Chapter 7:

On the Loop I

The darkness bled away, peeling off his eyes like a layer of snakeskin. His head felt wrapped in two pounds of gauze, his arms felt like they were on the other side of the room, and his legs seemed to be in some kind of 15-foot-deep pool. His eyelids fluttered. At least he wasn’t dead, but maybe death would be better than this. Maybe death would be a relief.

Telos tried to move, and his hand maybe did move, he couldn’t tell, it was so far away, why was it cowering in the corner? Come over here, you’re my hand, you have to do hand-like things, such as wave about, maybe touch this metal slab I’m lying on, maybe, if I’m really lucky, you’ll have enough strength behind you to push me up off this slab, at least so I can get a good look around this place. Be reasonable.

His hand sheepishly waddled over to the metal slab, eyes downcast, face forlorn. Oh, hand. Don’t be like that. Why are you such a prima donna? You act as if this is my fault. You shouldn’t have left in the first place. Like a child blaming his parents for getting robbed after running away. Well, maybe things are bad here, but really, giving up and running away doesn’t solve anything. If you had some stones, boy, you’d stay right here and give it the old college try.

But maybe you don’t have the stones. Leaving is easier. Bailing out. Grabbing the parachute and ducking out the open hatch. But silly hand, then you have to deal with this. Shamefully returning. You should have just been a man and stayed. Come now, see if you can push me up.

And Telos, propped up on his weak left arm, glanced around the room he was in. Long, halogen lights in the wall. One large, steel door, firmly closed. A table to the left. Sharp things, medical things, on the table. Bottles of pills.

Fuck, he thought, and fell back onto the table.

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