The strange man who has been hovering over me reached out his right hand and handed me a Klondike ice cream bar. For a few seconds, he waited as he contemplated his next move, realizing that I was in no shape to lift either of my arms to accept the offering, he proceeded to unwrap the dessert and feed it to my now half opened mouth. The frozen touch of chocolate and vanilla was a welcomed sensation to my badly blistered lips in this hundred degree heat out here, a desolate and arid landscape. I see the hills, but the sun is in my face and so I see nothing else; I keep my eyes barely open so that I can focus on my ice cream, my first meal in six and a half weeks. They say that a person can go up to six weeks without food, so you go figure.
My body is weak and severely dehydrated, I am sure that I have lost enough weight to count for half a dozen newly born babies, each averaging eight pounds. I am grateful for the fact that I am alive, except for the throbbing headache that I haven’t been able to shake. As my sense of alertness slowly returns, I seem to recall the strange man having said that I have cancer of the brain, hence the headache. I try to sit up from the position where I was lying but the strange man had his left foot on my chest, preventing me from moving at all, as he continues to feed me the last of the ice cream.
“Hey, when they come get you, be strong, show no fear, show no emotion, because if you do, it will prolong the agony that they are about to cause you; it will give them reason to see you suffer for the bad things you have done that neither you or them can fix. I ought to kill you where you lay right now and spare you the impending hell that awaits you, but the powers that be will not permit me, so once again the least I can do ( and believe me , I wish I could do more; so much more!) is add to your suffering by pressing down even harder on your chest; my intention is not to make you pass out again, but to collapse a lung, say the left lung?.”
With that, he upped the pressure on the left side of my chest by tenfold; I felt my ribs crack inside of my chest and my breathing froze. One of my lungs had just collapsed. The pain that followed was unimaginable, like having your whole body caught in a wood press at the local lumberyard; I was near panic because I couldn’t breathe, I was wheezing out of my mouth as I spat the last of the ice cream out in desperation. Just then, he eased off as if to assure me that his intent was not to kill me. I wish he had killed me. The strange man left me all alone in the shimmering heat. It wasn’t until later in the evening as the sun begun to set that I heard voices and footsteps approaching in the distance north. I knew then, that it was going to be my last night; in preparation, I begun to recite psalm 23.
....to be continued...