His shoulder and neck hurt so badly. So did everything else. The pain in his neck and shoulder was just a bit different. A brilliant stabbing pain, clearly enough, because he was being stabbed. The little assholes couldn’t just take the money and run off. After handing over his wallet, two of them sucker punched him simultaneously in the gut and then, as he keeled over, another two drove their pocket knives into his body. Then they were running away and the world was beginning to blur. The ground was floating up to him slowly, it seemed, until, several long moments later, the muddy gutter full of a winter’s worth of roadside trash moved in for a kiss. He shut his eyes.
When he opened them, there she was. Mommy was across the room and wanted him to come to her, but he didn’t know how. She was smiling and saying his name. He couldn’t figure why Mommy was so happy because she was so far away and he was so slow, but she wouldn’t come to him so he screamed. He screamed and screamed at all the people around him, so many of them. They were giving him things and laughing and everyone was looking at him, but he only wanted to sleep. Here was some colorful paper and a loud toy, and there was a young girl playing by the school field. The green of the grass and it hurt so badly, his broken leg. He broke it on the slide. He had a broken leg and no one cared. Why didn’t anyone care? And who were those people in the bed below him? He could see them from the bedroom window. Their curtain is open. The woman was Mommy. She looked up, saw him, yelled for him to go someplace else, but the yelling wasn’t her fault. It was all the man’s fault. He hated the man, wanted to tell Daddy but he couldn’t remember what to tell; couldn’t remember who to tell it to; couldn’t remember his name.
Then he was in a different place, looking at a different bed draped with disorderly sheets and blankets beneath him. It was dark, but he recognized the place. He could hear a high pitch whine, and below that a muffled voice. Looking up as far as he could without moving his head--he couldn’t move, you see--he saw a kitchen to the left and a living room on the right. The only light came from a television; a blue and flickering, aggravating light. He hated it. He could see the back of a sofa and above it the heads of two people. He hated their hair and hated them. He didn’t know why and he hated that, too.
He was moving at a snail’s pace in the direction of the two on the couch.
The woman murmured something and stood. She looked into the bedroom, toward the ceiling, directly at him, but expressed nothing. She even stared at him for a moment. Straight at him. Then she squinted, blinked her eyes, and disappeared behind a wall where a yellow light came on. He could hear her peeing. She didn’t even care.
How she could pee so fucking apathetically while he was stuck wafting slowly through a stranger’s home was enraging beyond explanation. He wanted to kill her and the idiotic other.
By the time he heard the taps squeak off and her creaking back into the living room, the bedroom was behind him. He couldn’t see her; he was too low now and hadn’t regained the mobility of his neck. The back of a sofa and an ugly grey carper were all he could see. He knew where they were. They were just ahead of him now, past some fabric, springs, and cushion, probably watching television and cuddling. He wanted to end their intimacy, dismantle them. If he could only get close enough, he would, but he was moving disappointingly slow. He willed himself to go faster but nothing changed, and a terrible frustration overtook him.
He waited. It was all he could do. He hated it.
Only inches left.
He was almost upon them. He tried with all his will to scream his most blood-curdling scream, but nothing happened. Then just as the young man began to come back into view, so close now, the asshole turned his head and the room went away--and everything else came back.