Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
Today, you’re probably enjoying a day off, relaxing around the house, and maybe planning a big barbecue for tonight. It’s great that we have the opportunity to get a little time to ourselves and to our families this weekend–that kind of time is always appreciated.
Because I want to spend the day with my husband, too, and because (again) holidays are usually the days where people don’t get online to read up on the blogs they follow, today I’m giving you another peek into my writing rather than a totally new article.
This is a look into Martyrs–a short follow-up on the most recent sneak-peek you guys got.
* * *
Abraham drove them outside of the city, southbound until the buildings were more sparse, spread between blocks and blocks of empty land. At one point, Abraham pulled into a gas station, swiped a card through the credit slot, and the car began to descend into the ground. Darius hardly had the sense of self to be surprised. He simply watched as the evening light faded and slowly transformed into a light, tungsten glow.
As soon as they had pulled off the ramp and parked, the vehicle was swarmed. Men and women in white pulled at him, gently and not-so-gently leading him from the vehicle and onto a wheelchair. They called codes at one another, spoke in a medical language Darius didn’t understand, as they wheeled him into a hallway and then a massive hospital ward. The walls were lined in clean, empty white beds. A few nurses carefully hoisted Darius up onto one.
They moved like ghosts. Their faces were as white as their scrubs as they carefully peeled away layer after layer of dirt- and blood-soaked clothing to get to his skin. Fingers and stethoscopes searched his torso for injuries–surface or not–and measured his vitals.
Eventually, a young brunette woman took to his arm and stitched his wound. She spoke to him–she was the first one to do so–but Darius hardly made sense of her words. He just nodded, accepted her apology for “what had happened,” and when she finished up, she gently led him to a room.
“You’ll want to take a shower,” she said. She looked him up and down. “Before you talk to the doctor.”
It finally dawned on him to ask, then, “About Noel?”
She just smiled. “You’ll want to clean up first.”
Then she opened the door, coaxed him inside, and shut it behind him.
The first thing he noticed was a large mirror, directly across from him standing above a porcelain sink. What he saw reflected in it made his stomach churn again.
Blood. He was covered in blood.
Nausea overwhelmed him. Darius lunged for the toilet and fell to his knees as he threw up a syrupy, cool mix of acids and water. It dribbled into the bowl, catching to the stubble across his chin and the dry cracks in his lip. The sound of his sickness echoed back at him like a laugh.
A shudder racked his body as disgust overwhelmed the nausea. Darius tore the crimson clothing off and threw it into a mangled and bloody pile in the corner of the room. He turned on the shower and stepped into the stream before it turned warm.
Then he slumped back against the cold, tile wall. Darius wound his arms tight around his knees and watched the water carry years of filth and hours-old blood off his skin and down the drain. It swirled around, a blur of pink and tan at his feet. Darius sat numb to the water’s pounding against his head and shoulders. As he watched the colors gather in sharp contrast against the clean, white tile, the images returned.
The children and Thad.
The man with the knife. The man from the market.
And then, shivering, naked, and alone, Darius cried.