Chapter 1:

A Voice - I

I Can Hear You

When you’re young you don’t really want to do a lot, just play games, run around and fall in love with girls, and you really hit the jackpot if they also fall in love with you, which is actually quite harder than you may think. At some point, you start studying, and most kids would say that they hate it, at least I know that I did, or better, I wanted to hate it, but my family would never allow that from a scion of their last name, they’ve always been successful persons, “winners in life” if you want to put it simply. Teachers, famous lawyers, even a famous actor is related to me, I never wanted to be least than any of them, and I hope didn’t, because I’m finally here for my first day as a medic, away from my city, from my friends, my family, maybe even myself, now I would like to say that this is the start of my “new life”.

The door opened in front of me, automatic and awesomely big and heavenly-like, quite incredible for a hospital, maybe that’s normal in a big city like this one, now just five floors up to the director's office, no problem... Who had the idea of making elevators exclusive for people who actually needed them!? That person deserves a worse fate than I can think of, five floors of frickin stairs, I may be young, but the director should at least come to the entrance to receive me if he wants me to walk this much… Damn, fourth floor and I’m starting to realize that I need to do a bit more of exercise, well, a lot actually…

My breath goes away, my ankle twisted, I’m falling, why am I so unlucky? Well, at least I’m in the hospital already…

Suddenly someone took my hand, a strong hand, but you can feel that it’s a caring person's hand, and now, just now, I realized that he is helping me, I’m kind of dumb now that I think about it…

Managed to balance me, and now I realized that he is using a cane, the guy is quite cool, even if this kind of romantic situation shouldn’t happen to me, not because I wouldn’t like it, but because I’m not into this kind of guy, or better worded, I’m not into guys, period. But a guy with bad legs risking his life to save a dumb guy’s life would impress anyone.

“Are you okay? No problems?” – He said, finally got a better look at my savior, some white hairs here and there, no facial hair, he must be on his fifties at least, two things outshine the rest though, his tender voice and his perennial smile, this guy seems cool.

“Yeah, thank you, mister… Mister… Umm… What’s your name mister?” – I ruined my moment to look a bit cooler…

“Miguel, nice to meet you lad, and try to take a rest next time you’re feeling bad on a staircase; is that okay laddie?” – I bowed my head a little to answer to him, if you didn’t realize by this point, I feel even dumber now…

“Well, see you lad, take care!” – Yeah, what a nice guy, and as he turns away I realize that he has a white coat, so this is my superior uh? Nice. And he even went walking away with a nice-looking girl, that’s cool.


Finally, on the fifth floor, and there’s the director’s office, I can see him through the window, and he seems to be with another person, who I barely noticed is quite a good-looking girl, I should enter in the best possible way!... That’s what I would’ve done if a guy didn’t rush over me to open the door… Yeah, I’m not good at giving first impressions.

“Mr. Abraham, we need your help!” – The big guy was screaming like crazy, he clearly needed the director’s help. The director, Abraham Secall, a friend of my dad, I always knew him as a famous medic, but I didn’t expect him to be basically the hospital's savior from the like of the situation.

“H- Hi!” – I tried to say something, and that was the only thing that came out... It didn’t work, Mr. Abraham just ran away to see the patient, I understood, but still felt a bit offended after being ignored, at least until I noticed…

“Hello, nice to meet you newbie!” – Quite a nice voice, not gonna lie, the cute girl who was talking to the director was right in front of me, this was my chance, now I should give a good first impression, but “W- What’s your name?” was the only thing the managed to come out of my complicated brain…

“I’m Lisa, and your name is?” – Wow, it worked. She actually talked to me after that lame presentation!

“Adam Forte, and is a pleasure to meet you cu-” – I almost said "cutie"... I'm madly stupid and should avoid talking in front of a beauty...

We kept talking for some time, I thought that I would be the youngest person here, 25 years old seems like a young age based on the other doctors, but she's just 24, not like it's a big difference, but still, being older and also being the awkward guy that just can't say “hello” without stuttering on his first day at work. But who could blame me? I already met someone by almost falling down the stairs, and went to be ignored by anyone else I’ve met, aside from Lisa, this just isn't my day.

