Darkness envelopes my consciousness. My toes. My ankles. My body. Consuming my entire body. No, not my entire body. My neck? No, not my neck. I can take a deep breath. I take a deep breath.
Pain. Shocking pain.
Don’t take deep breaths. Deep breaths bring pain. I don’t want that. My mind is foggy. I should open my eyes. They feel so heavy. I can move my thumb and feel the current against my fingers. Shallow water. My eyelids are heavy. I listen to my breath. In. Out. In. Out. Open your eyes. I’m so tired. I just want to sleep. I lift my hand slowly over the water and pain travels through my body, sharpest in my stomach. Ignore the pain. Ignore the pain. Ignore the pain my mind chants. I rub my forefinger and thumb together and they feel sticky. Not water?
The water feels strange, thick, sticky. It’s not water, I realize. My senses start to come to me. In the distance I can hear something, a motor running? Air conditioner? But it’s snowing outside, isn’t it? The constant hum from the motor is melodic and makes me sleepy. My eyes still feel so heavy. Don’t sleep. Don’t sleep.
Where am I? Why can’t I open my eyes? Why are they so heavy? I open them.
The ceiling is spotted. No, not spots. Stains? Dark red stains. Where am I? I can feel my anxiety bubble, my heart rate increases and my vision clears. Dark red stains on the ceiling. This isn’t right. Where was I? I wasn’t here. I wasn’t here. I wasn’t here.
I was home. I was in my bed. I wasn’t here. Panic takes over and I rush to sit up. The pain is so blinding, so consuming that I forget how to breathe. No sound comes from my mouth because it’s stuck in my throat. The water, no not water – whatever this liquid is, laps around my body. Where … the… fuck… am I?
The motor running and the water splashing, that’s what I hear. I can also hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears. I’m in a tub, I realize. I grip the edges and pull myself up. I can see over the edge. This is not my bathroom. I know that. But I know nothing else. The tiled floor is dusty and old. There’s a stark white towel neatly folded on the sink. The sink is a brownish gray from grime. On top of the towel is a piece of folded paper.
I look down and it’s what I imagine. As I see the dark red pool I’m slouched in the smell of copper assaults my nose and by the clean stitched black line down my stomach I realize that the pool of blood I sit in is my own.
I close my eyes and count my breaths before panic sets in. Where am I? What was the last thing I remembered? There’s nothing. Nothing. My brain is nothing and the fear that comes with it is paralyzing. I listen to the motor again and I realize then that it’s the bathroom fan. I imagine at one point it circulated air effectively but now it was nothing more than white noise.
It takes forever but I pull myself to an upright position. Next to the towel are two white pills and a glass of water. The items on the sink; the towel, the pills, the paper, and the glass are a stark clean contrast against the dirt and grime of the bathroom.
“Hello?” I try to call out but my voice is dry and cracked. It sounds foreign to me. I don’t even recognize my own voice.
There’s no answer and I can tell I’m alone. I don’t know how, but I know this. What seems like hours pass before I pull myself completely out of the tub. I realize by the time I get out that the tub isn’t filled with my blood because it’s too thin. There’s something else. Ammonia? My skin burns and the suture down my stomach aches and throbs with my movements.
Hunched over I pull myself up to the sink and kneel in front of it, bracing myself on the counter. I assume the pills are meant for me but I ignore them. It’s the paper on the towel that interests me. The word, no – the name printed neatly on the paper, looks familiar but I don’t know who it is. I think, perhaps, that it’s my name.