I am wrapped in something silver. Shivering. They keep calling me m’am, and they take turns with their questions, pressing gently against my confusion. I am trying to concentrate, trying to swim up through my saturation, but my eyes keep going to their belts, their thick black weapons like anchors, and how I could just reach over now and pull one free, grasp one of the guns and point.
At what? At who? What am I most afraid of, here?
I close my eyes and a baton comes down against my skull, smashes through skin and bone, breaks me apart. I see blood. Exploding. But it’s just the sirens flashing, and the trail of red from her open mouth, and nobody is moving but me.
Everything is spinning in the wrong direction. And she is perfectly still. Wrapped tight like me, but I cannot see what they have used to cover her. Have they straightened her limbs? Have they pushed her hair from her face, and gently closed her legs?
And again, the startling flash of exposed skin, the deep purple of her thighs, the finger bruises, spreading. A map drawn behind my eyes. And now it’s all I see.
I think I am going to be sick.
The officers are staring; my hand has gone to my mouth. There is metal on my tongue, and it tastes like a gun, the cool, hard of a barrel pushed against my face. Like a fist.
I double over and throw up on the gravel.
M’am. Are you okay, m’am? Can we get you some water, m’am?
And the questions stop as someone pats my shoulder, the female officer I think, though her face is blank as she turns away.
Did you notice anything just before you stopped? Did you see anyone strange in the area? Did anything seem out of place?
That’s what they kept asking me. And I said no, yes, um – a useless trail of words because I saw nothing. There was nothing. There was just rain closing in, and the river churning, and the place I stopped to breathe.
Where she was. Where I found her. I had never seen a dead body before. Never seen the impossible stillness, the quiet of it.
What’s going to happen to her?
My question now. Unanswered as I shiver in my silver wrap, and another siren keens its way toward us.
~ Elliott, Into The After
Inspired by my run today. I think I’ve found my place and time.