“Are you sure there isn’t anyone else I can call?” asked the nurse as she spied Fyre munching a huge chunk of his chocolate doughnut, surveying the VIP room into which they’ve moved in.
“That’s okay,” whispered Erska, feeling more comfortable in the individual room that they had rushed into as soon as her initial treatment was over. “You can leave.”
“If there’s anything at all, just press the bell, Miss Saphine and we’ll be here instantly!” the nurse said enthusiastically as she left her while throwing a dirty look at Fyre.
“What’s wrong with her?” he asked, wiping his mouth off the dripping chocolate.
“You do realize I was just in the ICU, suffering from a heart attack while you are gorging on something over here,” she said, pointing to him. It was making her mouth drool but her mobility was currently low, stuck to the bed with the IV injected on one side of her hand, the cardiac monitor on the other side, beeping.
“Ummm...I was just craving for it..is that so wrong?” Fyre said as he took a bite of the second one. “By the way, it seems like you’re popular. I mean, how did they instantly put into a VIP room after you started whining about being in a ward?”
“Umm…they know us here, and I prefer staying alone, sway from strangers.”
“You mean it was the perfect time to use your credit card for the first time?” retorted Fyre.
“Not exactly... but since mother didn’t block it, I might as well as use,” she said as she looked at the bronze shaded curtains bordering the walls, as well as the gold, lined watercolour painting of a happy dog inlaid next to Fyre who was seated on a divan. It could definitely be mistaken for a room at a five star hotel.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call your parents? Or any of your friends?” enquired Fyre.
“That’s fine,” she said, waving him off. “I don’t wanna disturb them for this now.”
“Erska, you just had a heart attack. Are you sure that is the decision you want to make?” he stressed.
“If you had asked me this four hours ago, I’d be screaming for mommy because I was attacked on all sides. Right now, the air conditioning is calming and frankly, they make killer toasts here. It’s to die for,” she explained.
“We aren’t here on a picnic, Erska. The doctor did say you’ll be fine in like four days,” he said, nodding his head.
“So, someone was definitely listening…” she stated, surprised.
“Of course,” replied Fyre, dusting the crumbs off his mouth. “How are you feeling now?”
“Better..a lot better…” she said, rubbing her chest. The present was all too dreamy for Erska. Hours back, there was a sharp pain on the left side of her chest, like a strong pull, trying to flip her internal organs accompanied with shortness of breath and as a result, she started uncontrollably writhing which had woken Haruhi’s attention and the next thing she knew, she was lifted into the ambulance, a deafening sound of the siren rising as they moved with a speed of a jet. She returned to consciousness only when she had become stable and was instantly transferred to the VIP room upon request. “I should have taken my tablets regularly like Bastian had said..”
“Even if you hadn’t, you’d still end up here. You’ve been stressed since you moved from your house, irregular or no sleep, binge eating chocolates like there’s no tomorrow, no exercise, of course, because most of the time you are glued to the screen. Added to all that, you’ve got hypertension,” Fyre listed in order.
Erska thought she was going dizzy, having heard the same rant over and over again from the doctor. “Okay. Okay. Don’t remind me. I’ll start doing some serious recuperation.”
A series of footsteps running fast towards the door hit them with a bang as the doors flung open on both sides. Quincy and Haruhi appeared, seemingly terrified.
“Wha-What? You’re alive?!” asked Quincy, perplexed.
“I’m sorry, did someone want me dead?” Erska asked, her hand against her heart as if she wanted to re-check.
Haruhi hit him on the head. “I told you they were mourning someone else on the outside, you idiot! This guy misheard it! And…what are you doing?” she asked Fyre, who was opening a second box of cinnamon doughnuts.
“I had a …craving,” he replied innocently as he took a big bite.
“She’s right there!” said Quincy, pointing to Erska as he looked at the wavy curtains for the first time. “Are we at the hospital or what?”
“The VIP room, Quincy,” said Erska.
“What about your parents? Contacted them yet?” asked Haruhi as she settled down on the divan, next to Fyre as her hands fished for a doughnut to Fyre’s dismay.
“I asked Fyre not to do. They’ll go hysterical and ask me to return home. Besides, I’m fine right now,” replied Erska with a shrug. “Few more days and I’ll be back to being normal.”
“Is she trying to be a comedian?” muttered Quincy under his breath. “Why are we the only ones being ballistic right now?”
“We have a fearless one, alright,” Haruhi whispered back. Sitting straight, she asked, “How are you feeling? We’re sorry we came late. We had to hand over some work to Mrs. Delaney.”
“That’s okay. The worst is over. The doctor said they would have to monitor my condition for a few days before discharging me,” she said, pointing to the cardiac monitor that was running lines of green, red and yellow, fluctuating up and down according to her pulse. “They didn’t have to go as far as a surgery they said, the drugs worked fine.”
“Okay, then. Take your time. We’ll get back when you’re totally fine,” Haruhi replied.
As Erska nodded awkwardly, she kept looking at each one back and forth. “Guys…..where’s Bastian?”
The two froze while Fyre looked at them expectantly, eating his third cinnamon flavoured doughnut.
“Ummmm..uhhhh..” dragged Quincy as looked at Haruhi for help. “Well, he told me something,” he said as he shut his eyes, moving his head like a cock as if he was trying to remember some ancient verse. “Something, something. He said he was going to buy congee! Aha! Yes! Congee!”
