Chapter 8:

Just like a celebrity

School For The Mediums

♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad---“Mom?” I plucked an earphone from my ear, and lifted my head from the car window. Bookmark here

Chhrrr!Bookmark here

Mom killed the engine, pulling slow to a park in the house driveway. “Hmm?” she buzzed; voice as high as a kite. “What is it, sweetheart?” High pitched and squeaky like a mouse. She only sounded like that when she felt guilty. Bookmark here

I bounced my eyes from house driveway to Mom. Sure enough, she looked guilty too. Fake smile stretched tight, narrow eyes bunched into a squint, and pale-yellow skin paler. Bookmark here

Oh, I know that look. That’s the look my ex had when I found out he cheated on me. With my sister…and later on, I found out my mom. Men are pigs!Bookmark here

I sighed, ignoring the sounds and kept my focus on the current situation. Bookmark here

In front of our house was a horde of eager hustling people. Some were our neighbors’ carrying flowers, recovery baskets, and other gifts. Others were strangers, sketchy looking bystanders, and news reporters and cameramen. Bookmark here

“Mom.” I blinked. “Who are all these people?” Bookmark here

She heaved a sigh. “…Well? I may have told just a few folks about what happened to you, and….?” She stopped to smack her lips. “I think the word may have got around.” Bookmark here

They were starting to huddle around our car. Bookmark here

Knock! Knock! Knock!Bookmark here

“Are you Hara Hadiza?” People were starting to bang on the car. “Can you answer a few questions about what you saw when you died and miraculously came back!” Bookmark here

I shut my eyes closed tight. Bookmark here

As if it wasn’t already enough to hear loud obnoxious noises in my head, now I had to be hearing all of this disorder in front of my house. Bookmark here

“Mom.” I groaned, eyes still tightly together. “What did you tell them?”Bookmark here

“I just told them the truth. Your heart stopped. You ‘technically’ died, and you came back.”Bookmark here

I sucked in the air, rubbing my forehead with my thumb and middle finger. “Why, did you tell them?” Bookmark here

Knock! Knock! Knock!Bookmark here

“Hara-san! Can you tell us what you saw? Is it true you saw the lights of heaven? Please just answer a few questions!” Bookmark here

I opened my eyes to take in the sorry sight; Hyenas. They looked like greedy hyenas as they circled our car and banged on the doors and windows. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, Hadiza. I just got so happy and excited that you were alright that I got a little carried away.” Bookmark here

I blew a stream of air. “Yeah, I can see.” Bookmark here

Knock! Knock! Knock!Bookmark here

“Hara-san! Just answer a few questions for us!” Bookmark here

Mom and I looked at the crowd. Bookmark here

“Well?” She looked back to me. “Maybe if you just a few questions they’ll leave.” She batted her eyes. Bookmark here

Mom wasn’t an attention seeker. But that wasn’t to say she didn’t appreciate attention when she got it. She used to love bragging about Aoko to the neighborhood ladies---when she wasn’t showing off her Michelin Stars. Bookmark here

Huh? What’s going on. Where am I? What is this? Can you hear me? Can anyone hear me? Someone told me you could hear me. Can you speak to me? Bookmark here

I gripped my fists. A toxic mix of anger and frustration was building in me. Bookmark here

I can’t even get one moment of a clear thought before---I need to understand what’s happening. Please, just help me understand. If you can hear me, please speak to me.Bookmark here

“No!” I snapped, making Mom flinch. Bookmark here

Confused and concerned, she swallowed. “I-I’m sorry, darling. I wasn’t trying to upset you. I just wanted to suggest maybe you could talk to them. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”Bookmark here

Please. Please! If you can hear me, please speak to me. I won’t be able to be here for long, I need you to pass a message along to someone! So please just let me know I can be heard. Please!Bookmark here

