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Michael Small Marathon Man
My eyes felt particularly heavy. It was as though some imperceptible force was holding them shut. This clearly wasn’t a simple case of conjunctivitis and it actually felt a little like they’d been sewn shut. The swish of what was likely embalming fluid behind my eyelids attested to this, and the notion of perpetual darkness was anything but appealing. I managed to prise my eyes marginally open then attempted to move my limbs but they felt leaden, almost pinned down to the spot. Voicing my anguish appeared fruitless too as both lips were conjoined and I appeared trapped inside my shell indefinitely. Meanwhile, every nerve ending positively burned like crazy.
As I gathered the strength to lift my head from the cold surface and prise open my eyes, the only greeting I received was of pure desolation. It was dark, there didn’t appear to be any light source and I couldn’t even make out my surroundings as I currently had no depth perception whatsoever. I continued to lift myself from my gurney and this provided twinges of pain which wasted no time spreading across my entire exoskeleton. But that wasn’t even the half of it. Aside from the pain, I felt a considerable sadness, as though my soul had been tampered with while out cold. The dull ache in my chest suggested something was absent inside of me, although I hadn’t the faintest clue as to what that may have been. Finally I plucked up the courage to investigate my immediate surroundings further. A quick glance at the intravenous drip to my right side instantly confirmed my very worst fears. I was still somewhere within the infirmary.
What did these Nazi fucks have planned for me? I had absolutely no recollection of what transpired while I was out cold and the next thing I knew I was in piercing agony, feeling as though half my insides had been scooped out without my prior agreement. I was starting to miss the security of being tucked snugly into white linen, waiting for the kindly orderlies to fetch me a tray of barely consumable sludge, and switch the channel for me so I wasn’t forced to watch yet another repeat of Columbo.Anything had to be preferable to feeling utterly empty. It would be necessary to solve the fucked up riddle which was holding me captive within this lonely place, locate my exit, and get the hell out of dodge before the Nazis returned to finish me off. I attempted to piece events together somewhat frantically. Bleeding Lotus; that’s right. I’d been trying to ascertain his coordinates before being whisked off on this devastating detour. The only constant appeared to be his revolving stool from his studio; the one he sat in whenever he made the magic happen. If I could locate him then maybe, just maybe, this nightmare would cease and, besides, other options were currently at a distinct premium.
There were the footsteps once again and each one brought painful memories flooding back. I seemed to be caught up in some sort of vile experiment whereby organs are donated unwittingly and crudely. The footsteps seemed to be gaining decibels so, deciding there was no time for hide and seek, I flung myself back onto the cold gurney and hurriedly pulled the sheet back over me. They stopped at the door and all I could discern was vague whispering; presumably as they decided which organ to excise next. Suddenly the door handle began to rotate and my aggressors entered the chamber. The next thing I discerned was the sound of a running tap and that alone sent a shock wave right through to my very core. Whomever that may be was scrubbing in preparation for their next surgical procedure. While I should have felt relieved by their cleanliness, ultimately it mattered not. The harsh reality was that I was next in theater. If I were to make a run for it, it had to be pronto. I peeked over from beneath my sheet and the surgeon has his back facing me, presenting a single fleeting opportunity to flee. It was shit or get off the pot and I’d recently seen enough feces to last me a lifetime so I chose the latter. Besides I was fairly sure they’d sewn my sphincter shut too.
When in a fix, quick thinking and actions are one’s closest ally, and this definitely constituted as a fix of sorts. As adrenaline kicked in all my aches and pains became vanquished and this second wind carried me to the open doorway before my antagonist could become privy to my escape plan. As I prepared to vacate the premises, the surgeon spotted my clandestine departure and sprang into action. Before he could arm himself with his bone saw, the sheer momentum of my fierce drive carried me through the doorway, and into what appeared to be a basement corridor.
There were no windows or regimented rows of beds to be discerned; just one long dank corridor which I traversed at optimum speed, body groaning but just about playing ball. I headed towards the questionable light source which appeared maybe forty yards from my current coordinates this offered all the encouragement I needed to commence my final push. Once there I could find that wretched stool, get back in the game, and find the elusive Bleeding Lotus or at least that’s what I clung to as I shot off like a whippet. To add a little extra peril to my already precarious situation; a slew of bullets then began to ricochet across the hallway behind my position. A swift glance to my rear revealed the surgeon hurriedly reloading his firearm as he prepared for round two of my cleansing. Fucking Nazis, a bone saw was one thing but nobody had told me there’d be guns at theis party. I had almost reached the twin doors by the time the second flurry of shrapnel advanced towards me. This time his accuracy was far better and two bullets snuggled into my upper torso. The first was in my shoulder-blade and shards of bone splintered forth from the sizable exit wound. However, while this obviously hurt like hell, it was the second hit which appeared likely to donate terminal bed-rest.
The bullet pierced my chest from one side, missing my heart by no more than half an inch, and nestling into my rib cage as it began to overflow with blood. This was sufficient to knock me once more from my feet and my face hit the ground, shattering a fair share of my front teeth on contact. This was proving far too much to take so I fell unconscious for a second time and found bliss in anonymity for a few moments. However, not for so long out on this occasion. I began to come to as two men began to transport me back to theater. So intense was the agony that I could barely so much as move a muscle now; my body appeared to have virtually shutdown in preparation for my inevitable denouement. In true Nazi fashion, they decided it would be amusing to open the double doors using my already battered face as a battering ram of sorts. It didn’t take a genius to work out that they weren’t best pleased by my incessant escape attempts and that meant even more misery being heaped upon me. For my crimes, I would likely be made to feel every pain imaginable and a number unimaginable before my heart eventually ceased pounding. It was already severely compromised and my only scant consolation came from the fact that the torment simply had to be over with soon.
Back in the theater of nighmares; I was now surrounded by glaring hatred. Any hopes of survival had taken a significant knock as I now counted Nazi footsoldiers, in addition to the two surgeons restraining me. One of these delightful gentlemen had his filthy hand through my glaring shoulder cavity, gripping my jutting marrow and clenching tightly for that little added discomfort. Through morsels learned during my brief romance with the German language I ascertained that they needed a little time to prepare for the lengthy procedure. In the meantime the two men shoved me onto a seat in the corner and left me there slumped against the wall. Just then, the chair appeared to rotate beneath me. Then it hit me like a bout of Bird Flu. Of all the chairs in all the world; these dumbass Nazis had only unwittingly placed me on the magic leather stool. Schwachkopf! A gentle push was all it took to banish me from this hellhole and, presumably, straight into the eye of yet another turd tornado. However, as my eyes acclimatized to their new surroundings, I couldn’t help but feel encouraged by the change of scenery. Maybe now I could find out Whatever Happened to Bleeding Lotus.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013 (Revised 2015)