I remembered that my mother had said that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but today, the sky didn’t even maroon in that direction. I stared at the horizon, the pavement cold, and slowly numbing the pain, waiting for the signs of a new day to scatter the stars back to the planets from whence they came. I couldn’t believe how clear they were given this city constant haze and smoke. I felt something slide out of my eye, pushing away crusted blood, as I thought, I would have liked to have gazed at them with him. A clumsy breath escaped my lungs, bits of my foggy soul escaping along with it, and I couldn’t hold back a whimper as I inhaled painfully, tasting my own blood, and shivering uncontrollably. My teeth chattered, taking little sharp bites at my tongue, and a sound started from within my chest and traveled to my mouth, whistling out like an old funeral tune. I was getting tired, my eyelids drooping without my permission. I thought, I would have liked to have watched the stars with him.
The darkness was speaking to me.
“Abby! Oh my God Abby!”
It sounded like him. Excruciating pain exploded in my side and I gasped as my eyes popped open coming face to face with rough jeans over a knee and sprinkles of snow hitting the street. I noticed a bit of winter light cascading over blonde hair before my eyes closed once again.
“Jesus, Abby! Abby! Abby!”
Mark? It is his voice in my ear, and I said his name again, but only gurgled wheezing came forth. It feels like I’m aging in decades with every shaky breath I take, and a heaviness started to settle onto my chest, causing me to quiver in both anxiety and fear.
“Ugh…” I tried to speak but a groan was all I could manage. Everything seemed to hurt worse than before. What is this? Why can’t I stop crying? Can he see me crying? Mark, please, help me. It hurts so much.
“Don’t worry Ab. I-I’ll call 911!”
I felt the warmth of human skin on my face, giving me a brief reprieve from all of the hurt, but it was gone like dew in the sun. I didn’t want it to leave. I wish I could open my eyes. I wish I hadn’t been so full of habit, jogging every morning before dawn, and just had stayed home in bed, warm, and with him. I wish…God, I’m just filled with wishes today. I tried to laugh but my chest caved in, and something wet and serious dribbled from my lips. A little sleep. I just need a little sleep to forget the pain for a moment. Just a little…
A quick frigid numbness enveloped my body, shaking me from a dreamless sleep. I timidly open my eyes only to encounter a blackness so unnatural that it gripped me in terror and I shut my eyes once again, this time not wanting them to open. I couldn’t move, my body was heavy like stone, and I shivered as I could feel the blackness wrapping around me. It was making small sound. What are those sounds?
It doesn’t sound like Mark.
That isn’t Mark.
Oh God! that’s not Mark. God! What is that?
I could breathe easier now, but the heaviness was still there, and the pain. The pain wouldn’t leave. Those sounds. Oh God those sounds were getting closer. Mark. Please Mark, where are you?
I stopped breathing and I could feel a force trying to pry my eyes open, but I didn’t want them to. Don’t. Stop, please. Please. The darkness in my eyes was safe, but if I opened them now, it wouldn’t leave. Those sounds. That voice that my name slithered out from, would be there, waiting for me in greedy glee.
“Abby my dear. Open your eyes. Let us see you.”
The force was becoming stronger; the chill invading my bones cracking them and spreading twinges of pain throughout my body, and my eyelids were being controlled by something that smelled of some heinous gas that my mind couldn’t put a word too. Like something dead, and kicking.
“We want you to see us.”
Scream. I wanted to scream, but if I open my mouth it would get inside. It would crawl in like ants and stick to my bones, my heart, my veins, clogging me up with black spikes, their appendages pricking me like needles as they rushed inside, and their mouths eating and starving, eating and starving, and never stopping.
My eyelids slowly widened, a blizzard breeze crashing into them, blowing away all of the moisture and tears.
“Abby my dear,” my eyes opened wide, “we can see you.”
I screamed as my eyes opened and I struggled as hands, it’s hands pushed me down.
“Off! Off! Off!” My voice was croaky, throat on fire and chest squeezing for air, and then in my line of sight, warm hands grabbed my face, and Mark’s green eyes came into view.
“Ab,” he said, a relieved smile coming onto his worn face. He looked like he hasn’t slept in days. Days.
“Time,” I said but my voice sounded inhuman, and I looked around waiting to see it lurking in the crevices of the small room, but there was nothing but white walls and a woman in a suit gazing down at me in relief.
“Baby,” my mom stroked my arm that I realized was in a cast and I looked at Mark, his eyes bright and wet.
“I saw it.” I whispered and he furrowed his brows.
“What? Saw what Abs? You’ve been in a coma for three days’ baby.”
I didn’t feel him stroke my face as his words processed in my head. The pain was there, hazy, but there, and so was the sense of reality; the smell of disinfectant and cleanliness, the sound of an erratic heart beating uncoordinated, the brightness, and their warmth. Tears escaped from my eyes and I gripped the fabric of his shirt that smelled of him, and not it.
“I’m alive,” I said and they both nodded along with me, and I could feel reality taking a firm grip in my head.
“We can see you.”
I snapped my head to the side.
“And you can see us.”