I couldn’t remember a single time in my life where I had been more frightened than I had been lying paralysed in the alley that night. Well, I hadn’t actually been paralysed but I felt as though my body may just fall apart if I moved even an inch. An intensifying pulsing travelled entirely down the left side of my aching body. The sharp pain pressed persistently into my body like a thousand volts of electricity snaking its way under my skin.
I was reminded of a time when I was young. I couldn’t have been any older than six or seven, I had just discovered how to cook toast all on my own. I pushed two pieces of fresh pale bread into the toaster and stood proudly as I awaited the ‘ding’ notifying me that the machine had done its job. When the ‘ding’ arrived I looked up at the toaster questioningly, the toast was nowhere to be seen. Where had it gone? Why hadn’t it jumped up from out of its warm bed? I decided to investigate. I took to my stepping stool, children’s butter knife in hand. I found the corner of the bread tucked under the element and innocently stuck my knife inside the toaster to break it free. I fell back off my stool in shock as the electricity ran up my arm. I cried out in pain and my father came rushing into the room. He held me in his arms and comforted me until the prickly sensation had faded. This time, no one would come to comfort me.
Blood trickled down onto the ground from deep inside my body through my gaping wounds, gradually weakening me. The clothes covering my shivering body were now drenched in the thick crimson vital fluid.
As I lay limply on the firm ground the night delivered a refreshing breeze, calming me. A cool gust of wind danced delicately across my body, lingering on my naked shoulders and forehead.
A faint scent wafted over on the breeze. Though subtle I’d know the scent anywhere. The warm, sweet aroma of butter chicken. My favourite. Dad’s favourite too. I wondered when was the last time he’d enjoyed the meal. Me? I hadn’t had it since the last time I had seen him. Too long ago. Perhaps he thought of me every time he ate it or walked past the aisle in the shop where the curry was stocked. Perhaps he was thinking of me even at that moment. Even as I lay in the alley bleeding out.
The sudden realisation that I was still there, lying in the alley, had awoken me from my thoughts. I felt my lids begin to grow heavy and a wave of tiredness washed over me. Weary, my stinging eyelids began to water, begging to be let rest. Like a flower deprived of its nutrients, my eyelids began to droop. Startled I pried my eyes open again, afraid to let them close. Aware that if I did I almost certainly would not open them again.
I peered through my tangled locks of faded artificial red, observing the sky. It was a beautiful evening. It had grown darker since I’d been there. The sky had become a gradient of blues, starting off light and slowly transitioning into darker shades until, right above me, the sky had become the darkest shade of black I had ever seen. The only light source visible in the sky came from the stars. The balls of fire, pinpricks of light scattered carelessly across the empty night sky. The moon wasn’t visible from where I was but it must have been around there somewhere, shining brightly as per usual, hidden behind the clouds perhaps. The clouds, which just now had started to leak. A light drizzle fell all around me, dampening the air. Spots of water landed on my bare arms and forehead. It was a sweet contrast after the hot weather we’d experienced in the previous days.
I took it all in, my surroundings. The entrancing night sky, pinpricks of light scattered over it. The cool spots of rain falling softly around me, along with the refreshing breeze washing over me. The surroundings had become so serene. So perfect. Perfect for what was about to happen. A numbness had taken over my body. I let my eyes fall gracefully shut, giving in to the tiredness, at last, allowing myself to be consumed by what I could have only described as my own night sky.