True Perception by Ashlea Naeth. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Ashlea Naeth was the winner of a story contest for the teen writers group at the Prince George Public Library judged by ORU contributor and teacher Elizabeth Woods, in the fall of 2012. Reality Skimming agreed to publish the winning story with illustrations by Richard Bartrop.
I watched the needle as it sunk in, causing a single crimson bead to blossom upon my skin. I could feel every drip of the thick, black, tar-like substance pushing its way deeper into me, slowly crawling further up my veins, towards my un-beating heart.
I was dead. I knew that. I could remember lying against the cold, wet concrete as I bled out, staining the dark surface with my blood, my body mangled and broken. I was positive that I wouldn't see the light of another day. I thought, after death my pain vanished, I could finally be at peace with myself. I had no idea what was in store for me once I closed my eyes for the final time and took my last, shaky breath.
Warmth encased my body, spreading slowly at first, starting where the black substance had been forced in, then branching out, travelling towards my heart. It was a pleasant feeling, a soothing one, and it was enough to cause my eyes to slide shut. The tiniest of smiles pulled on the edge of my lips.
As the substance was drawn closer to my heart, the warming sensation started to change. Gradually, the soothing warmth began to rise in temperature, turning into an uncomfortable burn.
By the time it reached my heart, it was like an inferno inside my veins, burning me from the inside out. My soft whimpers of discomfort escalated into agonized screams, echoing through the seemingly empty room. But I knew I wasn't alone. I knew that the angels could hear my tortured cries for mercy, and I also knew they chose to ignore it. They ignored me as I crumbled to the ground, my entire body trembling in pain as the black liquid continued its journey through my veins, filling me with darkness.