Chapter 7:

Chapter 6 - The Operation

The Guardian: An Unfortunate Wish

I stopped at the last stair. It was dark. There were no windows, only three doors of which two were closed. Some light was coming from the last one. The floor crunched with every step I took. I slowly opened the door fully from which the light was coming and saw a laboratory. Daiyn and the man were standing in the middle of the room next to an operating table made from wood.Bookmark here

“You're finally here,” Daiyn said. “Come in.”Bookmark here

I took a few steps towards him and stopped. Bookmark here

“Let me introduce you to the person who is going to fix your arm. Doctor Al Rama,” he informed me. Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you, Doctor Rama,” I greeted him. Bookmark here

“Call me Doc,” he corrected me. “And the pleasure is mine.” Bookmark here

“Well, I guess I’ll see you after the operation,” Daiyn said and left the room. He closed the door behind him. As I watched him leave, I felt a bit sad. Was it because I was expecting him to ask me how I was feeling? How I feel about what happened yesterday? I could hear the floor crunching in the hallway and then steps going up the stairs.Bookmark here

“I say we start right away,” Doc suggested. Bookmark here

I was startled by Doc’s voice and just nodded. Bookmark here

“Don't be scared. I can imagine what that old man said about me, but I am very careful with my patients,” he said to calm me down. Bookmark here

“Actually, grandfather did not say much about you. Only that Reiker and I were going to be your first human patients,” I explained. Bookmark here

“I see,” he nodded. Bookmark here

Somehow it made me really uncomfortable that he did not deny it. Bookmark here

“Please lie down on the operating table,” he instructed me. Bookmark here

I did as he told me. The table was ice cold, making me even more uncomfortable. He came to me and sat down on the chair next to the operating table. Next to him was a bunch of equipment some of which I had never seen in my life. Bookmark here

“Oh, I forgot. Could you please take off your sweater?” he asked me while filling a syringe with a very long needle with a colorless liquid. Bookmark here

“Of course,” I replied and took off my sweater.Bookmark here

It was hard with my right arm not moving but I managed it. I placed the sweater on my lap. He placed the syringe next to him on the table and started removing the bandages from my right shoulder. It stung badly. After the bandage was gone, he examined my shoulder. He picked up the syringe and injected the liquid between my shoulder and neck. It felt as he was injecting liquid ice. I could feel it going through my veins. I started sweating. Why was I so scared?Bookmark here

“You’re not going to be unconscious during this procedure,” he said to me. Bookmark here

I looked at him confused. Bookmark here

“Why not?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“Because it’s not necessary and I think this way it’s going to be safer,” he explained. Bookmark here

He looked over my shoulder again and then stood up. Bookmark here

“I am going to get everything ready. The anesthetic I gave you will numb you from your right shoulder to your right hand and will have an effect in five minutes,” he clarified and walked to the end of the room where I could not see him anymore. Bookmark here

I looked around the room to find any clue of how good of a doctor he actually was. Bookmark here

On the right side of the room was a very big cupboard with glass doors. It was filled with different types of drugs and organized in alphabetical order. On the left side was a table with a lot of sketches that I could not make out. Next to it was a big bookshelf with a lot of big and old looking books. I tried to remember what at the end of this room was. I am certain that I saw a computer and some other strange equipment. Bookmark here

The five minutes were over, and he still did not come back. I could hear him working on something. After some time, which seemed a very long time, he came back and sat down on the chair again. Bookmark here

“So, now I am going to explain what I'm going to do,” he said looking at me. Bookmark here

“Not only are your bones in your shoulder damaged but also, of course, the tissue surrounding it. That means the muscles, the tendons, and the skin. Especially the ligament between your shoulder and the upper part of the arm is completely gone. The ligament is the tissue that holds bones together in order to prevent improper articulation at the joint. In your case, the joint is your shoulder,” he explained very slowly. Bookmark here

“So, does that mean that my arm could fall off?” I asked him.Bookmark here

“No. Only a third of your shoulder is gone. Meaning that two-third of your shoulder is fine. Another problem is that a good amount of nerves were damaged. That is why you can't move your arm properly because the impulses cannot be transmitted to your arm. What I am going to do now is to replace the damaged part of the shoulders with new artificial ones. After that, I am going to accelerate the healing and growth cycle of your muscle and tendon tissues around the damaged area. The skin is not going to grow back on its own. Therefore, I am going to cover your shoulder with artificial skin and again accelerate the healing and growth cycle. The last part of this procedure is going to be replacing the damaged nerve cells by injecting you with some micro-mechanical spiders. Or how I call them, the double M spiders. They are specialized mechanical spiders to reconstruct and replace damaged human nerve cells. The spiders will weave your nerves together or make new ones, just like they would make a new cobweb. I am going to control them through the computer,” he described. Bookmark here

