Exclusive Excerpt from The Awakening
by A. Drew
When he stepped out of the freezer-like hospital, he had a sudden urge to kiss the warm ground outside. He was finally out of that place, hopefully not able to see the figures anymore because he was convinced that the reason he saw them there was merely because they died in that place.
His initial euphoria quickly diminished when he noticed some shadows outside the hospital grounds. Some of the ghostly figures even seemed to approach him when they saw his gaze on them.
“Phil? What’s wrong? You stopped walking. Are you in pain, son?
“It’s okay Dad. I’m fine,” he replied in a cagey manner.
“Should we take you back to the hospital?” His father’s worried tone of voice gave him some semblance of comfort that he was not alone.
“Do you think the doctor was wrong when he told me I’ll hallucinate for a while and that it is a normal part of the healing process?”
His dad patted him on the shoulder, and then gently steered him towards the rusty pickup, “I can understand why you doubt the man. He assured me that it was because of the accident and you would still continue to see things around you. Like he said, you need to remind yourself they are not real, son.”
His mother extended her arms tightly around his body, soothed him even more and as if to agree, he said, “Okay but they look pretty real to me.”
His mother gave him another reassuring hug, “As soon as we arrive home, I’ll give you some of your medication. Wait and see. By tomorrow you’ll experience even less of those unpleasant visions.”
“Yeah, I hope so… I’m really sorry about everything.” He tried very hard to swallow the lump in his throat, hoping not to cry.
His father chimed in as if he was uncomfortable at seeing Phil becoming emotional, “Shhh. We’re glad you’re okay. Let’s all put it behind us for now and go home.”
The day went by without incident, but the night at home was something else. Phil woke up shivering, the room temperature had dropped so low, almost like it was about to snow. What’s going on? It’s summer right now. He even remembered feeling sweaty from the humid heat before retiring to bed. His heart started beating furiously, dreading what he might see in the dark.
He pulled his blanket tightly around him, in a fruitless effort to warm up and feel safer. There was something about cocooning himself that usually soothed some of his anxiety, that was at least until he sniffed an obnoxious odor gently wafting around. He cautiously lifted his head to look around, and in the darkness, he noticed a grey form floating still beside his bed. Initially, he thought one of his parents came to check on him, but the unearthly asthmatic breathing sound along with the foul smell wafting from it, made him withdraw further into his cocoon.