Sleep ('Slumberland')

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
15 year old Dion has a younger sister, Akiko, who was diagnosed with a deadly disease, Cystic Fibrosis. When she started throwing severe coughing fits, she was put into the hospital, and Dion was told she was going to die.

Submitted: May 06, 2010

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Submitted: May 06, 2010

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My sister, Akiko, had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a dieses she had inherited from her grandmamma. Cystic Fibrosis is something were you cant breath properly, that’s what they told me. Only children get it, they inherit it from family, and they only live up to twenty-five or less. Apparently the lungs get filled with all sorts of mucus and clogs the wind pipes. Akiko always had trouble breathing, and she through major coughing fits. She was much shorter than the kids in her class, and she got diarrhea most of the time. She didn’t have to do chores. Just me. She’d rub it in my face too, and tease me about it, chanting about me being a ‘house wife’. I loved her very much, but sometimes I’d wish she’d disappear.
When she was nine, and I was fifteen, she had a massive fit, and stopped breathing for four and a half minutes. She got very sick, so we took her to a hospital. A week passed as they filled her with medication and took a series of tests on her. One day when we visited her, the doctor explained to us that they couldn’t transplant her lungs. She was going to die.

Dion ran down the cold, brightly lit corridors of white light. It was just after five o’clock, and the hospital seemed quiet and still, accept for the nurses and patients that wandered around, carrying instruments and trays of medication. He nearly ran into a middle aged man in a blue doctors uniform, who was pushing a trolley of sterilized utensils. Dion leaped out of the way, just avoiding him, and span into a door labeled ‘Tokushima, Akiko’. He burst in panting, with his school bag dragging upon the floor, and his dirty blonde hair messed up like he had put his head into a jet turbine.
A small girl quickly swiveled in the bed she lay upon and stared at him with her glittering green eyes. Her light, long, blond hair was held back with a spotted head band, and she wore those lose, papery blue hospital pajamas.
“Big brother!” she called gleefully.
Dion smiled and slumped into the tattered grey chair next to the head of the bed. “Hey Akiko. So sorry that I’m kinda late-”
“Kinda late? Kinda late!? What do you mean kinda late! You always visit me after school, your pretty much two hours late! I bet you were with HER again!”
Dion scowled and stared at Akiko. “And who might ‘Her’ be?”
She grinned smugly and looked out the window at the gliding orange clouds, her small boney back turned to face him. He had a hunch of what she was going to say, and she was going to rub it in. She was just that kind of kid.
“Liana of course.”
Dion’s cheeks inflamed. Liana was the girl in his class he had taken quite an interest in. In his eyes, she was the most gorgeous goddess in the entire universe. She was just so out of reach.
Akiko giggled and watched Dion’s remorse expressions through the reflection of the window. “She is pretty though, I have to admit. Plus she’s nice.
“Yes,” Dion admitted, slowly resting his flushed cheeks against his hot, sweaty hands. “She is.”
Akiko grinned widely. “Oi, big bro, you should ask her out.”
Dion choked on invisible water, taking in a mouthful of surprised air. Akiko burst into hysterics, laying onto her bed and laughing uncontrollably. She started to lose her breath and coughed and wheezed. Both of them sat there for a few moments choking and laughing.
Dusk fell, and the sun was slowly sinking to rest, Akiko too. The doctors walked in and prepared Akiko for bed. They filled her with antibiotics and other medication, and gave her the anesthetics for her to get to sleep. The doctor put an oxygen mask over her small, fragile face to help her breath easy, so she wouldn‘t wheeze to hard during the night. Dion sat beside her, and she held out her hand. He held her soft, shaking fingers tightly in his palms and kissed her wrist. She giggled under her oxygen mask and touched his lips. Her eyes started to droop sleepily and she was fading into her dreaming slumber. Dion stood up and leaned over towards her, kissing her on the forehead.
“I love you,” he whispered, and she fell asleep.

