You’re Not Dead ch.1: The Rude Awakening {ANEWSIN VOL. 4 — Jason Garden}

The Hero awakes from a deep slumber. He is not in his bed. He actually has no clue where he is.

There is an intrusive beeping of monitors and hospital equipment all around him. The room was not black, but it was dark. Lights flashed on machines and noises echoed in the room. He notices a cup of water a few feet from where he lies, and thinks how his mouth feels rather dry. The cool liquid would feel fantastic at this time.

He tries to lift his arms: no luck, for some reason.

He then tries to call out for someone.
Anyone.
He has no voice.

He strives to run out of the room and down whatever hall is in front of him. He wants to flee from the threat of something he does not understand. However, his legs are as lame as his arms.

Confused. Alone. He cries silent tears for what feels like an eternity.

Finally, his mother and father come into frame. Their faces gleaming with joy, tears in the crevices of their faces. This made him cry harder. He tries to ask what happened. He tries to offer some form of condolence. He tries to do pretty much anything to gesture that he is okay.

He is unable. His arms are paralyzed and he is mute.

Defeated, he closes his eyes again and hopes that either everything changes when he awakes. That, or, he never comes to consciousness again.

The Hero awakes from the quick bout of overwhelming reality. He is still confused, but his parents are around him.

They explain how he died.
They explained that he is physically unable to do anything right now.
They show him the tube coming out of the front of his throat his throat and explain that is how is breathing now.
They try to keep their spirits up, but the Hero can see their confidence faltering in their expression.

They explain that something happened. He got sick. He was asleep for a long time. He died. Twice. Now he is back and they were happy. They explained how the medical personnel wanted to pull life support weeks prior but they refused to let them. Then, they explained that life support was pulled anyway, but he did not die after a few hours. They explained that hundreds of people have been through the room to either wish him condolences, or wish him back to life.

The Hero still just wanted a drink of water.

His parents finally try to explain the beginning. Apparently, he contracted some sort of flu and his body reacted by inducing encephalitis.

Encephalitis is where the fluid surrounding the brain collects and crushes the grey matter. In his particular case, it crushed the cerebellum and effected a good portion, if not all, the major motor and health functions. Primarily, those dealing with limb control, nerve reaction, heart rate, and heat regulation. In a way, the Hero was lucky. If it had been the frontal cortex or any of his memory functions, it would have destroyed who he was. Who he is. His memories, personality, and humour would all be lost.

Legally, he was a quadriplegic. He has no ability to move his legs or arms. Even the movement of his neck was very difficult, if not impossible. The Hero was unable to swallow. He dreamed of drinking water, but was then informed that he would most likely choke. Even the movements of his tongue could be fatal.

That is when the Hero noticed all of the metal. He counted four long bits of medical steel jutting from each of his forearms. They punctured on the perfect angles to avoid nerves, so they did not hurt.

Maybe he could not feel them, anyway.

The Hero was not new to the idea of metal piercing flesh. He had received over fifteen body piercings in his life: something he was quite proud of. It was a kind of identity for him. Everyone was the same, but he had shit in his face.

Enter the health care professional. They just came in to check the Hero’s vitals and breathing machine. They were surprised that he was as responsive as he was, and started immediately asking a million questions. That was when the Hero was unable to move his middle finger to gesture them on their way. They left, eventually, and immediately the Hero started silently crying again.

The Hero was an hour from home, laying in Toronto Western Hospital. He remembered that he was somewhat close to people he knew. He wondered if they would know where he was or what state he was in. The door burst open at that point, and Luka ran in.

Luka was the Hero’s greatest and longest friend. She had lived in Toronto for a number of years at this point, and he had attempted to make it out to see her and her dog at least once a week before he wound up in hospital.

He was ecstatic to see her, and tried his best to put a smile and a brave face on. She took one look at him and immediately burst into tears of celebration.

It turns out that she was informed the Hero had died about a month before this day. Then, she discovered that he was alive not a week later: close to death, but also down the road. She had been there most days, talking to the unresponsive body. Wishing him back to reality. She told him over and over again how she couldn’t bare life without him. When he was informed of all of this, he cried again.

He felt pathetic: crying three times in (what he assumed was) one day. He was just so happy to see her.

He was just so happy to be able to see everyone again.

Luka hugged him. He tried as hard as he could to hug back. He tried to call her a fool for thinking he was gone. He tried many things.

