Dream Me Awake

Percy Cooper is sitting in a hospital, waiting for news of his brother James...or is he?


3. Gone

Soon after a mushy, unappetizing bowl of porridge, I found myself back at my old post, slumped in the hospital chair, attempting to make sense of jumbled words on a page of absurdity. But an animal wail of “NOOOOOOOO…” followed by a series of chest-wracking sobs alerted me from my struggle. Mum was the source of the noise; crumpled over by the bed, her knotted black hair messed up further, and her emerald green eyes accusing, mournful, and sparkling with tears. A flock of clucking nurses were trying and failing to console her.


Then a pretty-faced, young nurse trotted over to me. A deep frown creased her forehead.

“You are James Cooper’s brother?”


“I’m sorry, but… we’ve got some bad news. James died a couple of minutes ago, due to extensive and severe head injuries. My condolences.”


It was like she had punched me in the face. A knife stabbed my heart and my whole world fell apart. I could not speak. I could not move. I stood there, staring, mute. Everything spun very fast very suddenly  and then went pitch black. My head hit the floor with a sickening crack.


Alone in the inky darkness, the only noise my heart thumping in my chest and the only smell the scent of fear, I despaired. James was my best friend, my sole companion and my confidant. We had shared everything, from our looks to our birthdays. Now I would eternally in sorrow.


When I got out of bed yesterday morning, bleary-eyed and stretching, I had no idea that I would soon hear the crunch of my twin’s body hitting the concrete patio, the shrill shriek of my mother’s terror, my father hurriedly calling an ambulance.


James had fallen out of the tree.

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