It's dark. Why? And why is it so quiet? Something is amiss and I can not put my finger to it. I feel a presence around me, so I am not alone, but I see no one. How can that be? Let me think...Gods, it feels like I am floating in space but I can not move anything. I do not know if I am moving my body or not. This is scary and it's making me breathe faster, that I can feel. What has happened to me?
Come on Thumper...My names Thumper, I remember now. Wait! Not Thumper. "Lukas" yup! That's my name, but why did I think "Thumper?" What kind of name is Thumper? Who would...Oh! Yes. Now I remember. It was that no good for nothing mate of mine, Taylor. Oh, just you wait Tay, giving me that pet handle, now everyone laughs when I get called that. Even my Mum and Da have started calling me that around the house. And my sibs too. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Just you wait Taylor, I will fix your carriage for that.
Okay! Things are coming to light now, even thou it is still dark. That has me baffled though. But...I know a few things now. My names Lukas, I have a Mum n' Da and brothers and a sister. I have a best mate called Taylor. That is something I have to think about too. What makes Taylor special? Why him and not others? Why do I remember him especially? There is something very special about him to me, I just need more time to think...
Okay. Let me start putting things down, that's what I was taught at school. To get the correct answer I need all the information I can gather. So...#1, My name's Thumper. Yup! That right, got that in one. Okay. Number 2...
Wait, is that a light? I think I see a speck in the distance. Yes, it's bright, brighter than here, I want to go there but for some reason I am not moving, I try harder still to get my legs moving and my body in motion, but nothing is happening. I am stuck right here, but the light is getting closer so something is happening.
I hear sounds, they're voices I can tell, but whose? They sound soothing, relaxing, like they will not hurt me but only want to help. That's good, I seriously can use all the help I can get now. I feel someone/something touch my forehead, my eyes, my mouth? What's going on?
The light's getting brighter. Great! I need to see what is going on and I can not see in the dark.
Wait, the light has stopped getting closer. NO! STOP! Don't go. The light is going away and it is getting darker once again. My breathing is getting erratic and I am getting scared again. I want this to end. I want to wake up from this awful dream I am having, I want to go home to my family and mates. I want to know what's going on...
"pssssssss" What? "psssssssssss...psssssssssss" What was that? "pssssssssss...Love you." Did I just hear someone/thing say they love me?
"pssssssssss...Don't go, please!" Did I just hear someone speak to me? It sounds like someone is speaking to me over one of those tin can tellies we used to play with when we were young. So distant and hollow, but I know the words and they are soothing. I feel warm and cuddled. Now it's getting lighter, not that cold harsh pinpoint of light that there was before. Everything is getting brighter and it is a warm light, a warm feeling. It feels good.
I do not know how long I knelt there, at my Lukas' bedside. I was busy talking to the man upstairs, asking him, pleading with him, begging him to allow Lukas to live. I heard people come in and go out of the room, I never looked up once. My whole life, my whole reason for being was lying there in the hospital bed.
"Sprite!" I looked up when I heard that familiar voice. It was Mum and she was standing over me with a look or confusion about her.
"Sprite. What are you still doing here? School called the office and asked me why you were not in today?" She did not look too happy about that.
Finding my voice, I stood up to face her. "Mum. I had to be here. Lukas is dieing Mum, and I did not want him to die alone. I wanted him to know I was here to the very end."
"Taylor. Haven't you noticed? Look around you son. Look at the monitors, at Lukas' parents. He is not going to die Sprite. Not quite yet it seems." Mum spoke softly.
I did as she said. It took me a few seconds to adjust my eyes and to focus on everyone and everything in the room. The monitors Mum mentioned were chirping away on a happy note, which they were not doing when I first got here. Lukas' rents were holding each other close in a hug, but they were no longer crying, but smiling and looking at their son, and wonder of wonders. Lukas was looking better too. He was no longer a pale slip of a boy, he had some colour back in his face and I took his hand in mine and could actually feel the warmth it held.