I steadied my breath. My nails were digging into my palm. Bookmark here

“I can’t.” I shook my head. Bookmark here

“You can’t what?” Bookmark here

Please just help! Please!Bookmark here

“No, no, no!” I grabbed my head.Bookmark here

“Hadiza?” Bookmark here

I stopped. Bookmark here

What am I doing?Bookmark here

I glanced to Mom. Bookmark here

I know what I looked like to her. Bookmark here

And that’s not what I am. Bookmark here

I rubbed my eyes, taking a deep breath. “I…I’m sorry. I just can’t answer any questions or do any interviews about how I turned blue almost dropped dead, and now can hear---!” I bite down on my tongue, forcing myself to a stop. “I just…I just need to get some sleep.”Bookmark here

Sleep, and wake up from this nightmare. Bookmark here

Mom looked away from me. She set her soft gaze to the people outside clamoring around. “I think I did go too far with this. I mean, all these people here? I get it, it’s overwhelming.” Bookmark here

She looked back to me, forming the gentlest smile. “Why don’t we go pick up the Epi-pens together? Afterwards, we’ll get out of here. Away from all of the noise and just take a day off at the beach? Enjoy the breeze, take a deep breath, and take in all the sights. How does that sound?” Bookmark here

I stayed quiet. Bookmark here

“We can buy some Hot Milk Tea from 7/11 and watch the sunset…?” She dragged out her voice as one high pitched plea. Bookmark here

Hot tea on the beach. Bookmark here

It wasn’t a thing we did before. Bookmark here

One day Aoko, a group of friends, and I just happened to be walking home from school. Exam season had just finished, and so, Aoko kicked off her shoes and forced all of us to the beach for a, and I quote, ‘ultimate stress reliever moment’. It was so random, but everyone loved it. By the end of all the fun, they were laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe. Bookmark here

And me? Mom had packed hot milk tea for lunch. I remember sitting on the sidelines, sipping tea and watching Aoko turn the moment memorable for everyone. Bookmark here

Then, she did what did. Came to me, standing tall, smiling wide, just to say: ‘It’s burning hot outside and my sister, genius sister, wants to drink hot milk tea on the beach. I say we should join her!’ Bookmark here

That was that. Bookmark here

Eventually she roped Mom into it, and it felt like it became something everyone around us did. Sometimes I think they even do it in memory of her. Bookmark here

I know Mom did for sure. Bookmark here

“No thanks.” I placed my hand on the car door handles. “I’m just going to head inside and get some sleep.”Bookmark here

“Hadiza, wait, let me help you get out---.” Bookmark here

CLICK!Bookmark here

SLAM!Bookmark here

I quickly stepped out from the car, and like moths to a flame, people swarmed me. Bookmark here

“Are you Hara Hadiza? Can we ask you a couple of questions?” Someone shoved a microphone into my face. Bookmark here

“No.” I pushed forward blocking my face with my hands. Bookmark here

Who they did think I was? Some sort of celebrity?Bookmark here

I wanted to be a celebrity. I was gonna be famous one of the days! An idol sensation! Bookmark here

No, no, no.Bookmark here

I wanted to bash my head. Bookmark here

A ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!Bookmark here

Not another singer.Bookmark here

“Hadiza Hara!” Noises were coming from every which direction. Bookmark here

I gritted my teeth, ramming my earphones into my ears. These days I had to keep them on standby, the cords tight around my neck at all times. Bookmark here

♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! Start of something bad! Do, do, do something really bad! Oooh, yeah!---STAAAR SHALL I BE YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL! Bookmark here

I kept my head down, forcing my way forward. The path from driveway to door wasn’t even far but with all of noise and racket and people shoving and pushing in waves around me, maybe it was.Bookmark here


“Hara Hadiza!” Bookmark here

“Hara-san!” Bookmark here

It seemed like the noises were only getting louder and louder. Bookmark here


♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad.♫Bookmark here

“Please move, I have to get through!” I shouldered past a cameraman. Bookmark here


“And we are live! Today we have here a strange and miraculous case of the girl’s whose heart stopped for a whole 6 minutes.” A random reporter woman had the cameras already rolling. Bookmark here

