The white tiles were cool under my bare feet. I could hear the others in the next room - I couldn’t tell, but I was pretty sure they were all playing on the X-box. My feet must have had a disagreement with the clean tiles because soon I was falling. The vibrant, pink ball I held skidded across the floor – sadly, my body went along with it.
Two things happened at once: the ball was ripped from my grip, a distinctive pop followed, and then a pain started burning at the back of my neck, strained by a great force. It took a moment to realise that my long hair had been pulled into the running treadmill.
The pain coming from my neck increased as my head rested against the white tiles at a weird angle. Somewhere deep inside was screaming at me, telling me to call out to the others, knowing that they would be able to help. Yet I didn’t want their help, I wanted to do it myself. I moved my hand in the general direction that my hair was caught in – it was hard to see anything other than the mocking white tiles.
A horrible tingling started pulsing in my right hand. My hand was caught between the cool metal bar and the still moving belt. Panic gripped my heart in tight hold as realisation settled in.
The thought of calling out to the others seemed so terrifying for some reason. I told myself it was because I could free myself, in reality it was just my stubbornness. I needed help, but I didn’t want them to know that I’d somehow tripped over and was now caught in the treadmill because of a stupid ball.
My free hand shot out like a bullet, reaching for my trapped hand. I don’t know what happened, my body didn’t track my movements completely, all I knew was that I reached over, trying to release myself from the torturous machine that kept running over me. Then it happened.
The pain turned into a painful inferno, adding to the strain on my neck. My right hand knew exactly what it wanted; though it seemed I had to disagree. My hands were being crushed. It was the only explanation for what was happening. I was being crushed in a burning pit that was hungry for my hands and hair. The belt began to falter across my hands, jumping and jolting painfully – but still destroying my hands in the most excruciating way.
A shrill scream burnt a war path through my throat. It was like my screams and tears had a mind of their own, I tried to tear myself out of the belt in a panic, but that was worse. So much worse.
The strain on my neck pulled impossibly tight. My hands, whatever was happening to them, was incredibly excruciating. My screaming had drowned out the others, and I couldn’t see them with my head still on an angle, the second they started yelling that changed.
“The wall! Pull it out from the wall!” my brother was yelling at someone and soon the tugging and tearing from the belt ceased. If it didn’t hurt so much I would have sighed in relief.
Even though there was no movement from the belt I could still feel all the pain. You’d think that it would stop after a while, that it would become familiar – at least in some sense – or it would numb some. But no, none of that happened and even though my screams started to die away, I couldn’t stop the occasional whimper escape from my mouth.
“What the hell happened?” my friend asked, his voice worried and scared.
“I – I don’t know. It just hurts, stop it from hurting, please,” my voice sounded raw and scratched even to my own ears. One of the boys swore, of course this had to happen when no parents were around.
I moved slightly and a sharp pain travelled its way up my neck and arms in waves, making another whimper escape, causing someone to curse again.
The sound of yelling confused me and I had to remind myself not to move, again. Soon the neighbours were crowding in the room – around me – trying to figure out what all the noise had been. They fell silent for a moment and I could only guess what they looked like. Then everyone began talking at once, asking questions, something about paramedics and hospitals.
“Let’s just get her out first!” someone yelled out, talking over the rest, setting them off again.
They stood there arguing on how to release me; I didn’t know how long it took – only knowing that it was too long.
Sweet relief. Something was happening. I didn’t even care what, only that they kept at it. Soon the taut feeling in my neck slacked, but unfortunately it didn’t ease any pain.
My hands were slowly liberated from the belt’s grip. I was helped off the floor and seated at the kitchen table. Someone rushed off to grab an ice-pack for my neck and hands. I didn’t want to look at my hands, afraid at what I would find. I shuddered slightly as I made up my mind, looking down I felt my eyes widen.
The middle and index fingers on my right hand had been damaged to say the least. The undersides of the two fingers – along with the up-side of my left index finger – weren’t completely covered in blood like I had expected.
The skin was torn and ripped away. You could see all the way down to the bone and tendon on my right hand. It appeared that my left hand had suffered less in every aspect. They looked raw. Reds, pinks and blacks covered the three fingers – my hair had been ripped out, some of it sticking to my fingers.
It was almost as if I could already feel it beginning to scar, marking my body forever. A haunting reminder gracing my delicate fingers for the rest of my life, unable to get rid of them.