So, yesterday, I didn’t write a single word. As mentioned in my morning post of yesterday, I didn’t wake up until 6:30, and so didn’t get anything written before work. And then at work, I ended up staying late – I didn’t get home until a bit past 9, and after the stress of working a 12-hour day, writing was the last thing I wanted to do.
I didn’t write a single fking word yesterday. I feel like I’m not even going to make fking 50k at this rate, let alone anything higher. I’m really counting on this weekend to get me back in the ballpark of where I need to be, but I’m not terribly optimistic about that.
Anyway, another excerpt. It obviously wasn’t written yesterday:
At the entrance of the building, I stood there helplessly for a few seconds as I begged my shattered mind to come up with the entrance code; I punched in six combinations before stumbling upon the right one, and I think that was accidental more than anything else. Fortunately, this was a dingy building, and there was no security desk, and no one loitering in the lobby. The elevator had never worked, as far back as we’d had the place – and we’d had it for years – and for the first time, I was truly regretful about it. Under ordinary circumstances, three flights of stairs was nothing. Now it was Mount Everest.
There was nothing to be done but begin. I had already made it so far, had been walking for countless hours, that the pain was starting to recede. That was when I started to really worry – that was hardly the best of signs. I had crossed some threshold, and now all I could do was hope that I could cross back over it.
Thinking about things like that helped to distract me somewhat from the difficulty of climbing stairs. But I was only making it one or two steps before I had to rest each time. At this rate, it was going to take me another two hours just to get up the stairs. My window of time was getting rapidly narrower, but there was nothing I could do about it; I couldn’t make myself go faster just for the wishing of it.
I heard movement on the stairs above me, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I didn’t even look up, just continued to drag myself. At this point, I’d have probably been glad to be arrested, if only because there would be someone nearby when I died. They wouldn’t bother with getting me any medical attention, but at least I wouldn’t die alone. It’s one of my greatest fears.
And then there was someone directly above me, with hands steady on my shoulders. I looked up, my eyes filled with tears that I’d not allowed to fall in however many hours it had been since I was shot and hazy with impending death.
Of course it was him.
Vasily came down to my level, threw his arm around me, and began to help. Given that he’s a much smaller man than me, it wouldn’t normally have been substantial help. In this case, it was, and we moved much faster than I thought would have ever been possible on my own. At the same time, he was making a phone call; I didn’t care who it was to, or why; I clung to his voice to keep me conscious, because my vision was going dim at the edges and shaky everywhere else. I’d passed out enough times in the past to be able to recognize the signs of it.
We made it up to the apartment in another twenty minutes or so, and he laid me out on the couch. I closed my eyes.
“No,” he said, his voice hard. “Don’t close your eyes. I need you to stay awake, to stay with me, until the doctor gets here. I can’t have him revive a dead man.”
With effort, I opened them. “How long?”
“Since what? Since I’ve been here? Only about two hours. I can only get so much time out of the office right now. They think I’m tracking down a suspect. Which,” he grinned here, sitting on the table opposite me, “isn’t actually a lie. But I can’t stay more than another hour or two. Enough to make sure that you’re going to survive. Since the hit was carried out? About thirteen hours, give or take twenty minutes. He is dead, by the way, and if you ever do something that stupid again, I swear I will murder you myself. There were easier ways to do it, and you know that. Your pride got the best of you.” He caught himself there, obviously realizing that he was lecturing me, and his tone softened when he spoke next. “I was worried about you. Is there anything I can do?”
What I needed was to have my wounds cleaned, but I wasn’t going to ask him to undress me when there was a doctor on the way. Under the circumstances, he might have even been willing to do it, but I wasn’t willing, even then, to put him through that level of personal discomfort. “Water,” I said. “Food. Something easy.” Getting some calories in me would do me some good, though it would be minimal.
He disappeared for about ten minutes and came back bearing a can of soup and some water. The soup was only lukewarm, but that made it easy to swallow down. The warmth of it filled me nicely. I drank the water, and he topped up my glass twice before I was sated.
“Gena?” I asked.
“He knows nothing. I haven’t called him yet, but I will after the doctor checks you out. I’m not calling to tell him that I’ve found you if…” he trailed off.
But I could finish that sentence well enough. He didn’t want to call and tell Gena that I’d survived if I was going to be dead in a couple of hours. It was a smart move. “It’s okay,” I said. “How long until the doctor gets here?”
Vasily looked down at his watch. “Ten minutes, maybe. Why?”
I shook my head, closed my eyes.
“Open your eyes, Nicolaas.”
I couldn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. It was that I physically couldn’t. Couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, could hardly draw breath.
I felt his hands on my shoulders, shaking me as though I was just sleeping. “Open your fucking eyes,” he said, a note of desperation in his voice I wasn’t sure I’d ever heard before.
I wanted to. I really wanted to.
“For fuck’s sake, Nicolaas, open your fucking eyes right now.”
His voice faded away.