You’re (still) Not Dead

Chapter -1 :: Ordinary

The Hero was sick.

His head hurt and his world was spinning. He awoke in his basement feeling lethargic and slow. The stairs to the main floor were narrow, old and daunting. He ascended them as deftly as he could, avoiding steps that were notoriously weak. 

He made his way to the landing. His mother was already awake and ready to face the day. With a warm smile, she greeted the Hero.

“Good morning, Love! You look like hell!”

Not exactly the first thing he wanted to hear in the early afternoon, but he said nothing to discredit the statement.

“Yeah. I was worried about that.”

He then poured himself a cup of coffee and sat quietly in the corner. This raised even more alarms for his mother, who instantly started on the motherly tirade of  “did you get enough sleep? Are you hungry? I know that is your first cup of coffee, but did you want me to ready another? Drink some water.”

“I’m fine.” He finally mustered, sounding rather defeated.

He stared at the trees and could almost watch their leaves changing to a bright orange colour. He hated this city, but it was quite beautiful in this season. The air was brisk, but not yet intrusive. Grass was still covering the lawns, and the world was covered by a light dew. The sun refracted over every angle that was within view. Pedestrians on the sidewalks had billows of breath hanging from their mouths. The Hero sat in awe at how incredible the world looked. Everything had a yellow hue to it from the light and the leaves.

He did not want to worry his Mother, but he had arranged an appointment with his doctor for later that day. At 24, it would be his first venture into a doctors office as an adult.

The idea excited the Hero: he looked forward to the future where he could, not only look after his own affairs, but execute them with little interference from anyone his immediate life.

He finished the coffee and got out of his chair. If he left at that moment, he would still be thirty minutes early. That seemed like a good plan.

He ventured towards the vehicle he would take for this stint. The car was exactly what you would expect from a family dwelling: grey, four door, cloth seating, nothing exciting. The Hero still loved it. The speakers were decent and could go loud. This was perfect for listening to music at an inappropriate level.

He was the reason that the volume laws existed.

What was he listening to today? He was a manager at a music store, and had worked there for nearly a decade at this point. His collection was huge and varied. With that said, he put on Bibio’s Ambivelance Avenue very often. It had a fantastic collection of sounds and ideas.

He started to feel cold. That was weird because it was his favourite weather: sunny with mild overcast, and a temperature of about 15C. His sweater seemed like it should have been enough. He put the heaters on high as he started his journey with a hope that he would warm up soon. The chill just would not leave his bones. He visibly shivered behind the wheel as he merged onto the empty road.

Arriving at the doctor’s office, the Hero found a seat in the waiting room. The chair was warm and inviting, which is unusual for a doctor’s waiting room. There were four rows of chairs, all the same in build: a metal frame with nylon upholstering. Their use was not for long term, as the Hero could already feel his feet swelling due to the way the edge of the seat was cutting off circulation at his knees.

“Just a few more minutes, and I’ll say my bit, then go back to bed.” Said the Hero under his breath. His brain felt three sizes too big for his skull. He wanted another coffee.

They called his name and the Hero jumped up with a start. The “few more minutes” had clearly been long enough for the Hero to fall into a light sleep. The Hero was a strange combination of embarrassed and surprised.

“What time was it, anyway?” He muttered aloud, not caring if anyone overheard him.

He was escorted into a room and asked to sit on a bed. It was cold, and there was paper as a kind of guard against infection. The slab was cold, but it was good to sit down.

Why was he feeling this way? He woke up less than two hours ago, and was in the waiting room for what felt like forever! He should not be so excited for the embrace of yet another apparatus for sitting.

Finally, the Doctor came in. Small world: the Hero went to high school with his daughter. That was far from news, but it is a fact that he never quite got over.

“Hey! How are you? It feels like I have not seen you in forever!” the Doctor was short to start the small talk. He has been the family doctor of the Hero for just shy of twenty years. Some could view him as a part of the family.

