|Hello there! Finally, I finished chapter 6. It was a long chapter and a challenging one that is. I tried experimenting a little in this chapter so tell me your comments about this. Have fun reading!
Warning: This work has broken English. Approach with caution and a sense of dignity to correct me if I'm wrong so that I can improve my writing.
Synopsis:Henry Edgewhiteis a normal teenage boy with one disadvantage-he can't dream. Although it seemed an insignificant fact but that weakness is only a piece of the puzzle. There have been an outbreak in Malaysia. A disease called Acute Brain Activity Disorder (ABAD) kills people just by shuting down their brains. Little do the people of Malaysia know, that disease is not your ordinary disease. Rather, it was a tool to set up the stage for an evil plot. And Henry was right in the middle of it.
Chapter 6: The End of the Routine
Several days had passed since the Henry woke up. He was discharged from the hospital the day after he woke up. The doctor said he was fine and said he just needed some rest much to his relief. He hated taking medicine, modern or traditional. The weird feeling after taking one doesn’t make him feel any better.
Much to his disappointment, he needs to go school after only a day of rest at home. His mother insisted that he go to school so that he won’t be left out. Henry even tried to act sick but that only ended with his ears pulled and pinched by his loving mother followed by her ranting about his acting. His acting was not bad; it’s just not good enough.
Michelle still hadn’t discharged from the hospital yet. She is put under supervision as her condition is still unstable. Henry would come to visit her every day after school. Although the distance from school to the hospital is quite large and requires him to take two trains, he didn’t mind. His best friend is the in hospital and he need to be there to entertain her during her stay.
Michelle changed a little after his first visit. Henry was thankful that she exhibits a little bit of her usual self during his after school visits and her personality improves after every visit. She now smiles more and even giggled at his lame joke much to his amusement. It was like after telling him about what is bugging her before lightens her mood. Even so, she still had a glint of sadness and worry in her eyes. Henry once asked her why she is looking sad. Being Michelle, she just replied with “I’m sad I can’t go to school”. But that doesn’t make him glad. He once caught her staring at her blanket with emotionless eyes.
That doesn’t worries him much as he knows how woman had their mood swings. What worries him more is her condition. She would often get piercing headaches and seizures suddenly without any signs. Right after her episode, she will be perfectly fine like as the nurse once said to him, “It is like you are not meant to be in a hospital.” Her unstable condition worries her parents and the doctors there. Such instability in her condition baffles their medical knowledge. Henry was baffled too. The sharp pain to the head literally disappeared after the last episode after his first visit to Michelle’s hospital room.
Although Henry visits her every day, he still misses her. He misses the moment where they would go to school together, talk about the loads of homework, and eat at Pak Ismail’s after school. The days of him going to school without her is boring, blank, and quite. He didn’t have any other friends at school other that Michelle. The nice girl at the ticketing counter only managed to lighten up his day for a few minutes before it all just became so boring. Classes are like torture to him, as if it was not a torture before. Time seemed to move slower when you are missing an integral part of your life. He would helplessly counts the minutes before he would take the train to the hospital.
After being discharged from the hospital, another interesting agenda was added to his daily life, dreams. Dreams were something that was alien to him before as he never had one in his life before the event at the alley. Those nights where he would stare at the abyss around him while thinking sarcastic comments for Michelle the next was replaced by colourful and wonderful events. His dreams after his mysterious first dream were absolutely wonderful. There was a time he dreamt walking around the park while talking animatedly with Michelle, something he never done for long time. Too bad, his dreams were usually short and always be interrupted by his alarm clock.
Even after a week since he dreamt about the event at the circle of torches, Horus words still bugs him. Henry even tried googling his name on the internet. Horus was an Egyptian god, famous with his Eye of the Horus and its connection with the occult. But there was nothing about Horus being a red-haired teen wearing a tuxedo. Henry watched his old anime where the hero obtained power from mysterious sources. He tried to make a comparison between the anime and his situation before laughing at his own effort and cries in frustration. Henry came to a conclusion that was just a stupid dream and this is reality, not his dreamland, end of story. Even after making that statement, that dream would always came back that him at least once during every hour. He always wondered why.
