This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

“Rose, can you hear me?” A voice echoes in my head. I know this voice, but I can’t exactly remember how I know the voice, just that I know it. The voice continues to beckon me to respond. To wake up. Am I asleep? I don’t remember. I black out. 

Again and again, the raspy voice breaks through the darkness, causing my consciousness to respond, but without fail, I always fall back into the inky black. I don’t know how much time passes between these episodes of semi-consciousness, but the frequency seems to be getting shorter and shorter. It makes me hopeful that maybe I’ll regain some memories instead of just blind knowing.  

A new voice breaks into my void today. A female voice that is entirely alien to me. They’re not talking to me. Instead, they’re arguing with the male voice. The female voice is a rattling pitch as she screams at the male voice. She’s agitated, but the male voice responds so coldly. I’ve never heard his voice sound like this; it’s always a pleading warmth. 

“You can’t bring someone back to life! How many years do you think it has been?” The woman screeches. This has been her topic of choice since I awakened. Well, I don’t know if I can call my current state being awakened, but I do not know what else to call it. Cognisant maybe? Who is dead? 

“3 years and 157 days,” the man responds frostily. She does not like that response considering her vocabulary is mostly obscenities now.

“3 years and 157 days too long, Luke.” There is a loud bang, and her voice is no longer present. I think she left based on the silence. All I hear is buzzing and the movement of fluid. Is Luke the name of the familiar voice? Pain. It hurts. Why does it hurt? Luke?

“Did you just speak?” I hear a clatter. The man, Luke, sounds frenzied. He barely takes breaths as he screams for me to speak again. Did I speak? All I know is it hurts. I do not know if Luke stopped yelling at me or if I fell back into the void, but the pain is gone. This is the first time I am happy to fall back into the inky black; it allowed me to escape the pain.


I have awakened a few more times since that incident, but each time has gotten more and more painful. Now it is excruciating. I used to love these moments, but now I hate them. Sometimes it seems like Luke can hear my thoughts because he responds to me with comforting words. He tells me to wait a little longer; it will only hurt a little longer and other things of this nature.  

 Since the last time Luke has spoken to me, I’ve started to have visions. There is a loud, jarring pop and then a sea of red. I see a hand outstretched in a pool of blood before everything goes black. I’ve seen this scene repeatedly, and there is never anything else. Nothing before or after, though I do not think there would be an after. After analyzing the scene each time it is replayed, I’ve determined this was my end. I still do not know who I am or who Luke is. This memory serves no purpose to me, and I’ve become numb to seeing it.

It hurts again, but now I am used to the chronic pain. I would still prefer the inky dark, but Luke seems happy whenever he hears me say something. I have a lot of things I want to say, mostly questions. Who am I? Who are you? There are many questions I wish to ask, but I do not have control over what I actually say. I do not feel myself saying the words, but I can theorize based on his responses. I only speak words of pain or his name. I do not want him to hear my words of pain, but that is all that is allowed to be said.


That woman has returned. She is not screaming yet. I was cognitive before she appeared this time. Lately, I have been cognitive for more extended periods, and the inky black will sometimes have a glow to it. This feels familiar. I think this has happened before. Her voice is less alien to me now. As to why, I do not know. I am irritated with gaining more visions but not knowing. A new scene that plays in my head is serene—a tiny little house with happy pictures. I can’t make out the faces in the pictures; much of the scene feels censored. I am familiar with this house, and it touches me with a dark melancholy. I think the room with the little blue couch is why this sorrow wells up in me. That room is the bloody room from my other visions. I believe these to be memories. 

Sometimes the memories are only auditory. At first, I thought it was Luke speaking to me, but the voice seemed far away whenever I heard it. They were also words out of context. Sometimes it was a conversation over dinner or talking about work. They are very mundane topics, but they help me forget the pain.

“You need to put an end to this. It isn’t ethical,” the woman says, but Luke ignores her. She continues to speak but might as well be alone because Luke refuses to respond. “She doesn’t even want to be alive.” This is what causes Luke to break his silence. He spits venom but never raises his voice. They argue, like the last time I heard them. With a loud bang, the woman left again. I wonder if she will always have a noisy departure. I do not like these two arguing. It is common for siblings to fight, but they should try to get along. Wait. Siblings? Who?


I have started to piece my memories together, but I still do not know what caused the end. Luke and I were engaged, and our wedding was coming up. I do not know if we were wed, but I have no visual or audible memories of the event. Luke is a scientist, but he never told me about the specifics of his research, and he always said it was confidential. I should have been happy in my memories. We went on dates, and he always treated me well, but a pang of sadness always accompanied my memories. 

A light invades my darkness, and this time it breaks through. My eyes hurt from the sudden light, and I groan. My body feels like it is being ripped apart and put together over and over in millisecond intervals. Agony. It is agony.

“Rose!” a disheveled man pops into view, blocking the blinding white light enough for me to widen my eyes just slightly more. “Thank god, you’re finally awake! Can you hear me, Dear?” I recognize this man, but he seems older. Dark bags are under his eyes, replacing the shine they used to have. I know this man is Luke, but I have difficulty recognizing him in this state. He doesn’t seem right. “You can’t speak yet? Alright, blink if you can hear me.” I do as he says. I use all of my energy to blink, eliciting a wide-toothed grin from the bearded man. But I blacked out again after that.


Luke is so happy that I have finally woken up, even though it is usually only for a few minutes at most. He says I am in an incubation chamber to help me get better. Why do I need to get better? How did I end up in a coma? I am still not getting the answers I want and can not speak. I can only move my eyes. It hurts. I hate being awake. Everything feels so wrong, and I feel disdain toward Luke. I do not know where this emotion comes from, but I feel like I have been through this before. My memories only show mental pain, not physical, so I do not know why this feels so familiar. 

“It will work this time,” Luke mumbles to himself as he types on a computer. He has not noticed I’m awake yet. Seeing him like this triggers a memory. Luke, just a bit younger, at the laptop mumbling to himself, saying he’ll bring me back. I start screaming, and Luke runs over to me. I thought I was in agony before, so I do not know what to call this pain as I thrash around in the incubation chamber. I remember. I am not in a coma.


It was the day before my wedding when I finally snapped. I took my father’s hunting gun and shot myself in the head. No event led up to this action; I just didn’t want to live. I hadn’t wanted to live for a long time and tried to be happy. As the wedding got finalized, an event that should have brought me immense joy, I realized there really was no hope for me. I wanted to die before I became more miserable for just being alive. It was a quick and painless death. At least, it should have been until Luke started playing god. He succeeded at bringing me back to life before. It took me longer to realize what had transpired. By the time I realized this, he had started spoon-feeding me, and I could say a few words. One night, when he had left, I unplugged the equipment he had me hooked up to. I thought this would finalize my death, but I think he came back before all his progress was lost. 

“I have to start over again, but don’t worry. I’ll save you, and we can get married.” That was the last thing I heard before my consciousness was gone. My biggest mistake in life was letting this man love me. I felt a liking towards him but never loved him. I was simply trying to fit into the social norms of having a long-lasting healthy-looking relationship, and he fits that bill. I didn’t realize how heavy his love was. How many times will he revive me? 

April 21, 2023 21:51

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