illustration: Raphael Achache
I dropped the phone and looked down at my violently trembling hand, covered in sick and blood. The stench was putrid. There were bent books and shattered DVDs piled beneath the toppled bookcase, smashed ashtrays and pieces of Milo’s body scattered across the room. Hand, heart, bits of pulp and skin, and organs I didn’t even know the name of. I threw up again before charging into the bathroom to run my head under the cold tap and towel off my face.
The empty blackout of what happened hung over my head as I looked in the mirror at a swollen-faced stranger, Sacha’s crackled sobs echoing in my ears. Uncle Bob was coming, so were the police. I pinned the palms of my hands to my temples, and pressed my teeth together until I thought they might crumble. A knock at the door fired into my chest. I jumped and ran back into the blood-soaked bedroom to grab my phone, picked up my rucksack and climbed out of the window onto the roof below, squelching a red footprint onto the surface.
“Fuck.” I clamped my fists together, looking down at the drop. I heard another knock from inside the flat and lowered myself down, slipping on the wall to hear a crack when my arm thwacked the concrete.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” I looked to my right, then to my left, like there would be some kind of answer at either end of the street. Bus lights shimmering past was good enough for me, so I legged it towards Gregory Boulevard. When I reached The Forest, I thought my lungs were going to fly out of my mouth. I found a spot beneath a tree and wrapped myself around its shadow in a ball on the floor, cradling my mashed up arm.
“You alright, gell?” slurred a voice. I said nothing.
I thought about the clinical white of hospital sheets, about drips being fed into my arm, silky fluids making the piercing throb disappear. A staggering man stood over me close, with his legs straddling a lack of balance and his t-shirt swaying in the gusty night. I couldn’t make out his face in the darkness.
“You look like you’ve been in the wars, you do. What the bleedin’ ‘ell is gooin’ off tunnight? ‘Evv you bin dahn Hand and Heart? Everyone’s lost the bleedin’ plot down there n’all.”
I chewed on the words “Go away” over and over again in my head, mumbled them into my chest. Flashes of the past few hours screeched through my synapses as I squeezed my eyes shut, when the weight of a bony leg collapsed into my face. My wail echoed across the field as I batted the bloke and his beery stench off me with my one good arm, rolling away and crushing my broken bones further. The pain was unbearable. I needed help strapping the limb to my body, but all I could think about were the coppers and Uncle Bob waiting for me at City Hospital.
What happens next?
A) Get to the hospital
B) Go home and strap yersen up
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