Everything slides into focus. His hands move. Bam—Crunch. He knows his present state of mind won’t last, can’t last, but he doesn’t care. Three seconds after the impact his mind registers the pain. Bone under flesh. Wood splintering and cracking. In the morning people will ask him why and, being human, he will lie. He will tell them that he fell. That he doesn’t remember what happened. They will believe him, and everything will slide into place. Stupid.
Weeks will pass.
His hands will heal. Slowly. Terrible things will pass through his mind. He will write them off as nightmares, terrors confined to the twilight hours. It is a lie. Not one he tells himself, but one he tells the world. Better to discount the awful things than acknowledge them.
More time passes.
There is pain. Red wounds blossom on pink skin. Who hurt me, he wonders? He remembers the knife, the impetus, the blood. But not the action. He takes off his clothes and looks in the mirror. Where did all this fat come from? Why do I have so many scars? The mirror shatters and he wipes away the blood.
His phone vibrates. It inches its way closer to the edge of the counter. He waits for it to fall, hopes it will fall, but then it stops. It buzzes again, this time moving in the opposite direction. He sighs and picks it up. He wishes he hadn’t.
It’s nothing special. Just another alert about how well she’s doing. Nothing at all. The anger he feels grounds itself in the closest nothing it finds. In the morning he wraps bandages around his hands and tries to forget.
Even more time passes.
The nightmares are worse now. They seem to target recent events, build upon one another until all he can remember is nightmare. The blanks are filled in with something worse than nothing.