Convincing Constance (The Blow Hole Boys)(7)

By: Tabatha Vargo

Instead of going back to the condo, I went to the gym. It was the place I went when I felt the fear of the past consuming me. I wasn’t sure if there was such a thing as being addicted to working out, but I was. It all started after my accident. Learning to walk again was hell, but the hospital gym was the only place in the entire building I could stand to be in more than ten minutes.

I’d worked my ass off, rebuilding the muscles in my legs and abs until I was able to move without help. The pain was still there. As a matter of fact, working out still hurt like hell depending on what I was doing, but when that happened, I had the pills to take it all away.

It was a never-ending cycle that I was sure was going to crush me at some point, but until then, I worked my ass off until I didn’t feel anything anymore, and when I did feel something, I squashed it with Lortab or any other pain pill I could find. I played my bass guitar for Blow Hole until my fingers ached, and then I’d drink my night away until I passed out. I did it all again the next day. Never-ending cycles blew, but they worked.

Later that night, I went back to an empty condo, took a shower, and crashed. As soon as my eyes closed, the nightmares started.

The smell of burning flesh, blood, and burnt rubber woke me from death like an ammonia capsule being held under my nose. My stomach rolled at the pungent smells.

I had no idea how long I’d been out, but I could remember seeing headlights and hearing the crunch of the car around me. It all happened so fast, and having a drunk driver didn’t help.

Everything around me was silent.

Then somewhere close, someone gasped for their final breath. I wanted to reach out to the sound, but my arm was pinned beneath something.

A cough escaped my sore lungs and a sharp pain cut through me. I gasped when the air was sucked out of me from the pain. Then I couldn’t breathe. Everything hurt, but all I could focus on was trying to breathe.

Thick silence sliced into the night, making the sound of my fading heartbeat even louder in my ears. I pleaded for the sound of a voice—anyone who was in the car with me. I just needed to hear that someone else was alive, but the silence stretched into the darkness until all I could hear was the strangled sound of my own breathing.

I wanted to move, but I was stuck. There was a tingle in my arms and chest, but from the waist down there was nothing. Reaching down for my legs, I felt my jeans beneath my fingertips. Something warm and sticky coated my hand and I knew it was my own blood.

Panic rushed through me, but I could do nothing but lie there and hope someone, anyone, found me. Far away, I heard sirens, and then bright lights shone in, letting me see I was upside down and someone’s bloody arm was lying in front of my face. A female arm, one with a pretty silver bracelet—Amanda. She was the only girl in the car with myself, Kevin, and Reynolds.

I gasped again.

Then there was so much noise it made my ears hurt. People were calling out orders. The car jerked and the loud sound of a saw filled the night. Again, a bright light flashed into the wreckage, allowing me to see the faces of the others in the car. The ripped flesh and blood marked my memories and then the world went black. Everything was silent.

I sat up, panting and grabbing for the light next to my bed. The darkness was closing in on me and taking all the oxygen out of the room.

Once the light was on, I fell from my bed and went to the bathroom. I ran cold water into the sink and scooped up big handfuls to toss onto my burning face.

I spent the rest of that night on the hard tile floor, staring at the wall in front of me. It wasn’t until the three pills I took made it into my system that I was able to fall asleep against the bathroom cabinet.

“So the label’s sending over a replacement guitarist to finish the tour with us. You okay with that, Zeke?” Finn asked.

He passed a blunt my way and I took a few hits from it before giving it to Chet. The room was smoky. We’d spent most of the night celebrating Zeke getting out of the hospital.

“Yeah, man. We have to finish this tour. The fans, the money, all of it. Promises have been made, and I’m not going to be the reason they get broken. I’m okay with it.” He put his head down and sighed. “I wish like hell my hand wasn’t fucked up, though. I want to play. I miss that shit already.”

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