Henry yawned. The train is late. It has already been 10 minutes but still there is no train. Strange, usually it will only take around 3 minutes for the next train. He was alone, no Michelle to talk to, so he just stared out at the distance.
He caught the sight of the bubbly ticket girl, smiling and greeting customers before handing over tickets. She did a really great job of making her customer’s day had a great start. Henry still didn’t know her name yet, but that doesn’t matter. She made his day great that is all that matters. Wow, how he misses Michelle now. He really needs someone to talk to now. Henry sighed as he leans over the railing.
“This sucks, isn’t it? The train is late.” Someone said. “And because of that, we remembered all our craps and mistakes and sighed heavily on this lovely morning.”
“Huh?” Henry turned to the source of the voice. Beside him as a grinning boy wearing a school uniform with his school’s badge. His spiky black hair was done rather well. From his skin tone colour, Henry guessed he was a Chinese boy. Henry couldn’t get the feeling he met him before.
The boy wrapped his arms around his neck in a buddy-like fashion. “Relax bro! We are young. There is no need to sigh heavily like you had lost all the hope in your life especially in this lovely morning.” The teen talked animatedly. “Just feel the fresh air of the morning hour.” He took a deep breath.
Henry removed himself from the buddy hold, feeling kind of irritated. Who is this guy? He suddenly came to him like his best friend like talk about youth, fun and morning air.
“I’m sorry but who the heck are you?” Henry said with a slight hint of irritation.
The boy raised his eyebrows. “The name is Edmund Wong. We are in the same class but we never spoke before. I was bored when I saw you sighed heavily. As the Hero of Youth, I couldn’t let it my classmate sighed heavily in this lovely morning.” Edmond grinned.
“Huh....” Henry didn’t know how to respond. This guy has a serious case of sugar rush or maybe mild brain disorder. How can a guy be this cheerful without any reason? He said he is his classmate, no wonder Henry felt he had seen him before. Edmond Wong, isn’t he is the class clown? Well, that explains his weird erratic behaviour.
“Your name is Henry right? Edmond asked.
“Huh...yeah.” Henry replied plainly.
“Oh, so you are the one who is a hot stuff at Zati’s gossip corner.”
“Zati’s gossip corner?” Henry imagined Zati with her group of friends huddling around together and whispering to each other.
“Yeah, your name is like kerosene to their fire. But no worries, we share the same fate.” Edmond nodded as if he is acknowledging something.
“Speaking of which, I had always seen you hanging around with Michelle. Where is she actually?”
Henry winced inwardly at the name Michelle. He never knew missing someone could be this hurtful. Wow, that was so cheesy. Speaking of cheesy, the instant cheese pizza last night was delicious although it is instant. Wait, why is he thinking like this?
“Bro?” Edmond waved his hand in front of Henry’s face, effectively snapping him from his thoughts of last night’s dinner.
“Oh, Michelle? She is still in the hospital.”
“Oh really? Pity her. Well I was kinda wondering why one of the hottest girl in class is absent in school, see. I really miss her presence in the class. Her aura can make any sane man shivers!” Edmond talked cheerfully, heck more animatedly than before.
“Ooookay...” Henry felt a little uncomfortable with him. He is...too hyper. His animated talking scared him.
“By the way...” Just when Edmond started talking again, the train arrived at the station. Henry saw his ray of light. “Finally!”
“Well dude, it’s a pleasure talking to you but the train is here and I really got to go, so see ya!” Henry smiled and walked away.
“Well, what’s the hurry? We had the same stop right?” Edmond caught up with him.
“Heh? Why is that?” Henry was getting a little irritated. He really wanted to run from this...youthful person. He didn’t know why, but he is well...youthful.
“Duh, we go to the same school. That is why we are in the same class” Edmond said in a matter in fact manner.
“Huh?” Henry looked at Edmond’s badge. Oh yeah, he went to the same school heck even the same class. Why did he suddenly forgot that vital piece of information? He is really getting forgetful lately. Henry facepalmed himself inwardly. This is an epic fail.
