|Picture taken from The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor|
What would you do, if you were told you only had three more months to live?
It sounds like a cliche from a movie or a book, doesn't it? That's what I thought, too. In the movie, the character would probably be devastated. They would probably start regretting what they'd done in their lives, and think about what they'd want to do before their life ended.
Me? I shrugged.
I mean, the seventeen years I've been on this Earth can't be counted as 'living', anyway. I have a strange heart condition that nobody in the world can figure out. Something's wrong, but what? Doctors don't know. Not the doctors in Bandung, or Singapore, or Cleveland. They started experimenting on me when I was four, but after three years, it took the toll on my mom. That's when she decided to let go of me.
But I'm still here, ten years later. Barely, anyway. I haven't gone to school in a month. It's okay, I don't really want to. When I'm there, I feel like a stranger in the class all over again. I struggle in catching up with the rest of the class because when they were covering trigonometry or some other mathematical gibberish, I was slipping in and out of almost-comas. Why should I know any of that stuff, anyway? Physics, chemistry, math... They all won't matter when I die.
What will? I have no idea.
Calm down, I'm not suicidal. I don't want to die. I just don't have any reason to dread it. I'm not welcoming it, per se, but maybe... maybe it's better if I die.
My parents, they're good people. They just hit the reverse-lottery with me. Sometimes when I think of what they could have done with their lives if they didn't have me, I can see their genuine smiling faces. The ones they show me are restricted--painful. They don't deserve me. I say this as a matter of fact, not from an emotional point of view.
So when I overheard Doctor Marino telling my mom that she would finally be free of me in three months or so (not her exact words, obviously), I just shrugged. Good for her. And finally, I guess. I'm not sure if I believe in an afterlife, but even if there isn't one, I'll be okay. I will no longer be a burden to her, or to my dad, or to classmates who have to struggle to remember my damn name when I'm attending classes once in a blue moon, or to my country, or to the world.
Now, what do you imagine death would be like?
I've fantasized about mine quite a number of times, honestly. Not much you can do when you're constrained to a bed in an empty hospital ward by yourself, night after night. In my mind, I imagine it will come at night, when I'm alone, just like tonight. Hopefully it'll be painless. It'll be better if it happens when I'm asleep, I think. So I'll close my eyes, fall asleep, and then just never wake up. It'll be perfect.
What I never once imagined is that death would come in the form of two guys with bright green eyes and a weird sense of fashion.
After I died, I wake up in the dark. I think I'm outside. It's super chilly, and just realizing that I'm cold sends shivers all over my body. My supposedly dead body. That wakes me up. What in the everloving hell happened to me?
I open my eyes. I am outside, and it is dark. I don't recognize where I am... I mean, I haven't been to many places besides my parents' house, the school, and various hospitals anyway, so I don't suppose I should know areas like this--especially with this many trees surrounding me. Am I in a park? No... A forest?
"You're awake," I hear someone whisper from my side, and footsteps coming from another. I turn my head to my right, and there he is--one of the guys who barged into my hospital room like criminals in action movies. This time, there's no detective daddy or super-powered boyfriend to save me, though. They just killed me and took me here.
Hold on, what?
"What..." I try to ask them the million questions that form in my head, but realize that 1) my throat hurts, and 2) my voice sounds like frogs swallowing Boncabe. "What the...?"
"Okay, sorry. I know you have a lot of questions," says the guy who now I remember tore open my freaking chest and took out my freaking heart and then freaking burst it right before my own two eyes.
Hell yeah, I have a lot of questions!
"But we're here to save you," he continues, apparently not getting the signals my eyes are making to tell me more details on how BREAKING AND ENTERING into my room and KILLING ME and then KIDNAPPING ME count as saving me. And from what? The only danger I have ever been is if my heart stops pumping blood, and that's literally what they let happen.
"I'm Aadi." I suddenly hear the other guy say. I turn to him. He looks humongous, standing over me. Maybe it's because I'm lying on the ground and he's just standing there, looking down on me. Terrific. "And that's my brother, Archan. We were sent here to take you to our kingdom and prepare you for the war."
I mean... Guys, whoever is reading this--does ANYthing this guy says make sense to you? Because to me it doesn't. It really doesn't.
My confusion probably shows on my face, because the other guy--Archan, was it?--starts shaking his head. "Okay, I know it's confusing. It's... We... I don't even know where to begin."
"Try," I croak.
He sighs. "Our princess died, Mara."
He said it as if I'm supposed to understand what's going on with just that sentence. Princess what now? Where are they from, The United Kingdom? What does any of it have to do with me?
"And we're at war," says the older guy. "Well, we will be, very soon. We need her to lead us to victory, but she died, and now it's up to you to save our kingdom and our people in it."
I mean, I'm not crazy, right? It's completely normal that I don't understand anything that they've been spewing out of their crazy mouths, yeah? I shake my head slightly (because damn does it hurt to literally do anything with my body right now), trying to make sense of every single thing that has happened tonight.
"Aisha--Our princess, she has--I mean, her heart is strong. That's where she got all her powers from. Before she died, we managed to save her heart, and we've put it in your body. The one beating inside you, that's hers." The boy kneeling beside me looks sorrowful as he says all this. "I'm very sorry we didn't have the time to explain before taking your heart away, but... There's no time, Mara. It's getting dangerous every second."
"Archan." Aadi says suddenly, his voice alert. I look at his poised posture, and that's when I feel it--danger.
There's danger lurking, and I don't know how I know it, but I can feel it. They can, too, I think. I get up slowly, ignoring the screams of pain from every bone in my body as I do so. I look around. I don't see anything out of ordinary (except for the fact that I'm sitting on the ground in an unknown forest with two strangers at probably two am), but the presence... I can feel the presence.
And suddenly I see it.
"THERE!" I cry, pointing at a pair of red eyes just floating around ten meters in front of us.
I haven't had the time to panic or feel scared before Aadi stands in front of me in a defensive stance, and Archan running toward the danger. I will my eyes to stay open, because what's happening in front of me is unbelievable:
The floating eyes develop some kind of darkness around them,
Archan muttering some stuff and pointing his fingers to the danger,
Green lights come out of his fingers, shooting the shadow,
And as its darkness fades, consumed by the green lights, it cries
A loud shriek
Something I've never heard of before
Something that shouldn't be real
And then it disappears, and the whole forest fall silent once again.
Only this time, Archan and Aadi quickly turn to me, see that I'm okay, and each take my hand and we run. We run and run, I don't know how long we've been running and where, but I can sense the urgency and fear that they don't bother hiding anymore.
As I move my legs, I can't help but think that maybe, maybe, death is better after all!