by Peter Farrugia and Teodor Reljic
I can’t decide whether my mouth is wet or dry. It almost hurts, how irrelevant that is, in light of what has happened, but the body speaks – shouts – its own language, and I am in a place where it cannot be stopped.
I pant, feebly hacking the brambles in my path. I feel moisture on my forehead, and the blood shooting into my gums – another absurd thought, but one I cannot help either. There are cuts that sting and some, I suspect, that simply flow… the enemy, the subject will find me no matter how fast I run by the red trail I am leaving behind.
It is not entirely dark yet, but I am too troubled for perspective. My peripheral vision is precisely that – peripheral. I am running and I am enwrapped by a childish fear – there is nothing else.
Half a mile ahead, and spotted with enemy encampments, is a feeble hope of salvation.
Salvation. The word like a mouthful of ashes. I spit the blood mess out, I lunge. Something heavy hits the back of my head and for a moment I’m circling above my body and I can see a pathetic jumble of limbs in the grass. I wonder what it’s like to die and the only image that comes is the memory of my father’s computer turning green, striated and crackling, malfunctioning, frozen in time. He thought I didn’t know, but I did. The last image before the computer jettisoned its corrupted memory into cyberlimbo, the legs of a woman pink and precious.
I’ve smashed my head against a branch. It was there, plain as day but that didn’t stop me. A gutter load of obscenities and tears. Crying really is cathartic, it’s not just something people say. You’ve got to mean the tears. I pull myself up and realise, with a hope that’s so comical it’s almost obscene, that I am, once again, Almost There – that perpetual ‘five minutes’, that treacherously precise number.
My evidence? Things that look like thatched huts – symbols of comfort rising from fog of dirt and heat – the sounds of some kind of activity in the twilight. In that moment my father’s house stopped being home. I saw him as something I couldn’t describe and nobody can know how horrible it is. To move forward with blunt motion. blurred.
Stop thinking about the past, or the future. Outside time and left-brain fried, sweat or tears it makes no real difference now. Everything has always come out, out, out. I mustn’t be alone.