The IV monitor crept into the hallway, guided by a vein-traced hand covered in wrinkled skin. With half his
face protruding beyond the edge of the door, he waited. He had one chance, one opportunity to end his
imprisonment. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to fight back, resist the pain. They would win and he would be
nothing but a shell.
His white gown jittered with nervous tension. The opened back exposed sagging flesh and drawn butt
muscles. Then it came again, the terrible drilling in his head. He pushed crooked fingers deep into his
temples, until the uncut nails crusted the skin. “Not now, please, just a few more minutes, and I’ll be free.”
He pressed against the wall and inched along the passageway. He ignored the cold metal bumper guard
chilling his bare rump; all his energy focused on escape. He pushed away the hammering in his skull, fought
back against the rush of burning needles charging down his spine. He whispered to no one he could see. “No
more. I wouldn’t let you use me anymore.”
In answer to his rebellion, the dull pain exploded, like a hot steel rod penetrating his forehead. The old man
grimaced in pain and moaned, “Oh God, please make it stop. Please, I beg you.”
His plea alerted the orderly fifteen feet to his right. “Christ, Mr. Cunningham, not again.”
The man in the green uniform hurried down the hallway. “I’m sorry but you have to return to your room. I
promise; I’ll up your dosage to kill the pain.”
The old man summoned what strength was left in his worn out body. “No. I wouldn’t go back. You don’t
care what they do, the gnawing in my head. No one wants to believe the truth.”
The orderly reached out to grab the skinny arm, but Cunningham was ready and slammed his weapon down
hard on the young man’s hand. The orderly screamed and fell back across the chair seated against the wall.
He removed the plastic fork and stretched upward toward the old man, but it was too late.
With the last spark of life, the emaciated figure bent down, picked up the steel frame, and ran toward the
hall window. Like a charging knight with his lance pointing toward his opponent, the base of the frame
shattered the window’s glass and wooden partitions, again and again, until the frame was clear of glass. He
climbed up the escape route, and did something he hadn’t done for many years. With his eyes quivering
uncontrollably, he smiled and reclaimed his freedom. “It’s over, you lose, I win. You ugly bastards, go to
The orderly pressed on the wound as blood dripped on the linoleum tiles.  He leaned out the window, peered
down at the body sprawled across the fountain at the entrance of the hospital, and shook his head. “Crazy
old man. Hope you got what you wanted.”
Copyright 2010 by Michael W. Davis
Dr. Jonathan Emery searches for an answer to his wife's unexplained death, but
what he finds rocks the foundation of what we accept as the human condition.
Then he makes a costly mistake by sharing the truth with the wrong people.
Top Review
Some things are better left unknown
Publisher Best Seller
"Davis has a twisted mind, and I mean that in
the best possible way. In this short science
fiction horror story, he explores rim fire, the
phenomenon where a burst of red flashes on
the rim of your peripheral vision when you
quickly turn your head...The author does a
good job of manipulating details and making
the reader stick with the characters on this
journey into the unknown. He continues to
present new questions and build tension.
Talented at creating beautiful / horrific visuals,
Davis’ world sucked me in from the first
sentence and didn’t release me until the last
word in this tightly constructed story."