March 2 2030 – 8:01
The faint sound of a door opening resonated through the corridor as the heavy door swung ajar, revealing the entrance to a dimly lit hospital room. Into the room entered a doctor, his steps measured and his expression grave. Observing the door’s movement, a man rushed towards the doctor, his voice heavy with sorrow and guilt.
“So…How’s she?” he inquired, his voice laced with desperation.
A sigh escaped the doctor’s lips, his gaze somber as he met the man’s eyes. “I’m sorry…There’s been no improvement in her condition… at this point, only a miracle can offer any hope.”
“N-No…that cannot be…!” The man’s frustration and anger bubbled to the surface, and he clutched the doctor’s collar, seeking an outlet for his emotions.
“Sir! Hold it right there,” a stern voice interjected, as a figure stepped forward to intervene.
“It’s not his fault! So stop there,” another voice chimed in, a chorus of concerned onlookers urging restraint.
Amidst the crowd, a young girl emerged from the background, her voice gentle but firm. “…Father, how about you stop now?”
Her words seemed to strike a chord within the man – her father – and he slowly released his grip on the doctor, turning to face his daughter.
“…” Silence hung in the air as father and daughter exchanged a prolonged, wordless gaze. Then, abruptly, the man turned away, storming out through the doorway with a resounding slam.
With the man’s departure, a collective sigh of relief seemed to sweep through the room. The tension that had gripped the atmosphere began to dissipate.
Soon, a woman dressed in a formal black suit entered the room, her presence exuding an air of authority. “My Lady…”
“Stop…don’t say anything,” the girl interrupted with a wearied tone.
“As you wish,” the woman replied with a respectful nod.
The room emptied as the various onlookers dispersed, leaving the girl alone with her thoughts. As the last person exited, the weight of the situation seemed to lift, and the girl let out another sigh of relief.
“Everyone left?” she questioned, seeking confirmation.
“Agh! Finally.” She sank into a nearby sofa, her body collapsing in the cushions. “I need some rest…the office work was killing me!”
“My lady, I…”
“Oh yes – you’re still here, aren’t you? I forgot. Just go away for now. I don’t need you while I’m resting,” she dismissed her attendant with a wave of her hand, her irritation evident.
“As you wish.” The attendant departed quietly, leaving the girl to her moment of respite.
As the attendant made an attempt to leave, her movement was once again intercepted by a call from the couch-bound seat. “Hey,” she beckoned, her voice carrying a sense of earnestness, “before you head out, could you possibly check on my sister?”
Lounging comfortably on the sofa, the girl’s request hung in the air. The girl’s initial inclination to depart was momentarily suspended as the attendant processed the plea. With a resigned yet obliging expression, she replied, “Alright.”
With a nod of understanding, the attendant left once more, the situation now threading a touch of curiosity into her thoughts.
As she exited to the hallway, her thoughts echoed with a hint of exasperation. ‘Miss…truly a handful, but there’s not much to complain about. If only she could be a bit more considerate.’
With a resigned sigh, the attendant continued her musings. ‘I wonder…how her younger sister turned out so different?…’ Her thoughts shifted, carrying a tinge of sadness. ‘But fate has been unkind to her…’
Gathering her thoughts, the attendant sighed once more, focusing on the task at hand. ‘Now, which room was it again? 38, I believe.’ She confirmed the room number in her mind before proceeding to enter.
To her surprise, the room’s occupant, Erica Midwinter, was nowhere to be found. A growing sense of concern gnawed at her, prompting her to leave the room in a hurry.
“Mi Lady!…Doctor!…Miss Erica is missing from her room!” Her urgent voice carried through the hallway, a sense of unease settling over the hospital once more.
Heartbeats resonated within me, echoing the rhythm of life itself.
I found myself in a dreamscape, seamlessly flowing into a world of boundless blue. The moment was a symphony of the extraordinary, where reality intertwined with the surreal, and the dream was a masterpiece.
Surrounded by an exquisite array of flowers, their vibrant hues painted an enchanting tapestry. The landscape unfolded like a painter’s canvas, the beach stretching out in harmonious unity with the cerulean expanse beyond.
In the midst of this beauty, a decision brewed within me. With the memory of past dives, I chose once again to plunge into the beckoning ocean depths. The water embraced me, and as I descended, a new realm revealed itself.
Seaweed swayed gently in the underwater breeze, their dance an invitation to explore further. Schools of fish painted streaks of silver and gold through the liquid canvas. Anemones waved their tendrils, and corals formed a city of vibrant sculptures beneath the waves.
With every stroke, I felt an inseparable connection to this underwater world. My body moved gracefully, synchronizing with the fluidity of the ocean. Joy bubbled up, intertwining with the very currents that carried me deeper.
