Ere had cried for a little while longer before he sucked it up, wiped his tears and stood, moving over to one of the windows. His eyes trailed across the northern skies staring at the twinkling stars and the full silvery moon. That was something he could always take comfort in , the night sky... in the night he felt safe, hidden, warm. He felt like there was something...someone always watching over them at night. While this feeling should have creeped him out it didn't. Low harsh coughs echoed in the back of the room and Ere's heart froze in his chest, the glow of the moon slipped into the room as he turned. The light illuminating his broth as his body shook harshly from the coughing.
His red eyes traced his brothers outline as the tiny body turned and looked at him with watery eyes, a small trail of blood leaking from his blue lips. Ere bolted instantly to his brothers side. "Tac! Tac!" He called loudly, his voice calling back as it bounced off the walls of the factory around him. His brother shook violently, wide eyes turning to Ere pleadingly to stop the pain.
"Hurts...make it ....stop." he whispered hoarsely, Ere pulled his brother into his lap and cuddled him close trying to keep him warm, he knew the other felt cold even though he was sweating and his forehead was burning up. I have to get him to a hospital. Ere thought painfully, he couldn't stand the thought of his only brother... the one thing he had lived for... dead... no that would NEVER happen. Grabbing the boys bear, he put it against Tac's chest, holding the boy close to him, feeling the warm splatter of small blood droplets on his neck each time Tac coughed. He hurried at a fast walking pace through the factory and out onto the street which was completely deserted.
"Hang in there brother," he cooed stroking the boys cheek with his pale hands before brushing his snowy hair out of his eyes. He moved towards town, trying to flag down every car that passed but no one...not a single soul stopped to help the boy and his ailing brother. Finally he noticed a teenage girl walking not too far ahead, she would have a cell phone! Waiting until the right moment, he moved close and snatched her cell phone from her back pocket with expert hands making sure she didnt notice a thing before stopping and sitting against a crosswalk sign so his brother could rest in his lap.
Flicking on the phone he pressed the three numbers 9-1-1. The phone rang twice and a woman on the other end of the line spoke.
"911 what is your emergency?" Her calm voice forced Ere to swallow and remain calm too.
"Its my brother, he's got a terrible fever and all of a sudden he just started coughing up blood, he's so weak...please you gotta get him to a hospital!" Instantly the woman replied.
"Alright sir, I'm going to ask you to stay on the line so I can make sure the ambulance gets to you. Where are you?" Ere looked around frantically before spotting the street signs.
"Im on the corner of Fredricks and Sprague." It was almost as if he could hear the woman nod as she scratched it all down on a piece of paper.
"Okay sir, we've got an ambulance on the way... it will be there in two minutes, when did you first notcing his fever? Did he have any coughing with out blood? Is he sweating and shaking?" Ere looked at his brother who mearly groaned and cracked his eyes clutching his bear even though small flecks of blood had managed to stain its cloth.
"I ...uh...I noticed him coughing a little bit this past week but its gotten worse and he didn't start coughing up blood today... He's been shivering and sweating all night...oh god this is all my fault." The woman seemed to shake her head.
"Sir this isnt your fault, I'm not a doctor but it doesnt sound like your brother is on the brink of dea-" sirens cut out the womans voice as suddenly red and white lights blazed through the dark town, illuminating everything as the screech of sirens hurt Ere's ears. The vehicle sped towards them and skidded to a halt next to Ere, the boy quickly standing as a paramendic jumped from the passengers seat, looking instantly at Tac. She pressed a hand to his forehead and looked at the blood, quickly pressing a stethascope to his chest to listen to his breathing. Her expression darkened as the driver of teh ambulance pulled a stretcher over to them.
"Put him on the stretcher, Mike, get an Iv ready for this kid...he's not doing so hot." The two paramedics worked in beautiful tandem getting Tac on the stretcher, hooked to an Iv and monitoring equipment. They then quickly carted him into the ambulance and Ere hurriedly followed jumping into the vehicle as the doors shut and they sped off towards the hospital, Tac's life hanging in the balance.
At the hospital...
Ere sat in the waiting area as a doctor assessed Tac and nurses bustled about like worker bees, his hands threaded through each other over and over. His teeth digging into his lip so hard it almost bled. His eyes were blood shot making his eyes an even more terrifying shade of red, finally the doctor stepped out of the exam room and moved to Ere.
"Well it seems your brother was highly malnourished, dehydrated, and now has an infection in his lungs...we're not sure if its bronchitus or pneumonia... but its a good thing you got him to us so soon... we caught it early. We're going to put him in an intensive care room..." the doctor paused and looked Ere over, noticing the same signs of malnutrition and dehydration. "Wheres your parents young man?" Ere narrowed his eyes but he was too tired to argue.
"Dead...me and my brother are on our own... I can't get a job cause I have to care for him. I finished school but what else can I do. We're lucky we can eat in a week." He sighed and the doctor nodded sorrowfully.
"Alright, for now, don't worry about the hospital expenses... I'll find a way to work it out for you.. for now do you want to see your brother...he's a bit better now that we got some fluids into him and fed him a bit." Ere snapped to his fee and hurried into his brother room pausing as he stepped inside, he noticed a white rose with a red ribbon setting on the table next to his brother. Narrowing his eyes confused he moved closer to the rose and picked it up noticing a white buisiness card below it. All that was on the soft paper was a few words.
There is hope if you're willing to look...
That was all it said, Ere read it over and over but didn't understand the cryptic meaning over the beautifully scrawled words. Thats when a light wheeze came from his brother and woke Ere back to the world.
"Brother..." his little brother smiled, hugging his teddy bear which by the looks of it, had been washed.
"Tac...." Ere whispered, moving to the childs bedside and hugging him tightly.