It’s been 23 hours. My body aches. My lips are chapped. My eyes are bloodshot. My breathing is dwindling. All I know is that I could die at any moment.
“Don’t give in, Mallory. You’re still the strong brother I know. Don’t let this one be the end.” Charlotte’s voice rings like a bell through my ears, but the sounds are only a muffled string of words being filtered through my brain.
I tilt my head slightly. Through my blurry, half-open eyes, I see Charlotte, Aaron, our friend, my sister’s husband, and our other friend, Jaylen. We’ve been friends since elementary school. We would always walk to school together, chatting about the newest cartoons we have watched. Those were the days. That year we met were the best days of my life; I was diagnosed with an abnormal heart condition soon after. That was 20 years ago.
“You’ve always pushed through like a crazy person. You would beat the odds of survival, so don’t let this one get the better of you, Mal.” Jaylen says in a quivering voice. His fingers are fidgeting with all of these people around us. His chest is moving up and down quicker than normal. Jaylen has always been afraid of crowds, and I’m happy that he’s here even though he hates being around lots of people.
A sharp pain shoots through my body. It spreads like a wildfire and feels like I’m being stabbed by thousands of knives. My breathing which has been weak dissipates in an instant. The entire world feels like it’s collapsing on itself. My blurry vision is swallowed up by the darkness which envelopes me.
“Am I going to die?” I ask myself.
“Mallory!” Voices can be heard, but by who, I cannot say…
I fling open my eyes. I frantically move my head back and forth, scanning my surroundings. The gray walls, the white curtains being blown into the room by the wind, and the large grandfather clock in the back corner. Then I’m back in the hospital room, but something’s not right. I look down to see my sister crying alongside the bed. Aaron’s comforting her and Jaylen’s crying in the back corner. I look down at my own body. I’m no longer hooked up to the monitor and the only thing that remains on my lifeless body is a face mask. My body’s chest isn’t moving on its own and there isn’t any condensation on the face mask.
“Ah…I must have died.” I would cry if I could, but alas, I don’t have a physical body.
“How long?” Charlotte asks. “How long will Mallory be in a coma?”
“Two weeks,” the doctor replies. “However, if his heart still refuses to beat, he’ll be pronounced dead. But ma’am, we’ll do everything we can to keep him alive.”
“Thanks, doc,” Aaron says. “He’s going to be alright, Charlotte. Have faith.”
Relief passes through my lips. I’m not dead, but I’m not exactly alive either. I’m stuck in between. Without a physical body, my ghost-like hand passes through everything I attempt to touch. I land onto the rocklike floor without a sound and look over at my body. Nothing is more disturbing than watching yourself in a coma. Even though the odds of my surviving are sketchy, I want to believe that I’ll come back to my friends.
Charlotte, Aaron, and Jaylen left soon after to get on with their everyday lives. Charlotte and Aaron went home together while Jaylen took his usual walk around the town.