It’s a strange thing, waking up dead. The strangest feeling I’d ever had. When I woke up on the side of the road with a pipe through my chest I knew there was no way I was going to survive this. Still I took the liberty of walking down that barely visible highway. The streetlights that hovered in the sky above me every few feet seemed to answer the call of the lights in the city it ran through. Street lights, building lights, rooms, windows. I walked by a giant gap in the railing left by the freight carrier that crashed through it to the valley below. The headlights were on. I wanted to go down to help, but I didn’t. I knew I couldn’t.
I stumbled on numb legs, responding to the will coursing through the gel that used to be my spinal cord. For a second I thought I was alive when a car swerved to avoid hitting me. I knew I was dead when the driver continued on without a second thought. I walked forever through an empty city. The few pedestrians I passed looked at me as if I weren’t human; jaws dropped, cigarettes fell from mouths, the baby in the arms of a teen run-away stopped crying. Oh, how cute he was…or she. So hard to tell at that age.
Finally, I reached a hospital. The noise from a departing ambulance was almost as blinding as its flashing red and blue lights. I wondered where it was going. I made my way through the dual sliding doors; it was so bright I thought I’d walked into heaven. I laughed at that thought. God, with an electric, sliding, golden gate. Ha! Then again, that’s not such a bad idea.
I stood in the lobby full of waiting patients. They all stared in amazement at me, at the woman with a big, black, metal pipe through her. I couldn’t tell you what the back looked like. I tried to stretch to look out of curiosity, but couldn’t. I couldn’t turn at all. Blood dripped on the floor. I thought it was mostly from the flesh wound in my chest, until I felt thick liquid on my face. When I was walking I noticed my hair was wet. I thought it must’ve rained. I guess it hadn’t. Blood dripped from my head like it was a leaking faucet. I ran my fingers through my hair. When I removed them, dark, wet, wavy, dead hair and scalp came along. God, what a mess. I don’t who was gonna clean it up.
I wasn’t in any pain, but I thought it would be best to seek the aid of a health care professional. I took a deep breath to speak then I fell to my knees. My legs were really tired from the trek. I sat on the back of my legs at which point I was rushed by an army of doctors, nurses, and civilians all asking me the same questions: What’s my name? What happened to me? and my favorite, “Are you okay?” Like, who walks into a hospital just for the hell of it?
They carefully lifted me onto a stretcher and at lightning speed wheeled me into an operating room. They must have hired a guy whose sole purpose was to keep me sitting upright because every time I tried to lie on my side he’d sit me up again. He obviously couldn’t see I was very tired.
There was chaos everywhere. Someone was giving orders. Someone was cutting off my clothes. Then a man walked in. There were a lot of doctors around me, but I could tell he was “The Doctor.”
A woman walked over to Doc. “Her name is Laura Brent. She has a motorcycle license.” That statement must have meant something to him. He nodded as if it all made sense.
“Is that what happened, Miss Brent?” he asked. “Were you in a motorcycle accident?”
Instantly my mind recounted the event that led me here. The truck in front of me carrying the pipes swerved suddenly and violently while trying not to hit a car that crossed over into the other lane and the badly bound pipes snapped free. I remembered all this, but couldn’t answer. Something about the atmosphere and the way he spoke intrigued me in a way nothing ever had.
There must be a time period missing from my mind or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but suddenly there was this ear-splitting noise behind me. Someone had gotten an electric saw and was sawing away the part of the pipe that extended out of my back.
Then Doc told me to lie flat on my back and began to speak. “Okay, MS. Brent…” then he went mute. His mouth was moving, but no sound came out.
Interesting, I thought. Then the whole room fell silent, like someone hit the mute button. Very interesting. Doc stuck me with a needle, then proceeded to remove the pipe and that’s when it all went dark.
The last thing I remember is the feeling. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. Like I was feeling, for the first time, life.
*From Color in the Dark. Get the whole book here.***