Beep. Beep. Beep.
The familiar noises of the machines seem to almost be a lullaby to Kayame now. She keeps her eyes closed in the darkness and lets the sounds surround her ears as the dream she was having slowly fades away. Even if she can’t remember the details, she already knows the world. It’s a dream world she has created over the years she’s spent locked up in this prison of a room. She has it perfected. The places, the people, even the storyline beneath it, all of it is perfect. Every night she wishes with all her heart to be transported there in sleep so she can feel some bit of happiness.
She sighs. It’s always the same. She welcomes sleep with open arms to be rushed off to a world that doesn’t exist. When will she grow up and face reality? Kayame shakes her head to clear her thoughts. Her mother shifts in her sleep on the cot and Kayame can’t help but give a sad smile. Her mother is always here, night after night, right by her side. She’s been there for months and years. When will she get to live her life? It’s all Kayame’s fault. If she hadn’t been so stupid back then she would have never gotten sick like this in the first place.
It had been a rainy day. The kind that makes everything seem far more miserable than it actually is. Kayame had been ten years old and she lived alone with her mother in a small cottage near a dense grove of trees that Kayame liked to pretend was a forest. There was a bubbling brook that ran next to the east side of the house that Kayame had always enjoyed playing in. Her mother warned her to be careful, but she knew the brook so well by now she paid no heed to warnings.
The day had started off like any other. Her mother had fixed a small breakfast of eggs and toast. Kayame hadn’t noticed the tears in her mother’s eyes until the meal was almost complete. She knew what it was. Her father had been gone for seven years now to this date. Kayame hadn’t known her father, he had disappeared a few years after her birth leaving her mother to fend for herself in this awful world. It always upset her to even think about it. She sat down at the old wooden table and put her hand a top her mother’s. It was a simple gesture but the look of love in her mother’s eyes when she glanced up was worth it. Her mother gave her a little nod and Kayame noticed the sorrow in her eyes. She wished she could take it all away. She gave her mom’s hand a small squeeze and decided to wander outside to give her mother some time to regroup herself.
She walked down into the woods and soon found herself along the banks of her favourite brook. It had soothed her ever so slightly and she paused to watch some butterflies float along on the drafts of wind. How many times had she herself wished that wings would sprout from her back so she could fly away from here? She had crouched down and stretched out her hand towards a bright blue butterfly and that’s when it all had happened.
There was a spark of lightning and then the world went dark. Thunder crashed in the distance and the only thing that Kayame could see was this little blue butterfly. It seemed to almost glow in the darkness of the storm. She was mesmerized as it alighted on her finger. Another crash of thunder sounded, almost as if it were on top of Kayame. The crash had left a rumbling still in her ear drums and her eyes were locked on the little blue butterfly. She flinched when she felt what seemed like a pinprick. She looked down at her bleeding finger and there was no longer a butterfly but two pricks that seemed to pierce her very being. She felt as though she were frozen in time until another crash of thunder broke into her thoughts. She knew she had to get back but the pain that began as a needle pinch was slowly becoming a fire that was racing towards her heart.
She turned back towards the cottage but the rain was coming down so hard it was hard to see more than a few arm lengths in front of her. The fire was sliding down into her legs and she felt as though she were running in slow motion. She kept pushing herself in the direction she knew to be home as the fire spread throughout her chest and caught at her breaths. Stars streaked her vision as she finally felt the climb beneath her feet. In her head she knew she was almost home and just had to make it a few more strides to reach her mother. The fire was almost overwhelming her by the time she felt the concrete beneath her shoes. Her gasps in her throat felt like she was breathing through cotton. Kayame went to reach for the door handle as her vision swam and slowly sunk into black. Her knees gave out and the last thing she remembered seeing was a slit of light as the door must have been cracked open.
She had woken up in a hospital bed with wires and cables trailing from her to all kinds of different machines. She tried to sit up but felt as though the strength within her body was gone. She glanced over and saw her mother watching her with a sad smile on her face and a glimmer in her eyes. Kayame didn’t know what happened to her that night besides the little blue butterfly, but she did know that the doctors around the country were baffled beyond reason.
Kayame shrugs herself out of her memories and glances at the calendar sitting on the little table beside her bed. A while? It had been six years now and she still wasn’t cured. The doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with her and she slowly loses her strength to the point of not even being able to get out of bed on her own. Thinking back, she never did mention that little blue butterfly to anyone. Not even her own mother. She wasn’t sure why exactly, but it felt like she needed her secret about what happened. She thought many times over that telling the doctors about it might cure her but something always seems to hold her back.
She glances at her bedside clock more out of habit than actually wanting to know what time is was. It was exactly 3:20am. Kayame shakes her head again. Why does she even care what time it is? Today is going to go just like the rest of the days have. She’ll get up and be asked a thousand questions by all of these different doctors who claim to be experts in their fields. Each one will then go away and in maybe a week she’ll get a report that tells her the same answer. We don’t know what is wrong with you. A small ball forms in her throat and she feels the pain threatening to spill down her cheeks. She just wants to know what is wrong. She just wants her mother to be able to be happy again. But how?
She slips down beneath her covers again and tries to calm her pounding heart. With the lullaby of machines in the background, Kayame slowly floats back to her dream world.