He knew the Hero was not a fan of medicine, but he took care of himself. He also knew the Hero was usually a bit more peppy than he was displaying today.

“Hey Doc. I feel horrible. My head and throat hurt, and I am all stuffed up.” Cried the Hero.

“Well, let’s see what’s wrong with you.” The Doctor said while preparing a bunch of medical equipment. He did not sound concerned, which the Hero was thankful for.

The Doctor slid a light into the Hero’s nose. Then his ears, and down his throat. He straightened up, cleared his throat with a cough, and smiled.

“Well, you have the flu. You’ll get worse, but you’ll get better. I would stress a flu shot, but it’s a bit too late. Go home. Sleep. Eat something. Do you need a note? You should not go to work for a bit.”

There was much relief and a bit of disappointment felt in the Hero’s everything. He would have made the appointment earlier if he knew that he would be given a clear bill of health! Yet, he could not help fearing that it felt much worse than what was being let on.

“That’s it?” The Hero said as calmly as he could muster. “I’m going to get worse, but I will get better?”

“Yes.” The Doctor stated bluntly.

They then exchanged pleasantries, and then the Hero was on his way. It all seemed too simple, but he was not going to cause a ruckus. If the Doctor said he was fine, there was no use arguing over it.

The Hero then headed back into his car and started back on the short drive home. He could not get the idea out of his head that things are worse than they appear.

“Was it really just a flu?”

The Hero then pulled into his driveway and went back to bed. If the Doctor was right, he could sleep this off.

He has pulled through worse in the past, and should not fret so intensely.

Then, the Hero lay down in his bed and simply went to sleep.

Chapter 1 :: The Rude Awakening

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.
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.

Chapter 2 :: Manta Rays & First Contact

On the ninth of February, out Hero ventured into the world for his first time since the end of October. He was brought to an aquarium about twenty minuets from the hospital. He was placed into a wheelchair, hooked up with oxygen, and had several IV bags. 

Oh, what a spectacle he must have been to the uneducated! A collection of flesh surrounded by machines and tubes. He could not help but speculate that they assumed that he was victim of some sort of accident.

They would be as clueless as him. No one had told him, definitively, what happened.

…and they probably never would…

He had an exorbitant amount of medical equipment with him. He also had a registered nurse, his mom, and his brother by his side. What an excellent state he was in for his first public outing. More machine than man. This was also his first time being in the public eye since he turned a quarter century.

It goes without saying that is was not what he imagined for himself four months prior.

The aquarium was amazing. He saw aquatic beings the size of homes. He got to touch Manta Rays. He got a stuffed toy and a cup. It felt like a constellation prize for living through the day, but it still brought a smile across his face.

That event also marked the beginning of the end of the Toronto part of his adventure. He had been in the same place for four months, only two of which he had even the mildest recollection of. Even though this hospital was the place that saved his life time and time again, it would be foolish to imagine that he would be there forever.


He was going home.

Kind of.

He was going back to the city he grew up in, at the very least. At that point, they were unsure for how long or even what he would be doing when he got there. He still could not move, speak, or swallow. Nutrition was still administered through syringe. Communication was a combination of blinks and attempted groans. A machine still passed oxygen though his body.

The next note-worthy adventure would be travelling between hospitals. They arranged for a Medical transfer which required a vehicle similar to an Ambulance. He was strapped to a cot, because he was still unable to sit erect long enough for the trip.  His view for the next hour or so would be the ceiling of a metal coffin.

The journey felt like it took ages. He was alone in the vehicle. He tried to think of something good, anything good, to escape the crushing isolation he was experiencing.

There is something to be said about silence, relative stillness, and isolation when you have been run ragged by the times at hand. He had been, however, in relative isolation for almost half of the year at this point.

