Chapter 1:

The White Room

Who am I?

It was too much to register all at once. The room was white, blinding her. She frowned, but it was alright. She had free control over the movement of her eyes, again. Groaning from the blow her stomach had received, she rubbed her eyes. She noticed that the voices said something, but that was beyond her range of attention right now. Little sand-like stones separated from her lids when she touched.Bookmark here

How long had she been asleep?Bookmark here

In her frustration, she glared at the white ceiling as if it had anything to do with her discomfort. A sudden pull on her arm snapped her out of it, however, and she found herself in a tight embrace that knocked the air out of her system once more. What was it with today and making it hard for her to breathe?Bookmark here

Sitting upright, however, made it easier to see.Bookmark here

The hazy silhouettes around her bed turned into a man, a woman, and three kids, along with a man in white, as bright as the room.Bookmark here

Her eyes didn't like looking at his whiteness, so she didn't.Bookmark here

That was when she decided to pay some attention to the woman holding her. She knew it was a woman because her breasts pushed against hers, making it a tight fit.Bookmark here

She seemed familiar, though... no way.Bookmark here

"Sis?"Bookmark here

Her throat was dry as the Sahara sand, but this word she said clearly. The woman stopped the embrace, revealing the tears running down her face.Bookmark here

Now that she saw it, there was some fluid running down her cheeks, alright.Bookmark here

"You are alright," her sister said. "You are alright... You are alright!"Bookmark here

She repeated it like a prayer, hugging her with vigorous intensity once more. She wished her sister would stop it.Bookmark here

Her body didn't feel ready to survive any more of these hugs at this rate.Bookmark here

The man in white seemed to have a similar idea, as he tried to separate the sisters with a wry smile on his face.Bookmark here

She didn't want to, but when the man and woman supported the man in white, she listened and backed off.Bookmark here

Without her help, she sank right back into the sheets.Bookmark here

"How long will she have to stay?" her sister asked.Bookmark here

"I want to keep her here for a few weeks, at least," the doctor said, flipping through some documents on his clipboard. "Her stats during sleep were favorable, and the fact that she's awake now supports that theory. Nonetheless, after..."Bookmark here

Here, he swallowed his words and motioned for her parents to follow him. Her sister stayed, glaring at the three kids. They sheepishly backed off, one girl and two boys.Bookmark here

She racked her brain.Bookmark here

She didn't remember them.Bookmark here

"Strange friends you have there," she said, holding her hand.Bookmark here

"We didn't think that would work, haha," one of the boys said, scratching the back of his head. He was hiding behind the girl who just sighed and stepped out of the way. "Since it did, all is fine, right? No need to glare at me like that..."Bookmark here

"You deserve that one, pal," the second boy said, leaving the first one in plain sight.Bookmark here

He was a normal-looking boy, wearing black jeans and a yellow shirt, making him look somewhat like a wasp. The 'Waspety-Wasp-Wasp' print on his shirt further supported that theory. He had an Asian look about him with slits as eyes and short, black hair. The most prominent feature she could see was the huge birthmark on his neck, about as big as a golfing ball. For some reason, that didn't make him look ugly. Actually, he was quite handsome.Bookmark here

"Totally," the girl assented, crossing her arms.Bookmark here

The Asian boy winced.Bookmark here

"You should make haste to apologize or she'll come and kill you in your sleep," the other boy suggested, pushing his friend forward, closer to the bed.Bookmark here

He was about the same height as his friend, though his looks weren't average at all. His nose was big and stubby, he had thick cheeks but a long face and the beginnings of a beard formed under his chin. It was as blond as his shock of hair and his eyebrows, and his eyes were a striking blue with a tinge of green. He wore a jeans-jacket over a white shirt with something half-hidden behind his jacket written on it, as well as a pair of corduroy pants.Bookmark here

"I'm not that mean," her sister promised, squeezing her hand. Her gaze didn't look any less intimidating, though. "Just don't repeat it."Bookmark here

"Y-yes, ma'am!"Bookmark here

"Don't forget where your loyalties lie, idiot," the girl said, slapping him over the head. She was larger than either of the boys, with shoulder-length hair the color of chocolate. She also stood out with her clothing, as she only wore shades of brown without any prints on her clothing. Even her eyes were brown. She ad lightly tanned skin, too. The way she crossed her arms and grinned smugly at the boys resembled a mafia boss. That's just the impression she made. "You waking up is great news, though. Your classmates will be happy to hear about it."Bookmark here

"Your classmates?" she croaked, widening her eyes.Bookmark here

She clawed her throat, which started to hurt.Bookmark here

Seriously, how long had she been out?Bookmark here

Her sister immediately gave her a glass of water and she greedily drank the fluid while the girl explained.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'm not from your class. These boys were, too, until one of them had to repeat a grade," she said, glaring at the blond boy.Bookmark here

