Bad Wake Up
It had all been a dream, not the best one he’d had, but a dream nonetheless. Rising up to stop his beast of a Labrador retriever from licking his shoulder into nothingness, Tim Holkep suddenly felt the burning in his shoulder. Bleary eyed and tired, he slipped a weary hand to rub his aching shoulder. The same one he’d been shot in during the dream. To his surprise, his hand came away covered in blood, clutching a woman’s once white kerchief. Shocked fully awake, Tim stumbled from his bed only to turn around and see a giant pool of blood where his shoulder had been.
Panic stricken and scared, he fumbled for the old flip-top cellphone he kept on the nightstand. In the dimly lit room, the bright green buttons were nearly blinding. Grunting against the pain, he punched in the local emergency number. In his haste, every ring seemed to take just a bit longer than the last. When no one answered, he threw the phone across the room, only to see it shatter into a million pieces against the far wall.
“Come on, Jake. If they won’t come to us, I guess we are going to them,” said Tim, patting his hip with his good arm.
Together, man and dog hurried out of his room and down the hall towards the stairs. Even though he felt an overwhelming desire to piss, he knew there wasn’t time. Already, he could feel the loss of blood taking its toll. Luckily, he was only about fifteen minutes from the local VA. Well, if traffic was good at any length. Right then, he didn’t care how bad the traffic, he was determined to make it. After driving a Humvee for sixteen months on busy Iraqi roads, he was well accustomed to being reckless behind the wheel. Grabbing his keys off the small rack hanging on the wall beside the worn, plain wooden front door, he looked back one last time at the thin blood trail marking his trip from the bedroom. Clutching his injured arm, he knew he didn’t have time to make it to the VA before blood loss would send him tumbling down the rabbit’s hole into unconsciousness.
Panic stricken and scared, he hurried out of the front door to where his old tan Mustang II sat in the driveway. Tucked away in the back, he’d kept a small first aid kit, just for emergencies. With his vision becoming blurry and legs feeling like rubber, he stumbled down the sidewalk. The further he walked, the more he was forced to grab onto the old, wooden, splinter filled railing lining the narrow, cracked, concrete walk path. When his toe slammed into a slab of concrete sticking up from the others, he found himself tumbling to the ground with a groan. Every fiber of his being, begged him to give up as he fought to climb to his hands and knees. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t force his injured shoulder to hold his weight. It took only a second, for him to realize the uselessness of trying to right himself. Instead, he tucked his injured arm beneath him and crawled his way along the jagged, broken concrete to the rear of his car.
His clothes were tore in a dozen bloody places from the rough, sharp edges of the cracked driveway. Raising a weak, weary arm, he grabbed tightly to the rear bumper. If he could only reach the first aid kit, he would stand a chance. The Quick Clot packets stowed at the bottom of the kit was the only way he could think of to stop the intense bleeding. It took all the strength he had left just to prop himself up enough to fumble with his keys.
Through blurry eyes, he fumbled with the numerous keys on his old faded keyring until he found one that felt right. Half a dozen times, he tried unsuccessfully to slip the key into the lock. Frustrated with his lack of success, Tim slammed the key as hard as he could at where he thought the keyhole should have been. When he saw the key snap in his rapidly fading sight, he knew the fight to save himself was over.
In the distance, he could barely hear the blaring of sirens as he let himself slide down the bumper, to the hard concrete below. Closing his eyes, he let himself slip into unconsciousness, the blaring of sirens his death song.