Bang! Bang! I was awoken from a deep sleep and jumped up from bed. My head collided with something hard and I fell back into bed. I felt an intense pain race down my neck and into my lower back. My face felt as if I was walking under a sprinkler. Immediately I knew what was coming next. I could taste the viscus liquid on my lips, I was bleeding. I looked up and noticed the nail on the bottom of the upper bunk. I had not slept in a bunk bed in many decades and the bed had taken its revenge on my head. The pain became more intense and I grabbed the blanket and applied pressure to my head, but the flow of blood was stead and unrelenting. I felt as if I could not breathe. I tried to open my eyes fully but my sight was being obscured by the red flow. I called for Paul, but there was no answer. I more carefully stood from the lower bunk.
I tried to move forward but did not get far. I was pulled toward the floor by an unseen force at my left ankle. I used my hands to cushion my fall and let go of the blanket and the stream of blood became a torrent. I heard the scrapping of metal against concrete and felt the coolness of the concrete floor under my elbows. The impact was painful and I screamed from its intensity. I thought the pain in my elbows would be the worst, then my chin meet the concrete floor. My jaw was on fire. I pulled at my left leg but it was not going anywhere.
Bang! Bang! Bang! I had forgotten about what had awoken me. It was gun fire. I was certain of it. I shouted for Paul again, but there was still no answer. Suddenly there was an intense beam of light. The door slammed into the wall with a loud bang and the intensity of the light made me realize how dark the room was. I heard a loud voice in a strange language. Suddenly the room went dark again. There was a bag over my head.
As the sun approached the horizon the sky turned a beautiful shade of orange with a generous spread of grey clouds. I was hoping that there would be no rain this evening. I had my camera and was looking forward to getting some great photographs but mostly I needed to complete my run. Running and photography were dear to me and I was never too far from doing either. I picked up the pace on the first leg of my evening 5k. As I passed the mile marker I heard the crack of thunder. I was startled but continued without missing a beat. I could hear the voice of my high school science teacher warning me to find shelter. I knew better but I picked up the pacing certain I could finish before it started to rain. Sweat was starting to bead over my forehead. It felt great to be out in the cool of the Florida fall. forgetting the threat of rain was easy as I lost myself in the energy of the music in my head. I returned to reality long enough for my phone to remind me that I was behind the pace of my last run.
As I increased the pace I could feel the increase in my heart rate and the comforting wetness in my shirt. Even the slight dryness in my mouth was reassuring. I swallowed just enough spit to moisten my throat. It was just enough to allow me to maintain my pace without excessive dryness. I continued at a good clip passing many the walkers and feeling great in my return to pace since I had had such a long lay off. I quickly was lost in rhythm of my heart beat and became singularly focused on the heart foot connection. I felt great. I no longer felt the pace. I was brought back to reality when my phone beeped alerting me that I had covered 2 kilometers and that my pace had exceeded my last run. It was a gratifying reminder. but I had felt the pace. Conformation was always welcomed but I lost focus and slowed for the next 4oo meters. Again my phone alerted me to pick up the pace. This is what I loved about technology. I had coded this app myself and had not shared it with anyone. It was my own private coach. We were doing a great job. I had given the app a personality and named her Shelly. It was a fitting place to be thinking of her. This is where we meet. Six months ago I had lost myself in my run and she was delivered to my memory in one long chain. I had been thinking of doing this for as long as I could think. It was a magical experience without any magic.
I felt a sharp jolt to my right shoulder and immediately became weak and lost all control of my body. I fell to the ground and could not move. As I laid there, on my stomach, I felt like there were flames on my back. I could smell the fumes of burning polyester. The was a hot spot under my stomach, it was my phone. The heat was intense, but I was not able to move. I smelled the burning of flesh and tried to move, but no movement happened. In my head I was struggling to get up, but in reality I could not moved a muscle. It felt like a lifetime, but I finally recovered to pulled myself onto all fours. As I looked down I noticed the melted phone and my ripped running shorts.
As I removed my shirt it felt as if I had also pulled off a layer of skin. I could feel the stiffness in the remains of the shirt. As my shirt slipped over my head the swell of cauterized flesh became overwhelming. The resulting nausea was powerful and exhaustive and I vomited copious amounts of greenish fluid. On the ground it looked like mossy stagnant water and the back of my throat felt as bad as it looked. The pain moved from being sharp to an intense burning and the world around me faded to grayish-blackness. The next sounds I heard were the alarm bells of a hospital monitor.