Salvar: First Contact


Salvar

I fight to open my eyes to see where I am to die, but either it is too dark, or my eyes simply refuse to open. I want desperately to reach up and wipe my face and feel for any damage, but the tools that had replaced my hands would not serve well. They had no sense of touch, and without my eyes to guide them, they would be more likely to cause damage than to help. Without eyes to see or hands to touch with, I am left with only my other senses to evaluate my surroundings … and try to beat back the sense of helplessness in the face of death. I know that panic will only bring death closer, so I need to try to calm myself and deal with my situation with reason. I sing to myself a youngling’s song in a voice that does not sound like my own, and my fear recedes a bit.

I need to know what shape my body is in. Although I am blinded, my eyes and face do not hurt much, and this is good. My head moves freely at my command, but doing so brings flashes of light before my eyes that illuminate nothing and cause a great sickness from within my belly, and this is not good. My left arm is pinned beneath me, but there is no great pain coming from it.

My right arm can move freely, but it feels like it is heavily weighted. There is a warm wetness and pain near my shoulder that tells me I had been cut, but how deep the wound is will have to remain unknown. My fore-legs and paws seemed intact, but since I am on my side, this does me little good. My flanks and hind-feet are pinned by a great weight and attempting to move my left hind-leg brings me great agony.

My nose brings me little in the way of good news. I can smell burning flesh and pungent odors from somewhere close. I can only hope that the flames would spare me from being roasted alive. My ears bring me none of the usual sounds of the base I was chained to. I hear only the distant crackle of flames and the occasional jarring crash or groan of the dying building around me.

I’m trapped, I’m scared, and I’m in pain …

* * *

I’m bored. By the One Voice, no tale ever told me that dying slowly would be boring.

Alas, I am blind and trapped … and so screaming thirsty! Were the Tempter to come with an offer of water, my very soul would be in danger. I can now only pray for deliverance, and prepare myself to sing my tale before the One, if it is my time.

Well, the pain is bearable and this is good news. I feel that my shoulder has stopped bleeding and I freed my right hind-foot. The bad news is my left hind-foot isn’t budging and any real effort leaves me dizzy, nauseous, and in a tremendous amount of pain. If I could see and move more freely I might consider severing the foot to gain my release. I’ve already had my hands removed, what is the loss of a foot to me now?

***

The sound of footsteps has awakened me. Messengers have come to take me to my Maker. I can hear the sound of their voices, but their tongue is strange to me. I try to call out, but what comes out is a wheezing rasp that leads to coughing. The best I can do is weakly raise my arm and bang the tool against the deck. I see a light! It is so good to see after so long in darkness. I would cheer if I still had a voice! Finally the light is turned upon me and dazzles my eyes. I cannot see my deliverers. I lift my head, but to my everlasting shame, I greet my saviors by emptying my stomach before them.

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