Friday, January 20, 2012


It was the last day of the camping trip and the four of us (Mel, Drew, Mandrake and I) were driving out of the park in the car.  Along the way, we passed the ranger station, which we noticed had had a museum wing installed since we had last seen it.  Mel, Drew and I decided to go in and check it out (guided tours were free that day), but Mandrake, who was uninterested, said he would take a bus back to the house and meet us there.  Thus, we parted ways.
The guided tour began, and the exhibits we saw were interesting; they told tales of how the park had been a logging and mining camp before it had been converted into a state preserve.  The museum was dimly lit and consisted of a series of spacious rooms whose walls were decorated with subtitled black-and-white pictures in large frames.
Halfway through the tour, however, a paunchy old man who smelt of onions and old sweat and was dressed in a green-and-red flannel shirt and faded blue jeans sidled up to me and slung his arm around my shoulders, whispering in my ear, "Hello, love.  How's about you follow me and we'll have ourselves a little bit of fun?"
I tensed, readying myself to grab his face and smash it upon my knee, but just as I was about to turn and do so, I felt him press something cold against the small of my back.
"Keep quiet about it and no-one gets hurt, eh?" he whispered.  I was filled with rage. I would gladly die rather than allow myself be violated by him.
With more ferocity than I had known I was capable of mustering, I turned and slammed the heel of my hand into his nose, knowing as I did so that I would break it and shove a splinter of bone up into his brain, killing him instantly; just what he deserved, the wretch.
However, simultaneously, he stabbed me just below the ribcage.  I passed out as I saw him slump lifeless to the ground I didn't feel the pain of the knife; I only felt a grim satisfaction.

I awoke what seemed seconds later in an ambulance that was speeding down a county road that was beautifully lined with maples adorned in their most splendid fall colors.  I still didn't feel any pain from the wound -- perhaps it was shock -- but I was overcome by a bottomless sadness.  I knew I wasn't going to survive.  I turned to my mother with tears in my eyes and whispered, "Tell them I loved them with all my heart.  Especially Mandrake.  Tell them..."
And then I lost consciousness again and knew that my life was over.

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