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Huikau

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He couldn’t hear anything. Was he deaf? He didn’t know. He pried his eyes open, but nothing was clear. Images above him were going in and out of focus. He couldn’t make sense of anything he was seeing. Was he really seeing them, or were they just memories?

He could see familiar faces. They were talking, but he still couldn’t hear anything. Well, nothing but what reminded him of a rushing wind. It kept getting louder, and the images, the people, were losing focus.

He felt a slight pressure, but he couldn’t really pinpoint where it was. It was everywhere and nowhere. Then the pain hit. He couldn’t breathe. He gasped for air. He choked on the liquid that was filling his throat and mouth. Then everything stopped.

His eyes were still open, but everything that he had been seeing faded. The last thing he was sure he saw, though, were the scared eyes of the people that cared about him most. Blackness claimed him, quickly. It felt like falling.

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He could hear again, but what it was he couldn’t tell. There were sounds coming from everywhere. It was confusing. Nothing made sense anymore. Was it real?

One thing he was sure of was that his eyes were closed. He wasn’t sure how he knew, because he didn’t know anything else. Or did he?

He couldn’t move, or feel anything, for that matter. He was floating in a sea of black… and sound. That was until the sounds faded away again, and all that was left was the black.

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His whole world was made up of sounds and images. The sounds continued to make little sense, but he was able to pick out a few small things. Little words he was sure he knew the meaning of, like “coma”, and there were a lot of “if’s” thrown around.

The images were jumbled. Just flashes of things. Were they memories? Were they just his imagination running away with itself? He didn’t know. It was better than the blackness that consumed him most of the time.

Time meant nothing in the black. Nothing mattered there. He wasn’t sure if anything mattered at all, but there was something that held him in place. It never allowed him to fall further away, to be lost forever.

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The blackness wasn’t so all-consuming anymore. He was beginning to feel again. Or was he? He couldn’t tell if it was real, or his imagination, again. He was also able to distinguish different sounds. There were voices mixed in with mechanical sounds. He couldn’t follow anything that was being said, but he thought he recognized them. They were talking too much and too fast. They weren’t loud, though. Was that for his benefit? It wasn’t like it really mattered.

When everything started fading again, he couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t fair. He didn’t want to go back to the black. He was alone there.

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There was light everywhere. It was breaking thought the blackness. Were his eyes open? He wasn’t sure. He couldn’t see anything other than blurry shapes. Then his eyes blinked and he could see. What he saw, he didn’t understand, at least not right away. Everything was white. The voices he had been hearing quieted. Then, he saw those same faces that he had seen before he had disappeared into the black.

He was confused. He knew who those people were. He was sure of it. He just couldn’t understand what was happening. The light was too much. He had been in the black for too long. How long was too long?

What once was a scary place became a refuge. He closed his eyes again. He wasn’t ready. As everything was fading again, he heard a name. Was it his?

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He was choking. Something was in his throat and no matter how hard he tried, it wouldn’t move. He opened his eyes and searched, hoping someone could help him. He couldn’t hear anything but the rushing wind again. He felt pressure somewhere, like something was pressing down on him. He couldn’t see what it was and that scared him more. He wanted to fade into the blackness again, but he couldn’t.

Then a face appeared above his. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, but he knew they were talking to him. He tried focusing on the face, but it was hard in his panicked state. Then a voice broke through the incoming haze. It was worried, but calming. He knew that wasn’t right, it didn’t fit the face. Or did it? Somehow, in his confused mind, he knew he could trust that face.

As he began to relax, the rushing wind faded. He felt something squeeze his shoulder as he closed his eyes. He couldn’t be sure, but he thought he was dreaming after he returned to the black. It wasn’t like the jumbled images from before.

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It was gone; he could breathe. He had been dreaming of a car, and guns, and running. Or was it a memory? He took a deep breath, but quickly realized he shouldn’t have. His chest hurt. He heard a noise that didn’t sound like talking. He was only remotely aware that it was he that had made it.

Then he heard the name again. He was pretty sure it was his. Why would they keep saying it to him if it wasn’t? He slowly opened his eyes. Everything was still white, like before, but not as bright. For the first time since he had become intimately acquainted with the blackness, he was able to focus nearly right away.

He felt pain, but it was muted. He attempted to move, and finally was able to without much problem. There was only one other person in the room with him. It was the same one that had been there every time he’d come back to the world. That face he knew he could trust. For the first time, though, there was a smile there. The worry was still there, but it wasn’t all-consuming anymore.

He felt his hand being squeezed. He hadn’t realized that the other man was holding it. He squeezed back. It was weak, but it would be enough. He then heard one simple word. It wasn’t much, but it meant the world to him.

“Hey.”

His throat was dry and sore, but he had to say something.

“Hey,” he whispered. That was all he could do.

Stuff continued to be jumbled in his brain, but as he closed his eyes again, he knew it was okay. Everything would make sense soon enough.