"Geh!"Bookmark here

"Anyway, we know each other, so... wait, you don't remember?" She shook her head, having finished the glass. Her sister poured her another one. "And these guys?" She shook her head, again. There was a look of panic on the girl's face, now. "Wait... wait, wait, wait... You're saying... all we did... the pajama party at my place? The food battle in the cafeteria? Prank-the-Teacher Tuesday? And... nothing?"Bookmark here

Each suggestion was accompanied by a shake of her head.Bookmark here

It wasn't just the girl, now.Bookmark here

Both of the boys had their mouths hanging wide open, exchanging worried glances. A dark aura permeated from her right, though.Bookmark here

"Food battles? Prank-the-Teacher Tuesday? Hoh? I didn't know you were into these things, little sister."Bookmark here

"I-I don't remember any of that!" she tried to plead.Bookmark here

"Really? We have three witnesses right here, are you saying they lied to my face?"Bookmark here

"It's the truth!" the girl yelled, then.Bookmark here

That surprised the sisters.Bookmark here

"I really didn't expect you to be that kind of girl, sister," she said, sounding disappointed.Bookmark here

It was unfair!Bookmark here

How could she hate her for something she didn't even remember doing?Bookmark here

"We are kids, we do those things!" the girl growled, a vein bulging on her neck. That was a very big vein. It might be her most remarkable feature. "Don't hold it against us!"Bookmark here

"Why do you sound like you're making excuses, now?" her sister asked.Bookmark here

The girl had nothing to say to that.Bookmark here

"Come," she told the boys, turning to the door. "We're going."Bookmark here

The boys threw another worried glance at her sister, then they followed the girl. She really was their boss, wasn't she?Bookmark here

When they were gone, her sister let out a long sigh. Supporting her head with one hand, she allowed all the apparent exasperation to leave her body, then her glare moved to her little sister, scaring her so hard she couldn't even tremble anymore.Bookmark here

"Do you really remember nothing about any of that?" She shook her head. "Nothing at all? No distant sense of familiarity with their words, nothing?" Again, she shook her head. The light of the room was so blinding, this might as well have been one of those interrogation scenes in a crime movie. Her sister sighed. "I just can't believe it. I'm gone for a year, and this is what happens... you were always so timid, so quiet. You always kept to yourself, so food battles? Pranks on teachers? What happened to you?"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

What should she even say to that?Bookmark here

She didn't remember, either...Bookmark here

If anything, she was the victim, here! Someone she didn't know took over her body and did all these strange things in her stead, and she was held guilty for each one of them!Bookmark here

Her sister sighed.Bookmark here

"And then you don't even remember them...? Say, do you... you know, remember... agh," she said, clicking her tongue and rubbing the back of her head in agitation. "Did you forget me, too? My name? What we did together?"Bookmark here

"I would never forget you, Nia. You are my sister," she promised.Bookmark here

"Kara..."Bookmark here

They embraced, and Kara felt a tear on her cheek.Bookmark here

They were sisters, after all...Bookmark here

Something about Nia's healthy body, her pointy nose, and the unibrow instantly made Kara think of family. What she lacked in beauty she made up for in character. Kara knew it. She felt it.Bookmark here

Though she deliberately left a certain part of the truth out of her confession. It was true that she couldn't remember anything that happened between them. All she remembered was the familiar bond they shared, and nothing more.Bookmark here

It was an instinct that told Kara that they were, indeed, sisters, but nothing more.Bookmark here

There wasn't a single memory to prove it.Bookmark here

She didn't need any proof, she believed her instincts, but... with how Nia behaved, a name that came to her seemingly out of nowhere, she thought it best to keep the whole truth to herself.Bookmark here

"We will leave her in your care, then," a male voice said outside the door.Bookmark here

"Rest assured. As I explained, her stats are promising."Bookmark here

"Thank you so much," a woman said, and Kara's parents entered with the doctor.Bookmark here

"I'll keep that to myself," Nia whispered, separating from Kara. She struggled to keep sitting, only mildly succeeding. "Look at you, already sitting, again."Bookmark here

"Nonetheless, I advise you to lie down and keep resting," the doctor said. "It's for the best."Bookmark here

"Listen to him, alright?" her mother said.Bookmark here

"Get better soon," her father said, and soon, they and Nia were gone.Bookmark here

"A good family you have, there," said the doctor. "I'm Doctor Legerer, by the way. Nice to have you back with us," he said, presenting his hand.Bookmark here

Kara gave his hand a shake.Bookmark here

He was a man with gray in his hair, though he didn't look that old. His beard was trimmed to a short length and his coat highlighted his stout figure. His eyes shone in dull green, forming a surreal harmony with the blue bags under his eyes.Bookmark here

