Authors: Dayton Grey
Thank you to my brothers for inspiring the idea, 12/31/11.
Thank you to my wife for asking me each day “Did you write?” 24/7.
Thank you to my friends, who said “Just do it”, each and every time I quit.
Thank you to Lagavulin, that loyal companion who helped me to finally finish it.
Thank you to my sister for all the support, who believed in me and read it with pride.
Thank you to the lit agents I queried, the many daily denials have truly thickened my hide.
Thank you to my parents, for giving me strength and saying “Chase your dreams.”
Thank you to my forum, my virtual club, after rejections we’d blow off steam.
And thank you to you, your faith adds fuels to my fire,
You are the reason I dream, the reason I write,
The reason I aim to inspire.
When the line between reality and dream begins to blur, our creative consciousness becomes truly awakened. During those precious few minutes in the medium between cognition and fantasy can we genuinely explore our deepest desires, ambitions, and imaginings. It was during this time that Geon found himself thinking about the world he remembered, the only world he knew. He could see familiar faces, talking and laughing as the sun shone brightly, the trees swaying gently in the wind. Those images faded and a new, cold, unfamiliar world opened before him. Bloodied bodies lay on the muddied and scorched ground, piled on top of each other like an endless intertwined web of death. Raven skies shrouded the gruesome landscape, and a lone man stood above it, looking down. He was dressed in black with red logo on his chest. He looked up, a dark, nebulous void in place of his face. The vision faded away.
“I’m telling you I heard a beep,” Allea said frantically, her eyes wide with fear.
“What kind of beep?” Sabien answered, furrowing his brows skeptically without looking up.
“I don’t know. It was a beep, unlike any beep I’ve heard before,” she answered, raising her voice.
“Describe the beep,” he replied, now looking up from his holograph.
“It was like this…
“Are you sure you’re not hea
“What’s going on in here guys? Allea? Sabien? Someone say something!” Kumuki screeched as he came bouncing into the room.
“Kumuki, calm down,” Allea said softly. “Mama V is coming. She’ll know what
“MAMA V! Allea said she heard a beep! Mama
ome quick!” Kumuki yelled.
“Kumuki, take a breath. This is just…
. Allea, you’re probably mistaken.”
“Sabien, I know what I heard! Last time I checked, my audibles worked just fine.”
“Oh really? Well perhaps then it’s a case of something
not working fine.”
“Excuse me?” Allea responded heatedly. “I’m sure you aren’t implying what I
Kumuki looked back and forth at the two of them and blurted, “What’s he implying, Allea? What are you implying Sabe? Someone say something!”
“Oh I’m implying it. I’m
much implying it!”
“Someone please tell me what Sabe is implying!”
Allea looked at Kumuki and tried to explain, “Kuki, he’s trying to sa
“Vat’s going on in here? Vat is dis ruckus?” Mama V said loudly as she burst into the room, her hair pulled messily back and her clothes wrinkled and disheveled. “You know dis is my resting time! Allea?”
“Mama V, I walked in here to get my coat… and, well I know it sounds…”
“Stupid? Ridiculous? Ludicrous?”
“ENOUGH SABIEN! Allea, go on please,” Mama V interrupted, giving Sabien a stern glare.
“Well, it… his… pod. It
” she said softly as she gestured towards the large timeworn egg-like object near her.
“Mama V don’t listen to her,” Sabien interjected, rolling his eyes. “We’re sorry we got you up from your comfortable-and-quite-permanently seated position. Please go back to resting, lest you risk straining yourself beyond the limits of irreversibility!”
“Sabien, enough vit your sarcasm. You think I don’t know
? I am
of the sarcasm. You don’t get to play the sarcasm game in my house! Enough from you. Now shut the potato hole! Allea, you are positive vat you heard? Because you know I love you, and I trust you, but, it’s been…
. So, I think maybe this vas some different boop or beep. Boop boop beep beep. All this technology these days goes BOOP BOOP BEEP BEEP. It vas probably your shoes or something like that.”
“Mama V, our shoes don’t
Deathly silence fell over the room. Allea shivered, wrapping her arms around her body and looking wide-eyed at the others. The group turned toward the REMpod, mouths open, eyes bulging. No one dared to move or even breathe deeply, waiting for another sound.
“Now do you all believe me?” she said, still staring at the REMpod.
be!” Kumuki blurted out, grabbing his hair with his hands and shaking his head back and forth.
“It did. It
did,” Sabien softly muttered, staring intently at the closed pod.
“Everyone vait a minute! Let’s see…” Mama V said, leaning forward toward it.
Mama V recoiled with a gasp and Kuki clutched his stomach and fell to his knees, letting out a moan of discomfort, seemingly onset with sudden stomach pain.
“KUMUKI QVINN, YOU GET UP AND STOP DIS HORSING AROUND! I can’t believe this. I can’t believe it. It can’t be. It
be. I thought… I thought it vould never… but, I prayed. And I thought…”
“Mama V, what do we do?”
“Let me think, Allea, dear. Please, let Mama think. Okay. Oh my God. This is…
. This is…
. Okay, Allea, you link your cuff thing to the pod thing and let’s see vat dis is. Maybe just a malfunction. Maybe. Maybe just dat. Sabien, open Geon’s pod, please.”
