Phantasmagoria

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Lost...

''...Please, God, please make him wake up...,''

I hear...a faint voice speak.

It sounds like...Hannah...

Hannah...

''Mummy? Why is Daddy sleeping?'' I hear...Jayden speak now.

Oh, Jayden...

''Daddy hurt his head, so he needs to sleep. He will wake up when he is ready, honey,'' I hear...Hannah answer him.

...I feel...so tired...

My mind...

I can see them...

I can see...fragments...

Of...girls...

What were...their names?

''Hey, how is he?'' I hear...Reuben...

Reuben...

I see him...

Why...do I see him...

He was...angry...and upset...

''He's still the same. The doctor doesn't know when he will wake up,'' I hear Hannah...reply...

When...will I wake up?

I...

Can't move...

My eyes...

''Please wake up, Daddy, please,'' I hear my son moan...

I'm here, Jay...

Daddy's awake...

I can hear you...

I just wish...you could hear me...

''Hey...did you hear that?'' I hear Reuben say...

Yes, Reuben...

It's me...

''Mmmmmmarrrrrhhhhh,'' I let out a moan.

My mouth...isn't moving...

My body...is so weak...

''Nash! Nash, can you hear me?'' I hear Hannah in my ear.

Yes, I can!

I can hear you!

Can't you hear me?

''He's trying to say something,'' Hannah speaks again.

I am saying something...

I...love you...

I want to wake up and see your faces...

But...

I can't...

''Get the doctor! Get him now!'' Hannah shouts. I hear someone rush out of the room...and close the door...

''Nash, if you can hear me, make a sound baby,'' I hear Hannah say. I can feel her...clutching on to my hand...

''He squeezed! He squeezed my hand!'' I hear her squeal with excitement.

Did I squeeze it?

I...couldn't feel myself doing it...

''Hello, Nash, can you hear me? I'm Dr. Sommers. If you can hear me, open your eyes,'' I hear a firm, deep male voice enter my eardrums.

Open my eyes...

I'm trying...

''Huh! His eyes! They blinked a little!'' I hear Reuben say enthusiastically.

''Come on, Nash, come back to me! Come back to Jayden! Come back to your family!'' I hear Hannah's voice...getting louder.

I am...

I'm trying!

I'm here!

I'm-

''Thank you, Nash,'' I hear a female voice say...

But...it's not coming from Hannah...

It's...in my head...

...Diana...

''You set me free, Nash,'' she says to me.

Set her free? What does she mean?

''Now you will see...what I am capable of...,'' I hear Diana say to me.

What she is capable of...?

What...is she going to do?

''Nash, oh, Nash! You're awake! You're awake!'' Hannah screams at me.

My eyes suddenly open....

But I didn't feel them opening...

Hannah wraps her arms around me as I adjust to my surroundings. I see...Reuben to my right, behind Hannah, and Jayden at the end of my bed, staring at me with tears coming down his cheeks. I also see another man, who I presume to be the doctor I was hearing earlier.

''Welcome back, Mr Williams. You've been out for quite some time,'' I hear the doctor say. Hannah comes off of me and allows him to check on me. He shines his torch into my eyes as he inspects me. I wince from the brightness of the light.

''You may be experiencing a little dizziness or disorientation for a bit while you adjust. Are you experiencing a headache at all?'' he asks me once he's finished trying to blind me.

''...Uh...no,'' I managed to speak for the first time. Wow, I sound rough.

''Good. Now, I need to tell you Mr Williams, that you've been in a coma for 26 days,'' the doctor reveals.

I've been in a come for 26 days?

For nearly a month?

''Now, Nash, what was the last thing you remember?'' the doctor asks me.

The last thing I remember?

I remember...

''Only bits and pieces...,'' I answer.

''Bits and pieces...of the game? Of Phantasmagoria?'' he asks me.

Yes...of that game...

And...

''She...spoke to me...,'' I say aloud.

''Who spoke to you, Nash? Hannah?'' the doctor broaches.

Hannah? No, I hear her all the time.

No.

Diana...

''It was...Diana...,'' I say.

''Er, Diana? Who is she? A relative of yours?'' the doctor asks me.

A relative? No. She's...

''From the game...Diana,'' I say to him.

''From...Phantasmagoria?'' he asks.

''Yeah, from there,'' I reply. Does this guy not know who she is? Everyone knows who she is.

''I'm sorry, Mr Williams, but there was no one called Diana from the game,'' the doctor tells me.

What?

No...Diana?

What is he talking about?

She is in the game!

She's the one who created it!

She's in there!

''Yeah...she was in the last level. The...Diana Echelon. I met her...she was...blue...,'' I say as I begin to remember what she looked like in the game. I notice Hannah looking down, my brother Reuben looking at me with worry.

What's going on?

Why are they looking like that?

''Reuben...you were there. Don't you remember?'' I ask him. He looks at the doctor, then at me.

''Nash...I was never in the game,'' he says to me as he shakes his head.

Is everyone...going insane?

''Mrs Williams, Reuben, can I talk to you outside for a minute? Mr Williams, we will just be a moment,'' the doctor says to me as he ushers my family out of the room.

He thinks I'm nuts.

He thinks I've lost it.

How can Reuben not remember?

He was with me in the last level of the game.

He was there with...Travis Crispin.

Travis!

What happened to him?

Did Diana...put him in a coma too?

Diana...

''I told you you will see,'' I hear her speak to me. At the end of my hospital bed, the ethereal Diana appears.

She's here...

She's here!

''Reuben, Hannah, come look! She's here!'' I point frantically at her as Hannah and Reuben come in.

''Look! Diana is here!'' I say as I look at her beauty. Hannah and Reuben are looking.

But...why are their faces...sad?

''Nash, there's nobody there. The doctor says you may be suffering from hallucinations,'' Reuben begins to explain.

What?

Hallucinations?

''I'm not crazy, Reuben, she is there! How can you not see her?'' I say to him. Why are they looking at me like I'm nuts?

''He says...it may be due to the stress you suffered in the game, as well as your problems you've been suffering with after coming back from Afghanistan,'' Reuben says to me.

Reuben...

How can he...think I'm crazy...

He was there...

He was there!

Diana is real!

She is real!

I'm not crazy.

I'm not.

I am not mad.

''I told you,'' Diana says to me.

''I told you...''


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