"What happened to me?"Bookmark here

Doctor Legerer looked troubled by the question. With an evasive glance, he began to study the pictures on the wall, only to return to her shortly.Bookmark here

He seemed resolute.Bookmark here

"You had a nasty accident. Hit your head and injured your spine. The operation went pretty well, but then you fell in a coma... don't worry, don't hyperventilate! Breathe slowly, in... and out... the details might be too much at the moment. It might cause the event to play out again, a flashback, as you will, and as you have just awoken... I see that you still want to know, so let me say this much. You were asleep for three months. Your body is weak, so don't stretch it. As you are still young, it will accommodate. Your strength will return after a bit of therapy, but we need to have patience, now. If you need anything, call the nurse with that button next to your bed. You will get your old life back very soon, I promise."Bookmark here

He finished with a smile, throwing a glance at his watch. He was in a hurry, he must have been. The dark bags under his eyes only showed how busy he was... Doctor Legerer even turned to leave, but Kara spoke up, again.Bookmark here

"Why can't I remember anything?" she asked.Bookmark here

She had to know.Bookmark here

He seemed trustworthy enough to ask, so she did.Bookmark here

The first thing he did was look at the notes on his clipboard. He didn't look surprised at all. Only after flipping through some of them did he raise his gaze again. He sat down at the edge of her bed, then showed her a complicated-looking graph.Bookmark here

It resembled some of the things she remembered from math-class... why could she remember math class?Bookmark here

She'd much rather remember her friends and family!Bookmark here

As expected, though, she couldn't make anything of the numbers. The only thing she recognized was an image of a human brain.Bookmark here

They talked about that much in Biology class, at least.Bookmark here

"As I said, your head received a heavy blow. To prevent damage to the brain, the human head is filled with lots of fluids that dampen the collision damage that would naturally occur with every shake of your head, every nod, every movement. This won't negate the damage of heavy impacts like, for example, being hit with stones or sticks-"Bookmark here

"I was hit with stones and sticks?"Bookmark here

Doctor Legerer shook his head.Bookmark here

"Just an example, girl, just an example. Some areas of your brain were damaged, and they need to heal. Give it some time. This might take a day, it might take a week. It might take a month, too, but your memories will return. Don't worry."Bookmark here

"But... why?"Bookmark here

She knew that she troubled him.Bookmark here

His expression was a dead give-away, but not knowing seemed worse than living through it again, right now.Bookmark here

Doctor Legerer sighed.Bookmark here

"It seems like most of the memories pertaining to your accident and people related to it were banned into the back of your mind, like a safety measure, if you would."Bookmark here

"My friends and family had something to do with my accident?"Bookmark here

"Don't you worry, child," he said, standing up. "They will return."Bookmark here

With another smile, he left her in the room.Bookmark here

Hers was the only bed in here.Bookmark here

Was she at the intensive care unit?Bookmark here

Normal rooms in the hospital had two rooms...Bookmark here

"I'd much rather remember things about my family, though..."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

If what the doctor said was true, about her memories returning soon, it wasn't as soon as Kara would've hoped.Bookmark here

Her strength returned fairly quickly, though, and soon her parents stopped visiting daily as they didn't have any unforeseen surprises to worry about anymore.Bookmark here

Only Nia continued her visits with an almost religious conviction, which made Kara happy. She made the dullness of this white room more bearable.Bookmark here

Physical therapy went well, too.Bookmark here

The therapist was a young woman with a peculiar scar in the form of an X on her forehead, though she was very friendly.Bookmark here

She made sure that Kara never came to harm.Bookmark here

The three kids, consisting of the two boys and the girl, also came by rather frequently. One time, the Asian boy even brought her a box of cookies from her classmates, though he also apologized since they had been crushed on the way to the hospital.Bookmark here

It was fine, though.Bookmark here

They tasted good enough.Bookmark here

She also found out their names on their second visit.Bookmark here

It might be better to call the act of finding out an act of being reminded in this case, though Kara didn't like to think of it that way.Bookmark here

It fortified the fact that she literally forgot these people.Bookmark here

There was always this distant sense of unease when they came by. That they came alone told Kara that they cared about her, but being forgotten by a friend must hurt.Bookmark here

She was very sorry for that.Bookmark here

Anyway, the Asian boy was Ludwig.Bookmark here

The blond boy was Adrian.Bookmark here

The mafia girl was Bonnet, though she referred to herself as Bonnie. She really loved the boss-girl image herself, didn't she?Bookmark here

Kara admired her self-awareness.Bookmark here

Whenever their conversations turned to schoolwork, though, Kara realized how far behind she had fallen.Bookmark here