6 minutes? Really? Bookmark here

“The teenage girl in question, is 16-year-old Hara Hadiza, daughter to the famous Michelin Star chef native Japanese, Hara Yuna, and American Foreigner and NASA astronomer, Hara Idir. This strange case has wondered the minds of many. What did she see on the other side? Was there another side? Is there a heaven above or is there a hell below? And how did she survive? We here all of this directly from the girl herself!” Bookmark here

No, they won’t. Bookmark here

I kept my face covered and picked up my pace. “Please move, please move!” Bookmark here

“Hara-san, it’s me your neighbor! I just came to see you!” Bookmark here

I hated most reporters. See, the good ones were always so few in stock. Nowadays, all of them are bunch of bastards. Worrying about stupid stuff like this, instead figuring out who murdered me!Bookmark here

Just shut up.Bookmark here

“Hara Hadiza, why not just answer a few questions for us!” Bookmark here

♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad---click!Bookmark here

I stopped my music. What was the point? The noises were still going on. No matter how much I wanted them to stop they just---JUST TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME AND BE TRUE BECAUSE I CAN BE YOUR YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL! YEAH! YEAH!Bookmark here

“Hara Hadiza!” Bookmark here

“Hara Hadiza! Is it true that this is the second time you’ve survived a near death encounter? Is it true, your sister died in a fire after attempting to rescue you and that---!”Bookmark here

“---JUST SHUT UP! ENOUGH ALREADY!” Bookmark here

I couldn’t take it anymore. I shouted so loud it felt like my throat was going to tear. Bookmark here

When I did it seemed like stopped---the voices, the people, the commotion. It all just stopped. Bookmark here

I looked around in the dead silence. Bookmark here

Ah. Bookmark here

My lips trembled. Bookmark here

The way they were staring at me…that’s the way people stared at Fuji-san in the hospital. Bookmark here

I swallowed, anxiety pushing to surface. All these people looking at me like this…it’s…how can I handle this?Bookmark here

I gulped hard. My heart was starting to thump harder. I hated it. I didn’t want this type of attention, but maybe it’s the type of attention I was drawing. Maybe I was just like Fuji-san in that hospital lobby. Bookmark here

My breathing quickened. My chest went up and down in rapid successions. I knew there was water starting in my eyes. Bookmark here

“AHHHHHH!” Suddenly a high-pitched girlish scream came from somewhere in the crowd. Bookmark here

The distraction tugged everyone’s eyes to one source; a small high school girl with peach pink hair. Bookmark here

Shizuko had her arms up in the air, her yell so loud it made the cameramen point their cameras her way. Bookmark here

Right next to her was Hiroto. “That’s right! Everyone shut up and get out of here!” He shouted, clearly trying to make as much uproar as possible. Bookmark here

Like two parents in crime, they turned back-to-back and waved their schoolbags around as they made their way through the confused crowd. Bookmark here

“Shoo, shoo! Get out of here!” Bookmark here

“That’s right people! Leave!” Bookmark here

Somehow in a matter of moments, they ended up by my side, defending me with a wave of their schoolbags. Bookmark here

“Leave! Or I spray you all with this mysterious liquid!” Hiroto whipped a water bottle. Bookmark here

“That’s right! And he’s got a killer aim!” Shizuko hissed. Bookmark here

I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but their lukewarm threats worked. Bookmark here

With that, all the people crowding us just suddenly starting packing up and leaving. All except for two sketchy people. Bookmark here

It was a buff brutish looking man and bubble gum popping woman. They were both dressed in all black suits with black sunglasses. The strangest thing about though, was that they appeared to both be albinos with translucent milk white skin and hair. Bookmark here

Pop!Bookmark here

Pop!Bookmark here

The woman loudly chewed on her bubble gum. Bookmark here

“Hey! We said shoo! Get out of here!” Hiroto huffed at them. Bookmark here

Pop!Bookmark here

But they didn’t budge. They just stood there, the man standing still and woman popping bubble gum.Bookmark here

Pop!Bookmark here

“Just forget about those weirdos!” Shizuko looked to me. “Hadi-chan!” Bookmark here

“Shizuko.” And in what felt like forever since this whole mess began, I wanted to smile. Bookmark here

Miao Miao
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