Hanahaki Byou, in most cases, is fatal. If not treated, that is. It’s rare, and not many contract it. It’s heartbreaking to watch, and not as easy to get rid of as it may seem. It spawns from unrequited love. When one’s feelings aren’t returned, or go unnoticed, it forms. It starts out mild, a flutter in your chest, or an ache in your throat. Nothing serious. Nothing that would raise any alarms.
It gets worse.
You start to cough. Nothing comes up, but you can feel it. It swims at the pit of your stomach, threatening to rise. It isn’t often that it’s caught early, mostly due to the fact that not many believe it to be real. It’s a myth. A legend, really. Known by few, and shared by many fewer, the disease is virtually unknown.
After the coughing, when you think you have nothing more than a common cold, you begin to cough up blood. Just speckles, but it’s enough to concern you. Not enough to concern a doctor, apparently. Any scans you get will come up blank. Any tests performed come out negative. You’re sent home with some advil and a note to get you out of school, or out of work.
Then come the flower petals.
They’re usually white, although they vary from person to person and from emotions and stages. It depends on how bad it is. As the disease takes over, the petals become larger. There’s more blood, and the petals fall from between your lips more frequently. You never feel hungry, because your stomach is always full. You can never breathe, because the fronds stick to the sides of your throat, plastered there with blood and saliva.
If your love is not returned, you either die, or you pay the ultimate price. A surgery, one that takes not only the pain away, but the emotions too. The very essence of who you are is ripped away. Never can you feel joy again, but then again, you can never feel pain again. You become a shell of a person, incapable of much of anything at all. Wisps of what you used to feel remain, itching at the back of your mind, and sparking. But no matter how much you reach for them, they are always just out of your grasp. It’s a horrible way to live.
The unfortunate souls cursed with this illness rarely have the will to go on. Their feelings go either unnoticed or unreturned. Due to the limited knowledge on the disease, not many actually know what causes it, and that is usually their downfall.