Their world is white. White walls. White halls. White dressings on my damaged head and eyes. My heart still pumps blood because I can’t yet remember who I am and they think I am someone important, someone with information that they need. The foreign bed my body lays in is an enemy I have escaped. Who are they to say I haven’t?
Sometimes I hear the sucking sound of my feet in the muck, metal ripping my flesh. Sometimes I only see the heron glowing, sailing like a ghost against the blackened sky before a storm. I am learning how to make the switch, it just takes practice and I seem to have all the time in this world. It ticks away in slow motion. Tick. Tock. Eternity is my clock.
They slip into my dream with their foreign tongues, their foreign way of turning thoughts. I smell them over the infection, the cardamom on their hot breath as they push into my burned flesh, broken English being thrown at me along with threats that ceased having meaning the day I figured out God.
I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Courtesy of my Sunday school teacher.
I don’t remember my mother, but I do know this. The only way something can be the beginning and the end is if it’s a closed system. A circle. A bubble. God is a closed circle. I have learned how to step outside the circle. Is it hell? You tell me.
Vengeance floats like lethal smoke within the bubble. Blood swirls like lava, spilling and spilling. Life is pumped full of hot metal, gassed, poisoned, thrown in rusty dumpsters, covered with dirt like an accidental spill. Celebrated when taken.
There is a pinch in the soft fold of my arm and I am jolted back into their world. A memory seeps in.
Hey, boy. Come ‘ere. Don’t be afraid. Hungry? That’s it. I am affectionately stroking loose fur on bone while pure hunger gobbles up my dry bread. Through the dust, I see them converge. White robes, black hands.
Muzzle against muzzle. NO! Laughter. Deafening boom. Dust and pain and the sharp stench of blood.
I don’t remember who I am but I have learned how to step outside the circle. Who are you to say I haven’t?