This is a member contribution by Yossarian Kelley for America: 28 Weeks Later, a creative writing contest inspired by Rachel Haywire’s stream-of-consciousness Substack article, Finding America.
Find out more and submit your piece here.
David handed me my phone. I looked down at it, stunned at what he just told me. I’ve been in a coma for 28 weeks?!?
I could barely make sense of it. That’s like 7 months… I’ve missed out on 7 months of my life?
I had zero memory of a car crash. I looked at the seemingly unending list of notifications on my phone’s screen. Dozens of friends and family members had sent texts, wishing me well, sending prayers for my health and well being. I could feel tears begin to rise behind my eyes.
I looked up at my younger brother, David, and saw a mixture of relief and concern on his face. “How is everyone? How is mom?” I muttered through my growing disbelief.
“Mom is at home, she’s visited you here at the hospital almost daily for months, but couldn’t make it today. We need to call her right now and let her know you are awake!” David said with a mixture of relief and concern.
I nodded in tired agreement. “Can I have some water first?” I mumbled through dry lips. David grabbed the plastic water pitcher and poured some into the plastic cup sitting on my bedside table.
A nurse walking past my room stopped, and looked surprised as our eyes met. She spun on her heels and called out to someone down the hall: “Doctor! Mr. Kelley is awake!” She pointed her finger into my room and stepped inside quickly.
“How are you feeling?” She asked.
“I’m feeling…well, shocked. I can’t quite grasp the length of time… 28 weeks?” The nurse looks at me and eventually nods. “Yes, you’ve been here for 7 months, and a lot has happened during your time…well, your time away.” She put a lot of emphasis on “a lot”.
“Who won the election?” I muttered, suddenly anxious to hear the results. The nurse looked uncomfortably between my brother and me, like she didn’t want to get involved in political discussions. “I’ll let you two catch up, but we will need to take some tests shortly,” she said nervously.
[He] walked over to the window where the blinds were mostly blocking out the summer sunlight from entering the room. He pulled on the cord and lifted the blinds.
David watched her turn and exit the room before he turned back to me.
“Well, Biden won the election… but not without a lot of drama. Currently the red states are suing for independence, and it’s looking like they may succeed, or secede to be more accurate.” David took my empty cup and began to refill it.
David spoke again. “Trump of course took to Twitter and disputed the results. Several protests broke out, some turned into riots. Martial law was declared in several cities and the National Guard was called in.” David took a deep breath and looked into my eyes and smiled.
David seemed somewhat cheerful. I couldn’t exactly reconcile his relatively bright exterior with the somewhat disturbing news.
He’s probably just happy to see my return to the living.
“Then, on New Year’s Eve, the UFOs arrived,” he said cheerily.
“I’m not sure I’m up for jokes quite yet, David.” I said, feeling a little irritated at his nonchalance.
David walked over to the window where the blinds were mostly blocking out the summer sunlight from entering the room. He pulled on the cord and lifted the blinds. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the sunlight pouring in through the window.
I couldn’t quite make out what I was looking at. It looked like the sun was taking up most of the large window. Then I noticed the outlines… that, that wasn’t the sun.
The cup I was holding fell from my hands, spilling water on my bed and falling to the ground. My jaw dropped open and I could feel my breath halting at my lips. I must be dreaming, my mind raced.
This can’t be real.
“Welcome back Mr. Kelley!” a voice spoke from the doorway into my room. I turned towards the voice, my jaw still dropped open, eyes wide with confusion.
This was the first time I saw an alien, eyes several times larger than my own, whose smile invited a cheerful response. Yet I could only gasp for air. I tried to say hello, but all that came out was an unintelligible groan.
The room began to swim, I could feel myself fading into nothingness. I could hear David speaking excitedly as I fell into the welcome darkness of shock.
“Maybe I could have broken that news a little more skillfully, Doc,” David chuckled as I disappeared into nothing.