“The balance is as thin as a razor’s edge. Too little and he hurts too bad to stay conscious, too much and it knocks him out anyway.”
The words pulled me out of a dream-like state and brought me back to the reality of the hospital room. I kept my eyes closed and continued my deep, if somewhat erratic breathing and just listened.
“What do you recommend?”
“Well, I don’t think we have any choice but to pull him out and learn what we can before the pain becomes too much.”
“How long can we expect him to talk before it hurts him too badly?”
“Not sure, probably no more than a few minutes at a time. We’ll have to be patient.”
“Be patient? To even pull one conversation out of him? It will take hours and it will require dozens of starts and stops. It will be nothing short of torture and for what? We’re going to have to get rid of him anyway, so why not just do it now. Increase the dosage and let him fall asleep forever so we can be done with him.”
“We have to find out what he knows.”
“It doesn’t matter what he knows if he’s dead.”
“Yes but we need to know if he set any safety measures in place, like the pre-planned release of some unfortunate information to a greedy journalist if he doesn’t make it home by a certain time.”
“Do you actually think he had time to think about something like that?”
“Who knows, but we can’t do anything until we’re sure and we can’t be sure until we help him remember what he knows.”
There was a pause in the conversation and my heart began beating so fiercely that I was afraid they would hear it rattling against my chest. My own heart was beginning to hurt me.
The pain came in such a sudden wave that I was totally unprepared for it and I gasped loudly while lurching up into a sitting position and clutching my rib cage. It was a coughing fit and as it racked my convulsing body so that I distinctly felt, and heard, the middle rib on my right side crack.
The pain took my breath away and as my coughs dwindled into silent wheezes. Tears coursed down my cheeks. Funny, I noticed how very stubbly my cheeks were.
Mercifully, one of the men reached out to the I.V. bag and increased the flow of the meds, causing me to instantly slip toward a hazy sleep.
“Do you think he heard us?” one of them said.
“I don’t know but this is going to be even more delicate than we thought, if it even works at all. The mayor has an event tonight and he’ll be here as soon as it’s over. We’ll try it again when he arrives.”
Then I was gone.
I awoke several minutes, or hours or days later, I had no idea of time at that point. I was alone in the room. When I opened my eyes, the room began spinning so wildly that a wave of nausea threatened me and I quickly closed them again. I wanted to think and concentrate on my surroundings, try to remember something but I kept getting distracted by the pain in my midsection and also by the shape of my eyeballs. It was maddening. I could feel the contour of my eyes as they turned inside my head and I could feel my cornea pressing up against my eyelid as I squinted against the urge to vomit.
They say that children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder can’t handle too much stimuli that an excess of external stimulation quickly frays their emotions and heightens their sensitivities to a point that becomes frightening and even dangerous for them. What I was experiencing was that sensation. My mind was absorbing minutia about my eyes, my pupils, my irises, my retinas, my eyelashes and the barrage of information was more disturbing than the bile that was quickly rising in the back of my throat.
My right cornea had a scratch right across the center of it. Without impairing my vision it was the source of the constant itching that I suddenly remembered I had experienced that past year.
The tear ducts in my left eye were slightly clogged and that, I knew, was the cause of its frequent bloodshot look. Memories about my eyes and their appearance were returning to me along with other alarming, new data.
My right eyeball was slightly enlarged, which was probably why I was afflicted with recurring headaches on that side of my skull and my eyes were wet. I was crying again and I noticed with alarm that the salinity level of my tears was dangerously low. I needed electrolytes.
With a frightening revelation, I realized that my mind was diagnosing my body, swiftly and efficiently assessing damage to body parts that I had never known anything about and certainly had never consciously felt before. What was happening to me? The room was still spinning and my tear ducts were still flowing and I began sinking into a vortex of confusion and despair.
Then the door opened and someone walked in but I was already gone again.
End of Chapter Six. To purchase this book and continue reading in printed or electronic form click here.