I kick the third attacker in the stomach again. This time I catch him in the solar plexus. I can see his eyes roll into his head as the wind is knocked from him. He’ll be down for the count.

I still can’t shake free from the vice-like grip the first attacker has my arm in. He has his entire body weight behind the shoulder lock, and I can feel it tearing at the joint. I am distracted by the foot long knife blade whipping towards me by the second attacker to be able to disengage. 

As the flesh from my torso peels away like butter, spraying blood everywhere, I turn my head towards the end of the alley. She’s almost free from this nightmare. A few more seconds and my intervening will have made it all worthwhile. A few more seconds.

The edges of my vision begin to darken and through a sudden surge of adrenaline I realize that in a few more seconds I will bleed out. The thug wielding the knife comes in for another attack. I’m still locked in an armbar.

I have no choice.

The agony-filled guttural scream that comes from deep within is almost as loud and frightening as the sound of my shoulder tearing out of joint as I wrench free of the first attacker’s grip. The knife wielder pauses his advance for a second, his shock apparent at what I just did.

A second is all I need.

I kick downwards hard, shattering his kneecap, his leg buckling backwards. He drops the knife, screaming and holding at the mess of his knee while he collapses to the floor.

The first attacker has gone pale with terror, and as I turn my predatory gaze towards him, he urinates himself, slips, and knocks his head so hard he immediately black out.

No, wait. That’s not how it happened.


“We’re not going to make it!” my Chief Communications officer screams as the Kubwa takes another hit. I manually disengaged from my pod as the ship’s systems began failing. Too many bulkheads had collapsed. Too many corridors were impassable. Too many lives would be lost if I couldn’t help with the evacuation. It had been a tough decision, one that might cost me my immortality, but if it saved a few hundred lives then I really had no choice.

“It’s just us left.” I bark, reaching into the molten mess of steel for the manual hatch release. “Everyone else is away! We are not going to die today.” I clench my teeth with effort, reaching into my ship’s innards even further, the hot metal searing my flesh, the smell of myself cooking threatening to overwhelm my gag reflex. Only another inch. It might as well be an AU away.

Another explosion, whether from enemy fire or systems damage I can’t be sure. Without warning, the metal of the bulkhead screams, twisting in on itself, crashing down on my arm. I scream, feeling my shoulder rip out of socket.

I can also feel my hand on the manual release. The agony is excruciating, but I begin to turn the handle.

“Let go of me!”I say as two crewmen try to pull me away. “Get the door open!”

The three of them look at each other in confusion for only a moment, then begin pulling at the middle seam of the door. It gives, and soon they have it open.

My Chief Communications Officer looks back to me as the two others run out of sight down the passageway towards the remaining escape pods.

I close my eyes and look away. My arm is locked tight in place. When I open my eyes and look back, he’s gone. No words needed.

I pull with everything I have, screaming, the pain threatening to overwhelm me. Another explosion rocks the ship.

I realize with grim certainty that my story has come to an end.

No, no. That’s not it either.


“C’mon, sir! You said this was easy.” he taunts me as I struggle to pull up for rep number 102. I fix a WTF look at him as he smiles, waving his hands in peace as I lower for the next rep.

I am exhausted. My muscles are beyond aching. I’m old. I’m mouthy. I shouldn’t have been so cocky. He’s twenty years younger, in far better shape, and managed to do 116 wide grip pull-ups before failure. I’ve never seen anything like it before from an unenhanced human.

I take a deep breath and breathe out heavily while exerting again. My muscles shake. I can feel a primal roar forming on my lips as I will myself upwards. My body strains with the effort as my yell increases in decibels.

It is unexpectedly drowned out by the sudden ‘pop’ sound of my shoulder coming out of joint, my body falling haphazardly to the floor, and me screaming as I clutch my shoulder, white searing pain shooting through my body.

“Holy shit!” he comes running to my aid quickly, his eyes bulging in shock, unsure of how to help.

Nope. Still not right.


The truth is I have no idea how it happened. My Osteopath says it probably happened months ago, as a minor strain, and has only been compounded over the last few months by me not paying attention to it.

To be fair, I thought it was just regular workout pain and paid it no mind. The pump of adrenaline during my workouts masked the issue only reinforcing my belief that it was just a direct result of me pushing myself.

I only thought to get it checked after noticing I couldn’t pull a sweaty gym shirt over my head.

Turns out I’ve damaged my right shoulder rotator cuff. Scar tissue has built up. I’ve damaged the ligaments of my pectoral major, pectoral minor, sub clavicle insertion, serratus, both heads of the bicep, the main tricep head, and my rear deltoid insertion. So pretty much everything that connects to the rotator cuff.

My overcompensation has also affected the lower bicep ligament insertions, leaving my bicep very weak to the point where even touching my elbow to a table causes a spike of pain.

Forget about military press. I’m lucky if I can get 5 lbs over my head.

Yup. I’ve screwed myself up good and haven’t the foggiest idea how. My form must have been off somewhere.

The Osteopath also taught me a lot about my body which sheds a little more light on the issue. My tailbone was misaligned, so I was compensating. My right chest is apparently weak, so I was compensating. My right serratus is weak, so I was compensating. Both my trapezius are unusually weak, so I was compensating.

All in all, I neglected some things during my training, and have learned the valuable lesson of advancing to heavy weights too soon.

So what’s next? Six weeks of physio therapy. Ultrasound therapy. And if it doesn’t get better, potential surgery.

At least that eye thing I was suffering through seems to be slowly resolving with the most recent course of anti-biotics.

5 responses to “Torn

  1. Sounds like you screwed things but good now there is a lot to be said for doing light curls while seated with a frosty glass of beer. Cheers get well

  2. Roc,
    I had similar when my left shoulder dislocated itself (full anterior dislocation) stretching off after a gym session a couple of years back. Yes, stretching, really! I’d at some point in the past damaged the rotator cuff muscles on that side (I even think I know when) and the traps were trying to do the job of stabilising the shoulder. NOT a good idea for a muscle group not designed for detail work.

    Basically when they got tired they spasmed and yanked the shoulder out of position. About 8 weeks of physio before I was allowed to ski that Christmas and another four before I was allowed to go up the gym again.

    Then last year I managed to shatter my right clavicle into three pieces … but that’s a story for another day!

    • You lost me at “stopped going to the gym”. Hmmm, I should ask them if I should stop. That never occurred to me either. I’ve just been icing it in the evening, and applying Voltaren during the day.

      I am lucky the injury isn’t worse. I know.

      I do look forward to the rest of your story.

      • See I rest when injured, it might be under protest but I still rest, especially when it’s something that bad. Bear in mind there was about a three to four year gap between what I think was the original injury and the actual dislocation and I was going to the gym, swimming and cycling in the intervening time …

        But yes checking with your physio and osteopath (if they are not one and the same person) could be worthwhile.

  3. Aye. A buddy of mine whipped me bad in a racket ball match. Lower back is pinched somehow. Left legs off (and all other workouts) for 2 days now. Do low reps. Stopping for too long always made me feel weaker and my recovery slower. If you’re spasming out of form, you’ve gone too far or done too many. Sometimes two halves of a rep is better than a full push you know you might not make. Be safe. Stay strong.

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