The Journal of James Oaklund

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5/13

5/13:

Well, I guess I'm writing a journal entry a bit before my next call with the doc. Ryan called me up today and could barely hold himself together, insisting I come see him at the hospital immediately. I couldn't tell what tone he was crying in over the phone, so I jumped up and shot over as quick as I could.

When I got there, I found several doctors gathered in a small throng around the outside of Ryan's mother's room, all of them seemingly amazed. I pushed through the crowd of doctors to see...Shit, it's still giving me chills, even now. Ryan's mother was sitting up in her hospital bed, her arms wrapped around her sobbing, overwhelmed son.

I could hardly believe what I was seeing; it was like some kind of miracle had happened. Not even the doctors could explain it; she had apparently, out of nowhere, just sat up and opened her eyes like she was waking up from a short nap. They'd called Ryan right away, who'd nearly gotten arrested for speeding through several red lights on the way over. When he explained what was going on to the cop, though, he actually drove ahead of him on his way to the hospital so he could get there faster.

I watched Ryan look up from his mother's lap into her smiling face, and it was then that I fully understood why doc wanted me to keep an eye out for him. I'd never once, in my life, seen him that happy and relieved. He'd even dropped the machismo act; he was crying in front of everyone and didn't give a damn who saw. I walked over to him and put my hand on his shoulder.

"I knew she'd come back some day, Ry."

Before I even fully realized what was going on, he'd shot up from his kneeling position next to his mother's hospital bed and had enveloped me in quite possibly the tightest hug I'd ever experienced. I hugged him back and patted him gently as he sobbed happily into my shoulder. For a while, we just stayed like that. Eventually, he peeled himself off of me and started to regain some of his composure. Which was when he started going a mile a minute, telling his mom all about everything that had happened during her long, long sleep. She was all smiles, just thrilled to see her son again. Before I left, she called me over to her bed.

"James? A word, please?"

"Of course, ma'am. What's up?"

"Thank you. For looking after my son. I'm sorry I had to shift the job onto your shoulders, but...Seeing how happy he is, and how much he trusts you, I can tell you've been a good friend. Thank you."

"No need to thank me, I'm just doing what any friend should do."

I smiled and said my goodbyes to Ryan, his mother, and the various hospital staff overseeing her care. On the way out, I noticed she had a little cup of water with one of those bloodied white roses sitting in it. That was nice of Ryan, getting his mom a flower.

Anyways, other than that, today hasn't been terribly eventful. I'm due to head back to my current client's place shortly, thankfully with a Burkley's company car this time so I don't have to take the train. I'll update this entry when I get back.

Nothing much more to report...But something weird did happen on the job. I found a patch of those weird roses growing on the client's property where he wanted me to dig and set new soil for a garden, and I asked him what he wanted to do about the roses.

"Sure thing, sir. What should we do about these roses? We can probably work them into a pretty nice-looking garden if we dig them up and replant them once we've got the new soil down."

"The hell are you talking about? I don't see anything there but a pile of old, shitty dirt and some weeds. Dig it up, put the new soil in, and do your damned job."

I didn't like this client much, but holy shit was he paying us well. I obliged him and dug up the scraggly little rosebushes and set the new soil, sewed the seeds he picked out, the whole nine yards.

But the entire time since...It's been bugging me that he didn't seem to be able to see the roses. I've been thinking about the weird stuff I heard Amy and doc talking about the other day when I went to visit, and I think there's something funny going on with these roses. I'm not sure, though. I guess I'll have to ask doc when I talk to him next.

Huh. Phone just vibrated. I got a text...From that number I could swear was Amy's, again. I didn't think I could get any more messages from them. Turns out, it's three audio messages, each about five seconds each.

"---es? --n y-u he-- -e?"

"Plea--, -n--ne, ---ase..."

"T-- -A-K T-O D-RK TOO DARK-"

The first two were mostly garbled by static, but it sounded like Amy's voice in what little I could make out. That third one, though...Jesus. I can't tell if it was Amy or not, since there was some kind of distortion over the voice, but it seemed like maybe it could have been. Right after, my phone rebooted again. Just like last time.

"Hey, Amy? Are you okay? You're all good, yeah?"

I texted her immediately. The mysterious audio message number was gone already.

"Yeah. What's up, James? Is everything okay?"

I thought about it for a long time. Telling her what was really going on, confessing how much these messages were freaking me out...But I kept thinking about how much better she's doing these days, and how happy she is with her new promotion, and...I couldn't bring myself to interrupt that, even a little bit.

"I'm fine, yeah. Everything's okay. Just thought I'd ask how you're doing, check in and all that, haha. Sorry to bother you."

I put my phone down on the sofa next to me and rubbed my hands down my face. I felt all the exhaustion of the day of emotional and physical ups and downs hit me in that instant, and I headed off for bed.

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