I turned to my Mum and asked, "is Lukas going to be alright? How did he get better? Why did he get better?"
"Son, Lukas is going to live, he is not going to die. For some un-earthly reason, a reason only God can understand, he was given a second chance." Mum smiled at me.
Second chance? No earthly reason? What's that all about? Then it hit me like a lorry going full speed. I looked up towards ceiling and mouthed a simple "Thank you".
At that point a group of physicians came in and looked around at the 4 of us and then spoke directly to Lukas' rents.
"Well, Mr.& Mrs. &^%*$##, your son, Lukas is going to make it," an elderly physician in a starched white coat said. "We can not explain why just a few short hours ago your son was given Last Rites by the hospital's padre and now he just shows signs of being in a heavy sleep, and recovering with great speed."
"Your son went into a diabetic shock. Lukas' glucose level was off the meter and because of that he collapsed and went into the coma he is in now," a second physician spoke up.
"But you say he still is in a coma? That he is doing okay? How can that be?" Lukas' mum asked.
"Let me try to explain," the elder physician said, "Your son was injured and his body and brain shut down to repair itself. That's called a coma, but your son's condition was far worse than his body could repair on it's own."
"We were giving him all the proper emergency treatment that was available, but he was not reacting to it." The second physician stated. "For some unknown reason nothing we did seemed to help."
"We were baffled. We had no idea why none of our efforts were working. That is why we called the padre and informed you of your son's condition," the third and most quiet of the physicians said.
"Then. and you were both here, Lukas' vital signs just improved with no apparent reason." The elderly gentlemen said. "We have no idea why, or how. Only that instead of dieing, your son decided to live."
I knew. I knew why it had happened, and I owed big time to the man upstairs. He answered my prayers, and sooner or later, He was going to want accounting for those pleas, but I was not worried about that now. My Lukas was getting better and that was all that mattered to me at the moment.
I looked up at the physicians and asked the question that was bothering me since they entered the room.
"What is going to happen now? Will Lukas be alright? Will he be able to play and go camping and horseback riding?" I looked at them pleadingly. I wanted to know all that was going on with Lukas, even thou I was only his friend and in no way related I had a stake in his getting better. I knew deep down inside I was the cause of him being here at all.
I had moved back to Lukas's bedside while all the adults were speaking. I was still standing but my hand had snaked through the bars surrounding his body and was gripping his hand with soft loving care. It felt so smooth, no calluses or rough spots. That always amazed me how he could do all his farm chores and still have such soft hands.
"What about the boy there?" That was Lukas's da. He was looking at me with a strange eye, as if it was me who caused all this trouble.
"He is a bit young to be here in the room. Is he related in any way to the boy?" That was the older physician speaking. I wondered why they were talking about me as if I wasn't there. It didn't matter, as long as they didn't toss me out on my bum. I had to be there for Lukas.
"He is a mate of Lukas', and a very good one by the looks of it," my mum said. She still had that strange look upon her face as she said that. I just knew that I was in for it once everything was over, but that was in the future. Not now.
"Well, he can have visitors, his sibs or close relatives if he has any. Just not too many at a time or too noisy a crowd either," the older gentlemen said, "there really is no limit to the number of visitors or the hours in a situation such as this, all we ask is that you maintain common courtesy for the other patients."
With that said, they left the room with Lukas' da and mum, I assume to talk more privately, which left only me and my mum alone with Lukas. My mum then spoke up.
"Sprite. You have heaps of explaining to do when I get you home. Skipping classes and lying to me about your whereabouts. What is the meaning of all this? And WHAT does this boy mean to you?"
I bent over the bed and as I squeezed his hand I whispered into his ear, "I'll be back Love. No mistaking that. You just hold on and get better for the two of us. I will try to handle the rest." With that I brushed my lips across his forehead and left with my mum.
