More of his blood is outside than in, but the boy is alive. Stiff, crimson bandages hide holes in his hands and feet. His skin is translucent white. He whimpers slightly as paramedics wheel his stretcher through the hospital.
“Fucking kids,” says one to the ER doctor. “They were ‘playing’ crucifixion. Friends get three nails in before he lets himself scream. Parents rush out, find him pinned to a tree. He’s 12.”
The doctor shakes his head. “Jesus Christ,” he mutters, without realising.
Eight minutes later, he does.
“This one,” he sighs over the ECG’s flatline beep, “isn't coming back.”