Haruhi couldn’t resist pinching his arm as Quincy let out a short yelp. The idiot has gone along with the worst excuse in the book. Congee??
“I don’t understand. I just had a heart attack and that boy is out there having congee? It’s almost evening and he’s still buying congee?! Does this seem to make any kind of sense?” Erska bickered in absolute impatience. Fucking congee after that kiss last night? I had a heart attack and congee? Does he even care or was everything out of impulse? “Does he know I’m at the hospital?”
“You see,” Quincy began as he shot a glance at Haruhi who was sitting tight lipped now. “He went out early in the morning and we’re unable to reach him…weirdly….but he’ll be back soon. Don’t worry.”
Erska frowned with her hands folded, unable to withstand the ridiculousness. If he turns up telling me that it was all a mistake last night, I’ll kick his ass. Stupid police patrol as if they had no other work but to clear up the crowd! After all this time, I got this guy and life just rolls another ball of mishap my way! Maybe I should’ve asked him yesterday what it meant, how could I be so fucking dumb? “Where’s my phone? I’ll get hold of him directly!”
“Umm….Here it is,” said Fyre as he handed over her phone from the bag he had packed.
“Great..we were too late to stop him,” sighed Haruhi, having given up.
“Why?” asked Quincy.
“Do you think Bastian’s going to respond now?” she said.
Erska dialled his number in haste and place it against her ear. As it began to connect, a sound of ringing was audible in the room to everyone’s surprise while Quincy jerked at the sudden vibration.
“This is even more..great…” mumbled Haruhi as she rubbed her cheeks in frustration.
Quincy fished into his pocket and took out Bastian’s phone. He plastered a smile and looked awkwardly at Erska. “Perhaps, he was also careless….”
“Really? Are you sure he does not have some uncle in Wales to escape from?” asked Erska, expecting no reply from anyone as she started scrolling through her phone in vain. After a while, she let it drop and leaned back, giving up. For some reason, she just couldn’t help it but feel bad, like he had disappeared on her the first time. He’ll be back….right? She closed her eyes, trying to reminisce the memories from last night of his pale face against the moonlight, his pinkish tear-stained cheeks, his emerald green irises and his touch…. which she could really use right now. She hugged her knees, hoping her warmth would replace his embrace.
“Yes, Bastian. I thought you wanted to see me,” relayed Orfer as if he was present there on command. Past twenty minutes, Bastian had resorted to picking a cheap fight with the guards, spitting water on them as they tried to feed his dehydrated body. They, in retaliation, had dumped water on Bastian which Orfer was not sure if that could be termed as revenge. It looked more like children fooling around.
“Orfer..I…” he said as he breathed slowly, mustering a bit of his voice in. “I just want to see her one last time.”
“Which I cannot allow. Just wait here for one more day and I’ll release you. Please don’t act like kids,” he said as he threw an annoyed look at the guards.
“One day?” he questioned. “Why one…what is going on?” he asked as he began pulling his chains, hurting his wrists, cut deepening as blood dripped. “Orfer!” Bastian screamed, struggling with his restrained self in vain. “What the hell are you talking about?!”
Orfer remained nonchalant as he turned towards the guards. “Get his wrist treated and give him a sedative that’ll put him to sleep for a while. I’m getting sick of this,” he mumbled, rubbing his head as he walked out without a glance.
“Orfer!! Orfer!!” Bastian screamed hoarsely in a breathy tone, using everything he’s got as he looked at the door through which he had left. Then, he turned towards the guards, one preparing the drug that is to be inserted into the syringe while the other readying a medical kit.
As the guard brought the syringe closer, Bastian wriggled continuously so that the injection would fail to hit a correct spot. “Yo, this guy keeps shaking. I’m not able to hit it correctly.”
With the help of the other guard, Bastian was overpowered. A kick in the gut and an elbow driven threw his back, Bastian fell, his otherwise weak body unable to withstand. A jab of the needle through his neck and he went into a drug induced sleep.
Wake up! Wake up, Bastian! It’s going to be late!
He wasn’t sure where the voice was coming from, desperately search for the owner in the pitch darkness. His body was put in a state of vibration all of a sudden to his surprise, Bastian wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. He began shaking his head vigorously as a shot of pain passed through his forehead, partially wanting to stop the voice since it began repeating over and over in his head. Something pricked at his neck as he tirelessly began rubbing the spot.
“You’re free, Bastian! Wake up! Before it is too late!”
The voice seemed more real now, his eyes flit open at the sudden realization, sending chills down his spine. He lay there, trying to focus as dissimilar patterns of light confused his vision. He kept blinking, trying to hear and see its origin but the blank ceiling stared back at him. He slowly lifted his face, then his torso and sat up through the haziness, allowing himself to stabilize. Then, he re-tied his hair which had become messy through the drama. His wrists felt heavy. He looked closely, feeling the heavily bandaged hand. What the fuck? And then it hit him, the shackles no longer bound him. It was clasped open. He was free. His instincts heightened suddenly, looking at his surroundings cautiously as his consciousness returned to its full strength. Not a soul in sight. No guards. There was a box lying on the floor, syringes, tablets and drugs scattered on the ground. His eyes fell on the door that was wide open which intrigued him even more. What is going on?