bear.