Brotherly Ties

Storm's Drabbles

A short story I had to write for both my writing class and a writing competition.

 

“Kei! Look out!”

Those were the last words I heard before the sounds of screeching tires and shattering glass filled my ears. The crushing impact of my car becoming mangled was something I had never felt before. I didn't want to experience something like that ever again.

After the quick and painful blow – nothing. My vision disappeared as a wave of darkness washed over me, dragging me into an empty and frightening abyss.

 

“Ngn.” I let out a groan. After being into the unforgiving shadows I found myself being blinded by light as bright as the sun.

“Brother!” I heard a familiar yell of excitement. The sudden noise made my head want to explode. Slowly, I began to open my eyes only to having to blink multiple times to get used of the brightness. Once my eyes adjusted, I realized it wasn't natural light that had caused my brief blindness, but the florescent lines buzzing above.

“Kei!” The same recognizable voice cried again and I looked over to see my brother, Rin, sitting in an arm chair beside my bed. His arm rested snugly in a sling and his usual exuberant dark gaze was full of worry. “You're awake!”

“Yeah.” Another groan escaped my lips as I propped myself up against the pillow, wincing as the movement caused another sharp pain in my head. Once the pain subsided I took in my surroundings. I had figured I was in my bed at home, but I was surprised to find that wasn't the case at all. I was in, what appeared to be, a hospital room. I looked myself over and frowned at the gown I was wearing and the IV that steadily dripped in silence. Rin was the only one in the room.

“What happened?” I asked. My voice sounding strained, as if it hadn’t been used in some time.

“You don't remember anything? At all?” Rin asked in disbelief. I stared at him blankly; I had no idea why my head was pounding or the reason why I was lying in a hospital bed.

“Why am I like this? Why are you like that? What happened?”

“I can't believe you don't remember the crash!” Rin's eyes seemed to widen at his exclamation, the genuinely surprised expression paired  his own bewilderment with my inability to recall what had happened.

“Crash?” I echoed quietly. “Car crash?”

It finally clicked. I remembered Rin's cry before the flash of headlights and daunting impact. My head began to throb at the memory.

“How are we not dead?

Rin attempted to shrug, but winced as he moved his injured arm. Seeing my concerning look, he held up a hand. “I only broke my arm. That's all.”

“What about me? Do you know what happened to me?”

“I think you hit your head. I heard one of the nurses talking earlier, but I'm not sure. Whatever it is, you don't have much time left.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I snapped, holding my pounding head at the new discerning news. Rin seemed taken aback when he had heard me and a look of confusion crossed his face.

“I don't know. I guess you don't have to stay here long. Here, they left these here for you in case you woke up.” He leaned over to reach for a bottle, spilling out the prescribed amount into his palm. “It's just pain killers. It should help with your headache.”

I gratefully accepted the pills as he held a cup of water out towards me. I downed the two pills with a quick backwards tilt of my head. A nurse poked her head into the room just as I chased down the last pill with the water.

“Oh! Mr. Asahina! It's great to see you awake! The doctor should be in soon to give you a final evaluation before you're released.” The nurse shot the two of us a warm smile before disappearing out of the room.

“Thank you!” Rin answered her cheerfully before turning his attention back onto me. “I was let out a day ago. I brought you some extra clothes. I knew when you woke up you would want to change into something more comfortable.”

He then pulled out a bag that I had failed to notice from beside the chair and passed it over to me. Relief washed over me at the sight of the mundane clothes that were all neatly folded inside the bag. I glanced over at my brother.. “How long have I been out?”

Rin opened his mouth to reply, but before he could, the door opened once more and a man strolled into the room. “You've been unconscious for two nights, Mr. Asahina.”

“Only two nights?” I questioned.

“Mhm,” the doctor answered and he pulled out a small flashlight, shining it in both of my eyes. “How do you feel, Mr. Asahina?”

“Kei. Just call me Kei,” I said. Using my name formally made me feel older than I already was and at twenty-two I didn’t find myself very old. “And I feel alright despite my pounding headache. It could be worse.”

“That’s right. You’re lucky to be alive. The man that hit you wasn’t as fortunate as you and your brother, Mr. Asahi– Kei.” He corrected himself. “You seem to be in the right set of mind. You were unconscious at the scene of the accident, but as soon as you were brought in you were taken in for x-rays. You just suffered a concussion, nothing too serious. After a resting for a week or two your bruises should heal along with your head. Just take it easy, alright?”

“Alright,” I agreed and swung my legs off of the hospital bed. The medication was starting to hit and the throbbing lessened. “So I can leave now?” Before the doctor could even reply I was already hopping off of the bed.

