Chapter 1 : Dead
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When the name I shouldn’t mention crossed my mind I straightened up, strongly grasping my bed sheets with my sweating hands and my heart beating fast in my throat. It must have been too abruptly because my head started hurting immediately and everything around me turning as I let myself fall back in my bed. I winked repeatedly my head deep in my pillow, but instead of Parvati’s familiar bed, my wooden desk slowly came out of the blur.
I felt the panic rapidly gaining control over my body. Still lightheaded, I stood up frenetically brushing back my hear that was sticking to my face with cold sweat. The sun was already up and leaking through my cream curtains, drawing patterns on my light pink walls, like shadows lurking my all movements from the bushes. I started turning in circles in confused exasperation, in search of answers, but stopped sharply taking hold of whatever could stop me from falling. I looked up to the mirror in front of me feeling nauseous. I was pale.
He could strike at any moment. Why was I home? Was it an illusion? A trap? I looked down again, inspecting the object I was using as support, with my room still turning around me, and trying to identify it. I took a quick step backwards as I realized the object in question was actually floating. A picture of Trelawney flew through my mind as I approached it once more. It looked like a big metallic plate, a basin maybe, filled with an extraordinary silvery substance I couldn’t quite tell to be liquid or gas, twirling like ghosts in water. A chill travelled down my spine, the dense hot air making it hard for me to breathe.
Trelawney had told me once of this objects, they could ease the mind she had said.
I leant forward until my nose was inches away from the moving water and held my breath. The silver ghosts released a fresh breeze I could fill traveling from my nose to my lungs, passing by my sore larynx and trachea as I stayed petrified. There was no reason for me to be home, not in May, and I would have noticed if someone had carried me there during the night. But if in fact it was a trap, I was already too deep into it and any move showing I was aware of it would make me suspicious.
I let out a breath and closed my eyes, leaning until my face touched the surface of it to see more clearly what the silver ghosts meant, but to my surprise, I didn’t feel wet. Instead, something suddenly pulled me from my stomach and I was roughly grabbed in, against my will. The sensation of falling was unavoidable, my stomach and tripes going up against my throat keeping me off breathing and I couldn’t scream. I was dropped standing up on a white floor, walls and roof slowly appearing like falling ink drops. But everything was still white, until I saw my mother approximating, pushing a wheelchair. Still with my rapid breathing, I forgot all my previous thoughts when relief filled me and I started running towards her.
“Mum!” I shouted as I opened my arms to hug her. I closed my eyes and then found myself with the feeling of being soaked, and found out the arms around my body were mine. I looked at my feet and up, and down again, it wasn’t the fact that I was still in my pajamas that scared me, but that I had just passed through my mother’s body.
“What the-” I didn’t finish. There was only one reasonable (always stay optimistic) explanation. I was now, like the silvery lights, a ghost.
“It’s her third unconscious transformation but-”
My vision was blurring on the corners as I watched my mum’s desperate face try to articulate some words.
“Is that because of that damage? You know, the hippo...?” her voice trailed off. I saw her brush a lock of her wavy blonde hair back her ear, just like I did when I was nervous. Then the person on the wheelchair sweetly took her hand and started drawing circles on it.
And I first noticed, that the person I hadn’t even bothered looking at, was my father.
“No madam. We’ve made some deeper studies and the damage in the hippocampus seems to be unimportant, if at all existent. We believe she actually has recovered there from last tests, which might as well just be a mistake from last scan as brain’s cells don’t recreate. The coma was induced by the strong head injury from the fall we’ve been closely monitoring and what I was trying to say was that-”
“You’re not disconnecting her!” she cried acutely. When the tears started freely flowing down her cheeks, I felt a single hot one rolling down mine. I clenched my jaw, now sure they were talking about me; my mother had almost had a heart attack the first time I fell from a broomstick.
My father soothed her, closing his eyes so tightly I could tell he was retaining the tears too.
“I’ll be strong. I promise I’ll try, I will-...” I whispered, devastated. But it was clear they couldn’t see me, let alone hear me. Flashes of the night sky interrupted my vision for a second. I had fallen. Fallen from a tall altitude.
“At all!” I first took a look at the doctor, turning my head in surprise at his shouting. He must’ve been in his forties, it was common knowledge that brain doctors, or whatever they were called, tended to look older because of the weight they carried. Still, the ‘uniform’ suited him greatly. “Please Mr and Mrs Brown, she’s waking up!” he exclaimed, almost joyfully, showing his perfect smile.
All the sympathy he had gained from me immediately faded and I hated him. How could he? The illusion in my parents’ faces, like if they had been switched on by some kind of powerful magic I didn’t know, how could he stand it? The liar! My parents!
“I don’t feel any more awake!” I yelled at him, now crying burning water falls of hatred and desperation, “Stop ignoring me you selfish bastard!”
Useless, that’s what I was. I felt inefficient, helpless. I felt... dead. I started shaking as my crying turned into uncontrollable sobbing, and my knees bent under the weight I now carried.
But my parents started walking away, well, my mother pushing my father, in direction of the door the doctor was holding open. It took me all my remaining strength and will to manage say something.
