See Jack Die

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Chapter 6

Post-accident, Day 1.

Recovery room, 9:36 am . . .

The first flashes of light, they startled me. They shook me, and I began to shiver. I knew nothing. I was a blank sheet. An empty book with no title, no beginning, no ending. Nothing.

All around me were bright, blurry lights. I couldn’t hear anything, but I felt like something was missing. Something important. It was my heartbeat . . . there wasn’t one.

People—doctors I guess—were racing around me, doing all sorts of important, medical things. There were needles, and paddles, and yelling, but I didn’t feel any of that. I felt something else. Like somebody was tugging on me. And right in front of my face, these dark masses were looming. Like someone was sitting on my chest.

My mind couldn’t make sense of it. Something was draped in front of me, blocking my vision. And the doctors and nurses, they didn’t seem to pay it any mind. Something was sitting on my chest and they didn’t even notice.

And then I realized that I was paralyzed. I couldn’t breathe. I had no control over my body. I didn’t have any sensation in my fingers or toes. Just this pressure on my chest. This crushing.

A truck sitting on my ribcage.

Like a million pounds of ice-cold metal flattening the life out of me.

And then it began to come into focus, these dark heavy things. They were moving around purposefully. They had long, thin arms and hunched, thick bodies. They might have been built of smoke. The absence of light. As my eyes struggled to figure out where I was, my mind was scrambling to understand what was happening to me.

Who am I? didn’t even come into the equation, yet.

These big cold things on my chest, they started to carve at my sternum. They had some sharp things in their hands. Large knifes, maybe. Each knife seemed to have two blades, side by side, both of them tearing into my torso. Cutting and cutting and cutting. And there was no blood. Just the repeated stabs.

They just kept on doing this. And the nurses and doctors, they didn’t care in the least. Like this was something that happens normally. Like they couldn’t even see me being ripped apart.

Strangely, I didn’t feel much. The stabs of these knives were cold, and they came so fast in succession, one right after the next, that I didn’t have time to feel the pain. Slice after slice, they cut deeper.

And then, without warning, they began tugging at me; tugging at my insides. Pulling me inside out. They yanked, and I felt myself being ripped free of my body, an inch at a time. I watched as I was pulled away from my eyes. Watching from inside my body, looking at the inside of my face disappear. I’m seeing the parts of my body that only my blood, and morticians, ever get to see.

I saw my head, my teeth and nose . . . all of it from the inside. And I fell, down my spine, towards my chest. And then, somehow, I could see the bright lights of the room again. Above this giant opening in my chest, I saw four long, clawed hands reaching for me. Trying to free me from the constraints of my body. No eyes, no voices, just sharp claws and long, bony fingers.

Those arms and fingers, they were like the appendages of insects—thin until their joints, where they thickened briefly, until the next joint. Like the arms of spiders, were each thin sharp finger. And they wanted me. They wanted to remove me from this body. And just as I felt myself being tugged away . . .

. . . It all suddenly stopped. And I fell back into my body, crashing into my head. And my eyes were rolling dizzily. And my head hurt in a way I will never be able to comprehend. Sounds started coming back.

Beeping.

Some woman barking muffled orders that my mind couldn’t interpret.

This pain in my head that felt like being kicked a thousand times by a horse. And as the tears poured from my eyes, and my throat began to feel choked and constrained, I could see that they were gone. Those beings that had been sitting on my chest, cutting at me. They were gone. Their spider arms, and their knives, and their sharp fingers, all of it was gone.

And the first thing I did was look at my chest. I couldn’t turn my head, but my eyes were free to move. And my chest . . . it was . . . it was fine. Nothing at all.

No gaping wound.

No giant gash.

My body wasn’t turned inside out.

A young woman with dark hair and the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen—I think—wiped my face with a cool towel. And she smiled, “You’re going to be just fine. Just try and relax, okay.”

Her accent was distinctly Southern. And the only thing that I knew for sure, was that I knew absolutely nothing. I had no starting point. No moorings. No frame of reference.

“Can you tell me your name, sir?” she said, her face soft and tanned. She continued to wipe my forehead and cheeks with the cool cloth.

“Do you remember your name?” she insisted in such a wonderfully sweet voice.

I tried to say, no, but the blackness overcame me before the words made their way to the surface. And as I faded off, I knew something was wrong. Things were not balanced. For reasons I may never be able to explain, I knew that there were doors open to me that should not be. My body had made a call to some other place, but it never hung up.

I was still connected to this place that I shouldn’t be. And that line, it wasn’t dead. It wasn’t empty. On the other end of the line . . . things were listening.

McDonald’s.

Moments later...

When I finished telling Ricky about this, he didn’t have much to say. Nothing constructive, anyway.

“You’re either some kind of psychic phenomenon,” he said as he finished his burger, “. . . or you’re as crazy as a shithouse rat in a rubber factory.” He shrugged. “Six in one hand, half dozen in the other.”

Thanks for the vote of confidence, buddy.

Twenty minutes later I was lying down, staring up at the bumpy landscape of the ceiling in my apartment. Like looking at the moon from an orbiter. I’m seeing the way satellites might see. And the whole time I’m floating above this strange terra, this other tingly feeling vibrates through me.

I’m half hoping they wouldn’t show up. But kind of hoping that they will. I’m not a spook junkie, or anything like that. But the adrenaline I feel pulsing through my body when they’re creeping and crawling around . . .

There’s nothing like it that I’ve experienced. But then, I’m not quite five-months-old, yet. So I have a lot of growing up to do.


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