Gasps around the room followed.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeep…
Is this a dream?
A gentle humming could be heard, and a soft vibration felt from underneath.
Head feels groggy… fuzzy.
The humming began to fade away, and different, new sounds, began to appear. First softly, in the background, as if something too far to make out but too close to ignore. The sounds grew louder. They began to jumble. They sounded like
. His skin began to tingle. Warmth faded into crisp cold. The tips of his fingers came alive, moving ever so slightly, dancing on the ends of his hands. Each part of his body, from the tiny muscles in his face, down his neck, through his shoulders, down his back and bottom, in through his thighs and knees and calves and feet and toes, began to come alive. The voices around him became clearer.
Is this real? What’s going on? Where am I?
He couldn’t remember anything except for the two visions of the smiling faces next to him and the faceless man standing above the sea of lifeless bodies. Slowly, he opened his eyes.
In front of him, a girl stood staring at him, eyes blurry with tears, as she lunged forward and put her hand on his hand.
“Geon! Geon, can you hear me? Please… please say something! Geon, it’s me, Allea… your sister. Geon are you okay? Can you understand me?”
Geon looked up but found it hard to focus his eyes. Bright light blinded him and he could only make out blurred figures standing over him. He tried to speak but nothing came out. He tried again.
“A… A… All… Allea?”
A large figure next to Geon burst into a flurry of tears and laughter and reached forward to grab Geon in a massive bear hug. He winced from the pressure.
“Geon it’s really you!” she exclaimed in a deep voice with a heavy accent. “It’s not possible but somehow, it’s you! Thank you, God. Thank you. Oh, my baby Geon!”
Geon couldn’t place the voice but at the same time, it sounded so familiar. The other figures in the room didn’t seem to know what to say or where to begin, clearly still in shock.
Allea tried to compose herself as she wiped back her tears and brushed her hair from her face.
“Geon, do you remember me? It’s been nearly seven years since you last saw me. Since you fell into a coma. Do you remember your little sister?”
A coma? Oh my God.
As she slowly came into vision, he could see a petite girl before him, with golden skin, small features, light brown freckles, and medium-length dark brown hair. Her eyes were large and almond-shaped and she had a very pretty face.
She looks familiar, yet… so different. But something in her eyes feels like home.
The others stood crowded around her, eyes wide, mouths open, not a breath to be heard.
“Yes… I think…
. Little… Ally?”
Allea burst into tears at hearing Geon’s words, crying and grabbing and hugging him. Her warm, soft cheek pressed against his and her tears streamed off of her face and onto his. She tried to talk to him but it was difficult to make out her words in between the sobs, choking, and breathing.
“Oh, Geon…no one has called me Ally since… since… and… I prayed every day. I prayed
As she blubbered and squeaked about how much she missed him, he began to remember pieces of his past. He remembered the two of them playing games on the floor of a house. He remembered the faces of his parents, watching and smiling from a sofa nearby.
“Mom? Dad? Where… where are they?” he asked, trying to prop himself up on his elbow.
Allea poured more tears out, looking at him with saddened eyes. She squeezed his hand and sat on the pod beside him.
“G, I don’t know how else to tell you this. I didn’t think I ever would get the chance to tell you.”
Geon felt his throat clench and stomach knot.
“G, Mom and Dad are gone. I’m so sorry. They didn’t make it through the EarthShift. The destruction continued for a few years after your blackout… it… it—took…
The EarthShift. I remember it now. The destruction, the chaos, the death.
I’m so sorry, G. I didn’t know that you didn’t…
. But how could you? It all happened at the same time. You were knocked unconscious, and they… they were
from us. We never found their bodies. I’m so sorry, G.”
No. It can’t be. Please, no.
Despair fell over Geon. Deep down, something had felt wrong inside him…
. It was almost as if he had known all along while in his coma. But to hear it out loud now was devastating. He wanted to fall asleep again, to feel safe again. His body quivered as he stared down in shock, unable to say anything or even allow himself to cry.
“Geon, you were almost taken from me as well. When the super-quakes and tsunamis hit, the building we were in collapsed. You were knocked out… pinned down on your arm. Mom and Dad fell through the floor. That was the last thing I remember. I woke up in the hospital, and you… you
woke… until today!” She burst into tears once more and smiled.
“You’ve been in a coma, Geon… for more than
years. No one wanted to take you in but Mama V took me and you to this orphanage and took care of us. We prayed for you to wake up. I never gave up, G. I never gave up on you. I knew you were strong.”
She stared at him and smiled as tears rolled down her face and onto her shirt. He could see in her eyes how much she loved him and must have missed him through the years.
, we have hope. Now that we have you again,” she said, gently rubbing him on the shoulder.
Geon nodded and lay back down. He wanted to share the enthusiasm but his head was spinning and he was exhausted. “I’m… I’m so
,” Geon whispered.
“Okay, everyone out of here now!” Mama V bellowed. “Kumuki, bring vater and Allea bring something to eat please. Then all of you go! He must rest now. We all talk later okay?”