Jude and Ivy run to the bushes near the river, they hastily hid behind what seemed to be bushes two meters tall.
“Open fire!” An armed man, about six feet tall, stocky and impudent, shouts in probably the most blatant and throat-wrenching voice in the darkness of the night. Three men, all holding firearms with relative body types; followed suit.
A splash follows as Ivy and Jude jump on the river. The strong current lets out a huge roar under the midst of the mountain night. The rocks hit their frail bodies as the armed men continue to shoot in their direction. The croak of the frogs, the song of the cicadas, and the sonata of the bullets fill the air as I lay cold and lifeless in the cold, hard reality of the cement.
A bullet was fired. Another one follows. The armed men slightly brace for recoil. As I lay in the cold and dead cement, all I could feel was feel the pain of each speeding bullet in my heart. All I could do was scream a sound of terror.
“Stop shooting!” I pleaded as I wriggle and struggle. I swayed my hands to gather more attention. Suddenly, I feel a slight bump on my right hand. A stone.
“Stop shooting you motherfuckers!” I shouted as I throw a stone on one of the men. Unfazed, they continue to ignore me. “Stop shooting innocent people! Fuck!”
Like a pig set out to be killed and gutted, I shout and groan. The feelings of confusion, hate, and regret fill my body, from my face to every single tremble of my nervous limbs.
I continue to scream under the breaking daylight. I lay in a pool of mixed blood, tears, mucus, and sweat. Every scream and plead were to be inaudible under the sonata of the bullets. After my last attempt to scream, I started to lose sight, feel nausea, and extreme piercing pain. Eventually, I met my demise. I blacked out.
Reality starts to glare upon me as the drop of liquid from the IV starts to fill the soundscape. I wake up from the gritty nightmare of reality.
Everything is hazy, and I can barely open my eyes. The droplets from my IV bag feel like waterfalls under this dreary silence. Every sensation is elated and exaggerated.
On the side of my head, I hear a buzzing, sustained humming noise. Probably a humidifier. It creates a thin layer of dew and mist on my face.
As I lie on the bed, I look around. I opened the sheets to see that I am wearing a hospital gown, and everything is white. White sheets, white tiled floors, white ceiling, white gown, and white doors.
I touch my head. Ouch, that hurts.
My eyesight goes blurry and starts to spin, my head lets out a scream of pain internally. I look at the ceiling. The memories of what seemed like last night keep playing before my very eyes. Slowly, I realize the degree of the event.
I get up from the bed. Reality strikes like a truck. In the sudden realization of urgency, I quickly ripped the IV drip from my hands and opened the hospital door.
My head feels heavy, as bandages and a headache fill its premises. I ran through the aisles still nauseated. People start to take notice of my presence. Whispers and chitchat blind my hearing, as the lights fill my retinas and continue to grit the veins of my pupils to near blindness.
In the corner of the aisle, a familiar door opens itself. It’s an elevator. I quickly run inside while people continue to look at me with pity and disgust mixed-in to the point of inseparability.
I press a button. The doors close and the passengers’ eyes swing wide open. The doors continue to open and close in the same, repeating pattern, as passengers enter and depart the suffocating box; again and again and again. For the last time, the elevator opens, and I run outside in a jiffy. I run through the aisles once again.
Approaching the information area, I abruptly slammed the surface of the information desk.
“Excuse me, miss. Is there any person named Jude Elaine admitted in this hospital?”
A nurse entertained me and mouths, “One moment,”
She holds her call and puts her hand on the telephone’s microphone and entertains me.
“Excuse me, sir, what seems to be the matter?” The nurse, probably around her 20s, with hair tied up, wearing light makeup and is wearing thick circular-glasses; in her white- porcelain-like uniform, asks me.
“Jude. A girl named Jude Elaine. She’s a high school student, about 17 years old and about this height. Is she admitted here?”
“Jude, right?” She pulls up one of the desktops and starts typing in the credentials “Let me check my records for a moment, sir.”
She looks at the records, with the information reflecting off from her reflective glasses. Faces, names, and their respective medical records fill the screen.
After a while, she moves her vision from the desktop to the nurse sitting next to her. She whispers something to the other nurse and the other one does the same. For a while, it went like this.
“So...?” Impatiently, I cut them off.
One of the nurses looked at me with her eyebrows meeting and her forehead wrinkled. She then answers,
“Sir? Jude Elaine is not a patient in this hospital.”
I grab a glass from a nearby dispenser. Where is she? She should be here. I drink a cold cup of icy, chilled water. I then proceeded to slowly walk directionless through the aisles.
I feel like my mind is clouded and unstable. I am still in a state of shock. I want to run outside and start looking for her but- I don’t know where to start. Everything just doesn’t clear up my confusion. It felt like I was robbed out of my memories. Is her smile, a smile of fiction? Is her chuckle a mirage? I don’t know.
I slip out a smile from my lips. I continue to walk. Tears slowly start to fill my eyes.
“This must be for the better, right?” I chuckle as I run through these thoughts in my head. “I don’t have to hide anymore, I don’t have to run. I can probably just live on”. A tear falls by on my cheek. I slowly wipe it with my thumb.
“Stop crying, dammit!” I whisper as I laugh at my incompetence.
This must be how it feels to have your heart and mind fight. This contrasting image eerily displays throughout my face. “Ridiculous”, I thought.
After walking for a while, I didn’t realize that I just passed through the hospital’s front door. I continue walking. Cars, motorcycles, and more cars fill my vision. The parking lot. The quiet atmosphere and the fresh blow of wind slip in the area.
Leaves dance in the wind. In one corner, a small piece of paper dances in the same manner. I run through its direction. I grab it.
I look at it, it’s a newspaper. On the headlines were an image of a rotting body and the bold print shouts at me. “STUDENT FOUND DEAD IN RIVER DELTA”. I quickly looked at the date. November 9.
November 9? I guess it has been at least two weeks since I passed out. I then redirected my attention to the image. A lifeless body, rotting and full of gunshots, with dark hair and wearing jeans that have been occupied by mosses and algae. On her necklace was a pendant. A number “8” pendant.
I drop the newspaper and it sways again in the wind. That number 8 pendant...
... It’s Jude’s.
End of Prologue: Awaken