Original written by TickleFinger
The eternally spotless white ceiling, plastic curtain covering in roughly a 315˚ angle and the clear, bright window which revealed the outdoor scenery of nature thriving with life. This is what Seiichi saw every day when he woke up laying on the soft mattress. It was both his relaxing resting place as well as his permanent prison. He lived in this special ward because he was bedridden and handicapped. He requires the support from others to do simple tasks.
On a certain day, he was driving through the empty streets during the night on his way back home after finishing an important meeting a few prefectures over. The meeting had run longer than expected, and he was in a rush to return home to eat a hot meal with his baby sister. It was inevitable he would be late getting home. Although he was in a rush, Seiichi was not recklessly speeding through the street but driving safely.
But on an intersection of the business district in their prefecture, he was stopped at a red stoplight waiting for it to change and spent the wait texting his little sister. He had failed to notice the incoming truck straying from the direction of the road. When he finally saw the arriving danger, it was already too late change anything, and he could only try to brace for impact.
It was unknown what happened after the truck smashed into his car, but the ending result was obvious for any to see. Seiichi’s deformed car was flipped over onto the sidewalk with the front of the car crushed under the truck that smashed into a storefront. He was found heavily injured to the point it was beyond a mess. Thankfully, there were people who saw it happened and had rang for 119 emergency support.
Seiichi had arrived in the ER room of large hospital that luckily happened to be nearby his house. He was quickly assessed to have had moderate internal bleeding to the brain, a serious puncture wound at the left abdomen and several gashes on his legs. The gashes were simple injuries that were very easy to tend to, and the moderate internal bleeding required a bit more surveillance. The serious puncture wound was the biggest problem of them all.
A fragment of metal scrap had punctured into Seiichi’s left abdomen from the front and exited through his back, colliding with his spine in the process. After a long surgery and a heap load of medical drugs, he was released from the operation room and moved into ICU. Seiichi woke up soon after to the clean white ceiling and walls of his room. The rhythmic beeping of his medical monitor devices and the soft wheezing of a ventilator was all he needed to hear to understand where he was.
Seiichi felt his whole body was unresponsive to his commands to move and only his eyes could freely move. Exploring the room as much as he could with his eyes, he figured out that this was a private ward for only one patient and spotted a clear glass vase with fresh white roses, orange carnations and yellow chrysanthemums arranged nicely. Suddenly, the door to his ward slid open slowly and a young nurse stepped in.
Her brown oval eyes met with his just when she lifted her head away from the clipboard in her hand. She looked surprised to see that I was awake and looking straight back at her. Breaking out of her shock, she immediately disappeared from the ward with haste and left the door wide open. Her stuttering voice could be heard from outside the door and she seemed to be conversing with someone.
She returned into the ward with a young man donned in a white laboratory coat and another nurse following behind them. The nurse’s stood on each side while the young man stood at Seiichi’s bedside. He took the clipboard from the young nurse’s hands and examined through the papers attached on it.
“Hello, sir. How are you feeling right now?”
“A-ah…,” Seiichi tried to voice his reply but found his tongue was strangely stiff. He was surprised by his inability to move his mouth properly. Seeing this, the young man started scribbling onto the papers on the clipboard.
“Hmm? How about this, if you can understand me, blink your eyes.”
Seiichi blinked his eye right away.
“Good. Let’s see… Are you in any pain right now? Blink your eye if Yes. If not, then don’t blink.”
“…” Seiichi just continue staring at the young man.
“Okay. Do you remember who you are?”
“Do you know where you are?”
Seiichi blinked slightly to the question but also wore a slightly confused expression on his face.
“You are currently in Kasai Central Hospital. Do you know how you got here?”
“Alright. That’s great. There should be no lasting brain damage. Well then, Seiichi-san, Hoshino-san will be your private caretaker, so do let her know what you need to the best of your ability. She will also contact your family members and let them know you have awoken. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Doctor Amano, you are under my car.”
Doctor Amano took his leave after marking a few things on the clipboard and was followed by the mature nurse out the door. Hoshino-san remained in the room and smiled at Seiichi. She was examining the medical equipment and the medication tubes running into my arm.
“Seiichi-san, I will be right back. I will let your family know that you are awake. I’m sure they had been worried about you since a while now. I think they would be glad to see you up.”
With a cheerful smile, Hoshino-san made her way out of the ward and quietly closed the door behind her. Seiichi was once again left in the sterile ward with not much to do. He could only stare at the ceiling and wait for time to pass quickly. Not a moment later, Hoshino-san came back inside and took a seat facing the bedside with a book in her hand.
“Seiichi-san, I’ll keep you company until your family gets here. It probably is boring to be bedridden and be unable to do anything to help pass time.”
Hoshino-san fixed her posture on the chair and crossed her right leg over the left. With her wrist resting on her thigh, she held the book in her hand and quietly read each page. Seiichi felt tranquil in his heart as he stared at the beautiful side profile of her flipping through page after page. He felt a sense of weakness enshrouding his mind and slowly pulled it away.
— — — — — — — —
[What a poor child, frozen in time yet still moving forward. If she saw how you are now, she would be utterly devastated to see you in such a condition. Something needs to be done about this…]
A voice so gentle and enchanting caused Seiichi to tremble from the depth. It wasn’t something from the body or the mind but from something much deeper within. He felt as if he knew who this voiced belonged to vaguely yet also felt like this was the first time hearing this voice. He was confused.
No, he was baffled. Where was this voice coming from? Where was he? He knows he should have fallen asleep after being hit but such a strong drowsiness. Only to find out soon after he is in a dark world with nothing to see or feel and only this elderly feminine voice echoing within his ears and mind. He was unable to say a word.
[Don’t worry, child. I will not harm you, for if I wished to do so, you would have long perished before you even realized it.]
The elderly woman let out a heart-warming giggle and continued to say in a soft tone.
[She is blessed to have you in her life. It would be troublesome for her to see you in such a condition; therefore, I shall bless you with my protection. I hope my bless shall help you in the far future. You will need it as your stale monotonous life shall come to an end soon. But it will not turn for the better as many lives will be lost and destruction will spread through its wake.]
Many thoughts were crashing through his mind. Who was this person? What does she mean by her blessing? Can someone just wantonly throw blessings onto others? Maybe, an avid religious believer of the Western faith? Destruction with lots of lives lost. Is that supposed to be that end of the world talks?
Seiichi was puzzled by what this elderly woman was talking about. Even more, should he even believe her words at all? The bigger question was who was the person that the elderly woman referred to as ‘She’. Why would it be troublesome for her to see him in his current crippled condition. Although Doctor Amano did not say it straight out, Seiichi knew from the responses of his body to his commands to move were either barely sensible or nonexistent.
[You may not understand what I am saying or believe what I am saying. The only thing I wish from you is to survive and push forward. Become strong enough that you will stand on the top. Protecting those dear to you should not be too difficult, but do not be careless when you believe you are safe. Most importantly, do not disappoint her. Show her that you are still strong even under your current condition.]
He was surprised when she answered back as if she heard his questions. He really wished to pour out all the questions he had on his mind and know the truth. Just when Seiichi wanted to ask, he felt the familiar feeling of something tugging at him, this time to pull him back.
[It seems our time is up. I have left a gift for you. I hope this will help you grow stronger. Goodbye, child. May we meet again…]
The elderly voice slowly drifted further and further away as each word echoed in the surrounding. Eventually, the voice was almost as loud as a mosquito and he could barely understand what she was saying. At the end, he left the world of darkness and missed the last few words that were no louder than light murmurs.