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The Dark Before the Dawn II: My Other Half: Part Two


by jambammer

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Phoenix told me what had happened on our way to the hospital. He had been keeping an eye on the girls while he was pushing Halo on the swings. They had appeared to be talking things out. Halo had started fussing and demanded to be taken to the other side of the park. Phoenix took him there. From the other side Phoenix couldn’t see the girls anymore. A short while later, he heard one of them scream. Cream had fallen through the ice. They took her to the hospital, then he and Halo came to get me.

     When we reached the hospital, the doctor (a green Gelert) took us to Cream’s room in the intensive care unit. I looked through the small window. She was covered in at least three blankets and she looked like she was sleeping.

     The doctor looked at us, then in a hushed voice spoke. “Cream is not doing very well at all. We fear that she will not make it to morning. Right now she is in a coma, and we do not think that she will wake from it. Her sister is not taking this well. We haven’t told Sugar that her sister may pass on yet. We don’t think she can handle it.”

     I looked through the window again. This time I looked at Sugar. She stared, unblinking, at her sister. Grief filled her tear stained face.

     “Why do you think that, doctor?” I asked turning back to him. The doctor sighed.

     “Sugar was screaming and yelling earlier. I couldn’t hear all of what she was saying, but I heard enough. She blames her sister for what happened. She carried on for quite some time before she started crying. Whatever you do, stay calm around her,” the doctor advised us. When I nodded, he opened the door.

     I couldn’t help but think that what the doctor had told us was odd. I almost didn’t believe him. I’ve never known Sugar to place the blame on someone else if she knows it was not their fault. Cream might do something like that, but Sugar? I shook it off, deciding that it was the grief affecting Sugar. She’s never experienced anything this traumatising, not since our owner left anyway. She had taken that well, though.

     Sugar didn’t even look up when we walked in. She just looked at Cream, with a blank expression upon her face. Sugar didn’t move at all. I turned to Phoenix who was holding Halo. Halo was looking very drowsy and was beginning to fall asleep.

     “Nix, why don’t you take Halo home? I’ll stay here with the twins.” Phoenix looked at Halo. He smiled when he saw that the red wocky was nearly out.

     “That’s a good idea. I don’t think the little guy is going to last much longer.” He turned and looked at the unresponsive Kacheek and her unconscious double. “If I don’t talk to you later, good bye and good night, girls.” He walked over to the one sitting by the bedside. “She can hear you. I thought that you should know that.”

     The twelve year old turned her head to look at Phoenix. She studied him for a moment, trying to decide if he was being truthful or not.

     “How do you know?” Her voice had an icy chill to it. She was mad, frustrated and worried, and she showed us that. Sugar was not acting like herself one bit. She was behaving more like Cream. Again, I assumed it to be the grief.

     “Because,” Phoenix said softly and calmly, “I’ve been in a coma before. Trust me on this; she can hear you and she can feel that you are upset. At this very moment she is locked inside her head and she is fighting desperately to get out, to be with you. Try talking to her. I always liked it when people talked to me. I didn’t feel so alone then. I also didn’t feel forgotten and left out then.”

     Tears began to well up in her eyes. She looked away quickly, so we wouldn’t see them streaming down her face. I gave Phoenix a questioning look. He had lived with us for almost a year and he had never told us that he had been in a coma? From the look on his face, it was obvious he wasn’t going to give us a full explanation at the moment.

     “We’ll see you later, I guess,” I told him, trying to keep my voice from quivering. Phoenix gave me a hug with his free arm. He understood. He always did. “Thanks.” I whispered into his ear. He and Halo then left.

     I grabbed a chair that was sitting in the corner of the room. I pulled it up beside Sugar and sat down. We didn’t talk. We couldn’t. We were both too worried about Cream to talk. The only sound that filled the small room was the beeping of the monitors and machines hooked up to Cream. We could also hear her shallow breaths. It was almost as if we were deaf to every noise but the ones from Cream.

     ---

     I couldn’t help but think about what Phoenix had said. Was Cream seriously locked inside her mind? I know that a coma was when you can’t wake up, but that’s about all I know. Was she fighting to get out? Was she lonely and feeling left out? I also realized that there was obviously more to Phoenix than we knew.

     “Sug? I’m going to run down to the small restaurant in the hospital to get us a snack. Is there anything you want?” I asked her. We hadn’t had dinner and I was hungry. I was sure that she was too. The twins had a reputation of sometimes having bottomless pits for stomachs. The thing that got me is that they were always so thin.

     I was sure she was going to ask for a mint ice cream cone, as that was her all time favourite. It shocked me when she asked for tigersquash ice cream. Tigersquash was Cream’s favourite ice cream, not Sugar’s. I went down to the restaurant, but I couldn’t take my mind off Sugar.

     Nothing was making sense. Sugar was behaving like Cream. Her reaction to this tragedy, the way she spoke to Phoenix and what she wanted from the restaurant, it was all what Cream would’ve done. An idea crossed my mind, but I wasn’t sure about it. I decided to test my theory out.

     I brought the ice cream back to the room and handed it to her. She ate it silently, with her left hand. The twins were odd because one was left handed; one was right handed. Sugar was eating with her correct hand. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she was really affected by the grief and just wanted her sister back. For the heck of it, I decided to try out my theory.

     “Cream,” I said slowly and gently, “What happened to Sugar?”

     She looked up at me with wide eyes. “No, Adrianna,” she told me, “I’m Sugar.”

     I shook my head. I was sure now. “No, you’re not.”

     Her dark eyes brimmed up with tears. “How did you know?” she asked softly so that I barely heard her.

     “It wasn’t hard to really figure it out. I think Phoenix had figured it out too. You were behaving too much like yourself, not like Sugar.”

     “What did I do wrong?” she asked looking at her hands.

     “You called me ‘Adrianna’, Sug never does that. She always calls me ‘Dri’, especially when she’s upset.”

     “Is that all?” She asked with a quivering voice. I decided to just let it go. She was really upset; I didn’t need to point out all her mistakes.

     “Yeah, that’s about it.”

     She started crying. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I panicked. When she fell in, my whole world just seemed to shatter along with the ice. I thought that if she died, and you thought it was I that died, I could continue to be her. After all, she didn’t deserve any of this.”

     I hugged my little sister. “That wouldn’t have been fair for Sug though, would it? She still would’ve been gone.”

     Cream sniffed. “That’s true. I’m really sorry, Adrianna. This is all my fault! If Sugar dies it’s my fault.” She wailed.

     “No, Cream, it’s not. I know you and I’m sure it was an accident. You would’ve never wanted to hurt Sugar; I know it. You love her and could never hurt her. You would rather hurt yourself before hurting her.” I reassured her. I looked at Sugar, and watched how she was breathing. The way her chest was moving showed that she was growing weaker.

     “It’s always darkest before dawn, that’s what Phoenix always says. I’m really sorry about everything, Sugar,” Cream whispered as she looked at her motionless twin. I nodded. We sat in silence as Sugar drew her weakest breath yet.

To be continued...

 
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