The first punch. I land out of fear. The next. Reflex. Every punch I land following lights a flame inside of me. A flame the slowly spreads. A flame that engulfs me entirely. The flame and I build up steam. Slowly at first. Then with frightening ferocity. Something awakens in the back of my mind. I do not know its name. Yet it fits me like a glove. I let go of the reigns. Impossible to hold myself back anymore. I lose myself to the frantic madness that quickly consumes me.
Reality snaps back. The flames quenched. With the dying embers still burning my fists. I am left only with the bloodied mess and horror of what has occurred.
I was just trying to protect myself. I didn’t mean to go this far. What have I done?
I carry him to the road and call an ambulance. The pungent smell of alcohol, blood, shit, and piss hang off him. The shit still running down his leg. His words barely understandable as his face has started to puff up and most of his teeth have been knocked out.
The ambulance arrives. They are confused by the fact that I stay with him. But I stay. I ride with him to the medical centre. I stay as they reset his nose, drain his wounds, stitch him up. And do as best a job as they can patching up his mouth; which I am told will need several dental surgeries. They pull several fragments of teeth from my cut up knuckles. The scars will remain for years. Additions to my growing collection.
I stay till the inevitable arrival of the police. Who upon taking my statement in the local vernacular dismiss me without even taking a statement from the Australian man a few years older than me, because even though they understood it — they couldn’t be arsed in dealing with a foreigner who was an employee of one of the english tourism companies, and who was known for causing trouble whenever he got drunk. The way they told it, he was bound to push the wrong person eventually. And that closes that, as far as they are concerned.
Another in a long list of examples that showcase how any single person, if they had just done their fucking job, could have stopped me from becoming what I became. Or kept me locked up forever after I was irrevocably changed. My slow but daunting descent into madness left completely unchecked.