Chapter 3: The Empathetic Gesture
When my parents and sister returned to the room, I looked at them as if I had never seen them before, and pieced together their physiology to complete the puzzle that was I. It was my dad that I got my hair from, a long faced man whom you could never mistake for anyone else, but unlike me who let my hair grow wild and uncontrolled, his was short and respectable, cut low enough that not a strain could hang out under any hat he wore. He was an official looking man, and sort of old looking too, so much so that people would always guess that he was older than my mom, even though he was two years her junior. His were the green eyes that were passed on to my older sister and me, reminding me that my mom was always the odd person out, with her sort of standard feature. She was a woman with long brown hair and dark brown eyes, and had it not been for her freckles, no one would see a difference between her and her older sister. She had always said that she was happy that we got our father’s features, because hers were so plain, but if you saw her, you wouldn’t be able to agree. Sure brown hair and brown eyes are common, but my mother was one of those rare people you meet, who look a lot younger than they are. It always made me wonder if it was difficult for my parents to go out in public without hearing the faint whispers of something negative being said. She was also wrong when you looked at us too; because while we did get our fathers hair and eye color, there was no doubt that, we received our bone structure from her. For that reason, I was always jealous of my sister. My sister who lacked the freckles that were passed on to me, but had the same feminine look and could do well with it. I couldn’t, because it killed all possibility of me looking tough, I was always cute before I was handsome, but really, it didn’t make me mad.
“How long have I been out?” I asked them when they huddled around me and my father stepped forward to answer.
“A day or so now, but you kept fading in and out. We weren’t sure if you would make it.” He said with a hung head, and again I wondered how I did.
“D-do you know what happened then?” I asked, suddenly remembering where I was when I died, and remembering what my father had said.
“You had tripped and cracked your skull coming home from school. If I hadn’t been too busy with work I could have come to pick you up but… but…” My mom answered where my dad couldn’t and fell to her “error,” before my sister patted her back. I was ready to tell her I was sorry again, and tell her that it was really my fault, but my sister’s words nagged me, and made me hang my head.
“It’s alright mom, I know you have to work really hard. That’s why I love you; even though you can’t pick me up, it’s because of you and dad that I have somewhere to call home.” I said, and she wiped her eyes as she listened, before hugging me and rubbing my head, making me realize for the first time that something was wrapped around it. As she let me go again, I touched my head and realized it was a bandage before I heard the click of my room’s door, and watched a formally dressed man walk in. My first guess was that he was a doctor, but there was something about his wear that made him out of place, and the leather gloves pulled onto his hands only added to that. With a gold shirt, and black vest tying in with black pants and shoes, he seemed more like a benefactor than anyone you’d expect to see strolling into the room. After closing my blinds off from the orange glow of the evening sky, he took a seat on a blue perch at the window, and turned brown eyes onto me.
“Severe blunt trauma to the head.” He said with an accent, possibly British, and I looked at him, unsure of why that was the first thing he had said. “That’s how you die- would have died, I mean.” He added. “It’s quite surprising really, a normal person, especially one your age would have been dead within a few seconds, but you managed to come back with vengeance.” He said, and as I listened and wondered about how I came back, my family was staring upon him with bafflement before my dad stepped forward again.
“Who exactly are you?” He asked and the man looked at him with wide eyes, before laughing at himself.
“Oh I’m sorry, I tend to forget to introduce myself. I am the doctor whom they call in to when they’re special cases like this, it’s not every day that people survive what should have been deadly right?” He answered, and still I wondered about him.
“Doctor Who?” I asked.
“Miles, Miles Witt.” He answered, before standing up and pulling a small flashlight from his pocket. He walked over to me and held my eyes open as he shined the light into both of them, before turning my head to the door. I wondered for a moment what he was doing, till I realized my wound was on that side, and realized he was checking to see if there was any blood. “Things are looking good, Mr. Hunt, but how do you feel?”
“I feel great.” I said and he looked at my wound again before letting my head go, and going to the foot of my bed.
“He does indeed look good. The lack of blood in his bandages suggests that he’s healing at an incredible rate, and he doesn’t seem to be disoriented or dazed. The fact that he’s even up and capable of making coherent sentences suggests that he won’t lose conscious anytime soon. Still, we’ll keep him for a week to monitor his condition, depending on what we see, I think it will be alright for him to go home.” Dr. Witt returned his flashlight to his pocket before turning to my parents, and I wondered how I was doing well when I was dead just a couple of days ago.
