The judge’s gable slammed loudly, making Richard jump in his chair. Richard wondered if it made everyone who has just been declared guilty jump when it sealed their fate. It was an effective symbol of finality… as he heard his life end with the loud crack of authority.
The court thugs had their hands in his armpits; hauling him up to haul him off before he even had a chance to sit back down after the sentencing. Richard was vaguely aware of moving his shackled feet as he was escorted to the back and out of the courtroom. He couldn’t fathom how he was in the predicament he now faced. As he had done for weeks, he kept thinking back to the day that his life had changed and what he would have done differently had he knew. He missed Marie so much, but wishing doesn’t make anything change else he wouldn't be here.
They were pulling him along the corridor behind the courtroom. There was a woman wearing a uniform of the court holding a door open on the left side of the hallway. It appeared to be his destination. The woman seemed impatient but the men on either side of them kept the pace steady. Perhaps they were used to the shock induced stumble of people who were sentenced as he had been.
It was a wide doorway… perhaps designed to allow someone to be flanked as he was lead through it. The guard on his left kept his grip in the armpit as he led him in and the one on the right faded back and came in behind. Inside the room there was a gurney with a simple IV drip by the head of it. The sheets were not the muted blue of a hospital gurney which were designed to keep patients calm, these were stark white and screamed of indifference to him.
He felt a shot of cold climb up his spine and awareness flooded back to him in a rush. He was reacting before he knew he was going to move. He lunged back ward, throwing his head toward the captor he knew was behind him. He felt the satisfying connection of the back of his head crashing into the face of the guard. He tried to turn but his shackled feet betrayed him and he fell backwards to the ground with his arms pinned behind him. There was a flash of pain in his shoulder and he noticed action above him before a blue bolt lanced out from the doorway and stole mobility away from him.
“Get him secured NOW.” It was the woman’s voice ringing with authority as the two guards hauled him up roughly.
His body would not respond to signals and he could feel himself quivering uncontrollably as they led him forward and shoved him onto the gurney. They must have hit him with a shock pistol of some kind. He felt a warmth between his legs and knew that he had soiled himself.
“Careful there, he’s now property of Biosync and I don’t want the product damaged.”
They flipped him over unceremoniously and he could tell that they were securing him to the gurney. His shoulder popped agonizingly when they released his wrists and moved against arm to his side into the security straps. He could hear himself mewling but it went unnoticed as they jostled and jerked him around to get him secured properly.
It wasn’t long before the IV was slipped into his vein and oblivion was waiting. He wondered whether he would ever wake again.
* * * * * * *
There was a roaring sound. It was similar to listening to a waterfall with both ears plugged. He could feel the roaring more in his chest than hearing it in his ears. All around him was a grey swirling mass, with a feeling like vertigo everywhere Richard turned. He felt completely stuck in place, and could not see anything. His eyes would not register anything but grey and try as he might, he couldn’t seem to open his eyes without a stinging feeling.
Soon he stopped turning himself around and stood in place and focused on breathing. His stomach threatened to overwhelm him: he could feel it like a heavy soft melon in his abdomen, pulling so heavily so as to tear his insides. He could feel the roaring getting louder as the vertigo took him, and suddenly he was falling and he still couldn't see. He was desperate to open his eyes as his stomach did a violent heave…
… and his eyes opened to blinding light as he lurched over and vomited on the side and over the edge of the gurney. He heard it splattering all over the floor. His eyes registered it as a vast spewing of blood out of his mouth and he felt himself go cold with the realization. He began shivering uncontrollably as he heaved again and again. After a time of heavy breathing he rolled himself back so that his shoulder blades were both on the mattress and he tried to control his quivering body… slowly his breathing slowed as his body recovered. There was so much pain, but it all seemed so numb.
He felt more than saw a bustle of activity around him as people moved around his bedside. He tried to talk but his mouth wouldn’t work and he could sense himself slipping into unconsciousness again. His arms and legs were restrained and he was wondering why when he felt someone pressing a towel against the sheets next to his shoulder. For some reason he was surprised at the gentle manner that they moved as they tried to soak up his mess.
Thoughts of his wife trailed after him into the abyss. He couldn’t figure out why they made him sad.