“Superficial Injury” by Dylan Angell (NF)

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A moment prior I had been on my bike.

In that moment, like all moments that have come before, the blood my body generates was still racing around inside me. Quite suddenly much of this blood had gotten loose and now it was soaking into my clothes and running down my skin.

A zig-zagging jogger had blindly flung himself in front of me.

My wheel was knocked sideways and all at once I went flying.

As I rolled over I felt little bits of gravel fall from my face.

I watched the jogger pace in a panic as I sat cross legged in a puddle that felt like a mix of warm urine and maple syrup.

I fixated on the blood that was drying in the crevices of my sneakers and considered the fact that I might be dying.

The jogger who maybe would become known as my killer was crying. He took off his t-shirt and walked towards me. I closed my eyes and he tied the stinking, sweat soaked rag around my head.

It only took a few seconds for the shirt to become sopping with blood.

Some hands lifted me up and I balanced myself.

Strangers watched me with with shock and worry.

I could hear the sirens coming.

Four fire trucks, two ambulances, and three cop cars that had come to my rescue.

Two paramedics pulled me from the crowd and laid me into a gurney.

I began to recall movies with ambulance scenes in them and I wondered how many people die while thinking of a scene in a movie where someone dies in the same way that they are about to die.

The ambulance door shut and we pushed through Manhattan’s rush hour traffic. The ambulance seemed so bendable and fragile. Without saying a word a paramedic began to cut my shirt off with a pair of scissors. I bit my lip and felt that it was skinless and had scabbed over.

I was taken to Bellevue Hospital. While I was being wheeled in I saw shackled men walking down the halls. The paramedics brought me into a room and then they lifted me onto a bed.

There was a man in the bed next to mine.

He asked a paramedic if I was dangerous.

The paramedic shrugged.

“I hope you are smart because your modeling days are over,” said the man in the bed.

I told him I hadn’t seen a mirror so I’d have to take his word for it.

He replied “my word is you look like shit. I am healthy as a horse. I shouldn’t be here. They kidnapped me and I am going to sue.”

I said “Yeah, me too. They kidnapped me too.”

He smiled at me and laughed.

When the doctor came she had me wiggle and flex each limb.

I was in my underwear and my skin was still caked in dried blood.

I smiled wide to show her I hadn’t broke any teeth.

She shined a light into my eyes to make sure my brain wasn’t cracked. Eventually she concluded that my injuries were “superficial.”

She told me I was lucky. She sewed 12 stitches into my forehead to close the gap that had opened above my left eye and then she said I could go home.

I asked her if she could get me something to wash off the dried blood.

She pointed down the hall towards the bathroom.

I rolled out of the bed and limped down the hall, past the coughing and wailing curtains.

There was one exposed light bulb that lit the dirt-tiled bathroom.

In the mirror I could see that the left side of my face was skinless.

One of my eyes had swelled shut and my lips had inflated.

Scars ran all along my torso and arms.

There was dried blood caked into my hair and fingernails.

I soaked some paper towels and I tried to wash myself but it hurt to reach.

I hobbled back down the hallway to my bed and found some clothes that had been left for me: a grey XXL t-shirt and some worker’s pants with paint stains. The pants felt heavy after I rolled the legs up.

“I hope you feel better soon,” I said to the man in the next bed.

“What do you mean? I’m fine. I can’t believe they are letting you go and I have to stay here.”

I shrugged and waved goodbye.

As I sat on the train I imagined the fat man and the tall man who had worn these clothes before me. I supposed that they hadn’t bled much when they died.

Otherwise their clothes would have been cut to pieces.


Dylan Angell is a North Carolinian who is currently based in Queens, New York. In 2016 he released the book, “An Index of Strangers Whom I Will Never Forget A-Z”, via his Basic Battles Books imprint. He has collaborated on two books with photographer Erin Taylor Kennedy; 2017’s “I’ll Just Keep On Dreaming And Being The Way I Am” and 2018’s “Beyond the Colosseum”. He has been published in Fanzine, Fluland, Parhelion, The Travelin’ Appalachians Revue and Sleaze Magazine. Sometimes when he can’t sleep he will ride his bike and listen to Bill Evans.