Whoosh…Whoosh….Whoosh…….Rush of warm air. Whoosh….Whoosh… Ohh…my face. The whoosh….whoosh… again, this time, slowing but still warm. “What the hell is going on? I can’t move. Where am I? She though. A small twitch came from her right arm. Whoosh………….whoosh……….creek....whoosh creek…and a final metallic crick signaling the end. Then another small twitch from her right arm, and this time she could feel fingers grasping. “Why can’t I see?” she thought. Where am I? What happened?
The warm air remained constant on her face. It seemed the only part of her to have any feeling. Why can’t I see? She repeated to herself. Then a faint sliver of light came into view. It was not quite sight but it was definitely light coming from outside her body. “What the hell is going on? Ok maybe if I just concentrate. Let me just concentrate.” She exasperatedly told herself. There was another twitch from her right arm, grasping of fingers, followed by the first twitch from her left arm. “Ok Miss you need to focus…” “Focus….” said a different voice coming from deep within her head, a man’s voice. The sliver of light turned into a bleeding blinding crack. “Focus….” The man’s voice urged. The crack turned into a fog of dark green light. “Ok miss just concentrate you can do it” She had the sensation that her eyes were open now but still not quite seeing. She faintly felt a slow blink. “OK miss this is working, you’ll be fine.” The man’s voice calmly said. The world stared filtering back to through her eyes in a foggy haze of green and brown. The first thing that came into focus was what she thought to be a billboard. “N..C..9…5…4.6..1.29. “What is that, some kind of phone number?” She imagined a fog in her brain, the same green and brown hew, as the rest of the world. Like leaves of trees that have lingered on a little too long into the fall. She imagined this fog slowing down her internal world. She focused her concentration on her eyes and the thought of vision. Slowly the brain fog started to roll out she saw, what she thought, was a long knife attached to the sign. There was another slow blink. It helped her eyes focus. She started to become aware that she was lying on her left side. She was also hot and wet. There was more movement in her right side, this time significantly more than a twitch, followed by stronger grasping from her hand. As the fog continued to clear from her brain she started to feel the first sensations from her legs, however the green brown hue remained steady.
She was relieved that she could now at least feel that she was still whole, all limbs attached. “Slow and steady wins the race rabbit. Let’s get your eyes working then we will worry about everything else later. Baby steps for now.” said the man’s voice. Another slow blink, the fog is lifting. Kate found herself lying on her side left staring straight at the small blade of a crashed and burning helicopter. “The whooshing sound must have been the final turns of the main blade. A few more inches and I wouldn’t be seeing anything anymore.”
“OK miss let’s try sitting up.” said the voice. She slowly started to move her head. Engaging the muscles in her neck took tremendous effort. They were very stiff and rigid. In fact, her whole body was rigid. She vaguely recalled being in a car accident when she was a young child. She could not remember anything specifically about the incident only the memory of waking up the next morning in the hospital and the stiffness in her body. She had the feeling that every muscle in her body was a rubber band ready to snap. She felt another slow blink, and the fog again slightly receded. Her murky green visions remained constant, and she was unclear now if the green was from the outside or the inside. It reminded her of looking through a jar of swamp water.
She pushed her right palm onto the ground and began to roll over into a half pushup position, feeling the rubber bands getting tighter and more strained. “No time for girly pushups Missy.” said the voice, which she now believed to be her father. She saw trough the hue, there was a small puddle where she had been sitting. “Why am I wet?” she thought. “At least it doesn’t smell like fuel.” If not for the green hue, she would have noticed that the puddle was a deep red.
“Your half way home miss, now let’s see about getting you vertical.,” said the man’s voice. She drew her left leg to her chest. She felt the rubber bands were now near their braking point. They started to feel more like high-tension telephone cables. “Come on Katie you can do this” the man’s voice encouraged. “Katie, ya that’s me. My name is Kate.” With all her will, she pushed her leg and began to rise. Unsteadily at first but with more effort she rose to a full standing position. Slowly the tangles of rubber band muscles began to loosen. She could feel herself swaying from side to side rigid and stiff but upright.
