Pain, all pervasive and powerful, washed over him in waves as Rodrigo struggled up from unconsciousness. He groaned a long low guttural sound that he at first did not recognize as coming from his own throat. Slowly as he became accustomed to the pain he became aware of the other sensations surrounding him. The powerful smell of flowers permeated his nostrils making him sick to his stomach. It was dark. The crickets were singing loudly nearby but other than that there was no other sound.
From the position of his head he deduced that he was lying on his left side although he could feel nothing except the pain in his upper back and the much lesser pain in his neck. He pushed with his arms to roll but only his right arm responded. Immediately he quit pushing for the pain increased and he nearly fainted, but the movement was sufficient to roll him onto his back. The rotation brought his face out of the dirt and brought the porch with its deep shadows into view.
The full moon was up just above the horizon and bathed him in its light. A girl lay on the porch with one finely formed hand dangling limply over the edge. Her shirt was torn revealing the smooth skin of her torso. There was no sign of life, not even the rise and fall of her breathing but he was below her and most of her body was in the shadow cast by the edge of the house and roof.
Suddenly all the events of his recent life came flooding back into his mind. His brief struggle revealed to his dismay that he could move only his head and right arm. Shock upon shock, his head and right arm were all that he could feel, except for the terrible pain near the top of his spine. He fainted…
Rodrigo looked again from his position on the ground a few feet away from where he had been in his last living memory. There the hand was hanging over the edge signifying that the action had been completed and that the girl had not moved. Was she dead?
Rodrigo tried to move but the excruciating pain immediately defeated him. Lying perfectly still he waited for the pain to subside which it did after a little while. The moon had moved up from the horizon brightening the scene some. Rodrigo looked again at the hand, no blood, no movement, no life.
The pain began to fade. Was he dying? He moved his head carefully and cautiously a few centimeters. It hurt but he could stand it. He ran his eyes back along the porch to where he remembered the door being to see if there was a light. There wasn’t but then in the brightness of the moon he saw a pair of feet! He closed his eyes and moved his head ever so slightly and looked again. The feet wore house slippers and the legs up to the knees were withered within the baggy pant legs. The feet rested upon small metal pedals like those in front of a wheel chair. He thought he could make out the curve of the black rubber of a wheel.
Fear welled up inside and he waited a long time hardly daring to breath. He felt once again that he was about to faint… or was he dying? He had to ask for help.
“Who’s there?” he asked, his voice so weak he was afraid that it would not carry far enough or not heard over the racket caused by the crickets. The crickets mocked him, the wind sighed through the trees and the moon shone her steady feeble light and there was no answer but now Rodrigo could feel the man’s presence.
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