“Yes, just take it easy. I take it you’ll look after him, won’t you?” The doctor turned his gaze on Rin. My younger brother nodded in reply. For a seventeen year old, he seemed to care a great deal for me as his older brother. I was thankful for that. Growing up, my parents had always been busy with work and I grew up taking care of my baby brother. I didn’t know what I would do without him and I was thankful he had survived the accident as well.

 

As soon as the doctor had left my brother and me alone, I went into the bathroom to change. I literally looked like I had been tossed around like a rag doll. Despite my fresh clean clothes, my black hair was more disheveled than usual and cuts littered my face. I gently ran my finger along my lip and I could feel the small tear in the skin. Stifling a sigh, I splashed cold water on my face and felt more refreshed than before.

I left the bathroom and stretched out my aching limbs. Turns out getting into a car accident puts a toll on your body. Who would’ve thought?

“Ready?” Rin asked as he stood as I stepped out of the bathroom. He swept his gaze over me and nodded at the change of clothes. “You look a lot better now than you did lying on that bed, Kei.”

“I would hope so,” I answered. “Let’s get out of here. I’m just ready to go home. I want to lie in my own bed. But first we should get something to eat. I’m starving and dinner with my little brother sounds pretty good right now.”

“Sure, Kei!” Rin’s tone was as optimistic as ever.

 

Together, the two of us checked out of the hospital. As soon as we stepped past the automatic sliding doors, a fresh breeze swept past and caressed my cheek. It was definitely refreshing. It felt like days since the last time I had been able to feel something as trivial as a gentle wind.

“How are you feeling, Kei? Your head feeling any better?” Rin was walking close beside me. Ever since we were kids we had always been close. Although most kids grew troublesome in their teen years, Rin wasn’t difficult in the least. In fact, he was always in a good mood. Even as a kid he listened to me well. It was a little odd to have my younger brother worrying about me after the fact that for all these years I was the one taking care of him.

“I’m fine, Rin. Really I feel just fi–”

The ground beneath me seemed to grow weak and I felt myself falling. The last thing I heard was my brother calling out my name in surprise, but there was nothing I could do as I was consumed in darkness once more.

 

“Kei? Kei! Look! He’s waking up!”

Once more, I become conscious with another throbbing headache. I slowly blinked my eyes awake, remembering this time that the fluorescent lights were blinding. However, this time, instead of Rin’s smiling face greeting me, it was my parents. It was strange to see them here. My other sat at the edge of my bed, her eyes looking puffy and tired while my father stood stiffly behind her. He was a man that didn’t show too much emotion, but even he looked tired and worn.

“Mom? Dad?” I croaked. Once more, my throat felt dry and unused.

“Kei! Oh goodness, you’re awake!” As soon as I locked gazes with my mother, she began to sob. Her hand grasped onto mine in a tight hold. It was as if she were trying to convince herself that I wasn't going anywhere.

“What happened? How long have I been out?” I asked as I shifted to sit up. My father immediately moved to the remote control, pressing the button to help elevate the bed so I could sit up.

“Do you remember what happened?” My father asked. The wrinkles beside his eyes seemed more prominent than usual, evident that he was clearly tired.

“The crash? I remember driving with Rin and a brief moment of pain, but I fell unconscious not long after. Or do you mean when I fainted?” I turned my gaze from my father to my mother.

“Fainted? When did you faint?” My mother looked back to give my father a look of confusion, but I figured the doctor hadn't told them yet. After all, it had just been Rin and me.

“I'm not sure. I don't think it was too long ago. I was walking outside when I just felt light-headed and collapsed. I've been out until I woke up now.” A gentle breeze, like the one I felt when I was leaving the hospital, blew in through the open window near my bed.

“Kei...” My father seemed uncomfortable and I wondered what was bothering him.

“What?” I furrowed my brows. “What's wrong?” The fact that my father was struggling to find his words was surprising. Although feelings didn't come easy to him, my father had a way with his words.

“Kei,” echoed my mother. “You haven't woken up since the crash...two weeks ago. I don't know what you experienced while you were unconscious, but it wasn't real?”

“W-What?” I stared at them in disbelief. How could they say such a thing? “No! That's not true!” I protested. “I walked out of the hospital with Rin yesterday. I swear it was yesterday!”

“Kei...” My mother and father exchanged glances, but I couldn't comprehend what was going on. Clearly they had more to say.

“What? What is it?”

Although I asked, I was afraid to hear the answer. I had a right to be afraid. Their next words made my heart drop. Confusion hit me first. Then anger. Emotions bombarded me from every direction, but the one I felt the most was desolation. Just at those words.

“Kei...Rin never made it out of the crash.” She cleared , taking a moment to control the urge to break out into more sobs. “Your brother...your brother is dead.”

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