She slowly surveyed the scene, panning her head left to right and sniffing the air. What she saw did not make sense. Even through the murky green, she saw a town in ruins. She could see smoke in the distance just over the old rooflines of the nearby buildings, although too distant to smell, it was thick and black. She was standing on a short spanned, four lane bridge over a river, a deep green river to her eyes. A downtown lay in front of her just past the chopper crash. Cars were lining the road on both sides. Some cars overturned, most with windows broken, all abandoned.
The town buildings would be what you expected for a Midwest small farm town. Turn of the century two and three story buildings, which at one time might have held saloons and tact shops, but now most likely were coffee houses and cell phone stores. The town extended about eight blocks up and no more than six blocks deep. Behind her, on the opposite end of the bridge and to the left, stood a large church, to the right were the beginnings of some main street houses. In contrast to the burning and hastily dismantled main street in front of her, the housing side of the river appeared much more inviting. “That’s the way I … to move, if I can…,” she thought.
“How long was I… out? This could not have happened quickly. Chaos like this takes time… I am so hungry.” Although her now green vision blocked out most details in her new world she could see that is was daytime, however as to when exactly she could not pinpoint. She slowly and unsteadily pivoted on her right leg began to drag her left leg around her torso. “One step at a time” said her dad’s voice. The rubber bands were again being wound within her muscles. She lifted her left foot forward toward the houses ahead. She could only manage a slow drag of the right, she decided it was better than nothing. She inched off the bridge and toward the group of large downtown houses. She noticed that the sun was now beginning to fade off to the right. “I better get inside soon, something tells me I don’t want to be out after dark.”
The first house she approached was a large, three-story white, or what she assumed to be white, Victorian style home. At some point in the normal world, it must have been impressive. With its large overhanging front porch and outside sitting area, it must have been great place to hunker down for local summer parades. “Sitting in the shade, watching the parade, drinking lemonade.” Said her father’s voice. The home was now less inviting with all the windows broken out in the face, along with the front door ripped off its hinges and laying in the yard.
Kate slowly moved her rubber band body down the street still dragging her right foot lazily behind her. The next house was much less impressive. It was only a small two story with broken storm shutters, with what she assumed to be brown with red trim. Although rough and unkempt, this one was a little different. First, it was made of brick, and more importantly, the windows were not broken out but appeared to be boarded up. The front door still enacted and as she glanced up, she could see a faint sliver of light in one of the upper windows and smelled a faint..ohh! As she looked up toward the window, an intense stream of pain pierced her body. She let out a primitive guttural whale. Ohhh!! The pain came from her stomach but seemed to emanate from the bowels of hell itself. He belly contracted and contorted, and began to summersault as if in attempt to leave her body. The rubber bands tightened. Again, she let out a pitiful whale.
She regained he composure grabbed at her stomach and began to move toward the house. She clumsily negotiated up three stairs to the small rectangular concrete poach, using the black rod iron rails for support of her non-working right leg. She could see that the front door boarded up solid, but they gave a quick turn of the handle just in case, it did not turn. She gave a couple bangs on the door with he left palm, and attempted to cry for help. Again, the only sound that came out of her damaged body was a guttural croak and grunt. “Maybe nobody is home, maybe they went on a little vacation. Somewhere… like …Jamaica, just to get away from the burning… building and the crashing air… transport…tation.” She felt her thoughts getting slightly thicker. She envisioned the brain fog returning and tapping on the door of her mind.
Turning and making her way, back down the steps she spotted a small window behind one of the dying bushes. “I may be just small enough to slip in there if break… the glass.” Using a nearby rock and all her rubber band strength, she managed to break the small window. Falling to her knees first and then toppling to the ground face first, she pushed her head through the small window and into the basement. It was then that she smelled something again.
