15 December 2004
You know you have this coming.
“Unappreciative little brat,” Roger muttered, his eyes glazed over and staring into space. “I fed you, clothed you, did everything that was asked of me. You could have had it so much worse!” He suddenly found himself clear-headed, his vision normal, and sitting in a wheelchair. The nurse walking along beside him was looking down at him with concern, holding a clipboard and a set of keys. He was moving, and as he looked back he could see that another nurse was pushing his chair.
“Mr. Bilson? Can you hear me? Who are you talking to?”
“I...I was having a bad dream.”
“I suppose it must’ve been.” They were passing through the lobby, Roger realized, and about a half dozen people were staring at him as he passed.
They know. They all heard you.
“No, no,” he whispered, lowering his head and holding up his hands to block his face.
Do you even remember what you just confessed to? He didn’t. Everything was now a blur since the hallway of his apartment.
“What...where are we going?”
“You’ve been approved for some more direct care, sir. We’re taking you to a new apartment where you can get the help you need.”
No, they’re not.
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“It’s a nursing home, Mr. Bilson. You’re going to need a lot of help with that ankle and the nasty hit to your head. We’ll take good care of you there.” They passed through the doors to the cold night outside, where a van was waiting.
They’re not taking you anywhere. It’s time. Roger gasped as he felt his entire body go cold and then begin moving without his control. An elbow to one nurse, a punch to the other. It all happened so fast, and so much harder than he thought his body could hit. He heard screams but couldn’t place them. Then he had the keys, and he heard his ankle snap as he ran around to the door of the van. He wanted to scream, to stop, to sit down and let them take him and just pray his final days would be comfortable, but his body climbed into the van and started it. He raced away from the hospital, tearing through the neighborhood with reckless abandon.
When the van slammed into the side of a building, he could feel bones shatter and the wind get knocked out of his lungs. Everything felt like it was on fire, blood trickling down his arms and legs. He kicked the door clean off the van and stumbled out, walking straight for the water.
“No, no, please! Not like this!” He suddenly had his voice again, but nothing else. On a telephone pole he found a coat left for the homeless, and his body grabbed it and put it on as he passed. He continued to plead, but heard no answer and felt no change. He made promises, laid curses, screamed in agony as the pain from all his wounds continued to grow.
When he came to the wide rocky shore, he began grabbing rocks and shoving them into his pockets as he yelled for help. No one came as he crossed the distance from Chicago to Lake Michigan. No one came as he stepped into the lake and walked forward. No one heard his last scream for release before his mouth went under the water.
No one ever saw Roger Bilson again.