Left for Dead

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vulturesThey’d left me for dead.

I wasn’t.

Didn’t intend to be, either. Just had to figure out how to call for help.

Fingers busted, tendons severed in my left foot. Maybe I could commando-crawl down the road. But if I rolled over, my guts would spill out onto the road.

Had to do something. Couldn’t stay there.

She told me to give them my wallet. Begged me. But I had the first note she’d ever written me tucked inside, and I didn’t want to lose it. I offered them the money, but that wasn’t good enough. Maybe it’s just that it wasn’t enough, period. Assault and armed robbery for forty-two dollars probably wasn’t worth it to them. They wanted the credit cards, too.

Again, she pleaded with me to give them my wallet. That time I asked if I could keep the note and give them the rest. That’s when they broke all my fingers, one at a time. Just because they could. When I couldn’t make a fist, they sliced my tendons so I couldn’t walk.

Then they raped her.

Her cries echoed through the valley, echoed through my head and heart, but the men wouldn’t stop. I managed to stand and started to hop toward them, desperate to save her.

She took a bullet to the head right before I took one to the stomach.

They took the note out of my wallet and threw it at me before they walked away, their laughter ringing in my ears. I couldn’t grab it, but I was able to put my elbow on it so it didn’t blow away. From that position, I couldn’t even read it. Frustrated, I turned away. My gaze met her lifeless eyes. I had nowhere to look, nothing to live for.

Well, one thing to live for—revenge. I would live through this, and I would avenge her.

Birds circled above me. I watched them, if for no other reason than looking at my dead wife was killing me faster than my wounds. Vultures—they landed on a dead tree and looked down at me, sized me up.

I couldn’t give up, though. Had something to live for. One last thing to do.

The birds nose-dived toward me, pecked at my innards—now outards. I tried to shoo them, and the note fluttered away.

Tears leaked out the corners of my eyes.

The vultures swooped again, and this time landed—one beside me, one on me. When they began their feast, I could only manage to cringe and turn my head.

They’d left me for dead.

And I was.


This story inspired by the WordPress daily prompt: Cringe.