A shaking hand in mine stirs me. Seb has returned, but he doesn’t seem quite right. His eyes are bloodshot, his skin is pale and he is hunched over as if he is about to be sick. I sit up quickly, making me dizzy for a second, but I recover after a second. He doesn’t seem to quite know where he is, head twitching every second or so, changing his viewpoint. Most noticeable of all is his arm, swollen by the shoulder and trembling violently.
“Seb? Are you alright?” I ask, leaning closer to try and see his face.
He seems to be muttering about something, but I can’t tell what he is saying. He completely ignores me, I squeeze his hand but he doesn’t respond,
“Seb, you’re scaring me, this isn’t funny,” I say, hoping against hopes that this is a joke. But still nothing. I reach out and try to roll up his sleeve to tend to his shoulder, but he jerks away, scowling. What is wrong with him? He’s like a different person, but he still grasps my hand, if a little tighter than I’m used to. After another few minutes, I give up trying to grab his attention, reaching instead to call for medical help.
The alarm goes off, after what seems like an age, the doctor enters, panicking. His eyes aim for me, but are diverted instantly to Seb, who is now shaking even more aggressively. The doctor shouts down the corridor for assistance, a couple of more youthful doctors enter.
The three of them rush over and lift Seb onto the spare bed, prising him from my hand. I realise now that I am crying, almost hysterically at the sight before me. They start attaching monitors to him with well-rehearsed efficiency. The older doctor plants a syringe in his shoulder, causing him to flinch, but very quickly sedating him. The doctor seems a little embarrassed at what he has done, forcing a smile my way after realising what I had seen.
He steps over cautiously.
“Miss Hlavinka, I’m sorry you had to see that, but I’m afraid it was necessary to stop him from hurting himself,” he says.
I nod, understanding perfectly well. What I don’t understand is why he’s suddenly like this.
“Um…Miss Hlavinka, is Sebastian, as far as you know, taking any medication for anything?” the doctor asks.
I shake my head.
“And is he allergic to anything that you know of?”
Again, I shake my head. The doctor seems puzzled, staring intently through me as he tries to think. After a while, he sighs and sits in the chair by the bed.
“Miss Hlavinka, this is not something I would normally ask, but I think it is in Sebastian’s best interests,” he pauses, waiting for me to nod, which I do. “Has Sebastian taken any illegal substances recently?”
“No! Of course not! Why would he do that?” I exclaim, suddenly angry at the doctor for planting the idea in my head.
“I’m sorry Miss, but it is vitally important that we know what he has taken. His symptoms match with a number of different drugs, all of which require different methods of treatment. I have sent for a blood test, but I don’t know how long that will take and I don’t know how much time we have,” he replies calmly.
“He hasn’t taken anything!” I protest.
“And I can’t prove otherwise, but currently, if this is not an allergic reaction, it resembles most closely a fit caused by an overdose,” he says, voice still calm.
I try to get my head around what is happening, if what the doctor says is true, how could he have got into this, and why? I suppose it would explain the sensitive arm and the swollen shoulder, potentially the bag of cash as well. My mind starts making links, joining everything up in a strange diagram, centred around the word ‘drugs’. A glance over at Seb tells me all I need. His arm, now uncovered, is peppered with small, pinprick scars.
“Oh God!” I cry, feeling my throat tighten. The doctor smiles weakly, more apologetic than anything.
“I take it from your reaction that you can’t help,” he says. I shake my head.
He stands from his seated position and returns to Seb, helping the other doctors to attach another tube to his arm. He looks so frail, so broken. What led him to this? Was he not happy? Did he not love me as he said he did? Was I not enough? Should I have realised?
There’s no use trying to work out these things now, I’d have to ask him in person, which is looking less likely by the second. Damn. What was I supposed to do? Was there anything I could have done? I don’t know, this all makes so little sense.
My tears continue to pour down my cheeks, how can I feel so angry and so worried about someone at the same time? Will he recover? If he doesn’t, who will I blame? No, he will recover, he has to. I don’t care what he did; I have to help him through it. I think.
I feel compelled to sit and wait until he is alright again, but my head feels strangely heavy. My head starts to spin, an invisible blade bursts through my chest. I hear the shouts of the doctors as I try to stand, but find my legs weak and collapse beneath me. My body hits the floor.
Everything goes black.