“I tried to make it as simple as I could. Did you understand it?” he asked me.Bookmark here

It took a while before I could respond. I could hear my heartbeat getting faster. “I guess,” I said not very convincing. Bookmark here

“Do you have any questions?” he inquired. Bookmark here

“I do have a lot of questions, but I am certain that even if I ask them, I would not understand the answers,” I answered him and started laughing nervously.Bookmark here

“Then let's begin,” he said and started removing the rubber bands.Bookmark here

I decided that I would not even look for a second at what he was doing. I stared in the opposite direction. I could not feel anything, meaning the anesthetic was working. Bookmark here

I noticed an old picture hanging on the wall. There were six people on it. Four men and two women. I recognized one of them. It was grandfather. One of the other men looked like Doc but a lot younger but I could not make out the other ones. Bookmark here

“Who are those people with you and grandfather?” I asked pointing at the picture. He looked up and smiled.Bookmark here

“They are my friends,” he replied. “The right one in the black suit is Alan Dawson and next to him his wife Eileen Dawson. And the other couple…” Bookmark here

“Wait. Did you say, Dawson? Does that mean they are Daiyn’s parents?” I interrupted him.Bookmark here

“Yes, they are. I bet you already heard what happened to them from the old man,” he answered.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I have,” I said.Bookmark here

“And the other couple is Nero Night and his wife Louise Night,” he continued. Bookmark here

“Night?” I asked disbelieving what I heard. A cold shiver ran down my spine.Bookmark here

Was it possible? Are those two people who are smiling at me from within the old frame my parents?Bookmark here

“Yes. Nero and Louise Night. Do you know them as well?” he asked surprised. Bookmark here

“No, I don’t know them, but they might be my parents,” I mumbled looking into his eyes. “My name is Ari Night.” Bookmark here

He did not say anything and just stood up and went to the picture to take it off the wall and bring it back to me. I took it from him, holding it firmly with my left hand. They looked happy. I wondered if that picture was taken before or after I was born. My mother had black curled hair and was wearing a baby blue dress that reached her feet. My father was standing slightly behind her wearing a black suit. He had dark brown, short hair. They looked good together. Right next to them were Daiyn’s parents. His father looked just like him, with black hair and ice-blue eyes and his mother had straight light brown hair reaching her waist. He was also wearing a black suit. She was wearing the exact same dress like my mother but in a light green color.Bookmark here

“So, you are the daughter of Nero. Now that you have told me I can see the resemblance to your mother. You look just like her,” he disrupted my thoughts. Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I said smiling. “For showing me my parents.” Bookmark here

Doc started operating again and I kept looking at my parents. It felt really good to see them after all these years of not knowing who they actually were. Bookmark here

The operation lasted for about three hours. Bookmark here

“You can keep the photo if you like,” he said while cleaning his surgical instruments.Bookmark here

I thanked him and tried to get it out of the frame, but it was impossible just with one hand. He came over to me and helped me out. Even though I did not want to fold it, I ended up having to so it could fit into my sweatpants. I did not have anywhere else where I could put it and I wanted to carry it on my body. He told me that I should go to my room and rest. I did what he told me. I thanked him for fixing my arm. I walked up the stairs. Surprisingly my shoulder was not hurting but there was a high probability that it was still numb from the anaesthetic.Bookmark here

It was time for lunch, but I could not see anyone in the living room. I heard noises from the kitchen as I approached it. It was Gagan. She was cooking. Bookmark here

“Gagan, where is everyone?” I asked trying to figure out what she was cooking. Bookmark here

“Oh! Ari,” she said surprised. “Your surgery is already over?” Bookmark here

I nodded. Bookmark here

“That was quick. How are you feeling? Here, sit down on the chair,” she said worriedly. Bookmark here

“I’m fine. Thank you,” I replied. Bookmark here

It was good that I sat down because I started feeling a bit dizzy. Bookmark here

“I have no clue where everyone is, but they will probably get here in a few minutes for lunch,” she told me. Bookmark here

She reminded me again of a lovely mother for some reason who was waiting for her children to arrive. Bookmark here