There was still an annoying noise resonating from the machines that helped him to breathe and the roar of the road under the tires. He was a drummer: he noticed when the sounds were not in beat. It sounds petty, but he was aware of it, and could not ignore it no matter how hard he tried. He was unable to find even a mild syncopation between the bumps and drops in the road and the constant meter held by the breathing machine. 

The breathing machine.

That horrible, and heavy, assistant to his life. He knows that, without it, he would be dead. It does not mean that he likes it. Quite the opposite: there was a sense of Stockholm Syndrome that has become apparent to him. He knew he owed his life to that thing, but he hated it so much.

Was he suicidal? No. Did he wish he died? Yes. His life was not fantastic before this point. He worked an entry level job that he was comfortable being in because it was easy. He played in the local music scene with little success and stubbornly held onto the idea he could survive on nothing more than dreams. He had wronged a good portion of people in his life by either promises that he never came through on or he betrayed them. So many things that built up to make days just bearable until his next adventure but…

…this was a whole new low.

Since he was lying down, he was not able to see where he was going. He just stared at the cold metal casing that would move him from one city to another. He was still strapped into oxygen and still have a plethora of IVs and monitors. He was too far away from the nurse and driver who also occupied the vehicle, or he would have asked what everything he was hooked up to was for. Call it morbid, but he wanted to know, not just speculate, what all the tubes were doing. He wanted to ask so many questions, but he could not even produce a heavy sigh.

Maybe it was for the best that he was alone.


The arrival back in Cambridge was without fanfare or celebration. The administration was completed by the Hero’s parents while he was whisked away to a room. Within an hour of him being placed into a bed, there was a massive collection of doctors and nurses all being briefed on what the situation could be.

They were all given tasks and goals and dispersed almost as fast as they had gathered. For the Hero, it was all painless. He was, by all definition, mute. Any questions about treatment or pain were answered by speculation, clipboards and charts. Plans were drawn up immediately for new treatments and plans were executed without input from anyone, and execution started quickly.

Today was they day the hospital wanted to try to remove the breathing tube from the Hero. He was nervous. As much as he hated the tube coming out of the front of his neck, there was comfort in it. He knew that as long as it was there, he could breathe. He knew that when it was removed he would have a very evident and very prominent scar.

He felt very vane thinking about how the removal of something like that would effect his appearance, but he already had lost 15 piercings through this ordeal. He felt out of control of his identity and worried that he would have little say in how things went forward.

He had to wonder if it was unnecessary to focus on how little input he had in his appearance with everything he had gone through. Maybe he should be focused on how his life will change. He could not fathom how difference life would be, but he knew that he wanted to look his best. He could not express himself in audible tones, so the very least he wanted was to have a kind of say in his appearance.

The tube coming out was the worst thing, arguably, that he had experienced since he regained consciousness. It was a long process over a period of a week.

First, the medical staff would remove the tube for an hour and put a kind of cork in the orpheus. This would force him to breath in the conventional sense. This would take some level of training. Breathing should be natural, but the Hero had not done this process for months at this time.

For that hour, the Hero felt like he was drowning above water.

For that hour, the Hero wondered who was strangling him.

For that hour, the Hero wanted death.

This process continued over the next week. Some days he would go half an hour, some days he went several hours as doctors pushed his body further and further. Some days the cork would be in place properly, some days the Hero could feel it slipping out of his windpipe.

The worst for the Hero was when they would put the cork in place and ask him to swallow. Always just water, but it did not go well on occasion. They would force him to sit upright, he would take a sip. The muscles in his mouth were so weak, sometimes it would go right and he would get to feel the fantastic elixir to his stomach. More often, however, his mouth would betray his trust. When that happened, the water would try to go to his lungs. He would cough and sputter. Being too weak to do anything himself, someone would have to bring his head forward as he tried, with everything he had, to try to get the liquid out of his throat so he did not drown.

Chapter 3 :: Home


The Hero spent the majority of his life loafing around the centres of that city, and he loathed that place very much.

It was horribly arrogant, and had little reason to be.

