She could smell the scent getting closer to her, along with footsteps that increased in speed. She felt a body engulfing her in a tight hug, the sensation of wanting to cry overwhelming her. A knot formed on her throat and it was difficult for her to speak. “You’re here” she muttered, hugging him back. The warmth Atlas was giving her was one she no longer was able to feel in real life. She was feeling so many things at the same time, it was impossible to describe.
— I told you I’d come for you.
They stayed like that for a few minutes. Midori didn’t want to let him go, but Atlas pulled back slowly. Midori touched his face all over, until she got to his hair, feeling how smooth it was. Atlas just chuckled at that. Midori recognized his facial features. Even though she wasn’t able to see, it felt like in her dreams. Atlas took Midori’s face between his hands and slowly got closer to her, leaving a small kiss on her forehead. Midori couldn’t stop the smile that formed on her face.
— Let’s get out of here, I’ll protect you.
Midori nodded, with a big smile still on her face. Atlas walked away to make sure that the door was properly closed, then he went back to Midori and sat down by her side. Midori felt how the bed dipped on her right side. It felt weird, no one had sat down there since she was admitted to the hospital.
— This place is so strange. There are almost no patients and it seems like we’re in the middle of nowhere.
— I noticed that too… since I’m not able to see anymore, my hearing got sharper and I’ve never heard other patients… —but then Midori remembered those moments where patients were screaming in the halls— Oh… yeah…
She raised her face as if she had realized something, and looked at Atlas’ direction.
— Yes! I do remember hearing patients screaming in two separate occasions…
— Do you remember what they said?
— They were saying things like this wasn’t a hospital, that they were torturing them…
Atlas tilted his head to the side, trying to analyze what Midori just said. He clicked his tongue.
— Something weird is happening… what we are having are not dreams at all.
— Then, what are they?
— I don’t know, Midori… but we need to find out.
Atlas looked at Midori and took her hands between his own.
— We need to find out what is happening here. They are doing something to us. —Atlas coughed a bit at the end of his sentence— Excuse me.
— Are you okay?
— Yes… don’t worry… let’s better worry about how to get out of here. —he cleared his throat a little before continuing to talk—. I’ll investigate around the hospital. If I find something, I’ll let you know.
— I want to go with you!
— I know I have a disability… but! —she clasped his hands tightly between hers— Let me help you…
And Atlas didn’t have any other choice but to accept.
— Alright, are you ready? —he said as he stood up from the bed—.
In that moment, Midori turned to where the door was. She heard footsteps approaching.
— Hide under the bed!
Atlas did so without thinking it twice, he dropped to the floor and crawled under the bed. Midori lay down and covered herself from head to toe, as if she were asleep. Seconds later, she heard how her door was being opened. The nurse saw her and assumed she was sleeping. She stepped into the room, Midori gulped down and mentally crossed her fingers hoping the nurse wouldn’t look under her bed. Atlas covered his mouth with his hands, trying to make as little noise as possible, he even held his breath.
Every step the nurse made had Midori’s heartbeat quickening. The nurse sat down on the chair that was next to Midori’s bed and sighed profusely. Midori didn’t have any idea what she was doing, she’d never done that before. After a few seconds, the nurse stood up and exited the room as if nothing had happened. Midori waited until the footsteps were far enough before she let Atlas know it was safe.
— You… you can go out now. —she said as she uncovered herself and went back to sitting on the edge of the bed—.
Atlas took a deep breath and crawled out of the bed, taking his spot back at Midori’s side.
— I’ve never held my breath for so long before.
Midori could only chuckle.
— I don’t think this is the best moment to go out and investigate. —said Atlas— My nurse probably noticed already that I’m not in my room. Maybe that’s why yours came here.
— Maybe you’re right…
Atlas got up but stayed in front of Midori.
— I’ll come back tomorrow, okay? Tomorrow we will investigate this place.
Midori nodded. She raised her hand towards Atlas’ face.
— I’d like to see you… —she said sadly while caressing his cheek—.
— You can see me in your dreams. —Midori chuckled at that— Take care, Midori.
Atlas slowly walked away and carefully exited the room, trying not to be seen. Midori sighed deeply, wishing to be able to see him without having to go to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED.