10/14/2019 - I shouldn't be alive.
We’d been making our way up the Cascades. I’d finished up the Portland video. Great town, by the way. Had some good times in that crazy place. That’s where I picked up Star. She took to me immediately. It was nice to have company for once, and she stuck around for a good couple of days as I wandered around through the PNW wilderness. That girl is insatiable. Every day with her I felt exhausted and drained, but the nights… oh how the nights were worth it!
I don’t know exactly where we were when it happened. We’d picked out a little flat rise among the ferns and evergreens to set up the tent. It was a beautiful, magical place. I sat in the tent and watched the dying light filter through the trees, accompanied by the beautiful music of the patter of raindrops on the ferns. Star fussed over the fire, cooking us dinner. She always seemed to be worried that I was getting enough to eat and drink. She was especially concerned that I was getting enough iron. I didn’t mind it. Steaks, spinach, and beans? I hadn’t eaten that well since St. Louis.
It happened that night. The growl was like nothing I’d ever heard. Deep, rumbling, and full of menace, it was close and loud when it woke me. The next few moments are a haze of violence. I remember the sound of nylon being shredded. I know I heard Star scream. Then, the pain.
I woke up in Harborview Medical Center in agony to a world of bright lights, plastic tubes, and beeping noises. My chest hurt from where they’d administered CPR in the helicopter. My nostrils burned with dry oxygen from the cannula. But my leg… my left leg… I was shaking with pain. I pulled back the sheet and looked. My leg was swollen and purple. A hundred staples held it together, making a y pattern in my thigh. Whatever it was, it had almost taken my leg off. They’d already scheduled my amputation surgery for the next morning, and seemed completely astonished that my leg hadn’t died and become gangrenous. The police asked me a bunch of questions, but in the end, I had more than they did. They said it must have been a bear. I don’t know. Maybe. Bears don’t make a sound like that, but then again, maybe it sounds different when they’re actively trying to kill you. The other weird thing is that there was no sign that Star was ever there. They found no trace of her. She wouldn’t have run off and left me to the bear, would she?
My leg hurts like hell. But it’s healing at an incredible rate. It’s red, swollen, and hotter than the surface of the sun, but it looks like I’ll walk again. Now if only I could get them to give me enough food. No matter how much I get, I always seem to feel hungry.
The nurse almost screamed when she saw me walking around to go to the bathroom. What the hell did they expect? I’m not an invalid. They seem to really be freaked out by how fast my leg is healing.
Time for Hannah to make her exit. This place is starting to get weird. The way they’re talking about my injury, I expect people in black suits to show up in my room any minute. Besides, I’m never going to be able to pay the bill for all this.
Freedom! I grabbed my stuff and snuck out in a laundry cart. The leg is stiff, but I can walk! I’m not sure what I’m going to do when the staples need to come out. I guess I’ll just have to deal with that later. Pliers, maybe? One weird thing. There’s this grey powder all over my bag. No idea where that came from.
I’m worried about Star, but I have absolutely no idea where we were when we were attacked. Decided to island hop my way up the coast toward Vancouver. Leg is itching like mad. Two of the staples seemed to come out on their own. 98 to go? I found a nice little town on one of the islands. I hope they have a good burger. Or six. If you’re out there, somewhere, Star, I hope you’re ok.