.VK P r e s e n t s.
'PLEASE! YOU CAN'T... YOU CAN'T DIE ON ME YOU BASTARD!... don't leave me ..... KARAMATSU!!!'
-o n e m o n t h l a t e r-
'He's awake! call the doctor, get a drip on him STAT, adjust his fluids to 50cl and-'
There was so much panic. After everything that had happened he was finally awake. Ichimatsu couldn't believe it, he saw life in the eyes he loved too much, he didn't think he'd ever see that stupid face move again.
'Karamatsu... you bastard.'
.C o m a m a t s u.
The hospital ward was silent as a grave until Karamatsu suddenly woke up without any warning, he had been in a deep coma for just under a month after a terrible accident which left him there, now there was no sign of peace as the doctors and nurses rushed around as if the world was ending. For Karamatsu it was.. Ichimatsu was quickly escorted out of the room and locked outside after all available staff rushed in, all he could hear was screaming. Ichi was sat on the cold, hard floor with his head buried into his hands which slowly travelled through his hair, he couldn't help but grip it in his hands tighter and tighter as Karamatsu screamed louder, he couldn't make out any words through the walls, only painful howls of agony. After what seemed like a lifetime the screaming had stopped, the doctors finally found the right amount of drugs to knock him out again, their only option since they couldn't figure out why he was in so much pain... Ichimatsu knew, but he couldn't bring himself to talk, even if he could he would never tell anyone. The sound of fast paced footsteps had stopped and the door opened slowly revealing a tall, middle-aged man looking down at the confused Ichimatsu.
'Mr. Matsuno, I have some news concerning your brother, Karamatsu, and I'd like to ask you a few questions if that's all right, I understand this must be a shock for you so the nurse will escort you to my room when you feel ready.'
Ichimatsu couldn't even look up at the doctor as he spoke, let alone answer any questions he had, and what if he asked about that night
? everyone would find out that he was the reason for Kara's coma, that he almost killed
his own brother..'I could go to prison, what if he hates me, he'll never forgive me for this, what if everyone hates me, of course they will, they already do, it's all my fault! EVERYTHING IS MY FAULT!'
'Mr. Matsuno, are you ready to go?'
Ichimatsu looked up at the nurse who was standing over him with an oblivious face and a half-smile, at that moment only one thing went through his mind.. run ..he gathered all his strength and stood up but before he could take a step he heard his brother coughing through the walls. 'I can't.. leave him again, I-'
'Mr. Matsuno, if you'd like to follow me this way?'
With a stumble and a heart racing in his chest he trailed behind the nurse like a lost puppy, he couldn't bring himself to look through the glass of the door to Karamatsu's room as he passed by. Before he could collect his thoughts we was stood at the Doctors office.
'Here we are, please go right in, Dr. Saito is waiting for you.'
The nurse vanished and Ichimatsu was left alone standing facing the door, he reached out for the handle with slight hesitation opening it carefully like it was made of broken glass. As he entered the room a cold breeze hit him from the air conditioning on the wall, he had been practically living in the hospital since Kara was brought in so he forgot what a breeze felt like. Ichi had always loved the breeze on a cool day, it was like a gentle stroke on his face.
Dr. Saito was sitting down at the other end of the room behind his large, oak desk which only had a computer, a cup of pens and a picture frame on it, his expression was only slightly reassuring which didn't calm Ichi's paranoia at all. Walking cautiously with his hands in his overstretched pockets of his torn purple hoodie Ichimatsu took a seat in front of the intimidating desk and expected the worst, but he was careful not to show any emotion.
'So as you saw earlier your brother, Karamatsu, has awoken from his coma, unfortunately we had to knock him out again due to his heart rate increasing to dangerous levels and the immense pain he appeared to be in, which is being investigated as we speak. I know you must be feeling a lot at this time but if you're up to it I'd like you to answer a few questions about the night Karamatsu was brought to us as there are some things we're still unclear about, we would've asked you earlier but your brother showed no signs of waking up.'
Ichimatsu's heart raced faster than it ever has before, he could feel a heavy pulsation in his throat forcing him to stay silent but he swallowed it down and took a breath, after all.. if he didn't say a word it would look suspicious. He spoke in a monotone voice, slightly coarse as he had not spoken to anyone since the incident happened.
'What d'you want to know?..'
'Well first of all, could you tell me exactly what you were doing with your brother the night of the incident? we need as much detail as possible to determine why he woke up screaming, he may still be 'trapped in the moment' of when he first fell unconscious, and we also need to know where your three brothers are, we've tried to contact them but all of the numbers you handed in are leading to dead-ends, we have to inform them of what's happened'
The sound of blood being pumped through his entire body almost completely drowned the words of the Doctor, but from what he could make out, he was in trouble that would be hard to escape.
'I- uh- don't understand why you can't contact them, I gave you the numbers they've always used, so I don't kno-'
'You have no knowledge of the whereabouts of your siblings, no?'
