Fiction: Coma (Part 1 of 2)

26 Mar

He knew he should go to bed.  He’d been awake for almost seventy hours straight, which meant he’d long passed the point of being any help to anyone.  And yet…

She was still unconscious.  He tried not to think about it, maybe (most likely) that was the reason he couldn’t bring himself to lay down.  “She’s doing enough sleeping for the both of us,” he casually teased with just enough edge to his voice that no one would push it.

But, he couldn’t sit at her bedside either.  That wouldn’t help his nerves.  So he paced the hospital halls, never too far from her room in case something changed, but far enough away that he could get his legs really moving, his blood pumping, and his adrenaline up. He’d even taken to not answering when people called his name because he knew they would just try to convince him to go get some sleep.  He didn’t want to hear another argument about it.

That was until he heard “Oliver!” in an all too familiar tone that he knew he couldn’t ignore.

“Rowan.” He said softly.  He turned and waited for her to catch up to him.  He tried not to look her in the face, it’d seem too surreal, but he allowed himself to be pulled into a hug.  Even though he was about six inches taller than her, he let her pull him down and kiss him gently on the forehead.  A leftover comfort from when the girls were taller than him.

“Let’s go see her, huh?” Rowan suggested softly.

Oliver didn’t trust his voice, so he nodded.  They headed down the hall until they reach the door labeled “Hill, Joss.” The staff didn’t even try to give Rowan the family only speech because it would have been a pointless argument.  After all, Rowan and Joss were practically identical.

Oliver had always been proud of being the “Spare” in their “Pair and Spare” triplets.   He had all the comforts and the best friends of being part of a multiple birth, without any of the name confusion or people making assumptions at face value.  His sisters used to tell him to be jealous of the advantages of being identical, but he never quite believed them.

But, every now and then, he looked at them and was shocked by it, amazed by them.  He was jealous of them, not because of the fact that they were identical, but because of the women they’d grown into. They had drastically different lives, but they focused so single-mindedly on their goals, and they had managed to achieve so much in their relatively short lives thus far.

Still,  He had always been the only one who could tell them without hesitation, and it had been years since anyone put them in identical outfits–but to look at them side by side, Oliver was still amazed sometimes by just how similar they still looked all these years later.

But to see one practically dead to the world, and the other in such pain–It was almost too much for Oliver to bear.  “I’m so sorry, Rowan.  I wanted to fix this. I want Joss back.”  Oliver covered his mouth after his outburst, yet a single strangled sob slipped through his fingers.

Rowan gave him a cold, calculated look.  “Ollie, when was the last time you slept?”

“Sleeping isn’t helping anyone,” he responded quickly.  Oliver knew better than to make the “enough for both of us” quip to Rowan.

“It will help me.  My life will be much better if my brother is some level of sane and if I don’t have to have him admitted into his own hospital stay for sleep deprivation.   I know that sane is a stretch for you–but still, when was the last time you sleep?”

“About seventy hours.”

Rowan made a tsk sound with her tongue and then took in the hospital room.  In the movements of a woman well aware of how hospitals worked, she gathered together a pillow and a spare set of blankets.  Then, in the movements of a sister well aware of how her brother worked, she folded and tucked the blankets into a proper little nest, not dissimilar to the one Ollie used to make in the corner of the girls room when he was too scared to sleep in his own room during a thunderstorm, tucked back in the corner of the hospital room.

“Sleep.  We’ll talk when you’re rested and not a second before, understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He gave his conscious sister a hug and pressed a quick kiss to the cheek of the unconscious one, before curling down into the nest of blankets.  Maybe some sleep would do him some good.

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Stories


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