TRACKSIDED

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LENS

JANE

Open.

A simple order and my eyes flick open.

White.

It’s the ceiling. I try to cough, but my mouth is blocked, people are yelling a figure hovers over me.

My heart stresses what he is doing. I can’t breathe.

A minute later, I regain normal respiration; the oxygen mask relives me.

“Oh, my God, Jane, it’s a miracle,” aunt Salomé says.

Why is aunt Salomé here?

Why am I in this room?

Where’s Rebecca and Travis?

Where are Mona and Brad?

There’s someone else that my mind tries to recall in vain. I can see his face clearly, but I don’t know his name.

“Oh, Jane, you gave us such a fright. Mona will be delighted when she hears you’re awake. She’ll probably hop on the first plane.”

Though I want to listen to what aunt Salomé says, it’s hard for me to stay awake.

My eyelids close, I feel aunt Salomé’s hand on my forehead, and I fall back asleep. When I wake, it’s Aina, our maid that I see by my side.

I’ve known her for years, Aina is part of the family, but she isn’t exactly the person I expect to see.

Why isn’t Rebecca here?

Aina calls the doctor who comes and checks my vitals with him; there’s another woman. I know this type of face; she’s a psychiatrist.

These people have a particular sort of expression. A neutral and opaque face, neither comforting nor off-putting.

They wait a few minutes, and Travis arrives. He’s different his not wearing a suit. He looks like he was on vacation.

“Hey, Ava, how are you, baby?”

Travis speaks like I went out to fetch the newspaper, and I just came back inside for morning coffee.

“How are you feeling, Jane?” The woman asks.

“I,” my voice is a whisper.

“Jane, can you blink once to say yes and twice to say no?” The other doctor asks.

The psychiatrist nods. The doctor approaches, “Jane, can you see my hand?”

I blink once.

“Do you feel something when I do this?” I see him touch my fingertips; he rubs my thumb. I don’t feel a thing.

He touches my index.

I blink.

He does the same on every finger and my toes.

“Your reflexes seem fine, Jane.”

Travis looks happy.

After this routine check, everyone leaves, and Travis remains a few minutes.

“I’m so happy you back, Jane. I’ll come back tomorrow; you can rest.”

I know him; he’s avoiding me.

Where’s Rebecca?

A week later, all the mysteries are solved, and it’s the mysterious doctor who breaks the news to me without the presence of anyone I know.

“Jane, I’m doctor Cheong Ki.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Not good.”

She doesn’t even ask why I’m not well and carries on.

“Do you remember anything about what happened?”

Everything which was a blur the first few days is now in order. The last memory I have is of me on a bridge with this man whose name is still isn’t coming back.

I nod.

“Okay, do you have an idea of what day we are?”

I shake my head.

The doctor takes out a calendar.

“This is the day the paramedics brought you in; she says as she shows me the 12th of November. The doctor then flicks through a few pages, and she points to Mars 1st of the next year.

A solitary tear strolls down my cheek as I realize I’ve been gone almost five months.

My reaction seems to satisfy the doctor as it proves I understood what she said.

The following days more elements float to the surface, and I discover the whole picture.

In the world, I woke up to:

- Travis and Rebecca are divorcing.

- Rebecca is in jail for a hit and run. The accident I committed since she and Travis are divorcing, she loses the diplomatic immunity which covers us.

- Abby is the mom of a little boy named Toby.

-Brad is engaged to an heiress; his father stitched him up with the Korean way, and Mona lives in Paris.

All this happened while I was sleeping.

To be honest, I’m not in a state to assess the information; I guess one can’t change overnight. Yes, I had five months to attempt a switch, but I’m still no-worries-Jane.

One thing has changed, though; I’ve gained the fighting spirit. Some of my body functions seem to be on pause with brain surgery, and the coma didn’t help. They say I might not recover, but for some reason, I want to prove them wrong. I need this body to regain its capacity so I can figure out things.

If people found me slow before, now I feel my reactions are like the Wachowski sister’s bullet time. The doctors say it’s normal, it’s like my brain is doing a warm-up, and after a while, they hope but don’t guarantee things will reestablish themselves. Of course, this depends on my investment.

I’m starting reeducation; I don’t sleep well, I wake up at night screaming his name.

Tae Won.

His name came back to me.

The accident convinced me I could never feel a more significant pain; I was wrong; losing Tae Won is far worse.

Love was an abstract concept. I never ran after it or desired it. I preferred fast food thrills, which I devoured in an instant.

The love Tae Won gave me filled me up, and now I remember the sentiment I find myself craving for it.

I know I shouldn’t. I lied and betrayed him, and I tried to pay with my life, but God seems to have a bigger and more devious plan. One where he rejects me and prevents me from dying. God punishes me by forcing me to live this life with my sins, weighing like an anchor.

When I think of Tae Won, I find myself wishing I didn’t wake up. There was no suffering while I slept, a non-existent existence; that’s what I was, and it wasn’t so bad.

I don’t search to know how he is, but Brad finishes by telling me Tae Won left the country and went to train somewhere. Brad remains vague, and I don’t push further. I know he’s trying to protect me.

Sometimes I have flashes; I don’t know if the things I see occurred or if they’re the fruit of my imagination.

In all honesty, I didn’t see tunnels and white lights while I slept. Yeah, even there, I have to be unconventional. Still, I heard everything as though it was a long-distance call.

Rebecca’s voice is evident in my mind.

“I love you, Jane; I promise to be a true mother from now on.”

Somehow I’m persuaded Rebecca said that to me, but if being a mother means endorsing the responsibility of my stupidity, I prefer she remains CP3O.

From what Brad told me, she’s been in prison for the last five months. Mom turned herself in, and the prosecutor’s office tried their best to keep the investigation on the low since evidence in their possession disappeared. Still, the population found out how a foreigner committed a hit and run, annihilating Kim Tae Won’s future.

People were disgusted to discover the police even let the culprit run free because she was powerful; it became a political debate.

You can imagine how the issue is too much for my remaining neurons; I can only deal with one thing at a time. Right now, I have to walk again, so I can meet Rebecca face to face and tell her how dumb she is.

What she did was stupid, yet I can’t help but find it heroic in a silly kind of way, and it frustrates and angers me.

I’m the one supposed to rot somewhere.

I need these feet,” move, move, move,” I yell while standing on the mat, holding onto the bars supposed to support me.

Determination is an emotion I’m not accustomed to; there’s nothing I’ve ever wanted to fight for. There is, but it’s something I had no right to desire. For once, I’m fighting for myself. I want to walk; I must walk, I must.

The other voice I hear apart from Rebecca’s is his. Call me crazy, but I even have his scent. It’s as though at some point, he shadowed me, and I whiffed him.

What does Tae Won say to me?

This fragment is the part of my dreams, which gives me goosebumps and makes me believe It’s a hallucination.

“Live for me.”

As if Kim Tae Won would desire, the murderer that I am to live.

My name is Jane Austen, and I’m crazy.

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