Oh: it was pretty. That was however being destroyed in attempts to make everything more commercial. More “convenient” for residents and tourists alike.

Forrest were destroyed at a rapid pace. Rivers were exploited for their eye-candy, and ironically treated horribly during their exploitation.

He was brought into Cambridge Memorial Hospital. It was explained to him that this was his second time inside that building since his journey started. He cannot remember the first time.

He finds that haunting – wrong almost. He feels like the month before he fell into a coma was dictated by someone else, but he still narrated the conclusions of his actions. He was left to wonder: did he really mean everything his avatar did?

The first room he was placed into was a grand size (or at least he thought it was). He had two other roommates, which was something he was very not accustomed to. They kept to themselves. He never did hear much regarding their stories.

The one guy was about ten years the Hero’s senior. He seemed very sick and was quarantined several times in the week they shared that room. The other gentleman was much older: probably in his 60s. The first gentleman had a few visitors, mostly friends and family, that seemed to come on an almost daily schedule. The older patron had, what the Hero assumed, a wife that came when she could. She came out to be a healthy amount, but the man was left alone more often than not.

There was a sense that whatever the older man was in the hospital for was acute and he would be out in time. The Hero had the feeling it would not be to his house, but at least back into society. Not so much with the other gentleman.

This was all just speculation made by the Hero, however.

The nursing staff was horrible.
They were clearly overworked.
Or they were just incredibly apathetic.
Or they were just horribly stupid.

One such nurse seemed to mean well, but would just say and do all the wrong things.

The Hero was reminded of that person who would be in your high school class that, no matter how right or wrong she was, you would just cringe with every noise she made. She would always speak to everyone else in the room, and talk to the Hero as if he was a child. He wanted to tell her off. He wanted to remind her that he was human.

He still could not speak.

The Hero was visited several times by his friends Shannon and Ryan. He loved them both very much and was glad every time he saw their faces. They would crack jokes at everything they could, and kept everyone in good spirits. Shannon, in particular, has been a friend of the family for many years. Her presence was greatly appreciated by the present company.

During one visit from the pair, the Nasal Gastric tube that was in the Hero was bothering him.

A Nasal Gastric tube is a tube that travels through a nose, down a throat, and creates a clear path between a face and a stomach. It is used to administer medications and some paste that is meant to pass for food.

It was annoying and obstructive.

The Hero still did not have movement in any part of his arms. So, in pathetic attempts and whimpers, he gestured towards removing it. The nurse he did not like refused on multiple occasions.

“It’s necessary.” She would harp without further explanation. This statement was usually followed by a sharp turn to anyone else and disregard for any further attempt at communication made by the Hero.

The Hero hated her so much.

Shannon noticed how uncomfortable the tube made the Hero immediately. Carefully, she removed it. The hated nurse stood and watched as the tube came out.

She waited before making her presence known.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” The nurse shrieked as loud as she could. It was piercing. “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE?!”

She ripped the tube from Shannon’s hand and grumbled as she left the room. Funny enough, the Hero never saw her after that. He hoped that event caused some sort of hammer to be brought from on high to get her in trouble. He kept wishing she would just stick her head in and apologize so he could refuse her existence entirely, but he never wanted to see her again.

The Hero was moved around the hospital often. He had a constant worry that something would vanish, and stuff did, but nothing important ever got left behind.

He did loose a stuffed toy that his friends Chrissy and Adam had given him. It was a Narwhale. He was fantastic, and the Hero was not above admitting that. Yes, it was juvenile, but he breathed through a machine. The Hero doubted that anyone would give him a hard time right now.

The exact time or place that went missing is unknown. The Hero assumed that is had been gone since he left Toronto.


The hospital in Cambridge, though close to friends and family, was lonelier than his solitary room in Toronto. The fanfare of his survival has subsided, and he was reduced to spending much of his time alone.

To be clear, he did have a few visitors, but not as many as he would have liked.

