Smoke hung on the ends of the wind. Consciousness crept up. First, the sensation of cold on his back, contrasting with the fire burning over his arm. Then, the smaller aches, a throbbing in his jaw, the soreness in the soles of his feet. Finally, settling into his body, tiny shifts in alignment, trying to find the right fit.
Matheus opened his eyes. He lay on his back, looking up through a canopy of tree branches. A starlit sky peeked through the lacy pattern. A fine layer of snow coated his face, deposited by the wind. Matheus guess he’d been out for about twenty minutes.
“I am getting tired of passing out and waking up in strange places,” he said, spreading his arms through the snow. “It was one thing when I was an addict, but this is just ridiculous.”
In the branches overhead, a shadow moved. Matheus stopped making snow angels, and stood up. He made a vain attempt to knock the snow from his clothes. Twisting his arm, he examined the raw gouge left by the bullet. The wound looked like a burn, shiny deep red in the center. Matheus sighed. He wiggled his fingers through the hole in his sweater. He’d heal. In terms of pain, he’d definitely been through worse. But unless he learned how to darn cashmere, his sweater had no chance of recovery.