Here is another piece that I put together for #Fridayflash. Please let me know what you think, and as always, feel free to be extra stabby with your critiques. It's the only way to help both of us grow.
At least I’m pretty sure he is. I crawled over to where he sat and shook him; he didn’t stir. His scrawny arm felt cool, not like when somebody gets out of the cold, but lifeless. I lifted his arm again, and it collapsed against his wasted and shriveled body.
I pushed myself away. For the first time in what must have been a couple days, I was grateful for the enveloping darkness and its ability to hide Tim’s body from me. The first week we had our flashlight, but once it died, time became elusive. The last thing he said to me was that he thought we made it to day ten, but I think it was closer to nine.
I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers into my eyelids, revealing bursts of colorful light flashing in front of my pupils. While no light reached the bottom of the mine shaft, it appeared we could create our own. It was actually Tim who first discovered this ‘light’ as he called it. But whatever it was, hunger hallucinations or some sort of physics phenomenon, I enjoyed it. Lately, when we were too weak to talk, Tim and I spent what we thought were hours staring into those lights.
When I opened my eyes, the darkness took over and I realized that my own body approached death. I wondered what it was like to die like that, like Tim. All I knew was that I didn’t want to, but there was nothing I could do, unless I wanted to go down a dark road I dared not think about.
The thought, however, had infected my mind; there was nothing I could do about it now. My own death was imminent, and who would it hurt anyways? Tim was dead. That was a fact, and he wouldn’t feel any pain. Although what of his wife and kids? What if they found only parts of him? But then again, what about my own family? Don’t they deserve their father?
I ran my hand down Tim’s arm and felt the muscular fibers, though mostly eaten by his body, still there and full of life saving energy. I pressed my fingers up against his bicep, and to be honest, a man, even one who is starved to death, has a fair amount of meat on him. Each arm probably enough to keep me alive another day; the legs, a couple more. The question was, how long until the rescue? Would it ever come?
“Tim.” I said into the darkness, not expecting a response but needing to talk to somebody. “Do you think the basketball team is going to make it to state this year?” Still silence from him, but I didn’t care. “Yea, they might have trouble defending the post, but their perimeter--I think you’re underestimating Davis. He’s a good kid--fuck it.”
My hands shook as I pulled out my pocket knife. I had spent the last five years of my life keeping the hinges oiled and the blade sharp, but getting it open in my current state left me out of breath. There was no strength for anything, my time was running out no matter what I did.
The knife sat open in my hand for a good long while. How long, I’m not sure. Time in darkness like that moves like a kid just learning to drive stick, and it was just about as painful too. I closed my eyes and watched the faint colors flash around. Where that light came from, I’ll never know, but it made me feel like there was something coming for me, that there was something out there. I summoned up any remaining strength I had and tossed my knife across the chamber.
I kept my eyes closed, watching the lights. My body made all kinds of strange, gurgling sounds, and I drifted in and out of sleep. I’m not sure how long I was out each time, but whenever I was awake, I didn’t last long. “Tim.” I cried out. “Give my regards to Beth when you see her.” I fell asleep.
Sometime later, I woke up to a light, a real one. I squinted at the brightness. It looked almost like a light from a miner’s helmet, and it was accompanied by the echoing sounds of a man cheering in the distance. I tried to keep my eyes open, but it was useless.
The next time I managed to open them, the light was even brighter. So bright in fact I couldn’t make out anything in my surroundings. But then, for a moment, I thought I saw some sort of monitor glowing green in the distance and my wife in the background. She rushed to my side. Yes, it was my wife. “I love you.” I called out, but my head crashed back into the pillow as soon as I tried to lift it. My eyes closed themselves and brought back those comfortable colors until they too faded to darkness.