Sensation began at my ears, and pulsed through my head like successive underwater explosions; blurred echoes rippled to the edges of my skull, and stirred me from consuming stupor. I'd heard somewhere that, once upon a time, underwater cannons were how they recovered a drowned body – the pulse shook it loose.

I became aware of my head in its entirety through the disturbance that consumed it, beginning at the ears and ricocheting in unpredictable ways. For a moment, nothing else existed.

The sound solidified and sharpened until it hurt to hear. I tried to turn away, and must have made a sound. The clapping stopped.

It didn't seem to matter. My head was still pounding to the rhythm of the claps, between my ears and behind my eyes. I whimpered again, and didn't care that I was doing it.

Feeling returned to my face, my neck, but no further. It wasn't pleasant, but it would be much worse in a few hours. I could feel the telltale effects of painkillers in my system – the disorientation, the slow, ambiguous return of sensation. I tried not to tense up, paid attention to each bit of returning feeling to make sure I wasn't tensing the muscle. It was slow, which meant they must have used the good stuff. That was to be expected, for all that our stock was dwindling, given the circumstances.

It was both too silent and not silent enough. The background noise was faint but constant, but near me was quiet. That was the first and only warning sign.

I opened my eyes to red.

Date: <2016-05-10 Tue> [2014-08-10 Sun]

Author: Sahiti Chedalavada

Created: 2020-12-14 Mon 02:14