Christmas Cut

“I’m sorry son I have no choice, either I amputate your foot or, well quite simply you will die.”

The choice had to be made; of course it was a no brainer his foot would have to be sacrificed. Mickey his face contorting with excruciating pain had never had to make a serious decision in his young life. Maybe which tee shirt to wear, perhaps pondering whether to join friends on a Friday night jaunt to the movies – those kind of choices.

Now out of the blue he had to make a decision of life or death. Mickey was to deliberate in a split second be firm and decisive about his own life.

Intense pain tore through his whole left side it felt as if a shard of rough edged glass was being thrust up and down inside of him. A barbed line of acute agony streaked through his neck shooting up into his cranium. Mickey gazed into the doctors eyes. The eyes were warm and drew him in. They were mature, paternal eyes. He found trust in the large brown irises.

The eyes seemed to put Mickey at rest; a flowing hypnotic convulsion of spiritual tranquillity washed through and over him. As the seriously injured young man locked his vision on the doctor a nurse pumped a shot of Propofol into his arm. The induction phase had begun and the seasoned doctor took a deep breath. He calibrated his thoughts; it was going to be an arduous night for both the doctor and stricken patient.

Hallucinating wildly Mickey fell into the bulging eyes of the medical expert as they began spinning around sucking him into their infinite concentric circles. Within a few bizarre seconds the incredible agony started to fade to pale and ebb away to become nothing more than a dull thump. A quixotic mist slowly closed in on his peripheral vision until Mickey had passed into a place that was hard to comprehend. A forest or wood he had no memory of how he got there.

As the hazy atmosphere dispersed he could see groups of men women and children. People were smiling at him everyone he turned to warmly engaged with him. Offering a generous expression of friendship through their loving facial statements. It was creeping him out where was he and who were they?

Everywhere he looked he got white. The trees were white, the leaves too. The meandering stream ran white between the mossy bleached mounds. The people looked weird they were real people but blurred around the periphery of their forms. The faces glowed with a warm charm but appeared to be featureless.

Mickey sensed tiredness across his entire body it was a weakness he had never felt before confusing him, he fought hard. Gradually he relented and lowered his trunk down to the forest floor. It felt like velvet under his feet, he scrunched his toes deep into the fallen pine needles but sensed no feeling. The sweet aroma from the spruce trees embraced him wrapping him safely in its wild bouquet. The overwhelming tiredness came to him in short waves, the shoulders then the back, his thighs gave in and finally he lay down flat. Spreading his right arm out above his frame he rested his weighty head upon his forearm. He noticed deep gouges and scratches on the inside of his arm.

White noise filled his head until his ears picked up an odd sound; an aggressive sharp noise broke through the sweet air. He had heard it recently when his father had been working in the house. Then it came to him it was the echo of a hacksaw cutting through a dense object. His nostrils flinched with an aroma that was not abhorrent; it somehow did not fit in to the surroundings. He could smell burning flesh a putrid nauseous stench.

Through the whiteness above they beckoned him to come, to rise up and join them. Two graceful figures levitating directly above where his body rigidly lay. They were requesting his soul. Wafting gently like feathers they giggled as their hands reached out to him. He could feel his own body becoming light as it started to rise, it felt warm and tender, nectareous.

“Okay okay, I know there are more deliveries. Look man the weather is bad I have to be careful the roads are like glass tonight” Mickey was totally pissed. Gerry and Frank had called in sick he didn’t look to good either but it was Christmas Eve the orders had to be delivered. That was Mickey always thinking of others. His ramshackle delivery bike was ancient and unfashionably heavy. It took all his strength to cycle it up the gentle hill to Mrs Watson’s detached house. With the basket on the front packed with groceries the centre of gravity was hard to work out. He almost toppled over before finally arriving at his last delivery stop.

A tired wreath of holly hung on the pillar box red door of Mrs Watson and Mickey had to balance the oversize box of provisions on one knee while he rang the doorbell. A rush of warmth and the smell of stale air smacked his frozen face as the elderly lady pulled open the solid door.

“Oh young Mickey thank you so much I would have been lost without these, can you put the box on the kitchen table please”

“Sure thing Mrs Watson”

He caught his fingers under the box as he planted it down onto the dark wooden surface. The house had a musty smell a smell of a single older person. Somewhere a radio was belting out a sketch by the Marx brothers it brought a smile to Mickey’s dry lips. An overweight ginger and white cat was asleep on one of the eight chairs around the table. It opened an eye and yawned.

“My family are coming tonight I will see my grandchildren for the first time I am so happy, this is going to be the best Christmas” she thrust a small brown envelope into his hand.

“Merry Christmas Michael”

She walked behind him as he made his way back out the house was sucking in gulps of the cold wintry air along the narrow hallway.

“Oh it looks bad you take care on the road now, Merry Christmas” The holly wreath jumped as Mrs Watson slammed the front door shut almost taking it off the hinges.

That was it he was finished for the year and he had picked up a lot of tips, Gerry and frank missed their chance Mickey was flush with cash.

He would head straight back to the store lock up the bike then head home to be with his own family. He pushed in his ear buds deep into his frozen numb ears and tuned in to his latest indie find. Nina Nesbitt, he loved the way she was getting to him with her unique eclectic sound.

Sometimes you feel something they call it a sixth sense.

As Mickey turned back to look the truck drivers face was screwed tight with terror. He felt the heat from headlights which were set just at the same height as his shoulders. The snug headphones set deep into his frozen ears had cloaked the sound of the blaring horn and screeching tyres. The three ton truck was on top of Mickey before he could blink.

In the cab the petrified truck driver felt morbidly disturbed as the front wheels rose and fell as they ran over the boy on the delivery bike. The driver’s eyes took noticed of a brown envelope as it floated on to the frost covered kerb beside the stricken twisted frame and the prone body.

Lights were coming to him breaking through the haze, spotlights harsh and raw. Someone was holding his left hand and was rhythmically stroking the back of it.

He heard a door open and then creaking gently shut. A rush of warm air blew up from below.

“He should be coming around soon” He recognised the voice. The doctor rested his large soft hand on Mickey’s forehead and brushed his floppy hair back.

The tender touch of his mother’s hand grew firmer as the doctor spoke to her.

“I had no choice, either I amputated your son’s foot or he would have died”

Mickey was awake he could hear the conversation. A solitary tear broke out from under the long eyelash of his left eye and slowly made its way down his bruised cheek.


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