Brain capacity at 6%
"Ebony? Ebony?" Ivory whispered to her sister. She wasn't supposed to be visiting her as it was two o'clock in the morning, but she just had to speak to Ebony while she was alone. "Can you hear me?"
Ebony stayed very still and silent on the bed. Ivory could almost imagine her sister as being dead.
"Ebony?" She clearly wasn't going to wake, so Ivory decided just to talk to her while she was asleep. "I just wanted to say that I love you. We've been together since, well, forever really. We shared that same space while mum was pregnant with us, we were placed in beds next to each other up until we were about seven years old, and even after that, we talked through cups across the hall between our bedrooms. You are the first person I turn to in a crisis, no matter what it is, you are always there to listen. I can tell you absolutely anything. It's the joy of having a beautiful and wonderful twin sister like you. You knew about my first love and I knew about yours, we were there for each other when we first went on holiday without our parents, you listened to me go on about my first celebrity crush, we helped each other when we both had our first periods. You helped me to revise for those tests that I failed, you were my revision partner for GCSEs, you held my hand at the results day, stuck with me at the induction day and gave me a million hugs to reassure me on our first day of Sixth Form. Ebony, you have supported me all the way through it all, and I've never properly thanked you.
"I want to take this moment to thank you for everything. I thank you for being there at granddad's funeral, for assisting me with my fashion disasters, for doing my hair and make-up for auntie Jane's wedding. I thank you for sitting and making all my revision cards for GCSE maths, for printing out all the past papers, for marking my practice questions, for doing my art homework so I could get a decent grade in it and for everything else to do with education. My dear sister, I can't sit here and list all the things that I am thankful for. There are too many to list in the short time that I have. Even a hundred years wouldn't give me enough time to be completely thankful for you. But I'm just going to put it into a simple sentence: thank you for being my sister, Ebony Isabel Favaro."
Ivory leant over and kissed her sister's blank face. She didn't know why she had to say all that tonight. She just felt that Ebony needed to know it. Ivory needed to say it before anything happened to her. She could tell, even without all the doctor's information, that Ebony was getting worse.
Ivory Favaro stood up and didn't even bother to wipe away the tears that had cascaded down her cheeks while she was talking. The salt was stinging her face, but she didn't care. This pain was only minute compared to the pain that she felt when she looked at her sister's dying body.
"Ivory!" Her mother cried when she opened the door on Ivory's weak and grief-wrecked form. "My sweetie, where have you been?"
Sweetie, honey, cookie, sugar, pumpkin. Why are terms of endearment always food? Is it not substantial enough to know the person, so you have to give them a food name for affection?
"Just out." Ivory replied, entering the house and trying to sneak past her mother.
"Where?" Her mother spun round and pulled Ivory into the living room, which was situated to the left of the front door (as you entered the house).
"Where what?" Alex, Ivory's older brother, asked, as Ivory admitted defeat and flopped on the sofa.
"Where have you been, miss Favaro?" Mother asked sternly.
"No where in particular," Ivory shrugged, not looking at any of her family in the eye.
Father sighed. "Just tell us where you've been. We're not going to punish you, we would just like to know what you have been doing out for so long."
There was a period of awkward silence.
"I went to the hospital." Ivory said eventually.
"But it's three o'clock in the morning!" Mother cried in shock.
Ivory frowned, "but you're all awake."
"That's because we were waiting for you." Alex said in a tone that clearly said it was meant to be obvious.
"But did you all have to stay up?" Ivory asked in confusion.
Alex stared at her for a moment. "We have a family member currently in hospital from a car accident. Don't you think we're all a little worried about the rest of the family? We stayed up because we didn't know where you were. We thought we were going to get another phone call to say that you'd been taken to hospital as well."
"We didn't get a call about Ebony because we heard it happen." Ivory pointed out blankly, unsure of what else to say.
"How do you think I found out? Or dad?" Alex asked. "I was at uni in London and dad was at work, half an hour away. How do you think we got to the hospital?"
Ivory stayed silent.
"I'm sorry." She eventually managed to say.
Mother nodded, "what did you go to the hospital for?"
"I went to talk to Ebony. Tell her everything I should tell her if..." Ivory trailed off, unable to finish the sentence. It didn't matter because the rest of the family understood, and they all fell into a silence.
"What did you say?" Alex asked, breaking the silence after a couple of minutes.
"That's private!" Ivory said, shocked that Alex would ask such a thing. "Surely you should have guessed that seeing as I went at two o'clock in the morning, I didn't want anyone else to know what I was saying?"
"Oh, sorry, yeah I guess so."
"I think we should all go to bed now." Mother interrupted calmly.
Everyone nodded in affirmation, said goodnight to each other and went upstairs. Father stayed downstairs to put away the empty glasses from their drinks and turn out the lights. They all went to bed and fell asleep, whispering goodnight to the absent member before consciousness slipped away.
The phone's dialling tone echoed through the house at 8 am the next day. Ivory sprung from her bed and dashed to the handset hung on the wall upstairs.
"Hello?" She said into the speaker. Her mother had come out of her room too and stood watching Ivory carefully from her doorway.
"Hello. Is that a member of the Favaro family?" The voice said. Ivory didn't recognise it.
"Er, yes it is. I'm Ivory Favaro."
"Are you Ebony's sister?"
"Yeeess... has something happened to her?" Mother looked up sharply.
"I am the nurse who is primarily overseeing Ebony's condition and we think that you should come down to the hospital. Ebony has taken a turn for the worse." The nurse said on the other end of the line. "I am sorry." She added.
"Okay, that should be fine. Thank you."
"Okay." The nurse said before hanging up.
Ivory returned the phone to its cradle slowly and stared at her mother sadly.
"Well?" Mother demanded. "What is it?"
"We need to go to the hospital."
"What has happened to my daughter?" Mother demanded as soon as the rest of the Favaro family had reached the corridor outside Ebony's room. A nurse was stood in front of the door, preventing the family from entering.
"We are currently unsure, but the doctors think that her brain capacity has decreased again. She has regressed, essentially, to the stage of the average animal." The nurse said.
Father frowned, "what does that mean?"
"It means that all her brain is capable of processing is information about how to eat, move and reproduce. She can hear what we say to her, but it seems that her brain is unable to interpret it. She also can't respond because her brain has lost the ability to form coherent speech."
"What capacity is it at now?" Alex asked.
"They aren't sure, but they estimate around six per cent." The nurse paused, turning round to look through the window of the room, before looking back to the family. "Scientists reckon that if a human's brain capacity dropped below five per cent, they would slip into a coma and most likely die."
"What?" Mother exclaimed, clamping her hand over her mouth before admitting an animal-like whimper.
Father put his arms round his wife's shoulders and guided her to a chair. She fell into the seat and lowered her head into her hands, her shoulders shaking. Father sat next to her and continued to rub her arms gently.
"I'm sorry, I have to go. If there's anything you want, just let one of us know." The nurse said quietly.
"Yes. I want my sister to recover." Alex said.
"We're doing all we can." The nurse replied before marching off back to the nurse's station.
Ivory slid down the wall that she was leaning against until she was sat on the floor. She drew her knees to her chest and waited.