Everyday after school I’d visit her at the hospital. My parents found it difficult to see their dieing daughter, so they didn‘t go at all. They never really loved their own children, all life was to them was fancy clothes, money, and sex. Me and Akiko were usually left at home alone for a week or two, and wouldn't find out where they were until then. We were fine though, you kind of get used to abandonment after a while. We had each other, so we were never near the brink of insanity and depression. We both still needed each other, so I promised to see her everyday while she was still with the living. I didn’t mind it that much. I’d stay with her in her hospital room until seven-thirty, when she’d be put to sleep. Everyday before she’d go to Slumberland, I’d kiss her on the forehead, tell her I loved her, and she’d go to sleep. Then I’d see her the next day, and the next day after that.

“Hey, Akiko, I was just wondering. How did you find out that I was…in love… with Liana?’ Dion asked her the next day after school.
Akiko just smiled. “I used to read your diary of course.’
Dion's heart just sank and deflated in his hands. Darkness enveloped him. “What?”
“Yeah, I used to read your diary,” she repeated.
The sun was just starting to set, and the brightness shinning through the window made the room glow a dazzling scarlet. Her soft hair sparkled and turned a burgundy brown in the shade of the atmosphere, and she looked more fragile than he had ever seen her before.
Akiko sighed and relaxed back against her pillow. “Can you please do something for me brother?” she said calmly, and spoke in a slight tone of sadness. “Please ask her to be with you. Like lovers. Tell her you like her, trust me. Do it for me, before I go to Slumberland.”
He smiled forlornly. “Okay.”

Sometimes, I realized how much of a brainless idiot I was. She was right, and always right. I’d do anything for her. Her dying wish was for my happiness, and I had to be grateful for that. The next day, I had approached Liana. I had been so much of a coward. I wish I had done it sooner.

Three-thirty-five, I’m early today! Akiko will be so happy to see me so early!’ Dion thought excitedly.
He ran up the white pebbled hospital stairs, and down the heavily lit halls of glowing white. He couldn’t wait to tell her the good news, Liana said ‘yes.’ He had captured the goddess, she was finally his.
The hospital seemed quiet accept for the nurses and patients that wandered around, carrying instruments and trays of medication. He ran to the door labeled ‘Tokushima, Akiko’. He burst in panting, with his school bag dragging upon the floor, and his dirty blonde hair messed up like he had put his head into a jet turbine. He scanned the room as three doctors and a nurse were standing by Akiko’s bed, looking grim. His heart sank, and he felt wounded and poisoned as they turned to see him. Akiko still had her oxygen mask on, and she looked very ill as her chest heaved up and down. There were heavy bags under her eyes, and her skin was a milky white. Her fogged glistening green eyes looked up at him and she managed the words, “Big-” before choking and coughing hard underneath the mask.
“Dion Tokushima, she can‘t cope anymore. I’m afraid we’re going to have to pull the plug, her lungs cant handle all this pressure,” the doctor said quietly.
‘No,’ Dion screamed in his thoughts, ‘I don’t want this to happen, I'm not ready yet.'
The nurse pulled off the oxygen mask and brushed Akiko’s sweaty blonde hair back from her pale face. The doctors nodded to each other and left the room, leaving Dion alone and cold with his failing sister, dieing right in front of him.
He knelt upon the floor beside her bed, and held both of Akiko’s shivering hot hands. She moved her head to look at him and gazed, smiling through her eyes.
Dion smiled painfully and said, “She said yes, Akiko.”
The corners of her mouth smiled as she breathed deeply. She opened her mouth, and she spoke her last muffled words underneath the mask, "You won't be alone while I'm gone Dion. Liana loves you too, right?"
Dion’s smile faltered and he slowly stood up. "Yeah," he whispered.
He leaned over towards her, kissing her on the forehead. His heart ached more than he had ever felt before.
“I love you,” he whispered.
And she fell asleep.


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