“The director must've ended with his work. Would you like if I guide you there?” – Said Lisa while we were ending the conversation, apparently a patient had some kind of relapse, so the medic watching her had decided to call the director.

-At the patient’s room-

“Miguel, next time she has this kind of problem we’ll need to let her go, we can't do anything else, you understand that right?” – That was the only thing I could hear of what happened in that room before we arrived, the big guy who rushed over me, the director and Mr. Miguel were there, all of them had a bad face, but no one looked angrier than Mr. Miguel…

“Oh, you’re the little guy who was standing out of Mr. Abraham’s office, right? Sorry for ignoring you, but as you may have noticed, I was in a rush. I’m Tony, nice to meet you” – Just to clarify, I’m not little, he’s just too big for his own good, at least the guy seems like a good person, so no need to hate him, he even extended his hand with a smile, no one can hate such a guy that looks so happy just because he met a new guy.

“You’re the boy from the Sound Group, Richard's third son right?” – The director didn’t even let me shake Tony’s hand, I always knew that he was a rough person, had barely interacted with him when I was younger, and when I did it was always with dad by my side, so his first impression was tough, not an especially old guy, at least he seems younger than Mr. Miguel, not as nice as him though, instead he is like the kind of guy I wouldn’t like to see more than once a day.

“Yes sir, I’m Adam Forte, it’s a pleasure to meet you” – Yes, I finally did a good presentation, no stuttering, no doubt, that’s all I needed, that must’ve been a decent first impression, or second... Or whatever impression it is by this point...

“It's been a while since I saw you for the last time. And the first thing I noticed is that you took quite some time to arrive here; do you think your patients will have all that time? You should’ve been here over thirty minutes ago” – I’d like to say that he’s just a horrible guy, but I hate to say that he was right about that, even if it hurts me to say…

“Yes sir, I’m sorry for taking so long, but…”

“Don’t care, the reasons don’t matter, they will not matter if we ever need you, if someone needs you. Come to my office later, I’ll be waiting for you” – Yeah, my boss is just a horrible guy, but sadly he is still right on what he says...

The boss walked away without saying anything else, Lisa and Tony followed him while waving their hands back to me without any farewell words.

I decided to stay with Mr. Miguel, he seemed like he was in a bad situation and I needed to do something for the guy who helped me, even if I barely knew him.

“So my stair friend is actually a rookie here?” – It felt he had just noticed me being there, as soon as he did his face started to show a smile, I gave one of my own, but I could clearly notice that the one he was giving was barely more than a lie, merely a way of hiding the anger he had just a moment ago.

“Yes sir, sorry for not saying my name before, I’m Adam Forte, nice to meet you” – Yes, no stuttering, this was perfect!

“Nice to meet you boy” – He said while shaking my hand, I could clearly feel that how strong he was, he could press enough to hurt someone, but he still felt like a bear playing with a cub, like he wants to show a soft side to any person.

Mr. Miguel really likes to shake hands and smile, I can see that, but I wouldn’t mind if he could let mine go… Should I say that to him…?

“Let the poor guy go, Miguel, his hand will never stop shaking if you keep going like that” – That was a voice like a mother’s, a good mother, one that loves every one of her children equally, that was the voice of Mr. Miguel’s patient.

“I’m Sara, nice to meet you Adam” – She was gorgeous, not the kind of gorgeous person that would be an actress or a top model, but more like an angel, maybe you think I’m exaggerating, but her long red hair and her smile were like a door to paradise, she clearly had a fragile body, add a few wrinkles on her face, and that only increased my idea of Sara being like the mom that everyone would like to have.

I was uncomfortable, not because I thought that Miguel or Sara were bad people, not because I didn’t like to be there, I just realized that she was with the doctor when he saved me from falling down the stairs, that was already bad, but even worse, I took even more time to see that she was on a gurney, connected to a bunch of machines, that nice woman who seemed like an angel to me didn’t deserve to stay like that, it was all I could think of.