As I journeyed into the heart of the ocean’s embrace, I blinked – a fleeting moment – and suddenly, a stark contrast emerged. The scene shifted dramatically. The dream’s tranquility shattered into fragments, replaced by a nightmarish reality.
I found myself bleeding, an oozing cascade from wounds unseen. A sense of helplessness overwhelmed me as paralysis gripped my limbs, rendering them useless. Flames licked the edges of my vision, consuming the surroundings with a furious blaze. Sirens wailed, vehicles roared, and chaos reigned.
Despite the gruesome tableau before me, a chuckle of disbelief escaped my thoughts. The dissonance between the two realities was jarring – the serenity of the ocean’s embrace clashing with the fiery chaos that now enveloped me.
Amid this chaos, I clung to the memory of my idyllic dive. I laughed inwardly, a defiant response to the reality that seemed to be unraveling around me. It couldn’t be real; the ocean’s embrace had been too vivid, too perfect.
Yet, a mysterious noise shattered my thoughts, its enigmatic message echoing in my mind.
“Y̶o̷u̷ ̸a̶r̴e̷ ̸ ■■■■.”
The words pierced through my consciousness, a jolt that shattered my sense of control.
My heart raced, a crescendo of fear and astonishment. The rapid beats mimicked the urgency of a fluttering bird, unable to escape its cage. Legs once graceful and powerful faltered, leaving me suspended in the water’s embrace.
Startled and disoriented, my heart raced, its rhythm a frantic drumbeat in my chest. Panic surged through me, and before I could comprehend what was happening, my legs betrayed me. Paralyzed, I tumbled helplessly into the depths of the ocean.
Like a marionette with severed strings, I tumbled, descending deeper into the fathomless abyss.
Eyes wide open, I confronted a haunting vision of my future—a reality that seemed to be etching itself into existence before me.
In that moment of vulnerability, suspended between the realms of dream and nightmare, I was confronted with the complexity of my emotions. The dream that had once offered solace and beauty now revealed its underbelly of uncertainty.
And so, I continued to fall, my gaze locked on the haunting tableau before me.
The echoes of heartbeats persisted once more… Yet, this time, each pulse was measured, languid, as if moving to a slower rhythm. The tendrils of coldness crept in, weaving around the fading beats, casting a chilling shadow over the once-warm cadence.
Moans of agony escaped my lips as a sudden, searing pain tore through my head, causing me to instinctively clutch my skull in a desperate attempt to alleviate the torment. The pain was beyond words, a merciless assault on my senses that left me gasping and struggling.
“It hurts… it hurts so much,” I groaned, the words becoming a mantra of suffering as the waves of pain continued to crash over me.
“IT HURTS!” I screamed, my voice laced with frustration and desperation.
After what felt like an eternity, though it was likely only a span of five minutes, the intensity of the pain began to subside, leaving me panting and drenched in sweat. I found myself sprawled on some surface, unable to muster the strength to move. The realization hit me that I must have been brought to a hospital.
“Why am I here?” I wondered aloud, my voice weak and strained as I finally managed to crack open my eyes.
The sight that greeted me was blinding—sterile white walls, white ceiling, white furniture. It was as though I had been submerged in a sea of whiteness, a place devoid of color or life. I squinted against the harsh light, attempting to make sense of my surroundings. It was a struggle to even keep my eyes open, the pain still throbbing at the edges of my consciousness.
My attempts to move were feeble at best, and I found myself bound to a chair. Time seemed to blur as I drifted in and out of consciousness, my body too weak to register hunger or thirst, despite the passing hours or possibly days.
A sudden, mechanical female voice shattered the eerie silence, jolting me from my daze. The voice seemed distant, as though it were echoing from some unseen source.
“Are you wondering why you haven’t felt hungry?” the voice inquired, a hint of something almost like amusement coloring its tone.
I tried to respond, to speak my thoughts aloud, but my parched throat produced no sound. It was as if the pain had stolen not only my strength but my voice as well. Frustration gnawed at me, and then, with a sharp jolt, the pain surged back with renewed intensity.
[Subject A62! H■■! Can y■u hear m■?] The voice sounded urgent now, a note of panic creeping in.
My eyes shot open, and I turned my head ever so slightly to locate the source of the voice. Blood trickled from my nose and ears, a grim testament to the trauma I was undergoing. The room grew colder, my body weaker, as if I were slipping away.
[F■CK! HE■…DA■MIT! CALL THE MEDICS! ] the voice exclaimed, frustration and fear evident.
The words were a jumbled mess to my ears, incomprehensible as I teetered on the edge of consciousness. My thoughts scattered, and in those final moments, I couldn’t shake the sensation that someone had orchestrated this ordeal, that I was a pawn in some twisted game.
With a final, bitter curse on my lips, I surrendered to the encroaching darkness, my consciousness slipping away, leaving nothing but the haunting echo of pain and betrayal.