he came crawling out of the woods, his femur broken and pushed through the skin, the smell of infectious rot permeating the air

his eyes unfocused, finger tips covered in blood and the ragged remains of fingernails

everyone stopped what they were doing to stare at him as he pulled himself slowly along the ground

a child screamed when he flopped onto his back with a wheezing grunt, his intestines unspooling onto the leaf covered ground around him

thick black blood oozed from his many open wounds, a cloud of gnats like a halo around his head

at once the people sprang into action, rushing to call an ambulance, to see how he still remained among the living

they propped his head up on a folded plaid blanket, trickled water into his gaping mouth

and as he lay there, staring at the sun through the dappled canopy of leaves above, a smile of broken teeth and lacerated lips

he whispered quietly, the rib lodged in his lung forming a small bubble of blood

i’m fine

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