“Well anyway, have you gone to the new restaurant down at the Shopping District? We should seriously try it. We have this huge bowl of spaghetti with even larger meatballs and-”
Henry sighed inwardly, while he nodded to every statement the hyperactive boy made throughout the ride.
School was boring. Yeah, like it wasn’t boring before. Whatever the teacher babbled in front of the class was like an unturned radio to him. He managed to capture only fragments of the lecture which doesn’t make any sense. Those hours in class were spent in just him staring into the distance or the cute Mathematics teacher’s face. However, Miss Lai’s cute face doesn’t seem to be effective with his condition. School really is so bland.
Well, this is not the first time Henry was like this. Ever since after he was discharged from the hospital, school became very bland for him. Maybe Michelle is not here that is why Henry thinks going to school is pointless. All this time he went to school because one; his mom will blow if he doesn’t go to school and two; he wanted to hang out with Michelle. When Henry thinks about it, he really is dependent on her at school. Whose homework shall he copy? Michelle. Whose money will he lent in case he left his wallet back home? Michelle. Whose ‘Touch n Go’ card will he use in case his card is out of prepaid? Michelle. Wow, so much for being an independent guy.
Well at least Edmond only pestered him until the station. That hyperactive guy didn’t spoke a word to him in class. Edmond was busy with his own group of friends, laughing and goofing off together. Even an erratic and hyperactive guy like him has a group of friends around him. Well good from him at least he won’t be pestered by him again.
It was long before recess came after 4 hours of quality education. (yeah, right) As usual, student rushed to the cafeteria, fighting to get the limited supply of nasi lemak served at the canteen. It was kind of amusing to full grown teenagers running and shoving each other for the nasi lemak. Come on, it’s just a nasi lemak. He can get one at Muthu’s everyday with an even better sambal than the canteen-made one. Usually he and Michelle would crack random nasi lemak joke while walking steadily to the canteen. But now, that is not the case. Henry just walk alone along the corridor to the canteen, often chuckling at the running teens who passed by him.
The canteen was packed with students. Almost every food station at the canteen has a line of student queuing up for the turn to buy food except the nasi lemak station. Students were pushing each other to buy their food. Cries of “One nasi lemak!” were heard among the pushing students. Seriously, grow up already.
Henry almost never went to the nasi lemak station. Instead he went to the bread station where he can get cheap buns with no to minimal waiting. It seemed at most students didn’t like to eat buns although they are ridiculously cheap and quite satisfying. Henry once wondered why but he couldn’t careless as he would not want a long wait to get his daily bun.
He paid for his 60 cent bun and searched for an empty seat at the canteen. The good spots under the fan were occupied with the major group like Zati’s group or the Soccer team. Henry wished one of this days he could eat under the fan for once at the canteen. The weather is so hot especially around mid day.
“Oi!” Henry heard a voice he particularly didn’t want to hear. He slowly turned his head toward the origin of the voice, the hyperactive boy named Edmond Wong.
“Haiz...not him.” Henry sighed inwardly.
“Hey dude, come sit over here!” Edmond made a gesture at the empty seat beside him. He was with some other students from his class.
Henry sighed. “Well there is no other place to sit.” He walked towards the table.
Once Henry took his seat, Edmond wrapped his arm around his neck in a buddy choke hold. “Guys, this is Henry. You all know him?” Edmond asked his friends. All of them looked at each other before shooking their heads.
“Aww, come on. He is the one always with Michelle, the Angel Who Loves All.”
That phrase earned some ‘oh’s from them. The Angel Who Loves All? How bad are their nicknaming senses?
Edmond released Henry. “Okay Henry, so this is Khe Tiaw.”
A very thin, almost sickly Chinese boy made waving gesture.
“Suresh” A plump Indian boy said a quick ‘Yo’
“And Farid.” A small Malay boy did some weird gesture.
“We are a band see? I’m the guitarist, Farid is the drummer, Suresh is the bassist and Khe Tiaw did the vocals. Cool eh?” Edmond smiled.
