I thought I might experiment with some serialized fiction on my blog. I'm trying a slightly different style. I'm going to attempt to be a little gory and disturbing so if that bothers you, fair warning. I'll have a tag for these posts later.
-- end author's note
The jolt from the helicopter landing shook him into awareness. Another stab of lightning shot through his head and made his vision go white. Water leaked from behind his eyelids, squeezed tight from the pain. He knew it was a helicopter from the vibrations of the rotors. He had spent a little time on helicopters in his 20's.
He couldn't tell if it had been days, or a week, or more. He spent much of the time unconscious from pain or drugs. Or not being able to tell the difference between real and imagined. Rarely, he could catch a blurry glimpse of the inside of an ambulance or plane when they would remove his head covering to work on him. If he didn't have an overhead light blinding him.
Every face he caught sight of during this time was covered with a mask. These ranged from baby-blue or white surgical masks, to Army green and SWAT black gas masks.
He could tell words were being spoken all around him, but was unable to understand them. Not because they weren't English. He thought they were, from the rhythms of the words. He couldn't understand because they had shoved something in his ears days ago and left it there. Words came to him as a buzzing, scratchy sound. The loudest thing in his head was a constant tone, like an old modem trying to sync. He could "hear" the helicopter blades as a vibration in his skull. His ears hurt, but the pain level barely registered above the symphony of hurt that was his head.
Frightening to him, it was only his head that hurt. He had been able to see down his body twice. Each time, covered and strapped down. The whole time he was in custody, they had him strapped down to a gurney. He thought he had moved his arms and legs a few times while strapped down. Simultaneously light and drug-deadened.
Tubes ran through his mouth and nose. A machine pumped air in and out of him. He could feel temperatures and pulses slide through the tubes. His head was caged in a scaffold of bars, forming a box. At odd angles to the box were long, spiked screws that drilled directly into his skull, immobilizing him. The entire box was draped with a sheet.
Shadows across the sheet indicated that there were men at the sides of his gurney. It started to shake, and then it felt like he was rolling. He imagined fabric straps being release from the floor and walls and his wheels being unlocked. He was rolled towards what must be the helicopter door, and hoisted by his pall bearers. He floated through the air briefly until his wheels made contact with ground again. There was a qualitative difference between rolling on the steel floor of a vehicle and the rough pavement or concrete he rolled on now.
As he rolled, the shadow line suddenly crossed his sheet, and bright light illuminated his covering. He could immediately tell the sunlight from the artificial lights he'd been under. The warmth and color were unmistakable.
It was the last time he would ever see sunlight with his own eyes.