Which Way?

By Rosalind


Was it worth the effort to keep fighting it??  The inky blackness was so very inviting.  It would cocoon and cushion him against the unbelievable pain that was washing through and over him and then it would take him away from all this and leave him somewhere where none of this would matter any more and he would no longer have to struggle in agony to stay here.  All he had to do was ignore the nagging voice in his head that was urging him to keep up the struggle and slide off into merciful oblivion.

He couldn't do it.  He was aware of an alternative-a sort of misty grey that led to a brightness-and for some reason it seemed more important to reach that, than to give into the demands of the blackness.  There was another voice-this one was not in his head-that seemed to have something urgent to tell him. He wasn't sure who owned the voice-but it sounded pretty desperate and seemed to need his help with something.  It was no good--he would have to resist the comfort of the abyss that beckoned him so seductively and find out what that demanding voice wanted of him.

The black void pulled away from him. He really wanted to go with it--but it ruthlessly left him behind in this world of anguish and that urgent, pleading voice.  This, his weary pain battered brain thought, had better be important or he was going to want to know why.  He tried to respond--to let the owner of the voice--did he know who it was that was calling to him so desperately?-know that he was coming. The only thing was that he couldn't hurry.  He needed time to get there. Wherever there was.  He needed to open his eyes and find out --but his eyelids seemed to have become overwhelmingly heavy and he simply couldn't do it.  It hurt too much--and he was beginning again, too think that it was too much bother. Where was that deep dark comforting blackness that he was wanted to sink into.  He couldn't find it now.  The misty greyness with the light beyond it was advancing on him inexorably, bringing with it the most extra-ordinary washes of agony.  Surely that couldn't be right could it.  Why did his body hurt so much--and why, if it did, was it so important that he had to endure all this.  Something was moving in his throat.  A sound--a sound of protest.  A moan of pain--which in itself seemed to bring even more of it.  He clamped his jaws tight--and that caused even more pain.  He didn't want to do this.  He wanted to be left alone to return to that black cushion of comfort where there was no pain and no urgent voice--where there was, in fact, nothing.

Or did he.  The urgent voice was getting upset at his decision.  It sounded very young and very desperate.  Oh yes--now he remembered--it needed his help.  He couldn't abandon it yet-not until he had rendered it the assistance it seemed to need--and to do that--somehow-he had to open his eyes.  The effort of doing that, for a moment or two, seemed to overcome even the pulverising agony that seemed to have engulfed his entire being and his eyelids fluttered. He knew that they were moving--allowing more of that brightness into his battered brain.  He tried it again.  Better.  More of the brightness. The hovering black void sank even further away and sadly, reluctantly, he let it go.  This bright world of pain seemed to be where he had to be.  The urgent voice was more important than his own wishes.  He had, after all,  spent his entire life doing what other people wanted him to do.  It was too late to change that now and begin to do the things he wanted to do. He tried to lift his lashes again and thought that he saw something in the brightness--something vague and blurred.  He didn't much like it and his eyelids closed again.  That was better.

'He's coming too---' the urgent voice now sounded pleased-almost excited 'cummon brother--you can do it.  Wake up--please'.

Wake up!!  That was it--that was what he had to do.  He wasn't sure that he knew what it meant--but that was what he had to do.  Wake up.

'I--'  was that HIM making that strange sound.

'Easy there--' a different voice--not urgent.  So perhaps it didn't matter after all if he did wake up.  'drink this'  Something cool and smooth was being put against his mouth.  Something wet and cold was sliding around his tongue.  It was no use--like it or not--he WAS going to have to do as that pleading urgent voice demanded and wake up or he was going to choke on this stuff in his mouth.

Fighting the pain that was attempting to batter him back into the dark he swallowed the cool stuff in his mouth and felt it slide down his throat.

'Scott--can you hear me--'

The urgent voice again.  Calling him.  Needing him.

'Yes' he said--and he knew then that for the time being at least, that the white brightness had won.  With a sigh that sent waves of agony through the very fibre of his being, he released his hold on the comforting black void and let it slide away--without him.



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