“Oh...er...yeah, cool.” Henry said, trying to be interested but the truth is, he really sounds uninterested.
“So did you hear? Michelle actually involved in some funny business.” Khe Tiaw said.
“PFFT!” Henry choked from his drink. Henry coughed and spoke “What? That’s ridiculous!” Michelle wasn’t in any funny business. He knew it.
“But it’s true! I heard from some nerd kids. When they are on their way to the comic corner, they saw Michelle doing something really weird.” Khe Tiaw told his story with the story telling capability of a whale. Now that’s random.
“Really?” Suresh said curiously.
“Now is this a hot story.” Farid was grinning.
“What exactly she did anyway?” Henry asked. This seems to be a good opportunity to get some information Michelle is hiding.
“Yeah, what exactly she did?” Edmond repeats Henry’s question.
“She is actually into Monkey smuggling!” There was a long silence. Wow, that guy is really stupid.
“What are heck? You are totally out of your mind! That is just plain stupid and unrealistic.” Suresh said.
“But it’s true! I paid 5 ringgit for this frickin story.”
“That shows how stupid you are!”
“So much for a hot story.” Farid sighed.
Henry sighed in relief. It was some stupid fake story. A stupid one that is. Thank god it is fake.
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
Henry along with the people at that table plus most students in the canteen turned to the source of the voice, a tall Malay boy with a spiky hairdo, too spiky to be legal in school. In front of him is another Malay student slightly shorter than him. The guy is wearing a blue school uniform instead of white signifying he is a prefect.
“What is your frickin’ problem, hah?” The spiky-haired guy screamed in the prefect’s face.
“I’m just asking you to line up and stop pushing other people around.” The prefect replied calmly, his face retained a cool demeanour.
“What? I’m a frickin’ taiko of this school. I can do anything I want, whenever I want!”
“Taiko? Wow, that’s a nice lie.”
“You think I’m lying? Do you know who you are messing with?” The spiky-haired guy said, his temper is clearly building up.
“I’m messing with a normal student who doesn’t know who to line up.” The prefect replied bluntly.
"Oh, so you think you are so cool hah?"
"Of course I am, I'm a prefect."
"What's wrong with you? You act all strong and mighty like your father own the school."
"My father doesn't own the school. Same goes to your father. The goverment owns the school."
The spiky-haired guy’s face flushed. He was definitely pissed.
“That does it! You asked for it!” the spiky-haired guy raise his fist and threw a punch aiming at the prefect’s face. The prefect gracefully deflect the punch with his forearm and in just a in a moment’s notice put the spiky-haired student into an arm lock. He then proceed to kick the back of the student’s knees causing the poor student to fall on to his knees.
“What the heck! Lemme me go!” the spiky-haired student growled. “I’m seriously killing you!”
The prefect twisted the student’s arm more causing him to scream in pain. “Be quite if you want to survive this with 2 functional arms.” The prefect said cooly.
“Now, what is the commotion here?” an old man wearing a blue shirt with black pants and yellow tie. He wore his pants so high up until it almost reaches the chect level. He is the Chemistry teacher and also the Prefectoral Board advisor, Encik Faizal. He is famous for his strictness and his high pants level.
“Sir, this student refuses to give cooperation to my duties.” The prefect replied, still with his calm demeanour.
“Who the hell would give cooperation to you?” the spiky-haired student said but is quickly silenced by the prefect holding him in an arm lock.
Encik Faizal rubbed his forehead and sighed. “Let him go, Mikhail.” The prefect let go of his victim. The poor victim fell on the ground with a loud thud.
“Rahim, come to my office immediately.” Encik Faizal said with a sense of authority. The spiky-haired student followed obediently, obviously didn’t want to pick a fight with the old man. “Mikhail, I would like to see you after school at the prefect room.” “Affirmative.” The prefect replied.
The students watching the scene including Henry was awed by the smooth self-defence work the prefect did of the spiky-haired student. Encik Faisal faced the students in the canteen.
