The Agony of Awakening


It was too hot.


If I could just worm my way deeper into unconsciousness I wouldn’t have to face . . . anything.

Something nuzzled against the top of my head. My skin crawled. Not daring to open an eye too wide lest I see too clearly, I let the blurry pockets of color slide into vague shapes. The wide pool of blue became the sky. Amorphous balls of green and brown became trees.

Snuffling sounded at my ears and nose, like insistent furry prodding, followed by a tentative lick.

“Sorry. He just got away from me.”

Opening the other eye, I blinked twice trying to get all the overlapping blurs to focus.

A girl in a blue parka stood over me, the blond hair under her beanie spilling off her neck like ivy. Her hand held the collar of a small dog. “Are you okay?”

An itchy sensation built in my chest, like my lungs were on fire and I exploded into a fit of coughing. With weak arms I push myself onto my side and choked until bloody spittle splattered across the grass.

“Where am I?”

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