Where am I? Who am I...?
|I could taste a salty sting at the back of my throat. It was a slightly rotten taste by now, for whatever it was that sat in the pockets of my mouth had been there for a long time. I swished a cleansing saliva from front to back, coughed and then spat. My throat was raw and bare, and from what I could gather by the fiery and uncomfortable grating against my skin, my body was in no better condition. The Hell’s-kitchen heat fried the skin on my back. I could tell it was burnt, no question. How bad it was charred though, I have no idea. I tried to open my swollen shutters. No luck. I tried to roll over, or move in any way. No luck, immobile. Was this my end? Unsure. In fact I was unsure about a lot of things right now; where was I? Who was I…? A knifing migraine returned to taunt my already troubled mind. Or had it returned. Had it not been there the whole time?
What was that? The sound was so brazen, so close. Then it came to me, thanks to the foreign noises now filling my brain. That pop was my ear decompressing, opening the floodgates.
There goes the other one. The muffled noises intensified, clarified. A squawk overhead, the knife stuck in further. A return squawk and the waves lapping at my feet; conflicting sounds that told me I was on a beach, and surely that pebbled roughness against my skin was the sand. Sand so hot that my whole body felt as if it were cooking in its own juices. It was a soup of sorts, filled up with the fleshy goodness of my battered organs. I can see it now on one of those catchy menu boards placed before small bistros. “Soup of the day: Ron chowder, side of seagull.”
Ah Ron, my name. Ronald, Ronnie and Ron. Which did I go by? Oh it’s no matter; I’ll probably never hear another person speak any of the three again. My left eye cracked open. It was very painful and I could see nothing, save a never-ending white light. The slits contracted, the world came into view. Through the fading light I could see a tranquil, azure sea. The ocean? No, too calm. This must have been the sky. My leg twitched, creating a subliminal confidence that said I could now stand. I dumped all remaining strength into my arms and legs, then pushed up to my knees and finally reached a swaggering stance.
Looking down at my hands I became frightened, so pale, shaking. “You’re like an advertisement for a summer vacation in Siberia.” I laughed to myself. A subconscious laugh mind you, I was too drained to express anything physically.
But for any laughing on the inside, I wondered what on the outside had caused my once bronze skin to transform into this pastel impostor. I moved my hands away from my gaze, noticing a slight problem. The sand at my feet was becoming the sponge for a steady flow of claret wine. I was leaking my soup. A second later my eye shut, and my legs gave out. A comforting warmth enveloped my body before breaking with bitter cold.