Letting the decision hung in the air, they were all staring at an unknown spot above. Vic continued to kick the ground back and forth, swaying in his seat. It was just something to do, trying to keep sane. Once in a while, he and Kai would exchange a look. They were still waiting for Janine to decide. Time was not really an issue, really. They had already gone past the moment when they were desperately trying to keep track of time and wondering how much time they had left before changes would occur again. As long as they were staying as calm as possible, nothing seemed to change–thus far. One of the bonuses of staying at this current realm was there was no such thing as fatigue. At least not when they were sitting around like this, unlike what they’d experienced previously with trying to outrun their enemies or whatever else that was unknown.

Just when Kai was about to speak up–like he just had this whole situation figured out, Janine clutched her stomach and cried out in pain. Both Vic and Kai jumped up from their places–though Kai didn’t have to. They came closer to Janine–with Vic settling down at her right side and putting a hand on her shoulder.

“’What’s going on?” Vic asked.

Janine didn’t reply. Not right away. She continued to clutch her stomach with one arm and the other hand covering her mouth.

“Tell us!” Vic yelled out, losing his nerves.

“I feel like…I want to…throw up,” Janine managed to spit out in a jumble.

“That’s impossible,” Kai said, looming over them both with his non-believing eyes. “We can’t feel anything here so…”

But the fact that Janine was about to hurl is real. Watching her struggling like that stirred some uneasiness into them. That uneasiness was turning into nerve-racking. Vic couldn’t watch anymore. He embraced her from behind and grabbed both of her arms away from her stomach and her mouth. It seemed that she was trying to suffocate herself. He couldn’t stand it anymore.

“What are you doing?” Kai asked, his expression definitely said somewhere along the line of questioning Vic’s sanity.

“I don’t know,” Vic yelled out. “It’s just too crazy watching her like this.”

Janine’s rocking motion soon stopped though. It was like she was taking better control of herself. Vic let go of her and increased their distance to give her some space.

“What just happened?” Vic asked, though he was closer than anyone to her while it happened.

Janine shook her head, still trying to regain herself. Yet before she could calm herself down, she clutched her head with both arms.

“What now?” Kai asked this time.

“Someone’s calling me,” Janine responded, still clutching her head. Her eyes were closed at the moment. It was like she was trying to fight some sort of headache–or some sort of shooting pain. “It’s Mick.”

“Your brother?”

Vic and Kai exchanged a look.

“Is it because we’re not doing anything so the realm’s fighting back with distracting us with the random images, trying to destroy us one by one?” Kai rattled out in a jumble. He knew he sounded beyond insane with his assumption or what could be called some type of deduction, but he didn’t care anymore. Nothing mattered at this point except trying to survive.

Janine attempted to shake her head. “I don’t think so. It’s really Mick, he’s telling me to wake up.”

Vic and Kai exchanged another look.

“Could it be that they brought us to the hospital already?” Vic asked, his reasoning skills kicking in again. “I mean it makes sense why she’s suffering through cases of uneasiness. Probably someone put a tube down her throat so she could breathe.”

“But why aren’t we feeling anything?” Kai pointed out.

“We’re gone?”

Though they both knew the possibilities already, having Vic say it out loud made it tenfold more disturbing.

“We can’t be gone…” Kai disagreed, trying to hang onto some sort of hope.

Janine had stopped clutching her head by now and was staring at them both. Although she was still wincing, she was trying hard to keep the sudden pain at bay. It was an indication of what was happening still was.

“Then how can you explaining what’s happening to her isn’t happening to us?” Vic argued, still not backing down from his hypothesis.

“We’re probably…”

Kai didn’t get to finish his words. It was his turn to feel the pain. Because he was standing the whole while discussing the new occurrence with Vic, he soon swayed backward and almost lost his balance. Both Janine and Vic tried to catch him–with Janine succeeding since she was closer to him. She tried to help him sit down on the sofa like before the incident happened to her.

“Oh god,” Kai muttered, gritting down on his teeth.

“They’re working on you,” Vic mumbled, his eyebrows coming together, pondering when his turn would come–if their guess was indeed accurate.

As Vic was bracing for his turn, Janine suddenly fell back into his embrace again, unable to control her pain any longer.

“It’s really happening,” Kai managed, feeling his head about to explode.

“How come I’m not…” Vic pondered as he was still to clutching onto Janine, keeping her from injuring herself–though it seemed impossible.

And soon Vic felt it too. But he tried to fight it. Not so that he wouldn’t wake up. But was trying to ignore the pain as he held onto Janine’s shoulder. And soon, all three of them were too busy trying to control their pain than discuss the whole phenomenon they were going through. Dealing with the constant pain jabbing at them was much more important than pondering about the happenings of the universe.

“Maybe we’re…over-analyzing the whole…thing after…all…” Kai managed before he blacked out.

“Tell me about it,” Vic returned, feeling himself losing consciousness also. Though he could still feel his firm grip on Janine’s shoulder.

And they so don’t blame Janine for not speaking up anymore. The pain was too much. It was like the realm was making up for all those times they couldn’t feel a thing. The brutality of the other extreme.

