Escape

He landed the wrong way when the rubble collapsed on him. His body slammed on the floor, whiplash from the fall knocking his mask somewhere into the dust. It was impossible to see anything beyond the debris, and his dazed condition made it even worse now. Pinned and winded, he lay limp on the concrete floor.

“What happened? Are you still there?” a panic laced voice screamed. The pinned victim clamped his eyes tightly shut, the stimuli too much for his weakened condition.

“Trapped…” the word moaned meekly from his mouth.

“I got clear! I’m going for help!” Footsteps scuffled as the owner of the voice ran off, leaving him alone. Coughing, he sagged under the slab of concrete that pinned him, its weight practically unbearable. There was something pressing- probably impaling- his shoulder and tears of pain dripped down his smudged face as he struggled to free himself.

Up above, he could hear the roof shake. The sound of rocks falling reached his ears from afar, and he shut his eyes, praying he would not die here. Fear of death made him squirm, wiggling only to feel the beam in his shoulder bury itself deeper. Gritting his teeth he abandoned all hope of comfort, and jerked his shoulder away. The pain was excruciating, and he felt the slab shift to another mighty pressure point on his body. A yell of agony rang from his lips.

He gasped heavily as dust entered his lungs. As he jerked from the episode, however, he realized that he could move his torso. Very little it was able to maneuver, but he could still shift a little. Opening his eyes, he could see the beam directly above him, and tried not to think of the end that was snapped off. Above that in the grey shaft of light, the concrete that pinned his legs slanted away.

He pushed on the beam, feeling the weight of the room working against him. His shoulder was on fire, but he shoved harder and harder against it, feeling it shift. Please don’t let anything fall on me, please don’t let anything fall on me… he silently begged. Using his weakened strength, he painfully pushed until he could no longer reach the wood.

There was a metal barb ahead of him, across the floor, some steel that had snapped in the collapse, and now jutted out. His fingers were teased as he reached for it, struggling for excruciating minutes until his hands wrapped around it. His strength was failing as he pulled, and he desperately wished for his mask. It was a useless power, but if he could focus… little did he know, however, was that his panic was propelling him more than any mask ever would.

There was something in his back that cracked as his legs were freed from under the slab. Maybe his spine was separated. He curled up and silently wept, as he felt all of his body parts still intact. Peering around after those few minutes of pain and relief at the same time, he looked for holes in the rubble to climb through.

A noise. His attention snapped to the ceiling, but it was no sound of rubble shifting. A voice was not far away.

“He got me free, but trapped himself in there, said he was pinned…”

He needed not to be called. Urgency flooded his broken body, giving one last surge of willpower, and he miraculously picked himself up. He was definitely broken. But the hole there just needed a little pry so he could wiggle through…

****

As a crowd gathered to see the collapsed building, he emerged. Disfigured and maskless, mangled in countless places and mangled, he stumbled out. Down the debris he tumbled as his body finally collapsed, but he needed not worry any longer, as he fell into the arms of a rescuer.

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