For a little while longer, my family spent some time with me, till a nurse told them that visiting time was over, and I was left in my room alone. I decided to watch a bit of television, but it didn’t take me long to turn it off, and also as if I was being led, I climbed from my bed and headed out of my room. It felt like nurses ignored me, as I walked through the halls, looking more like a girl in my hospital gown than I had ever looked before, and I didn’t really mind it because there felt like a place I had to go. I kept moving through the sterile way, hearing the subtle beeps of machines hooked up to other children, and I wondered how many of them were in a coma, and how lucky I was to not be. I think it was after ten minutes that I realized that the nurses should have stopped me by now, until I heard the crying of a woman, and came to a stop in front of the second most shocking scene I’d ever seen. It was a woman crying heavily in one of the rooms, with a man punching the wall and cursing beside her, while a doctor loomed over a still form. It was a hospital after all, so it didn’t take me but a second to realize that someone had died, and another to realize they could have been the same as me. The man who punched the wall stopped for a moment to lead the woman out of the room, while a nurse handed the doctor a clipboard and he took out of pen. Curiosity compelled me like it had done once before, and I walked into the room, and stood so close to the bed, the child, and the doctor that I wondered how I wasn’t seen. Rita Pereira, age eleven was written across the paper upon the clipboard, and as the doctor wrote the cause of death, I felt something heavy tug me back, and took a seat in the chair in the corner of the room.
Severe head trauma it read, and with wondering how it had happened to her, I wondered how I was the lucky one that survived it, and though morbid, I was horrifyingly happy that I hadn’t suffered the same fate. I was happy about it, even though I knew that I died, and once more wonder gripped me, as I tried to figure out how I survived. That was until I felt a cutting cold, and turned wide-eyes to the bedside where I saw an abysmal figure rise up. It looked like a man in a suit, a beige suit that contrasted with the atmosphere of the room, and more than that, his all black body that made him seem like a walking shadow. White glowing eyes fell down onto the late young girl, before his hand quickly followed suit, and a small light was pulled away. At first, there was a flash that made me cover my eyes before I could see the girl standing before me, and through her, I could see her still lying down.
“What happened?” She looked from me to the shadowy man, who spoke in a language I couldn’t hear, and filled the girl with terror.
“It’s a sad sight, isn’t it?” A voice suddenly grabbed me and made me turn toward a woman behind me, who stood in all black, and wore a veil that covered her face. “It’s always a sad sight.” She said in a voice, stained with sorrow and I could feel my heart sink as I listened to her every word.
“Who are you?” I gulped.
“Such a sad sight…” She repeated, and for the first time I could remember, I could feel myself getting frustrated.
“Who are you?!” I yelled, completely disregarding the doctor and nurse who had ignored me to this point, but before she could answer, I felt a pull and was on my way out of the room, without even turning to see her face again.
I walked, and I walked, and I walked till I was back in my room and I closed my door, and I climbed back into bed. I don’t know what it was about that feeling that pulled with such strength, but I had bent to its desire, despite my curiosity standing strong.
“It’s a sad sight,” I heard the woman again, and jumped as I looked toward my window where she stood and stared into the night.
“Who are you?” I asked, but instead of frustration, I asked with fear, as the pull forced me to stay still despite a voice yelling at me to run away.
“I am…” She started, but stopped as I noticed genuine uncertainty. “It seems that so much time has passed that I have lost my name.” She answered as she looked to me and pulled her veil up, showing me a pale face and purple eyes. “But I suppose I am a savior.” She said and the look I gave her told what I was about to ask.
“Did you not wonder how you ended up here? How in a span of two days your mother was unable to change into more suitable clothes?” She asked in response, and I tried to piece the answers together as I did with my parent’s physiology.
“Y-you are the person who saved me?” I asked and a slow nod was given. “How? Why?” I asked, and wonder which question was chosen by my curiosity more.
“Because it’s a sad sight. A sad sight for a mother or a father to lose their child.” She answered, and while I couldn’t piece together all the pieces, I realized that she was dressed as if she got back from a funeral.
“So…” As I prepared my next question, I could feel my throat getting tight, and my mind telling me I didn’t want to know the answer. “So I really died…?” I froze as she confirmed it, and let me eyes sink.
“But I gave you another chance. I returned your soul to your body in a state that will always repair it.” She went on.
“A state that will always repair it?”
“A soul cannot normally return to a body that has lost its spirit, but I have made it so that yours can. I have poisoned your body with your soul.” She explained, and the memory of the python came back to me, as my heartbeats increased, and I felt the heat of the venom again.
“What does that all mean?” I panicked as I asked, and cold hand ran down my face and calmed the flames in my heart.
“You have a second chance. Use it to do what you couldn’t do before.” She said, and began walking to the door, and along with wondering why she was using the door, I wondered one other thing.
“If you could do that… that poisonous soul thing, why couldn’t you save that girl?”
“Not all souls can be transforms, and not all bodies can bare them.” She answered, and though there were plenty of other questions I could have asked, I couldn’t ask them, as she disappear that very second and I was left alone again.
“I have a second chance?” I asked myself, and as I wondered what I could do with it, I wondered what else the toxic soul could do for me…