“What are you brats waiting for? Don’t you have class? 4-E, I demanded my reports today. Who doesn’t finish my reports will get punishment!”
Students scrambled from their seat, not wanting to face the wrath of the old teacher. Some student cowered in fear and started to panicked. Obviously, those are students from 4-E. Pity them, really.
“Dude, we better chow too.” Edmond picked up his plate. “I don’t want more detention from him.”
Henry and the rest of Edmond’s friends followed the suit. Out of the corner of Henry’s eyes, he could see the prefect looking at his hands with a serious expression.
School ended with a low note. Nothing interesting happened after the canteen incident. Rumours about the prefect were spreading like wild fire. Girls started to fawn over him. Some even suggest establishing a fan club. Guys began to talking about his strength and thoughts about challenging him. Well, Henry couldn’t care less about it. It’s time to visit Michelle.
The 30-minute journey to the hospital was uneventful indeed. Ride train, change station, ride train and arrive. It’s almost like a new routine to him, not that he is enjoying it. This is an extreme hassle for Henry but for Michelle, he just has to endure it.
And here he was in front of Michelle’s room. He exhaled and gave the door a knock. The sound of ‘Come in’ was heard and Henry entered the room.
“Hey, Michelle.” Henry sat on the chair beside her bed. “How are you feeling?”
“Hey, Henry.” Michelle gave him a smile, a huge contrast to her reaction one week ago. “I’m feeling okay.
“Did the headache return?” Henry asked.
“I got one in the morning. It hurts like hell.” Michelle rubbed her head. “But thank god it only lasted for a minute or so.”
Henry chuckled. “Well, that’s a good sign. Just endure it for just a little more.”
“Waa, endure it more? Awwhhh.” Michelle sulks which make Henry laughed.
“Don’t worry, it will go away. Eventually.” Henry smiled. Michelle looked at him with slanted eyes, obviously annoyed.
“Hahaha...You always enjoyed torturing me eh?”
“Favourite past time since Gameboy.”
Michelle laughed. “God, you’re so full of cliché”
A brief silence passed between them. Henry was glad Michelle is almost back to her usual self, cracking jokes and teasing him to no end. Now that five ringgit ticket is worth it.
“Hey, you know the nurse who takes care of me every day? You know, the plump Indian woman.” Michelle said while making big gestures to make her point.
“Oh yeah, I know. What about her?”
Michelle’s face faulted. She looked sad. “I heard that she passed away yesterday.”
Henry was shocked. “What? Why?”
“She didn’t come to work yesterday. Her co-worker said she is sick and just this morning I received news that she passed away last night.”
“Oh I see. Well, that’s kind of sad.” Henry was feeling sad. Although he only saw her a few times but he was still sad. Henry imagined what her family is feeling right now.
“And you know what? Her case is suspected to be an ABAD case.” Michell continued.
Henry was a bit startled when he heard ABAD “Wait, ABAD? You mean the weird disease that shuts down the patient’s brain by unknown cause?”
“Yeah, it was something like that.” Michelle said sombrely.
“My dad is busy with ABAD too. He is busy researching on it until he won’t be coming home until it is finished.” Henry remembered his father, who is working 24/7 to know more about ABAD.”
“A sad thing...No one can save her right? Because there is no cure to ABAD. Heck, the cause of it is still unknown.” Michelle said, her eyes were mixed with feelings of sadness and frustration.
“Yeah...” Henry said, he had lost of words to say.
“If only...Just only...” Michelle muttered under her breath. Her hands tightly clutching her bed sheets.
“Hey, are you okay?” Henry asked in concern. He was a little worried about his friend.
Michelle rubbed her eyes. “Y..Yeah...I think.” Her face betrayed her words though. Her face was screaming worry, sadness and frustration.
“Obviously, you are not okay. Is something bothering you?”
Michelle took a deep breath and exhaled. “Actually, something is bothering me. It is bothering me until I couldn’t take my mind off it.”
“Oh, what is it?” Henry said. He was really curious to know what is bothering her to this extend. She usually won’t be affected by a stranger’s passing at this scale.
