The red pooled on the pavement leaving a Jackson Pollak in the contours and cracks as I walked, various hues of color forming as it mixed with the dirt and debris.
People watched, spectators to a blood sport, walking wide around the river I left in the shade of the elevated rail.
Cars slowed on Wacker, rush hour moving quickly but distant, a bubble around me keeping everyone just out of reach.
The wind was cool on my bare chest, being clothed in nothing but my torn jeans, the blood chilling along with my sweat.
I craved for help, someone to ask me if I was ok, but I knew the city. I had been of them once, ignoring those who were downtrodden, headphones in and running shoes on; the marathoner prepped for the race, cut-throat and without compassion. The problem is, I don’t even recall what happened. I don’t know how I had gotten here.
I stumbled as I crossed the street, a man near at hand averting his eyes, looking skyward as if to spot a bird, anything to avoid the eye contact that would shame him into assistance.
Just look at me!
My left leg had been dragging behind me, yet I had no idea when that had started. I tried remembering if I woke up that way but consciousness was just now returning to me as if I was in television just being turned on.
The noises got louder, the train rumbling overhead, the honking of horns, the clangs and rumblings of nearby construction; it was all so overwhelming, I couldn’t escape it. The beating of my heart resounded in my ears, growing louder as I felt it pulsing in my chest. Everything that had been slow was faster now, people and cars moving as if on fast-forward.
Someone help me! You, please help… please damn you, help me!
The woman recoiled as I reached for her, crowds parting, giving us both a wide berth. She looked at me aghast and stumbled away, pulling herself into the crowd crossing the street like a wave, blending into the mass of the anonymous.
My pleas went unaided as if not understood, the brief flicker of distinctive eyes that I could latch onto laced with befuddlement and disgust.
The beats were faster now, my heart thumping so quickly in my ears that the sound was near continuous. The world began to spin and I continued to yell, calling out for help from anybody.
Show me some fucking humanity, help me dammit!
Everything was grey as the details of the sidewalk came into focus, my eyelashes fluttered through the stream of blood, making swirls and patterns like a brush on canvas, a macabre still-life set on the streets.
“Come on, get up,” a voice said as I felt myself being pulled to my feet, my body numb from my fall. Pain lanced across my arms as I tried to move them, but no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t obey.
“Hey buddy? Hello? Can you understand me?”
A man materialized in front of me, wearing a blue shirt with buttons and black slacks. A police officer. Finally some help.
I tried to speak and he took a step back putting his arms out in front of him. Caution.
“Listen buddy you need to calm down. Do you know what you are on? You are bleeding all over the place and yelling at people. You can’t do that, you understand?”
I hadn’t been yelling, just asking for help. That’s all I ever wanted.
He frowned at me and one of his hands drifted to his holster. I stopped speaking.
“I told you to calm down.”
He looked off to my right and nodded, a sharp wrenching in my arms doubled me over.
“Take him to the station,” the officer said as several pairs of black shoes came into view. They were not gentle, pushing and jostling me into the back of a police cruiser, my heart beat louder than ever before.
I just needed help…