Thursday, November 29, 2012
The doors rush by as his feet pound the pavement. Gasping for air, his lungs burn and ache as his feet slap the rough ground. Propelling himself forward, he vaults over a low chain-link fence which rattles as his foot clips the edge, and the hard wire bites into his hand. His foot hitting the edge has knocked him off balance and for a frightful moment he hangs, suspended in air. He crashes to the ground hard, his shoulder cracking painfully against the cobbles. Flaming agony spreads through his shoulder, up his neck, and his arm goes hotly numb. Gritting his teeth, he pulls himself to his shaky feet and forces himself to take the steps forward, clutching at his senseless arm.
Just then, the police sirens came wailing up the alleyway. He panics, and adrenaline forces his feet to take him to the end of the alley, turn and dash up the empty back streets of the dystopian city. The sirens slowly fade as his energy finally wanes and he takes three more heavy steps before he collapses on a doorstep.
The young woman who resides in the house hears a heavy thud on the steps leading to her house. Shocked and slightly wary, she pulls the door open as far as the chain allows and peers around for the creeper that she thinks has come to her door. Instead, she sees the unconscious man on the ground. Gasping, she slams the door closed.But after hesitating, she unlatches the chain with shaking hands, and pulls the door back open again. She kneels and touches the man’s shoulder. When he doesn’t respond, she peers worriedly at his flushed face and touches it gently, hesitantly, with pale fingers. Sweat sticks to her palm, and heat radiates from his feverish face. Inhaling sharply and pulling back, she straightens and turns to go inside, grabbing her cell phone from the side table, and dialling 9-1-1, quickly giving them her information and the situation. When she comes back outside, he has returned to consciousness. She gives him a glass of water and, after asking how, if any way, she can assist him, strikes up a conversation with this strange young man who has appeared on her porch.
The ambulance and the policemen arrive at her house at the same time, and six months later, she still visits him in jail once a week.