TITLE: Awake and Astray
GENRE: Upmarket Fiction
I have the weirdest taste in my mouth. Metallic, like I’ve been sucking on pennies, and spicy—no, not spicy. Stinging. Blood. What the—? I move my tongue and feel tiny pebbles. They’re sharp and cutting my gums and the insides of my cheeks. Teeth? No. Glass.
I turn to spit out the pieces of broken glass, but my neck is encased in something that makes it impossible to move. I push them out of my mouth with the tip of my tongue and they roll down my chin on a trail of saliva and blood.
I open my eyes and see I’m in some kind of… storage room? With shelves of equipment, strange monitors, dials, wires.
Have I been kidnapped?
The room is tiny, and moving, and noisy. There are beeps, the hiss and tinny chatter of a walkie-talkie, the looped bellow of a siren.
Where the f*** am I?
It finally registers: an ambulance.
Next question: Why the f*** am I in an ambulance?
I try to sit up, but only manage to lift my head maybe an inch. I have a lot more questions. A hand on my shoulder prevents me from rising any further. No, it’s not just the hand. I’m strapped in.
“Nice to see you coming around, but don’t try to sit up. Do you know today’s date?”
“September ninth, 1999,” I mumble.
“It’s actually September tenth,” he corrects me. Close enough.
“What happened? Am I hurt?” Of course you’re hurt, genius.