“Want to take a coffee?” – Miguel said to me, I instantly realized that he wanted to give Sara some time to rest, but he also had another problem, his smile was fading away, he didn't want her to see that. I didn’t want to see that angel suffering like that, but Miguel’s face showed that he didn’t see an angel, he could see a real person, someone dear, someone important for him…

-Later, at the cafeteria-

“So your family are those behind the Sound Group? That’s interesting, with all the things that those persons have, it feels weird to see that one of their sons actually had to study, most would have thought that Richard Forte could be giving one of his companies to every member of the family and still have a money printing empire” – Miguel had a point, my father is a rich guy, and not the “I have quite a lot of money” kind of rich guy, but the “I have a country-worth amount of money, and I still want even more” kind of rich guy.

“Well, he is absurdly rich, but he also wants his sons to be successful on their own, they want us to deserve our own things” – Way to start a conversation, lying when I know that I’m just one bad seed on his culture farm, the only one if I may add…

“Well, it makes sense from his perspective, no one goes up there without effort, thankfully he puts his hopes on you being a good person instead of another pompous donkey, like those you can see every day on TV” – He is right on some things, he is just lacking the knowledge of how my dad actually is, how my family really is.

We kept talking for a good time until I was confident enough to say it: “Is miss Sara your friend?” – Not like it was a big thing, but still wanted to ask why he was so worried about her, why she was so important.

“Yes, I’ve known her for some years, an old friend of mine” – I shouldn’t have asked, his face instantly changed from his eternal smile to an expression of nostalgia and sadness, even when his eyes still had a fierce light that you can only see on what we could call fantasy heroes, I could see that he had another kind of pain.

He explained to me that she had a “horrible disease”, didn’t want to go into details about what it was, I really wanted to know more than just that, but knowing that a nice person like her would have to suffer... It was painful to see.

I wanted to ask about their relation, but then…

“Dr. Miguel!” – A nurse came running, searching for Mr. Miguel, we were surprised, it's already shocking to see someone running around in a hospital, especially if that’s a nurse screaming like crazy. We went to talk to her, and I instantly knew that I didn't want to hear.

“Dr. Miguel… Miss Sara had a heart attack, she… She died…” – I couldn’t believe it, no one would believe something like that, I couldn't believe it, but Miguel was even worse, his smile tried to stay there, he clearly did his best to keep his, but his tears just overwrote everything else on his face...

-That night-

I had to stay until night, not because I needed to, but because I wanted to, I had to explore the place, I had to know everything about it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened today, about Sara and Miguel.

Miss Sara was a nice person, she didn’t deserve that, to die alone in a hospital's small room, no family around, and her only friend around drinking coffee with an idiot who they barely knew, I know it’s dumb to even take some kind of blame about it, but it’s just so frustrating to have your first day as a doctor, and the first patient you talk to just dies out of the blue, it’s crazy.

Everyone else thought like me, her death was so sudden that even the director was surprised. Lisa told me that she had been hospitalized for one year, I couldn’t believe it, being in that place for all that time and still smiling with such brightness, she was strong to endure, everyone liked her, it was obvious, not only Mr. Miguel, Lisa, Tony, and even Mr. Secall cared about her, I would dare to say that, if I had known her for more than a few minutes, I would’ve liked her as much as them, I had no doubt about it.

I kept thinking about her for some time, sat outside of what used to be her room, thought about it for a little, about the work, this wasn’t for me, a patient that I barely knew and that didn’t have anything to do with me died some hours ago, and I couldn’t take that out of my mind. What would I do when someone dies? Would I be internally destroyed every time that happens? Or would I be strong enough to go withstand a situation like that? Would I be able to help…

“Help” – I heard a voice, it stopped my sadness, it scared me more than I could be sad.

It would already be scary to be late at night, almost alone in a big hospital, but what scared me wasn't that, it was the voice, I was pretty sure that it was Sara's voice, I had no doubt about it...

N. D. Skordilis
Joe Gold