They spoke of formulas she had never heard of, historical topics she never even began to think about, and a book she had definitely not read.Bookmark here

After begging her sister, she obliged to ask the teachers about some problems to help her catch up, with the assent of the doctor, of course. Sadly, it was a losing battle.Bookmark here

Kara had never studied by herself, before.Bookmark here

She couldn't even ask anyone...Bookmark here

When she had nothing better to do, she touched herself.Bookmark here

Don't take that the wrong way, but she wanted to see if there was any permanent damage to her body. Her hands searched her stomach, her back, her legs, and especially, her face.Bookmark here

There was a mirror in the bath, but she never allowed herself much time there since a nurse had to help her get to and fro.Bookmark here

She didn't want to waste her time.Bookmark here

Her nose was flat, almost like a pug's face.Bookmark here

She had long hair that looked somewhat greasy with the silver striped between what seemed like a dark-gray color.Bookmark here

Her skin was bumpy and uneven as if it needed a round of grinding with sandpaper... though she winced when she thought how much that would hurt.Bookmark here

At second thought, she seemed fine the way she was.Bookmark here

She did have friends who liked her the way she was, after all.Bookmark here

As the weeks passed like this, it was soon time for her to go home.Bookmark here

Her room was like a distant entity at this point. She couldn't wait to see it again, though it felt like she would see it for the first time, ever.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"And, how do you feel about your last night in the hospital?" Nia asked, holding her hand like usual. It was late in the evening, and she would have to leave, soon. "Do you need anything? I might be able to get you something if I'm quick... or I'd just give it to the nurses. They might allow me in if I explain everything..."Bookmark here

"Really, it's fine," Kara said. "I have my studies... though I don't get maths at all! How could the numbers change so badly in just three months!"Bookmark here

"I don't think the numbers changed at all," Nia retorted with a chuckle.Bookmark here

Kara glared at her.Bookmark here

"That doesn't help."Bookmark here

"Sorry, sorry," Nia said, raising her hand to her chin. "A study guide, then? I'm sure I could get one to you... As I said, I could drive home now and buy one from a store and get it to you within two hours... no, one hour-"Bookmark here

"You don't have to worry," Kara assured her, stopping her tirade. She was a kind sister, but her worries could get a bit tiresome. "It's just a night. I'll manage."Bookmark here

Nia smiled at her with a solemn expression.Bookmark here

"Sorry I couldn't stay the night. I wanted to be the first thing you saw when you wake up..."Bookmark here

"No sadness when I'm here," Kara said, pointing at her face. She curled her lips into a playful smile as she teased her sister. She was feeling way better thanks to her, so she wanted to make her feel better, too. "You helped me so much, I wouldn't want to become a nuisance."Bookmark here

"You'd never be a nuisance!"Bookmark here

"So you told me."Bookmark here

Kara chuckled as Nia puffed out her cheeks.Bookmark here

"Meanie."Bookmark here

"I love you, sis."Bookmark here

"... I love you, too."Bookmark here

Here, they hugged.Bookmark here

Kara got a good look at the clock on the wall in this position. The nurses here knew how close the sisters were, so they allowed Nia some leeway, but even for her, it was time to go, soon. She wouldn't want to feel tired on the way she was released, after all.Bookmark here

Kara liked that clock.Bookmark here

There was this dumb sentence written in there, 'just one more minute,' as well as praying hands.Bookmark here

Maybe the nurses were familiar with clingy family members.Bookmark here

Kara was ready to forgive her big sister most everything, though. She was only a few inches taller than Kara, and she had these brown eyes she could stare into all day. Her skin was beautiful and her face pretty, much unlike Kara. Her sister was beautiful. She was caring. She was nice. Kara loved her. She was more than she could've ever hoped for in a sister.Bookmark here

"Remember, your parents are waiting for you downstairs. Tomorrow, noon, alright? The nurses know, but they might be busy-"Bookmark here

"Sis, I know." Kara chuckled. "I'll see you there."Bookmark here

Nia smiled back.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'll see you there."Bookmark here

They parted for the night.Bookmark here

Kara's last night in the hospital was spent in sleepless thinking, after all. She was too excited about seeing her home again to close her eyes for more than the minimal amount she needed to blink. While her body rested, her mind wandered, though her body was fed up with laying still at around midnight when she started pacing the room.Bookmark here

In these moments, she was glad to be alone in this room.Bookmark here

She wouldn't dare to disturb her roommates with her behavior, then, no matter how uncomfortable it would become for her.Bookmark here

After four months of coma and therapy, could she get her old life back?Bookmark here

It would be an uphill battle, but she'd try her hardest!Bookmark here

Nina Kamiya
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