Imogen Heap - 2-1
What bewilders you isn’t the sound, first heard upon streaming back into the flow of consciousness a scant seven seconds prior, of dislocated vertebrosternal ribs realigning themselves with fractured sternum, nor does the labored wheezing which accompanies every subsequent inhalation as your lungs, once punctured, find themselves nearly regenerated though not without an excruciatingly painful mishap (or two, maybe five, possibly eight) along the way. Peripheral noises, of people opening windows and doors and dialing 911 and telling spouses to hush and of others lighting fuses and fumbling with matches and of dogs barking and toddlers crying should annoy you and indeed they do but there’s more to it, of course, since everything’s related somehow.
That you’re dislodging a warm, mushroom-shaped chunk of lead and copper from just beneath your left breast with fingers alone isn’t quite as irksome as searching for a flip-top box of Marlboros which, hopefully, still resides (and however improbably, contains cigarettes yet intact) within the left front pocket of a ratty pair of Levi 525s using your other hand, which happens to be restricted by a broken thumb and forefinger.
Having accomplished these feats of manual dexterity, the former as tedious as the latter, there remains the issue of your faces, both the original and the rubbery one stretched, pressed, and draped atop it. Vision is hindered, everything darkness. With weathered pack of smokes and misshapen metal alike resting upon your tattered chest, the better hand claws its way to the mask and removes it with less than the utmost care and with its departure there’s the distinct sensation as well as the sound of peeling, vaguely reminiscent of removing packing tape from cardboard and even now, though things can be seen, the blur of distant, elevated lights and the stars even farther, much farther away is bisected by a carmine haze resulting from some hitherto unrealized damage suffered by your left eye or perhaps the flesh and bone previously encasing it. There’s something dripping down from above said socket and your sense of touch informs you that it contains more than blood itself, but this isn’t what addles you.
By the time an arched cigarette touches your lips, the two mangled fingers have been snapped, rather unpleasantly, back into place and before you manage to retrieve the lighter from its pocket sanctuary the cigarette has been set ablaze, the flame a brilliant shade of vermillion to your desecrated eye. Focusing upon the pleasure of that first inhalation almost makes you immune to the fivefold torment of an equal number of bullets being extracted from your tenderized physique. Almost, yet this is not what you find so terribly annoying, either.
For starters, there’s a voice telling you that things don’t have to be this way, that motivations are suspect, that the world needn’t be as you view it, that events remain unfixed. This insipid voice doesn’t speak yet it speaks nonetheless and its point of origination is the same nothingness currently reconstructing your flesh, lighting cigarettes and... missing the point. Though He would have you believe otherwise, He is neither here (not really, at least) nor are you as docile as his other projects. You reek not of putridity, streaked not with ghastly, florescent orange (not entirely, at least, and even then, not for long) and have not a brain the size of a walnut. Mostly, you realize that for all His asinine proclamations, He is scarcely insouciant, let alone benevolent. He’s a liar, a charlatan, a fraud; and you’ll prove it, one way or the other, just not tonight... because it’s the scent which agitates you so vehemently; of people, though not of people themselves, but of their numerous machinations, desires and ineptitudes - and not those of the general populace, for the delightful stench of cigarette smoke cloaks the vast majority of such irritation, but of those who reside within an apartment three stories above, the ones that stink of false victory, flawed regret, and frenzied apprehension. The stench of the very blood coursing through their veins, therein lies the problem, for once upon a time it was much akin to your own (or what remains of it).
A burst of agonizing pain accentuates the popping of your left femur back into its original position, and with the culmination of that procedure you mirthfully shake the leg a tad, if only to amuse yourself with the comical floppiness of Sketchers-covered foot adjoined, however loosely, to splintered ankle. To ruminate on the state of the world you inhabit alongside billions of others is merely a reminder of the coveted stillness which divides these hideously deformed processes of refurbishment that, in turn, shred through a seemingly endless recurrence of sentience. Some folks would label you nihilistic but that’s simply because they interact with you in the daytime; which brings you back to the here and now, some forty-three seconds after being brought back, not to life but from death.
When you finally stand erect, upon ankle once broken and leg once twisted, He has vanished, gone (and at once, already there) to swallow the moon in silent, contradictory disapproval, and with sight no longer reddened your neck cranes upward to watch that big clump of dust and rock depart from ocular reality, leaving only the stars shining brightly across the night sky, each celestial sphere so blatantly indifferent to what unfolds before them. His dismay is mere fabrication, of course, for as your gaze lowers to meet the light emanating from that third-story apartment, your fingers begin to twitch in nascent anticipation because you know as well as He that post-resurrection is when you’re at your finest.