Your eyes squint as they open through dusted eyelids. Around you is mostly dark, save for a small opening through which your arm is outstretched. The room before you begins to form through your hazy vision and slowly, you begin to remember what happened.
It’s hard to tell how long you’ve been trapped here. Minutes have fused with hours and you’re not even sure if the light streaming through the hole before you is natural. You don’t remember much about the accident, but you do know that you can’t move and the last time you heard another human voice, it was screaming at you to move out of the way from the crumbling ceiling.
It must be after work hours by now. You vaguely remember sitting at your computer, grateful to be filing the last of the day’s paperwork before you heard the loud crash and felt the building shake beneath your feet. At this point, you assume it’s hopeless to expect help to come.
You remember hearing something about a train as you flitted in and out of consciousness. Above you and all around your body are grey rocks, dusty drywall, and jagged pipes that confine you within a pile of debris.
The fingertips of your right arm just barely reach the edge of a small hole about 12 inches in diameter. You are lying on your stomach, your left arm pinned to your side, and your legs are completely immobile. You attempt to loosen yourself from the rubble when you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your abdomen. A bolt of pain strikes across your lower rib cage and into your back. You begin to feel lightheaded as the pain slowly subsides to a dull, consistent ache. Tears form in your eyes, they sting as they mix with the cement dust coating your face. You do your best to move the outstretched arm, but the pain in your side worsens and you fear your shoulder might be dislocated. You attempt to wiggle your fingers, and while your muscles move, you feel nothing.
The dust in the air is making it increasingly more difficult to breathe and your breath starts to quicken. You attempt to scream, yell, anything, but all that escapes your lips is a whimper and a partial moan. You feel weak and helpless.
You lie still for several minutes, thinking about your family. The loved ones you’ll leave behind. They must be looking for you. They have to be looking for you.
You second guess yourself, but you think what you might have just heard was a footstep. You cease your breathing in an attempt to listen more closely. You hear the noise again, several times and it seems as if it’s getting closer. You manage one word at a normal volume; “Help.” You hope it’s enough. You try to move, wiggle some of the drywall off of you, or knock a pebble loose to let your rescuer know where you are.
The sound of your strained cries for help combined with the pain shooting up and down the entirety of your body distract you from hearing the noise approach. The pain gets to be too much and you can now see stars shooting across your field of vision. You pause for a moment to take a breath and listen again. You look towards your only light source and see the snout and cheerful face of a medium build brown dog. It whines and looks at you with it’s head tilted to one side.
With feeble efforts, you urge your fingers to move, doing what you can to help it understand your condition. The dog bends down and licks your fingertips and whines once more. It has no collar and looks strikingly similar to a dog you remember your coworkers having seen on the tracks during their lunch breaks. The dog lays down and stares at you for a moment, then signs and rests it’s head on it’s crossed front paws and closes it’s eyes.
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