Luka was no where near the only visitor that the Hero was happy to see. While in a coma, he had apparently shut down the main waiting room with all of the people clambering to see him for, what they believed to be, the last time.

That is when the Hero had discovered that the idea had gotten around that he died. Many people came to pay their respects, to both him, and his family. When it was reported that he, in fact, did not die: more people came around out of celebration. Benefit concerts that would be held in his memory were simply forgotten due to redundancy.

A great percentage of the people the Hero had interacted with came out to wish him well: to remind him just how much he meant to them.

It was January.

The month was even lonelier than usual. People popped in and out of existence all the time. The Hero would live, for what seemed like days, alone. In reality, it was just a few hours. Time drags on and on when you are in a hospital. Even the sweet embrace of sleep would not save the Hero feeling truly alone. He spent a lot of time imagining fantastical worlds.

In one such day dream; he was a hunter. He would venture out of his holdings to find rare and mystical beasts to kill them. He remembered vividly thanking them before he ate them. He was a decent chef, but he would cringe when biting into the meat he prepared. A cool breeze would float between the sea of green leaves and across his face.

Once, while he slept, he dreamt that he was flying through the skies. Observing the world around him, drifting between trees and hills. He saw valleys that were coated in green grass, clouds as large as he could picture, and mountains that were red and towering. His speed never held much concern, for the air around him was always warm. He never got lost, for there was no destination. On occasion, his arms were massive wings, twice the size probably needed to hold one human. He rarely landed, and simply got sustenance while soaring around in the clouds.

The dreams reminded him a lot of what life was. He felt like life was just a series of events not narrated by anyone or anything. Everything happened by accident. All you could do was learn from an experience and move on.

Then he would wake. It was still a jarring resurrection. It often involved tears and frustration. When the dreams ended, he would have to face a version of reality that he did not want. He wanted to escape into that world that he was just in and get lost in it forever. He knew it would be an end, but that did not bother him. He just did not want to find that end.

The nurses would come in. Check vitals. Talk at him (never to him). Leave the room. This was a fate worse than death, he would think. At least if he was dead.

Oh; at least if he was dead.

Bad days seemed to trivial before. He would forget something important, do something stupid, or say something regretful.

Now, bad days were because his body would not let him do what he wants to do. Now, bad days were because he felt trapped. Now, he could not even escape to his old stand-by of driving for a great distance to avoid life. Before, he could leave if he got upset by someones arrogance or crude depiction of the world. He never saw himself as super intelligent, but he regarded himself as extremely open-minded and he was always willing to do research to elaborate on topics he was uneducated about. He had to accept what was around him. He had to endure the oppressive hate and malice that the world contained.

People pretended to be understanding about his condition, and the Hero could sense this. They would put on a brave face, say things that they thought were politically correct, and carry on with their interpersonal relationships.

The Hero could see through all of this. He knew that people were frightened, that they were curious how this would effect their life. Even his parents, who were nothing but supportive, were concerned about how their life would change. How he changed their life.

It was, after all, his fault.

I thought that I would share the rewrite of You’re Not Dead. Please support me on Patreon.

If you wish to support this piece, but do not wish to fight with Patreon, here is the PayPal link where you can offer what you want with no obligation.

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You’re Not Dead version 2

I have noticed myself having a hard time accepting that people can do obvious things, such as walking. It’s probably just because I have spent damn near a sixth of my life in a wheelchair.

Oh yeah: that’s a thing. I have been in the chair for five years as of the 30th. Well, at least unable to walk. I guess it could be argued that I first used a wheelchair in February when I went to that aquarium in Toronto, and had done nothing by lie in bed for four months.

ANYWAY.

My point is more that, as people get make assumptions towards things I can do, I find myself surprised at what they can do. My wife and I have been apartment searching as of late, and our search has been limited due to steps to the door with no wheelchair access available. I forget that people do not have to be concerned with things like that. I forget that even a flight of stairs that travels up one story of a building is of no consequence to an abled. The threshold can be up a foot because people have knees and are able to get up that no problem.

I have a similar, but not as extreme, issue with the apartment I am in right now. There is a CM-high lip to get into my unit. I am able to get over it no issue usually, but it does create a challenge in the event I am carrying groceries, laundry, or packages.

