She survived... something. Now she has to stay alive long enough to be rescued.
| She slowly blinked open her eyes and tried to take stalk of her surroundings. The starless sky pressed in like a weighted blanket. Somewhere to the left, there was a quiet hum. From the same direction, a harsh white light gave the grass and rock a heavily shadowed glow. In it, she could see the brown outline of a wooden fence post. She turned her gaze forward and noted the earthen berm rising beyond the end of her feet. With her surroundings broadly established, she turned to assess herself.
Legs? No feeling. Back Sore. Torso... Why?... I thought I left my red jacket at home.
As the woman worked her way up her body, her vision pressed in. The black stripped away the edges of her view. The lights slowly dimmed as her thoughts trailed off. Where was she? How had she gotten here? Why was she half-buried in the snow? Her brain told her that there should be more pain. Something was horribly wrong. Yet in her confusion, she couldn’t identify what it was.
She tried speaking, yet words failed to formulate. Her mind raced, yet it could not pick a direction. So, words went unspoken and vital questions went unanswered. Much to her protest, her vision went black. Time came and went. Though, she did not know how much it was. It could have been minutes or it could have been hours.
Her eyes opened to a world of black. The light had been snuffed out. A freezing north wind cut through her thin clothing and caused her teeth chatter. With that, the fog momentarily cleared and her mind screamed of danger. If she didn’t get out of here, the winter night would make her it’s next victim. The woman went to move her legs. Nothing happened. Panic set in, and she lashed out. Two shoulders moved. Her arms bent; her neck twisted, and her head rotated from side to side. The only other response her body gave was a stab of white-hot pain That shot up through her back. The absent pain from earlier had arrived in full force.
She froze in place. Slowly, the shot of pain gave way. She gritted her teeth and plunged her hands back into the snow. Her fingers clawed through the sand and rock until they found a suitable anchor.
“To the fence,” she told herself, “1… 2… 3”
She pushed up and out with her arms. Fire exploded in every limb and tears formed in her eyes as her body protest the move. She sank back into the gravel to breath before trying again. Three more times she tried, with each move being more painful than the last. As she dropped back into the snow, she had covered the last few possible inches. The adrenaline ran its course and left her completely exhausted.
The sound of each heavy breath echoed in her ears, while she tried to formulate a new plan. By this point, the cold augmented pain giving way to to a numbness that ran the length of her whole body. Her teeth chattered as she stared up at a starless sky. Eventually, her world went dark again… at least she thought it did. On this night, the line between the real world and sleep was starting to blur.
Suddenly the space around her illuminated in dancing colors. Lights of red, white, and blue danced across the snow in a blurred display that stripped all sense of reality from the scene. Above her voices chattered. In the distance, she could hear the rumble of a diesel engine, and the wine of hydraulic arms. From this point forward, blackness came and went with consciousness as her body fought against its inevitable shut down. Suddenly, another white light darted through her peripheral vision. Turning, she saw a person playing the light across the ground a couple of yards away, with their back now to her.
“Help me,” she wheezed.
The words must have come out louder than she thought, as the man suddenly spun around. The light landed on her body, giving a clear view of her blood-soaked jacket and unnaturally twisted body.
“Hey! Over here! I found someone,” the man yelled.
Her stomach churned at the sight, even as the blackness tried to set in again. She blinked it away. Although she barely registered the sound of snow crunching under rapidly closing footsteps. The silhouette of someone’s head flooded her vision. A cold and calloused finger probed her neck.
“She’s alive, barely,” another woman announced, grimly before turning to her, “Hey ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Marie,” she croaked.
The woman nodded and turned to her partner.
“We’ve got to stop that bleeding,” she declared.
The words sounded as though they were being said underwater. Marie’s eyes narrowed as she watched the man nodded and turned to the bag beside him.
“Marie, I need you to stay with me,” the woman called out.
At the same time, the woman gave her cheek a firm pat.
“Can you move your arm for me?” she followed up.
Marie opened her mouth to speak. Yet instead of producing words, everything returned to black.