Chapter 6:

When I was around your age

School For The Mediums

“Hadiza!” Shrieking screams vibrated through my ear drums. “Hadiza, do you hear me?”

Heat. There was blistering heat all around me. It felt like I was cooking in an oven. There was a pool of sweat down puddled around my back, my skin sizzling. I tried to measure my uneven strained breaths, but it made it even harder.




“It’s all your fault!” I shouted at her.

“My fault? Really?” She stared wide eyed at me.

She was shocked. I know she was. It wasn’t her fault. I knew that it would be a lie to say that. But I couldn’t stop myself from continuing, “Yes! You’re always Miss Perfect and everything I do is never good enough! Why can’t I have one thing? Just one thing without being under your shadow!?”

“Hadi, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you felt that way.” She bit her lip, brows furrowed.

“You’re not sorry, Aoko. You’re never sorry!” Hot tears rolled down my face.

I was lying again.

“Hadiza. Please, let’s just talk. We’re sisters. Let’s not argue like this.”

“I’m done talking to you! I’m done!” I threw my hands up, boiling with anger. “Just leave me alone! I’m tired of this. I’m tired of you!”

“Hadiza, don’t say that!”

“Just get out of my life!” I slammed the door shut in her face.





My hands trembled as I looked at the bluish-black skin. The agonizing pain was so commanding I felt my legs losing strength, and my knees ready to buckle.

“Hadiza! I’m not going anywhere until you get out! Get out, now!”

Sobbing and hyperventilating, I shakily put my hand on the handle, the heat searing it forced another shout from me. “It burns!”

“You can do it! Just open the door!”




I stood at a door. There was nothing else before me except the door.

This is familiar.

I pried the doors open, entering darkness.

Is this the nightmare of the fire again?

I stepped forward seeing and hearing nothing.



I looked down. Cool ink black water coated my feet. It felt shallow as I walked unsure where to go in the abyss of unseeable black.

This is not a nightmare. And this is not the night of the fire. It started like it but…it’s different. Everything is different.


I heard the crackle of flames, a wave of heat on my back.

I turned. In the surrounding darkness she was there, a beautiful beacon of fire and flames.

“Aoko.” I titled my head as the torch of light came towards me. “Am I…am I dreaming again?”

“You are not dreaming.” When she spoke, her voice seemed strange. It was distant yet close, ghostly echoing yet ethereally ringing.

“Is this…another nightmare?”


Was she speaking in my mind? Or was she speaking out loud? I couldn’t tell as I squinted at her. As clear as she was, I felt like I was in a fog. Am I even really there? Or am I somewhere between?

“What…what’s going on? Where am I?” Even though it was all darkness around me, I couldn’t seem to feel anything except for calmness.

“You should not be here.” She glittered like a star in the darkest night, the flames adoring her like diamonds.

“I…I was supposed to….” I couldn’t finish.

“No.” She came closer flames and heat following. “Your time isn’t now.”

“Aoko.” I looked into fiery yellow red eyes. “But why? It should have been me.”

“Your time isn’t now.”








I opened my eyes. My vision was once clouded in now darkness but now it was invaded by startling white everywhere: white walls, white paint, white buzzing lights.




And that beeping sound.

The loud annoying periodic beeping seemed to never stop.

“…Hadiza…please…no no….” Blinking into consciousness, I registered the sounds of sobbing.

I glanced to my side. Seated in a chair by my bedside was Mom. She had her hands over her face as she quietly sobbed and rocked in her chair.

Oh, yeah. I passed out. And this place…?

There was a IV drip connected to my arm, cords attached to my chest which was attached to a heart reading machine, and I was dressed in a loose white gown.


I waited my whole life for a prince charming. He was supposed to rescue me from everything.

“…Hadiza….” I looked back to Mom. She still had her hands over face as she sobbed.

She looked and sounded miserable. It was strange to see her like this again. Even stranger to think that this is almost how she looked like when she grieved over Aoko.

“No…No….” Her voice cracked.

It looks the same but there were more tears with Aoko.

“Mom.” I finally spoke.

“Hadiza?!” She pulled her hands from her face. “Oh my goodness, Hadiza!” She snatched me up into a hug.

“Oh, geez.” I winced as she nearly suffocated me into an iron hold.

“Hadiza! I thought I’d lost you! And I can’t lose another one of my angels again!” Her sobs were starting again as she pulled me tighter against her.

But what happened instead? I just had to get hit by that damn car. Son of bastard. You know he’s here? In this place?

“Yeah. Sorry,” I replied, slightly disoriented as she rocked me in her hold.

“Don’t you dare apologize to me!” She pulled back to clutch my face and peer at me. “You have nothing to apologize about! Do you understand that?”

“Yeah.” I nodded as she stared at me like I was the rarest miracle alive.

“How-how are you feeling?” She looked me up and down with bulging eyes.

“I’m fine.”

“Fine?” She held her breath. “Oh, Hadiza!” She placed a hand over her mouth as she choked up. “I’ll go get the nurse. You stay right here, okay?”

“Yeah---.” Before I could even blink Mom was running out of the hospital room door.


I sighed, laying back into my bed.

Drunk driving. Can you believe that? Don’t they tell everyone NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE?

I rubbed my forehead, there was TV fuzz coming in and out from somewhere.

Mommy. I want my Mommy. Was that your Mommy that left? Is she coming back for you? Or is she going to leave you like she left me?

Where is the TV noise coming from? It’s so loud. Almost like the noise is coming from this room.

It hurts. Everything hurts so bad. I don’t like it.

It’s definitely in this room.

“Ugh,” I groaned, searching in my bed for the remote.