Three days later, I was lying in bed in my room looking up at the ceiling as it got lighter and lighter outside. I was thinking, "another day was beginning and still my Lukas is in the hospital. Everyone says he is getting better but I cannot see it."
Everyday after school I headed into the city by public transport and went directly to the hospital and up to Lukas' room. They moved him from Intensive Care to the pediatric wing. Lukas was one of four boys in the room. I go to know a little about the other boys. Jeffery had his tonsils out and caught an infection, so he was there for awhile. Robin was our age and got hit by a lorry the previous week and had both legs in plaster. Then there was Sandy. He was much older than the rest of the room but I guess not quite old enough to be in the adult ward. He came in a day after Lukas was brought here because he had to have his appendix out.
I said "HI" to them all as I moved quickly to the corner bed where Lukas was. He still had tubes and wires coming out from beneath the sheets, but he had no monitors beeping and screeching in our ears. I peeked at his chart at the foot of his bed, I had just recently got the urge to learn all these medical terms and wanted to put them to good use.
"Hmmmmmm. B.P. 110/64, that's good. Temperature in the normal range. White cell count...good. Glucose level...spot on." All in all Lukas was in perfect health, so why was he still sleeping? Three days and not a peep out of him. Three days of silence and no movement from him at all.
As I had gotten accustomed, I set my backpack on the night table and removed a textbook from it. Lukas and I shared most of our classes at school, so it was not unusual for us to study together. Being in a coma was not getting him out of religion study, certainly not from Brother Michael.
Before I sat down next to the bed, I leaned over and straightened the sheets and Lukas' pj's. He looked so sweet and cuddly, I just wanted to climb into the bed with him and hold him till it hurt. But ...well, I don't think that would have gone over well with the staff.
I looked over at the IV stuck in the back of his hand. "Hmmm. puree of wombat, with a side order of sisle weed." Lukas' favorite. NOT!
I remember wondering how he was going to handle not having any sweets or sugar. Gods. I couldn't remember Lukas ever not having a sweet with him, whether it was chocolate or some sweet and sticky confection, or a bottle of his favorite drink, cherry cola.
So I sat down and start going over the lesson for the day. I noticed the other boys shying away from us. Everyone but Sandy, he was closest and was quite amused at my antics with Lukas. He was an unusual boy, not bad on the eyes with his reddish blond hair and freckles. I think his parents named him after he grew some, his name fit him spot on.
I continued droning on about The Psalms and what our lesson was that day, alternating my stares between Lukas and Sandy, wondering what I was going to do when Lukas recovered. Everyone told me he was sleeping, but it was just so hard for me to understand that. So I kept talking and boring the stuffing out of the rest of the room.
Still alone. Still in this white room. Still hearing voices and feeling the presence of others, but still not seeing anything or anyone. Worse yet, not being able to say anything.
It seems like I have been walking around forever, I mean I have no way of telling time or even in what direction, if any I am walking. It seems like I have been doing this for a long time. If nothing else, it is quite disconcerting. WOW! Where did I get that big word? N-e-way.
Wait a sec. What's that way off, is that a speck there. Something not white? I start running towards it and whatever it is, it is getting larger like I am getting closer. In a few seconds I can see it is another person, a young man? No, an older boy. Lots older than me. He has the same long white robe I am wearing and with his reddish hair and heaps of freckles, he stands out like a forest fire in a snow storm. Snow Storm? I live on the coast of Australia, what snow?
We each stop a meter or so apart. This boy/man is much bigger than me, heavier too, but he's got this real nice smile on his face and it makes me want to trust him.
"Lukas!" The lad says. "Lukas. You had better hurry up and get better. There's a cute young man out there waiting patiently for you to wake up."
Wake up? What is this guy talking about? I am not sleeping. I am wide awake, just lost a little. If only I can find my way out of this room.
"Lukas. Trust me young man. There's a boy out there by the name of Taylor who has been chewing his finger nails down to the nub. He really likes you Lukas, even more than I would like to say," the young man with the reddish hair said to me as he placed his hands upon my shoulders.