“Recently, I had a terrible dream everyday. A nightmare would be a more suitable word. In this dream, I was alone in the darkness. And then, I heard voices, crying for help and screaming in pain. I tried to locate the source but it seems they are everywhere. It was driving me crazy. Right after that, I saw a girl on the streets and a speeding car right behind her. I ran, trying to save the girl but my body was chained. I struggled from the chain to save the girl but...” Michelle choked, tears were freely flowing from her eyes.
“I....I...I couldn’t save her.” Michelle squeaked. She let her tears flow freely and sobbed. “After that, I was forced to witness deaths after deaths where I was powerless to save the victim.” Michelle looked at Henry with teary eyes. “I witness the Earth slowly crumbling and destroyed while its inhabitants kill each other.
“It was hell.”
Henry was shocked at the revelation. That was a terrible dream indeed. He, himself would be traumatized if he would have a dream like that.
“If only I had power. The power to save them.” Michelle mumbles just barely for Henry to hear.
Michelle then suddenly laughed with tears still in her eyes. “But this is reality right? There is no frickin’ way to magically get power to save people right?
Henry was lost in words. His friend is clearly traumatized until she became disillusioned. It hurts him. What should he do?
Michelle looked at her. “This is stupid right? Crying like baby over something so stupid and irrelevant. I’m so useless and pathetic aren’t I?”
That phrase made Henry literally snapped. He stood up from his chair, toppling the chair over. Henry then hugged Michelle tighly. He held her head on to his chest with one hand and wrapped his arms around her with the other.
“Waa?” Michelle gasped.
“Don’t...ever...say...you are useless.” Henry was trembling, he never hugged Michelle before. He was too shy to do that.
“But Henry, I couldn’t-”
“Don’t frickin’ say that you are useless!” Michelle was shocked by his sudden outburst.
“Don’t say you are useless because you are important. You are important to me.” Henry said, his heart was beating fast. “My life was colourless when you are not around with me. I’m seriously depending to you to make my life lively because you are the colour of my life.” Henry caressed her hair in his hand. His face is really burning.
“Don’t fall into despair when you are feeling alone because I’m here for you.” Henry rested his head on top of Michelle’s head. He smelled her hair. He always loved her scent. “I’m always here with you.”
Michelle didn’t say a word. Henry didn’t know how those words came out from his mouth. For some reasons, it just came out like it was there in his mind after all. He was hugging Michelle while caressing and smelling her hair. Henry love this moment, he wished this moment will never end. Does that mean he was in love with Michelle?
Henry closed his eyes and smiled. Maybe that is why he felt something amiss without her. He was in love with his best friend.
“Hey Michelle, you know what?” Henry said softly.
“Yeah?” Michelle replied.
Henry’s heart was beating really fast like it could came out from his chest. “I think I’m in love with you.”
Michelle looked at Henry.
Henry looked at Michelle.
Their eyes locked.
Henry moved his face closer to Michelle.
Michelle’s eyes widen.
“No!” Michelle pushed Henry away from her. Henry was startled by her actions before he realized what he was doing. He looked at Michelle. She had a fearful look at her face. She looked away from him, covering her face.
“Henry, I’m sorry...Can you....please leave?” Michelle said between sobs.
“Michelle, listen...I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Henry was feeling really guilty at the moment. He shouldn’t do that to his best friend.
“Please, Henry...Leave me alone.” Michelle sobbed hardly.
“But Michelle, I-”
“LEAVE!” Michelle cried, fresh tears flowing out from her eyes.
Henry was petrified by her outburst. Slowly, he walked toward the door. He could hear Michelle sobbing very hard as he headed towards the door. He couldn’t think straight, guilt was clutching his heart tightly. He opened the door.
“Goodbye Michelle. I’m really sorry.”
Henry heard no reply from her. Hesitantly, he left the room and closed the door behind him.
“Good bye Henry...” Michelle sobbed. “I’m sorry I couldn’t accept your feelings because....” Michelle sobbed even harder. “I’m a pathetic girl.”