I’ve lived a long and wonderful life. Do you know about the time that I was a veteran in the war of the great----


Before I had a moment to find the remote, Mom was back with a nurse to her side.

“She just woke up!” Mom said teary eyed as she gestured and pointed at me like I was an exotic exhibit.

“I see.” The nurse peered at me wide eyed. “Hara-san?”

“Hi there.” I gave her a little wave.

“How are you feeling?” The nurse rushed to my side, checking my pulse and flashing light into my eyes.

“She said she was fine!” Mom gushed.

“You’re feeling fine?” The nurse checked my IV needle and then looked at me like how Mom looked at me---like I was some walking miracle.

“Yeah,” I said, the nurse lifting my arm and moving my head. “I’m feeling fine. I mean I feel tired and groggy. But I feel fine.”

After some more poking, pulling, and prodding my body, the nurse took a step back. “Okay.” She sharply exhaled, placing her hands on her hips. “Okay.” Slow nodding, she glued her eyes to me, just staring. Staring and nodding. “That’s amazing. Really good.”

“Yeah.” I blinked. "I guess."

She was still staring.

In fact, both mom and the nurse were still staring.

I might as well had two heads and green skin with the way they were watching me.

“Um---.” I cleared my throat. “--What happened to me? I passed out in class and that’s all I remember.”

I passed out once while I was walking home. It turned out to be cancer. Do you have cancer? I bet it’s cancer. No, I hope it’s cancer.

“Oh, yes!” The nurse finally found normalcy. “Well, Hara-san, you had what’s called Anaphylactic shock.”


“You had an allergic reaction to something. A severe one. You stopped breathing and your heart stopped for 3 minutes…We pronounced you dead.”

“…What?” Everything was making sense up until that. “What did you just say?”

“Um.” The nurse pressed her lips together. “You…technically died.”

‘Technically died?’

The words sounded so unbelievable I had to scoff. “I died? Y-You pronounced me dead?” I emphasized, placing a hand on my chest, eyes wide.

“Yes, they had a time of death, Hadiza,” Mom slowly added. “We thought you were gone, and then you just…came back.” She gave me a hopeful smile. “You just…came back.”

I looked between the two of them. My heart rate rising. “What?”

“Your mother’s correct. You were dead and you came back. You’re a miracle.”

You got lucky. I didn’t.

I blinked, ignoring the TV audio coming from somewhere. Rather, my focus was more on processing the unbelievable and the impossible.

“Dead? I died?” Shock drilled into my head. “…I don’t understand.” I shook my head. “I don’t get it.”

“Yes, we know it’s a lot to process,” the nurse started, “but the good thing is that you are in amazing shape and health. The doctors were expecting massive brain damage for that long your heart stopped. Yet, here you are.” She peered. “You are just as healthy as you were before the allergic reaction.”

“I don’t…understand.” I shook my head even harder. My mind was starting to throb with confusion. “That doesn’t even make sense. How can someone’s heart stop and they can just come back?”

“It’s uncommon, but it’s possible. There have been cases of people whose hearts stopped and they came back like you. Even some people were buried alive and woke up in a coffin. So you're lucky it's just a heart thing.” She awkwardly finished with a laugh. 

“But…how…how could I have survived something like that?” I held my hands out, my breathing getting shaky. “How could I survive something so deadly…again? How could I have done that? I just…I don’t…I don’t----.”

“---Hadiza.” Mom took my hand and squeezed it tight. “It’s okay.” She placed her free hand on my cheek. “It’s okay. I know you’re shocked and are thinking so many things right now. I know that. But I want you to know, all that matters is that you are here.”

I looked to Mom. She held my hand so tightly I couldn’t deny that I was physical and alive.

Yeah, after all this crazy stuff, I want to tell myself that everything is fine and alright. I’m alive and all that inspirational supportive stuff.

But it’s not alight. It’s not fine.

All that matters is that I’m here?

Why am I even here in the first place?

I used to ask myself that all the time. I hated myself. So one day I did something about it. Why don’t you do something about it? You can get rid of yourself.

Shut up! She’s one of those special ones. I think she can hear us.

Can you hear me? Oh, please if you can hear me, help me! Help! I just want my life back. Can you give me my life back?

No, give me my life back. I deserve to live again!

I want to find my Mommy. I don’t want to be here anymore. Mommy! Mommy! Waah! Mommy!

No help me! The pain is too great! It hurts me so much! Please! Help!



---“Oh, please turn off the TV I can’t hear myself clearly!” I snapped.

“Turn off the TV?” The nurse asked.

“Yes, please!” I put my hands on my head, trying not to explode from all the frustration. “All the noise and voices aren’t helping me process all of this. Just please turn it off.” Sighing, I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples.

“…There’s no TV in here.”

“Huh?” I looked to the nurse who was looking at me funny.

“There’s no TV in this room.”

Puzzled, I glanced around. 

White walls, white floors, white ceiling. There was nothing else in the room except my hospital bed, the bedside chair, the heart machine, IV drip stand, and a painting of a nature scene on the wall. 

Other than that, the room was bare.


“Uh.” The nurse smacked her lips. “This room just happens to be one of those rooms where we don’t have a TV mounted. We can always have one brought to your room---.”


“No!” I shouted, hunching over into a ball.

“Hadiza?” I felt mom by my side.

You know when I was your age, the world was a lot different for me. See, the world I knew was a much better place. Now look at all of you. A bunch of sensitive snowflakes. You can't take anything, I tell ya.

Lips trembling, I looked up to both of them. “…There’s really no TV in this room?”


Shahi John
Hungry Sheep
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