"Just stop messing around and get back there where you belong. Tayor made a lot of promises in your behalf, and someday we intend to take him up on them." A smile appeared on his face.
"But that is way off into the future for both of you." He continued, "there are going to be some hard times ahead as well as times that will make it all worth while. You two have great adventures ahead you, so you had better get your bunz in gear so you can get started." Said the lad as he somehow grew lighter, like I could start seeing through him.
"Oh! One last thing Lukas." The ghostly figure turned to me with a wink. "His mum calls him by his pet name. 'Sprite.'" And with that, the figure just faded away to nothingness.
"SPRITE!!" Tee hee tee hee. If I had a mirror, I would be able to see a huge grin upon my face. "SPRITE!" Cool.
Eight days. Eight days and Lukas still slept. I had no idea how long I could hold out. The guys at school are giving me funny looks each day, and that does not include the questioning stares I am I am getting from my family, and the three guys in here. Well, two. It seems Sandy disappeared before I arrived here today.
As I was reading my history text, out loud of course, something caught my eye. I looked up towards the bed and stared at Lukas. Something happened just then and I missed it. I kept staring and my eyes started to water because I refused to blink. I missed it before but not again.
THERE! His nose twitched. I did not mistake it. His nose actually twitched. My textbook clattered to the floor as it slipped from my hand. I rose off the chair and slowly, not wanting to miss anything, I walked over to the bed, let down the side rails and just stared. My hand crept up onto the bed and went to Lukas' hand, the one without the IV. It was warm and I could feel life there, I knew I could.
I started to yell, at least I think it was me yelling. All of a sudden there were quite a few people crowded around Lukas and me. They were shining lights into his eyes and taking his blood pressure and all that important stuff physicians and nurses do in an emergency.
Everything was getting blurry, I could hardly see, but I never let go of Lukas' hand. No matter how hard I was being pushed. I was never letting go ever again. Not even to wipe the tears from my eyes. Never.
Then I could feel a hand on my shoulder and I looked around and saw Lukas' mum. She came every day straight from work and now she was there with me, sharing this moment.
I turned around and looked at Lukas once again. The physicians had backed away leaving just his mum and me, me still holding his hand. Then it happened.
His nose twitched again and there was the slightest flutter from his eyelids. I didn't know what was happening, but whatever it was, it was very important.
Under my breath I was whispering, "wake up Lukas. Please wake up. For me. for us. Please wake up."
I was repeating this one sentence, over and over, as if I could will this wonderful person to wake on my command. Then, without any warning, Lukas' eyes popped wide open and he was looking right at me and his mum. I think my heart stopped. I think I peed in my briefs. I knew I could feel wetness on my leg.
Lukas blinked once, twice and then a slight grin came across his lips and he looked directly at me and spoke the first words out of his mouth in over a week's time. His mum and I lean a little closer as he croaked out in a very hoarse whisper:
Oh! He is so dead.
So ends the most difficult chapter we have written to date. As I said at the beginning of our story, everything written is true. I might have added a few lines here and there in this chapter. I do remember being in a coma and wondering what was going on around me. Tay remembered a lot more about my recovery but we decided not to bore you with eight days of nothingness.
Again. We both would like to thank our Big Brother Jon who stands by us, giving us encouragement at every turn, and who, as our editor, corrects our grammatical mistakes and puts up with our weird sense of humor.
We would like to especially thank Brad, Jeff, Danny, John, Jamie, David, and anyone else we might of forgotten. Thanx heaps mates for helping and teaching us.
Well, this chapter certainly didn't take long to get out, although, being the hardest to date, means that it would be better that way, less focusing on the bad parts of their lives. It's good to see that these two fine boys are letting the world see just how they came to be together, and to show that it isn't all good.
Here's hoping for more soon,
Boi From Aus
Comments welcomed and appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org. No flames please.