He felt selfish. He knew that it must have been far from entertaining to talk to a lifeless lump, but he still wanted someone to talk at him. Yet, day after day, he was left alone with nothing interrupting all of his thoughts.


The medical staff decided that he needed what they referred to as a “PLEX” about a week or two days or a few hours after he got there.

PLEX is the removal of the Plasma from his blood followed by its reintroduction within seconds. It is kind of like a blood transfusion mixed with a blood cleaning. The Hero did not quite understand, but he was in no position to object.

Another needle: after what the Hero had been through, he was far from afraid.

He should have been.

He still did not know his age and barely knew his name.

On a winter afternoon, or day, or night, or morning, the Hero was wheeled across the hospital. It was quiet, and the wing he was brought to was relatively empty. He was deposited into a room where he waited for the specialist.

The Hero was in and out of conscious during the whole ordeal. After all was said and done, he was assured that he missed little, but the following he remembered all too well.

The PLEX required a major artery. They went through the Hero’s jugular. For the uneducated, that is the major artery in the neck.

The Hero had feeling there.
He really wished he did not have feeling there.

After the piercing of flesh, the machine turned on. Out of view of the Hero, the machine made stereotypical machine sounds: a constant buzzing and whirling permeated the room with a great volume and weight.

The needle hurt. Even after all of his piercings and two tattoos, the needle was the worst pain the Hero had ever felt. It was probably not five inches long, but you could have fooled the him.

There was a sharp sting as they pierced the flesh in his neck. He stayed conscious, but just barely. Everyone involved looked incredibly bored, like it was just another day at the office.

The nurses, who were normally smiling, had faces of stone. His mother could do nothing but hold his hand and reassure him that everything would be over soon. His brother remained stoic in the corner of the room.

He was completely unaware of how long the procedure actually took, but it felt like an eon.

People swear the room was well lit. It was in a hospital, and they have very sterile lights that light the corners with uniform persuasion.

He remembered it as a dull grey room full of hate, despair, and pain.

The sounds from the machine coupled with the long shaft of metal in his neck probably altered his view on the situation slightly.

“Why me? Why now?” He thought to himself while trying to distract himself from the pain. The whole thing was horrible. He wanted to scream out. All he could manage was darting eyes from corner to corner of the ceiling while tears were streaming from his eyes.

This was horrible.

He already had a blood transfusion back in Toronto. He, apparently, had a very rare blood type for no good reason. His mother is A+. His father is A-. His brother is A+. The Hero, for some reason, is O-. Less than 7% of the world population is O-. The first donation of blood came to him because that night a man died in a motor vehicle accident. Not ideal, but it came at the eleventh hour, apparently. He was in the coma at the time, and heard the story from a doctor who was having a particularly bad day. The blood donation involved with the “PLEX” came in a similar fashion: someones death.

Now: he could claim to be a new man, and mean it! He died twice, he had the blood of at least two other people in his veins. This came with new responsibilities, however. Now, he felt the burden of, not only being the best he can be for him, but also the best for everyone involved in his life. He was given a second and third chance.

Finally, the machine wound down, the needle was removed and he was set free. The nurses moved the Hero from where they were doing the operation back to his room. Luckily for him, his bed had wheels. This meant that he never had to try to hobble down halls or be awkwardly placed into a wheelchair. He could not help but feel relief in this situation.

Back to his corner of the world, surrounded by a thin curtain. He laughed at its existence. It was supposed to somehow guard against infectious diseases and viruses. The Hero could make shapes of people out through the pale yellow veil it cast in the room. The curtains did nothing to inhibit light from outside gracing the corners of his bed.

It was around this time that he was fit with a (temporary) wheelchair. Hospital grade, it gave him some sort of mobility. He still could not move his arms, legs, or neck. He still could not speak. The Hero still did not know what was actually going on, even though he had heard the stories, and every time he has to remember they are about him.