The first thing Elkay noticed as he woke up was the sharp scent of blood and bleach. Both smells were there, with the bleach being far, far stronger, but there was definitely a lot of blood buried underneath the chlorine.
The second thing Elkay noticed was that everything was white. Mainly the ceiling above him. There was a weird white light just outside his field of view and the walls to his left and right were also white.
The third thing that Elkay noticed was that he had been tied down. It occurred to Elkay that he had been taken to a hospital. But it didn’t smell like a Rethan hospital.
“You are awake.”
Elkay tried to turn his head to the left but found that he couldn’t. His jaws were also similarly restricted.
“Sorry that you woke up like this, little brother…”
The voice was immediately familiar. It belonged to Elkay’s half-brother, the famous Rethan General known as Retvik Rethianos.
“You were experiencing extreme seizures. At first we were worried that you had Feral Kardia, but the medics do not know what is wrong with you yet.”
Elkay rolled his eyes. For some reason, his tongue of all things felt incredibly sore. Retvik noticed his brother moving his tongue around awkwardly and sighed.
“It was as if you were trying to bite your own tongue off… Do you remember what happened?”
Elkay hesitated, then tried to think back. Everything seemed blurry though. He could recall talking to the nice Rethan in the ice cream parlour. He had felt hot and tired and grumpy and then he… passed out.
“You do not remember. That is… understandable, I guess.”
Elkay grunted, then tried to wriggle his fingers. Both his hands and his feet felt awkwardly numb, and his tail was not faring much better.
“They sedated you. It stopped the seizures before you could damage yourself further.”
There was something off about Retvik’s voice. He was definitely speaking clearly and slowly so Elkay could understand him. It was almost… condescending. But there was a weird static to Retvik’s voice.
Looking back towards the light, Elkay realised that it was shining through a translucent, plastic film. There was a barrier between Elkay and the ceiling.
“I am sorry, brother. They are working to get you back to full health as soon as possible. But no one has any idea what is wrong with you. Between the seizures, the fluctuations in body temperature and your drifting in and out of a comatose state, the medics are… stumped. We are awaiting a specialist from Portalia City who might know what has done this to you, but for now, all we can do is wait.”
Elkay blinked his eyes several times, then tried to turn his head again. He realised why Retvik sounded weird. Because he wasn’t present. Elkay was alone in the room, and Retvik was speaking to him through a speaker. That explained why Elkay couldn’t hear the usual beeps and hisses of standard medical equipment, because none of it was in the room with him.
“Whatever you have, Elkay, they believe it may possibly be infectious. Just to be on the safe side…”
Retvik’s words began to make Elkay panic. What was wrong with him? What had happened? Had he… infected others?
“Please… stay calm…” Clearly Retvik could see him. “It is temporary. When this medic arrives, it will all be sorted out…”
Elkay tried to take a deep breath, but the mixture of oxygen and nitrogen simply made him yawn.
“You should sleep. You need your rest.”
With a sigh, Elkay closed his eyes. Retvik was right, sleeping was probably his best bet right now…