I always thought the devil’s eyes would be red, not blue.
That is the only thought that penetrates the haze in my mind as I watch my car split down the middle to accommodate for his sudden, enormous presence in the middle of the road. Metal and plastic peel back as if it’s made of paper; the sound echoing through the quiet night as my black Civic is destroyed. But he doesn’t move. He doesn’t move as my car collapses on either side of him, moving around him like air around a stationary object. My concept of reality is being warped beyond recognition.
I keep expecting the airbags to release; blinding me against his grotesque figure. Protecting my head from the impact. But it’s as if the car is as shocked as I am.
My brain is processing all of this in slow motion, taking in every detail of how I’m going to die. His black hand reaches out to me, ready to wrap around my neck as the windshield shatters into thousands of tiny pieces; the tempered glass no longer offering its protection. Nothing will keep me safe from him now. Is this really happening? I don’t understand how it could be. The devil’s long black nails riding on gnarled fingers will pierce my skin in seconds. Grabbing hold of me so he can take me to whatever hell he came from.
I am vaguely aware that the streetlights that had penetrated the darkness only a moment ago have gone out. As if his dark body is absorbing all of the light around us until it becomes difficult to see where his body ends and the dark night begins. Under the sound of crunching metal and glass, I can hear him speaking words in a language that I have never heard before.
My fight or flight instinct finally kicks in. I don’t know what’s happening, or why, but I know with a clarity that scares me that if he can grab hold of me after uttering those unfamiliar words, I will be his. Forever. Instinctively, I slap his hand away as hard as I can with my forearm and my skin sizzles and bubbles where we touched as I snatch it back.
The devil’s dark lips curl up into a snarl. The blue of his eyes deepens until they are the color of the sea at dusk. A beautiful dichotomy to his otherwise wretched appearance.
Before my eyes, his shape begins to shift. Mocha colored skin spreads up his arm and then out over his entire body. Whereas he seemed ten feet tall only a millisecond ago, he is now merely the height of an average man. The devil is gone. He is replaced by a human male with a sharp nose, thin lips and black, greasy hair that lies limply on his scalp and down to his shoulders. A scream echoes out of him as he falls backwards; wrenched from the bottom of his soul.
I realize the car is still moving. It was bending around him just a moment ago; now it’s an obstacle his human body can no longer penetrate. Blood bubbles up to his mouth and wounds all over his body start to gush red ooze. The momentum of the car pushes him to the ground and in an instant his screams quiet. I can’t see him but I know that he’s dead.
I imagine his cold, dead body under me and that’s the thought that follows me into the darkness of unconsciousness.
Chapter 1 - Rounds
I hear a man’s deep, calm voice from what sounds like a million miles away. I can’t see him because I can’t get my eyelids to open. I want to call out to him; tell him I’m awake. I want to tell him my body feels like it’s on fire. I can just barely make out what he’s saying but I know he’s talking about me.
“We’ll start our morning rounds here,” he says. “The patient is Skye Rowan, a twenty-three year old unmarried woman who was involved in an MVA last evening around midnight. She was discovered shortly afterwards by another motorist who called 911. She has contusions to her head, torso and thighs. She has road rash covering a third of her body, all on the left side. Several layers of skin are gone and nerves are exposed similar to a burn patient. Vital signs are stable at this time. Labs are all within normal limits with the exception of elevated fibrinogen levels. She will need to be closely monitored for DVT and will wear compression stockings until her levels decrease. She will remain on Propofol until adequate pain levels can be maintained in a conscious state. Dr. Vanderveen’s team has been consulted for skin grafting. Infection control will be following her closely, rounding on her every other day starting today. Physical therapy and occupational therapy will be consulted when patient is awake. She will likely need to follow up with plastic surgery outpatient. The plan is to keep her sedated, monitor labs and symptoms and follow up with Dr. Vanderveen’s team.”
He’s still speaking but an upsurge of pain is too much for my conscious mind. My brain shuts down and I’m once again lost to the darkness.