“Would you like to eat? I made lasagne,” she asked while grabbing a plate from the cupboard. Bookmark here

I told her that my stomach was cramping up and that I felt sick. I apologised for not eating and went upstairs into the same bedroom Jasmine showed me. Without thinking about whose room it was, I laid down on the bed and suddenly felt heavy. It did not take long until I fell asleep. I did not know how long I slept. My eyes were still tired, and I could not bring myself to open them even though I wish I could have seen who had covered me with a blanket. Whoever it was left the room quietly. I wondered who it could be but fell asleep again.Bookmark here

The next few days were like hell. My shoulder was excruciatingly painful and on top of that, I got a fever. Doc said that this was normal but still checked on me every hour. After a week, my shoulder was completely healed which was unbelievable and at the same time amazing. I was able to dress and carry light stuff. Whatever Doc did I was grateful for it.Bookmark here

I was sitting on the couch in the living room and was doing some light exercises which Doc recommended when I saw him coming from the basement. I rushed to him and asked if I could speak to him for a second. He grinned and jokingly said that he could even give me a minute. We went to the kitchen because he wanted to check the groceries list before going to the market. While he started looking around the kitchen and scribbling on a piece of paper, he asked me what I wanted from him. Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I said. Bookmark here

He turned around to face me. Bookmark here

“For what?” he asked with a smile. Bookmark here

“For fixing my shoulder and for taking care of me,” I mumbled. “I don’t know how I can pay you back for what you did for me.” Bookmark here

No answer. He was just looking at my face. Blinked a couple of times and then started laughing. Bookmark here

“Silly. You don’t have to pay me back for anything. I’m a doctor and you’re my patient. It is only natural that I fixed your shoulder and then examined how you were doing afterwards,” he said. Bookmark here

I knew that this world was different but, in my world, they would usually get paid by the patient or by their medical insurance company. To get to the point, they would get money for their work, but money was not even a question. I was broke as someone could be and not to mention that I was in a different world. I wondered if they had different types of currencies as we did between the big cities or if it was the same. Bookmark here

“I don’t care what you want. I will pay you back. Just let me know how, even if it's money that you want,” I replied, trying to let him know that I would not easily give up. Bookmark here

“Oh, man. You are one stubborn girl. Fine. Come with me grocery shopping. That is how you can pay me back,” he said nodding his head. Bookmark here

I tried to argue with him but to no success. He would not even listen to me and walked out of the front door. If I was stubborn then he was the king of stubbornness.Bookmark here

The sun shining down on my skin felt good. I was taking deep breaths of the fresh air. After staying in the house for more than a week anyone would. Bookmark here

Walking alongside Doc and buying groceries made me realise how lucky I was. My arm was fixed, grandfather had the CDs that might have a clue about my father, and I was far away from those terrifying monsters. Everything seemed normal again. Well, as normal as it could get in this world. The marketplace was crowded with people. The owners of the many stands were shouting out the bargains they had, and customers were trying to get the best deals. It reminded me of the winter sales or any other sales in my world, where women would go crazy over buying clothes, shoes, purses and basically anything. Needed or not. It was the first time in a long time that I was feeling good. Bookmark here

Doc was getting some fresh apples and I started walking further and further away from him without realising it until I lost him. I got too carried away by looking at the different fruits and vegetables. They looked very different in my world. Bananas were round-shaped instead of long and were smaller in size. Lettuces were as big as watermelons. I was not able to figure out most of the food that was being sold. I tried walking back the way I came from, but I still could not see him anywhere. He probably went to another stand. It was getting more and more crowded to the point that I had to be careful while walking not to push anyone. I decided to get out of the market and stand on the side. That way I was able to have an overview of the whole place and Doc had to come this way anyway to go back home. Bookmark here

As I was trying to find Doc, I saw a woman in a beautiful light blue dress. I could not take my eyes off her because she was so pretty and for some reason, she seemed familiar. Have I seen her before? Who was that woman? I could not see her face properly because of the crowd. Could it be? I remembered that I still had the picture of my parents that Doc gave me. Bookmark here

I took it out of my pocket and started unfolding it while still keeping an eye on the woman. Looking at the picture I realised that this woman did look awfully similar to my mother. But to confirm it I needed to see her face. While still holding the picture in my hand I started walking towards the woman, but I stopped in my tracks. Bookmark here

What if it was not her? What if I just wanted her to be my mother? I decided to just follow her around for now. It was still hard to catch a glimpse of her face because of all the people surrounding us. Even her hair looked the same as my mother’s. Bookmark here