*****

Voices. Voices everywhere. He could hear again. Shadows danced as the buzzing of conversation continued. Blinking several times, Vic opened his eyes wide enough to see his surroundings. He was on a gurney, heading toward someplace. It was probably toward the E.R.–or not. At least he was heading somewhere with fully equipped machines. He could make out the faces of a doctor and some nurses. And some people from the paramedic team.

“He’s waking up,” Someone called out.

Vic couldn’t be sure if it was one of the paramedics or a nurse. Though he could hear again, all the voices were still somewhat garbled. Yet his eyes were getting stronger by the second. And his mind began to click in. His memory still intact from what just happened, he jumped up from his place, causing screams and uproar from the medical team. He didn’t care. He peeled the tube from his mouth and the IV line from his hand and landed on the solid floor. His mind working faster than his motor nerves, he dashed forward as the doctors and nurses were trying to keep him in place.

“Janine!” He called out, his voice was still as powerful as it was when he was still unconscious.

“Sir, please calm down,” One of the nurses spoke up in a calm voice.

Vic didn’t care. At least not at the moment. He brushed her aside and was met with another pair of hands holding him back.

“Sir, you’re still not stable yet,” One of the paramedics warned.

Vic knew he couldn’t dodge anymore. He turned to face the paramedic. “There’s a girl and another guy brought in, right?”

Everyone was stopping with their fussing at that point because Vic was no longer struggling. But they were still silent, staring at him. Why?

“Answer me!” Vic bellowed, losing control.

Several nurses took a few steps back. From their expressions, he knew they thought he was nuts. But it didn’t matter. As long as they were startled, hew as going to use it to his advantage. And that was what he did. Freeing himself from the paramedic, he rushed down a hallway that would take him deeper into the hospital. It was then that the others were reacting. They were chasing him down, trying to reassure him that it was going to be all right. If only it was so. It didn’t matter. He turned a corner as he caught a sign of the E.R. looming ahead. It was then that he saw Kai running toward him from another set of hallways. Could he have awakened at the same time as Vic? And got curious as to what happened to him and Janine hence the running now?

“Hey!” Kai called out, slowing his progress. “Where’s Janine?”

“I want to know the same thing,” Vic answered, knowing too well they were both looking for two people with their run–but it was too obvious not to ask about one another since they’d encountered one another as of now.

They could no longer converse so comfortably because the medical teams were catching up. They were only able to continue with their run, heading toward the E.R., guessing of Janine’s current whereabouts.

“I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubbles, but why aren’t we feeling any pain?” Kai asked, bringing Vic back to the present.

“What?” Vic asked back, confused. “I don’t know about you, but the only reason why I’m still running is because I want to know what happened to Janine.”

Vic was right. Kai was able to feel the fatigue overtaking him also. Yet that still didn’t explain the lack of pain.

“I think they gave us some shots for pain earlier,” Vic said, ruling out what could happen during the ride in the emergency vehicle.

The E.R. soon appeared as they rounded another corner and slowed down. Behind them, the medical teams were not chasing them anymore, but were yelling out instructions to control the situation. As they stopped in front of the E.R., they were able to see their reflections on the glass window to one side. Unbelievable, because they barely had scratches on them.

“If the impact isn’t big, how come we’re here?” Vic asked, turning to Kai.

“It’s procedure,” Kai answered playing the reasoning voice this time around. “It’s a car accident after all. We have to be brought in and checked because we blacked out and all.”

“Sirs, I have to ask both of you to leave and have us exam you for further injuries, such as possible concussions,” A doctor rattled out as he approached them both.

“We’re not crazy,” Vic began, having read the expression on the other party’s face.

“It is in our understanding that you’ve both been in a car accident so it is best that you would cooperate with us for the sake of your own health.”

Kai glimpsed at the E.R. door before speaking up. “Is Janine in there?”

“Who?” Another doctor asked, stepping forward.

“A girl who was also involved in the car accident,” Vic replied, studying the faces that were gawking at them with much bewilderment.

The medical teams did not have that chance of providing them with information–if they knew at all. The red light to the E.R. finally flashed off and a beeping sound was heard. Both Vic and Kai tensed up as they waited for the door to open. Some of the doctors were still trying to persuade them about leaving. The E.R. door finally opened and a doctor stepped out.

“She’s stable,” The doctor rattles out without anyone asking, assuming Vic and Ka were family.

“Sis!” A voice called out from within the crowd and stepped forward.

Vic and Kai exchanged a look.

“You’re Mick?” Kai asked, taking a jab of the possibility.

The other party nodded and advanced toward the E.R. door.

“We’ll bring her back to her room in a bit,” The doctor who just came out of the E.R. explained. “No need to rush in.”

So they were forced to wait. The medical teams took this time to persuade both Vic and Kai again. They exchanged another look before agreeing to go. It was not like they could fight the whole hospital. But they promised to meet up after a brief checkup. Before they left, they exchanged names with Mick and his phone number, stating that they were his sister’s friends. Mick, though pondering why they didn’t already have his sister’s number, rattled out a set of numbers anyway. Vic tried to remember Janine’s number while Kai walked off chanting Mick’s number. With both being escorted by the hospital staff, knowing they couldn’t risk having two recently brought in patients collapsing because of their carelessness.

© Friday, August 31st, 2012

Posted: Friday, August 31st, 2012

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