• • •
And to think, Jonathan Knox felt the prison room cold.
In a spray of frigid water Jonathan Knox bursts through the surface of Atacama Lake. The moon is out – was it night when he destroyed the Compound on the other Earth? Who knows – and the stars are singing their mute song in the heavens. It’s hard to tread water, hard to kick his legs, to flap his arms. The lake feels like it’s filled with gelatin, but Jonathan Knox knows he’s not swimming in gelatin. He’s merely swimming in water, cold, frigid water, and his limbs aren’t working very well. If he doesn’t get to shore soon, he’s probably going to die.
Only probably, though. Jonathan Knox is hard to kill, after all, and drowning is too easy a death. Painful, sure. Terrifying, you bet. But easy. You just go underwater and don’t come back up. Jonathan Knox goes underwater… and he comes back up a few seconds later, displaced a few yards from where he went down. Progress, and easy enough. He just has to repeat himself.
Jonathan Knox goes underwater and comes back up over and over, then he’s at the shore on his hands and knees, then he’s coughing, gagging, dry heaving (although it’s not very dry, its moist and cold and just about the farthest thing from home Jonathan Knox can imagine) and then he’s off his hands and knees, he’s flat on his stomach and breathing, just breathing, breathing oh so slowly as the night grows darker and darker… wait, that’s not the night. That’s just his consciousness fading into oblivion.
The voice of Al Sharpton speaks to Jonathan Knox from the depths of his soggy mind. ‘From there you can do whatever the hell you want, and… well, that’s it.’
Dying of hypothermia on the gritty shores of Lake Atacama is not whatever the hell Jonathan Knox wants to do. He strikes the shore, thinking he’ll connect with dirt or sand or whatever it is he just vomited all the dirty lake water onto. He hits a rock instead and red liquid pain shoots up his arm like quicksilver in a thermometer on a hot day. Jonathan Knox is certainly back in the game now. His blood is flowing, his movements are no longer sluggish, his limbs are working great… save for the arm. He looks back at Atacama Lake and sees the wavy reflection of space with its stars and its moon and its other Earths floating somewhere out in the great wide-open, then farts and hastily makes way towards the treeline.
“Bionic Earth,” says Jonathan Knox, trekking squelchingly into the woods of one version of Wuester, New Jersey. “Life is going to be different here, I’m sure of it. I believe everything is going to work out just great for me.”
Not ten paces later, Jonathan Knox steps on a jagged piece of broken glass sticking brazenly out of the forest floor. The glass pushes up through his right shoe like hot metal through plastic and slices a gnarly but neat crevasse into the sole of his foot. The laceration is so clean that Jonathan Knox doesn’t feel it happen. He just keeps on walking.
Eventually he starts to feel a tad bit woozy, almost like he’s drunk.
Shortly after that, he realizes it’s getting quite difficult to put weight down on his right foot.
Immediately after that, he walks through a clearing basked in silver moonlight and notices the bloody half-track he’s got going on for himself, then he’s back on his knees again, then the forest floor is kissing him, but Jonathan Knox does not kiss it back. Jonathan Knox has lost consciousness altogether but yet the forest floor keeps on kissing him, keeps going further.
Somebody should really do something about that.
This has been the second subchapter of the first chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~