“Don’t walk in! I’m helpless, I...” but they entered the room, and I started running towards them, my knees knocking together. The doctor shut the door closed with his insufferable smile just as I reached the doorframe - but I passed through, the soaked sensation filling me again. Though I could swear I wasn’t wet in the least.
I stood there, half of my body in the room, half out, staring at me.
Yes, staring at my own self, paler than the hideous hygienic walls of the hospital. Thiner than parchment. Even weaker than an ill baby. But I was breathing.
My mother let out a yelp of happy surprise and I mumbled in dreams, turning between the white sheets.
I shook my head -the head I had control on I mean-, trying to understand, but the walls started fading, my other self, parents and thankfully the doctor too disappearing.
And momentarily, I was left alone, in a cold white insipid landscape.
A wooden table then appeared in front of me, and just lie that I was in my kitchen, the walls colored brightly. I sat in my usual place, doing some crosswords and my dad was reading the Daily Prophet, also in his usual place except he now sat on a wheelchair. My mother was cooking my favorite pasta.
“Smells lovely.” I heard myself comment.
“Thank you honey.” mum smiled, but soon began to let tears fall.
I felt the urge of running towards her hugging her, but instead watched as my other self stood up and wrapped her arms around her.
I was too confused to cry.
“It’s okay. I’m here now. Everything will be okay.” I said as my dad slowly made his way, pushing his wheelchair between chairs and boxes and hugged them too. Hugged us.
The same force that had dragged me in previously began lifting me as everything faded again, but my mind was too busy thinking to care of whatever invisible thing pulled me. Within a moment, I found myself back in my room, standing alone in the silence.
I was alive.
Ease the mind. The words turned round and round in my head.
So, were those... memories?
I stared blankly at the mirror for what seemed like eternal minutes, then blinked. Next to it was a shelf over which rested small glass bottles, each containing the same silvery ghosts that the basin had. The books that were usually placed there now resided piled up on the floor, next to my drawers. A thin layer of powder covered the book on top, making the red cover look sadder and the magical creatures on it older and weaker. I was shocked when I realized, or being more exact, wondered how much time had I been comatose. And how many memories had my mother had to bottle to ease her mind, every single one carefully labeled with a writing that even if shaky, I could recognize was hers?
I instinctively looked at my watch which marked quarter past nine on the 8th. But that didn’t mean anything and so I rapidly searched for my calendar over my desk, making other things fall. It appeared someone had turned its pages for me.
Over the photo of a band that waved to me was written in neat cream letters the date I was searching for.
I didn’t get it.
May, May the 8th would’ve been reasonable. Even June maybe.
I tried to get out of my shock and manage some thoughts. That was definitely not the information I had been searching for. I had been in a coma, during a long period perhaps, but woken up at some point to live with my family again. Obviously. Yet, I couldn’t remember anything since the beginning of May.
My head automatically turned to my door knob. It wasn’t locked. I had been wasting my time searching for answers in my room all the while I could have just gone downstairs and asked my parents. Each second passing seemed like I could stand myself less. The thought of my parents made me rush out of my room and follow the smell of home made pancakes to the kitchen. I still had a bittersweet flavor in my mouth and the pit of my stomach was filled with acid. I stood under the door frame, breathing heavily, and there they were. Just like in the dream. Sorry - the memory.
“Oh! Good morning sweetheart. We didn’t mean to wake you up.” my mother greeted, turning around with a pan in hand. Over her light pajamas, she was wearing a baby blue apron with chocolate chips cookies drawn on it, which reminded me of how much I liked cooking cookies with my grandma, rest in peace, during Christmas. And how much I liked Christmas in family, despite what most teenagers usually said.
“You didn’t.” I muttered. And now that she mentioned it, I wondered what had happened to He-who-must-not-be-named since May. Add to the list, he had woken me up.
“Slept well Vender?” my dad asked softly, raising an eyebrow. Not that I never showed them, but after seeing what I had in that weird basin, I realized how much I loved them, how much I cared for them, and how much I could do for them. I hugged him from behind and kissed him on the head; he was the only one to call me Vender and it always made me feel warm and fuzzy.
“Okay I guess.”
I was strangely tired now that he mentioned it. Extremely tired.
“Great! We were worried about your transformation but the doctor-” I didn’t hear the rest.
As I remembered the calendar, I felt my stomach falling to the floor. I had to check. Quickly. Something was odd. Something wasn’t right. I had to verify.
“Forgot something, be right back!” I shouted already in the corridor.
I was running again. Third unconscious transformation. The words rumbled in my head like indian drums announcing the worse. I tripped over the stairs but recovered quickly. I had to see it again. It didn’t make any sense.
I pushed the door open and it hit the wall, shutting closed after me and making my ears hurt. I had enough with my heart beat.
I walked to my desk, and looked to my music bands calendar again. At the revolting white dot placed besides the 7 marking the day as if nothing was wrong. Or odd. Or changed my fucking life.
I felt my body collapse on my chair and my heart stopped, taking in the meaning of it. And everything.