It was not the dirt floor of the Michigan basement, of which she crashed head first into after pushing herself through the narrow window, it was something else, something “good” she thought. Pulling herself upright, she lifted her head and stuck her nose into the air. As she stood and smelled, wisps of fog began to roll back into her brain this time feeling a little sticky like grape jam.
She felt her way through the dark but thankfully clear basement, stumbling left and right and sometimes in circles until she came what she thought to be a staircase. Felling to her left she gripped a railing. Slowly and methodically, she dragged her rubber band body up step-by-step “I don’t know what’s up there but I need to get to help before the pain comes back again”. She knew the fog was rolling in heavy now. Eventually she came to the end of the steps finding the door with a hard bang to her forhead. She gripped the knob and gave it a turn. Unlike the front, this door opened. The fog thickened, the rubber bands tightened, and the pain in the belly began to twitch and roll over. “I need to find help, I need it…” she murkily thought. She stopped and pointed her nose left then right. Slowly she began moving toward the stronger scent. She made her way to the right past the kitchen and toward a staircase.
Rubber bands tight and fog deeply entrenched she make her way up the stairs, step by creaky step. “Where is it, I need to get help.” She lifted her nose to the short hallway on the left. She turned and pointed the rubber bands in the direction of the smell. Dragging her almost useless right foot behind her, she came to a red door on the right. It was painted with small pink and yellow flowers. She smelled a faint whiff from and placed hand onto the knob. Just then, a noise came from the door at the end of the hall. Kate quickly turned her head facing toward the noise and an enormous waft of smell came flooding toward her. Letting go of the handle she again turned the rubber bands, and pointed toward the end of the hall. Dragging, tightening, and swaying she made her way down the narrow passage. The pain started to twitch in her belly and she placed her right hand onto the wall in support, leaving what appeared to Kate a green handprint and smear down across the wall. The fog turned from a jelly to a heavy coating, thick and sticky like molasses.
Reaching the end of the hall, she leaned her nose forward and took in a deep breath. “Something… in there… help…I…need help…” The molasses clogged every ripple and wave within her brain. She placed her shaky hand onto the brass doorknob, and began to turn. The door opened silently and slowly revealing a dimly lit bathroom, with what appeared to be a dark figure at one end. It was a woman, back turned and bending lightly dumping water into an old claw-foot tub. Kate inched closer dragging her limp foot and rubber bands. The door shut behind her. As the door latched, the woman turned. She was dark skinned with long black hair and dark eyes, which once fixed on Kate and all at once read surprise, horror, shock, and sadness. Kate tried to speak but only croaked in a discorded tone. The woman lunged to one side of Kate and attempted to pass her, a maneuver, which was too ambitious for such a small space. Kate reached out her arms and gripped her shoulders. Using her rubber band strength, she held her tight. Again, Kate attempted speech but only croaked and moaned. “I need…help…” she thought through the molasses. “Help…me”…
Kate brought her closer and closer. “Help me.” Kate thought. The woman wiggled and yelled then began to cry. “Help me. Why won’t you help me?” Kate thought again. The molasses thickened and finally hardened. The rubber bands of Kate’s body began to snap one by one and she began to feel herself slip into unconsciousness. The bliss of the aroma finally overtook her. The last thing Kate saw was a reflection in the above sink mirror of a hideous green and gray decomposed monster biting into the neck of a dark haired woman.
Drip…drip…drip….Kate’s eyes flickered. Drip…drip… “Where am I? What’s.” drip…drip… came the noise from the overturned bucket on the sink. Drip…drip… The twitching began. There was a green sliver of light and a tightening the rubber bands. “Help me. Where am I? What happed?” she thought. “I need help.” A pain began in her stomach. A guttural moan escaped. The fog rose and fell. She slowly rose and began inching her way down the hall. Dragging her right foot behind her, she came to a red flower door. “I’m so hungry. Ohh…yummy…smell.” She placed her hand onto the knob and turned. The door creaked open, and she stepped into the room. “Can you help me?” she thought as she approached the babies’ crib. “Can you help me…?”