'I don't know where they are, otherwise I would tell you'
'Right.. well could you answer my first question then?'
A silence.. a stillness.. Ichimatsu tried to imagine he was somewhere else to escape the terrible tension that filled the room, he imagined lying in Karamatsu's arms as he stroked his cheek softly like he did before their worlds fell apart, before everything came crashing down, before-
With a loud bang he was shot out of his trance and dragged back to hell.
'I DON'T KNOW WHAT FUCKING HAPPENED!! HE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO- ........'
The Doctor widened his eyes like he had just discovered he could. Ichimatsu felt a chill up his spine and clenched his fists and teeth so he wouldn't say anything stupid he'd regret, his untamed nails dug deep into his palms and he felt a warm, wet liquid run down his fingers. The sensation calmed him and he gathered himself to try and escape the situation.
'I'm sorry Doctor, I just.. it's hard to think about that night.. it's all a blur to me, I remember being out late looking for my cat who went missing a few days before, then Karamatsu showed up, and before I knew it he was on the ground, that's when I called the ambulance'
Every word that leaked from Ichi's mouth was a lie, he remembered every gruesome detail of what happened, but if anyone were to ever find out it would ruin him. Dr. Saito looked unamused especially after Ichi had just snapped the way he did, but before he could say another word the phone rang with a piercing sound. He hesitated to pick it up but decided to after a few seconds.
'Yes... yes... correct, 40.2...... are you certain?! ... understood. It seems Karamatsu is stabilizing, I'm needed in his room, you may follow me but you'll have to wait outside until I say it's all right to come inside, do you understand?'
'Kara is... he's awake... he's ok?...'
Ichimatsu stood in disbelief for a moment before quickly racing Dr. Saito out of the room and to the ward where his brother was held. The unpleasant smell of blood, bleach and urine filled the air leaving little room to breathe without feeling infected. As Ichimatsu approached the room he allowed the Doctor to pass him and enter first, full of suppressed emotions he simply stood still, almost scared to move. The Doctors were less speedy with their movements this time and seemed more confident in their actions, which reassured Ichi to some extent but not near enough to rid of the sense of impending doom which lay deep in his heart. Left waiting again. The old clock on the wall was pale green and had a small spider's corpse lying inside.
'Mr. Matsuno, your brother is awake now, would you like to come through? But.. I must warn you that the medication he's been on will effect his speech and movements to an extent, and he has suffered from major brain injury as you know, so he may not remember you at first, please be cautious with what you say, use small words and try not to evoke any strong emotions in him.... right this way'
Not a single word sunk in, all Ichi could think of was seeing his brothers stupid face and that painfully embarrassing grin of his, If he could only touch him again, tell him how sorry he is for everything, and tell his dear brother how much of an idiot he was for trying to save him... He began to approach the bed slowly, two nurses left with their heads bowed down and Dr. Saito walked to the furthest corner of the room to check on some files. Though the sunlight shone in through the slightly stained and aged windows it still didn't warm the sharp atmosphere which stabbed through Ichi's chest like a blade warning him not to come any closer to the train wreck that he had caused. There were so many wires and pipes that infected Karamatsu's skin, he was covered in scars from the night of the incident, a huge bruising contaminated his face, he didn't look like himself at all. The loud noises from the machines which had kept him alive were drowned out by the sound of Ichimatsu's heartbeat in his ears, he took a careful step forward followed by an eager two steps, he still couldn't believe what he was seeing. Treading with absolute caution he attempted conversation with his brother, for the first time in what felt like an eternity.
'Ka- Karamatsu-niisan... I'm sorr- I just- I couldn't keep- ...... I can't.....'
Unable to finish any sentence he tried to start; the immense guilt that weighed on Ichi's shoulders was enough to impair his speech as well as his thoughts, but his words were empty to the boy who lay in the bed beside him. Karamatsu suffered from severe brain damage and he couldn't remember his own name.. much less Ichimatsu or his brothers. He turned to face Ichimatsu revealing a horrendous scar that plagued his right eye, his iris was now near- white and his pupil was no longer functional, blending in with his iris like a small frozen explosion.
'Who..... do I know you?'
At that moment the world stopped spinning, it had stopped, Ichimatsu felt the ground beneath him change as his universe was melting all around. Sinking deeper and deeper he felt each millisecond like a century and every fibre of his being become over-shadowed with self hatred and lunacy.
He spoke softly, 'I'm the one who did this to you.'
Ichimatsu didn't remember his own name at this point, he was now empty space, worthless, unholy, disgusting, vile, selfish, a killer, a monster, a demon, a killer, a killer... killer.
'I'm a- .....'
A cupboard door closed shut with slight force waking Ichimatsu out of his trance, Dr. Saito came towards the two brothers with confidence and a glove on one hand.
'And how are we feeling Mr' Matsuno, it's fine if you're still confused, I will answer any questions you may have so please don't hesitate to ask me or one of the nurses for anything you may need'