Introduction: Road TripEdit
I was driving with Dad to Winnipeg.
We were going to visit my big sister, Caroline.
“Are we there yet?”
“Are we there now?”
“No, Connor. We're not there yet. Now get off my back, I'm trying to drive.”
Me, Connor Robin Sebastian Grant Murphy. And my dad, Dad.
We were going through our usual 'Road Trip Ritual', consisting of me asking, over, and over again:
“ARE WE THERE YET?!”
Annoying Dad was the best. He only ever pretended to be angry, but it was clear that he actually enjoyed the time we spent together – even if it did mean six and a half hours of me.
So it was summer, and I was off school, with nothing else to do – meaning I was focusing on my career. With 14 years of life (and memories) being carried around with me, I've got dreams.
And so it started.
We were driving along the highway, with the warm sun beating down on our faces, Dad at the wheel, and me in the backseat, wondering how to start the novel I'd been neglecting to write, and when to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that was hanging limply from my right hand as I stared out the window, letting the warm air brush my face.
It hit us.
A truck barged into our lane and smashed us against the dark asphalt of the road. Right into us.
It seemed to aim for Dad, smashing the windshield and sending debris everywhere.
I ducked, covering my face with my arms. A particularly large piece of glass came straight for me, cutting open my forearm and leaving a large gash and a scar that would never leave my skin.
Then the steering wheel broke off, and came crashing down on my head.
Suddenly, everything went black.
“Dr Masterson, report to the ER, stat. Dr Masterson, report to ER.”
My back hurt.
“Yes? I was called?”
Oh... and my neck was stiff...
“Oh, yes, Doctor. Um, we have a case here, we don't know whether...”
The voices around me droned, on and on. But I wasn't really listening. I was more focused on trying to remember why I couldn't move my fingers.
“Oh my god. Oh, dear god...”
Hmm... Funny. I opened my eyes a crack. It turned out I could move my fingers, but I just couldn't feel it. Eww... my eyes were crusty...
“NURSE!” urghh... why did that woman have to shout? My head was ringing with her loud, high voice aimed straight at my ear.
Shaddup, I wanted to say.
But I didn't.
“We need Dr Anderson in here, ASAP – it seems he's coming around – I just saw his eyes pop open...”
The noises around me intensified.
I realized, all of a sudden, that I hadn't made it to Caroline's.
So then where was I?
“The ER is packed today, is it not, Dr Anderson?”
The ER? I was in the hospital?
That did it. I opened my eyes all the way, and found myself staring into the dark blue eyes of a prematurely aging man in his mid-thirties.
“He's awake,” the man said, “but keep a close eye on him. He could slip away any minute and we'd lose him.”
I struggled to sit up, but the man placed a firm hand on my shoulder and forced me back down. He shook his head.
“No, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to ask you to stay very still.” He gave me a sweeping look. “No moving.”
Impossible, I thought to myself.
As the man prepared to leave, a fleeting memory of a truck flashed across my mind and a soft horror began to fill inside me.
“Sir?” I started, wondering whether to ask the question I was dying to ask – but fearing the response all at once – “Um, where's my father?”
The room suddenly went dead silent. I moaned. A dark weight dropped in my stomach as realization swept over me. I didn't need to listen to what the man said next to know what'd happened.
“Your dad seems OK,” he began, avoiding my gaze, “we’ll tell you more later.”
And with that, he left the room. And even at my young age I just felt that they were lying, either my dad was critical or he hadn’t made it.
The silence would soon kill me. None of the nurses wanted to look me in the eye, and I was left staring at my feet, tears dripping unto the boring, unforgiving and unfamiliar white sheets.
Terror, that's what it was. But worse, somehow.
With that terror surrounding me, it was never that I realized I'd fallen asleep.
Asleep – well, that's what I thought it was.
But the doctors all around me would soon inform me of much worse –
I was in a coma.
A coma that would decide between life and death.
A coma that could change life drastically and kill me at the very same.
A coma of destiny.