Should I approach her? But what if it wasn’t her? The woman walked out of the marketplace, and I was still following her. I thought this might be my chance to see if she was really my mother. But at that moment, I heard a loud scream. I looked around to see where it came from. What was going on? All the people who were happily buying their groceries a second ago were now panicking and running away.Bookmark here

I needed to find Doc. But first, I needed to see that woman’s face. I started running and reached out to her with my left hand to make her turn around. To my surprise, she turned around herself and smiled at me. The woman I saw before me was my mother without any doubt. I stopped in my tracks and tears welled up in my eyes because I was so happy. Was this possible? Was my mother really standing right in front of me? I grabbed ahold of myself and started walking towards her while holding the picture close to my heart. I could see my mother’s lips moving.Bookmark here

“Run away, Ari! Get away from here!” she screamed while shaking her head. Tears were running down her cheeks. Bookmark here

“I’m so sorry.” my mother mouthed and closed her eyes. I was confused. Why was she crying and apologising to me? Bookmark here

“It’s okay,” I stuttered and kept walking towards her but before I could reach her, something else did. Bookmark here

A big, black shadow grabbed her with its claws and bit her head off. Everything happened so fast. I could hear more screaming. Blood was everywhere.Bookmark here

What just happened? What the hell just happened? Her body fell to the ground. I looked down. My mother’s head was rolling towards my feet. Her eyes were still closed. The monster who killed my mother did not show any interest in her body or in me. It was the same thing that attacked us in the laboratory but bigger and more muscular. Veins were popping out of his whole body. Steam was coming out of his mouth every time he slowly breathed out. His body was covered in sweat. Ignoring the dead body in front of it, it sprinted away. Searching for new prey.Bookmark here

Why? I dropped down to my knees and picked up my mother’s head. Was this real? No. No, it was not. Please. Please, someone, tell me that I was dreaming. That I was having a horrible nightmare. Blood was dripping on my pants. I couldn’t respond. Why? Why was this happening? I did not understand. She was right there. Just a minute ago. Right in front of me.Bookmark here

How could this happen? How the hell could this happen? Please. Please, God, let this not be true. Why? Why did you take away everyone that I love? I screamed. I kept screaming. My scream pierced through all the noises around me. That was the only thing I was capable of doing. I wanted to turn back the time so I could rescue her. Take her place. That my head would get ripped off instead of hers. I wanted to turn back the time so badly.Bookmark here

I was still screaming but I managed to look up to see her unresponsive body lying on the cold floor. Blood was still gushing out of her severed throat. People were running around trying to escape those monsters but all I could think of was my mother. For me everything around me was unimportant. It was my fault.Bookmark here

Why did I hesitate? Why did I not grab her hand earlier? Why did I not do anything? At least I could have been able to tell her that I still loved her even though we never met. I wanted to tell her how much she still meant to me. That I was ready to give up my life just to meet her once. But the opposite happened.Bookmark here

I was sorry. I was sorry that I could not protect you, mother. I was worthless. I could never do anything right. I held her head next to my heart and stood up and started walking towards my mother’s body. Her beautiful light blue dress had turned dark red from all the blood. I placed her head on top of her severed throat where it belonged. I could not take it anymore. I felt hopeless.Bookmark here

“I wish I could have saved you,” I mumbled to myself and hold her hand. Bookmark here

At that moment time stopped for me. No screams. I could not even hear the sound of the wind. It was completely silent. It felt like I was in a bubble. Far away from this place. Far away from reality. I just sat there next to my mother, not wanting to move away from her. Someone. Anyone. Help me.Bookmark here

I could feel someone touching my shoulder. I looked up and saw Doc. He slowly shook his head. His eyes were filled with tears. It felt like I was watching him in slow motion. He grabbed my arm and made me stand up. My legs were numb and shaky.Bookmark here

“I am sorry, but we have to go,” he said in a low voice. Bookmark here

I did not understand him. Was he telling me to leave my mother? But I just found her. Bookmark here

“My mother,” I whispered while looking into his eyes. Bookmark here

“I know. I am sorry,” he said with teary eyes. Bookmark here

He grabbed my arm and started walking. I stumbled after him. His grip was firm. Bookmark here

All of a sudden, I was able to hear again. The screams and the crying of all the people surrounding us. I looked back to see her for the last time. Bookmark here

“I am sorry, mother. I am so sorry. I love you. I always did,” I said crying, thinking how the world was not fair. It has never been.
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