On the flip-side, so I do not always bitch and complain how hard life is, watching someone who does not use a wheelchair try to do ANYTHING is the funniest thing ever. Everyone knows you push the wheels and propel the wheel, but there is almost always a moment of confusion that casts over faces whenever an able bodied person gets into a wheelchair for the first time.

AND GOD FORBID YOU COAX THEM INTO SOMETHING MORE COMPLICATED!

Anyone who has spent a few hours with me knows that I love to pull wheelies. Just stationary ones, and even then I am far from impressive. I THOUGHT. My dad tried to pull one after fixing my breaks up one day and fell backwards instantly. I had to hide my face because I could not hide the smirk that traveled across my face.

In anewsinPublication news, people who sign up on Patreon before the month is out at $3 or more are promised a copy of the revised and updated You’re Not Dead.
WITH THAT SAID:
I am still working on fixing all the things I placed awkwardly in the pages of that book. I have already added several pages by just explaining things properly. Who knew that if you write things well, they turn out decent?

ANYWAY: Next month I am releasing the first chapter as the ansP release. I will not be sending the Patreons anything until the book is done, and then they will get the book in its entirety.

~Early ANSP Sample Release

I have made available the first bit of Octobers release titled “Sophie” over on the anewsin Publications page. Take a look, let me know what you think!

Also, the Patreons have had the upcoming Almighty Human release sent to their inbox as of last week. If you would like to receive releases a few weeks early, consider donating! It is only 3+ a month!

Also, the next blog post (September 2nd) will be on the books that I recommended a while ago, but with purchase links for Amazon! I will also be touching up what I said, and making it more coherent. Also might contain a book that I forgot to put on the initial list because I am horrible…

What happens next?

I love being asked that question when it comes to my writing. I don’t know: maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I need to make it more obvious in what I dictate that the point is uncertainty?

In life, you live through events and either never grasp their ramifications, or they go right over your head all together. That is how I write. I never really solve the narrative in the strictest sense. I tend to leave the reader with all the information – all the events – and just come to AN ending.

Is that not what I am supposed to do? Do I do it wrong?

I have been inundated with questions regarding You’re Not Dead (which is fitting because production stopped on the fifth. There are still some copies on Amazon) questioning why I ended it the way I did. The response to that is very simple: it was a reflection on the year I had during the events of that book. The ending is not explicit because I have not found out yet. The only ending I will find is my death.

What I find more interesting was how many people have asked me if the next chapter of Elaine is going to sort out some questions.

Allow me to make this as clear as I can: that was a self-contained story. There is no ‘Part Two’ or happy ribbon to mark it off the ol’ reading list. That was never the point and will never be the point to most short stories I write, I do not see our lives as having an intro, conflict, resolution — or at least not often I know that I, personally, have never been privy to such splendour.

I have run into another issue: Should I stick to my guns for my release schedule of ansP stories, or move it over since I already fucked it up? I am not even asking because I want (no, NEED) to release Hannah’s piece, but I feel like I confused the situation already and I want to fix it. Any thought?

OR WE COULD ALL LOOK AT MY PATREON AND HIT $100 A MONTH SO WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT AND YOU GET A STORY EVERY MONTH.

two in a month!?! & NEWS GLORIOUS NEWS!

I am terrible at multitasking. I am launching something new next week, so my focus has been there. I am sorry, I will do regular updates starting a week from today. I promise.

REAL UPDATE!

As I stated above: I have been crafting something that I am very excited to bring to the world!

anewsin Publishing is the name of the new project! Basically, a dollar every month gets a subscription of sorts!

By e-mail, you will receive a PDF of a short story by an unpublished author. Most stories will be shorter in length, but they will be excellent! Check out the Patreon for more information and a way to subscribe!

Some music for you! I have been binging The Flaming Lips as of late. I am not quite sure why. I really recommend this song.

I blew my metaphorical load early. I hope you do not mind. If you ARE interested, but unsure of what kind of content to expect, there is a file uploaded where you get the intro to the new work.

…a sample of what’s to come

I am just going to spoil the surprise now, mostly because I think I have things set up and I want to gauge interest.

anewsin Publications is the new project I have set up. I am looking for short stories to share. There is not a theme or genre, but I do want stories that are between 1000 and 10,000 words long.

The contract can be found on the here along with the schedule of releases for the year. If you cannot figure out how to write in an e-signature, I probably did it wrong, and I will accept changing the file to your name.

You can get the first few words of my new project here.