Snow's Education Enrichment Center (SEEC) is built for children who have no guardians at their side, so they may learn to save themselves in the adult world. Kyde enters this facility and sees someone who looks vaguely familiar being wheeled past in the hallway, sick and crying. He does not move despite the teachers orders upon him, for it suddenly clicks in his mind, the boy is his brother.
The orphanage has taught me well, I am nearly guaranteed to succeed in their neighboring facility, SEEC. I am not nervous, I show the teachers as I pass in the hall how brave I really am. They glance at me from their class, not a comment to be said. The only noise I hear is the footsteps of me and my escorter behind me, and the occasional speaking of a computer.
A cheerful man speaks over the intercom, obviously computerized. Welcome! Kyde Dawson, to Professor Snow's Education Enrichment Center! Children and faculty please welcome your newest student.
I barely heard it over the sudden rushing of wheels.
I probably didn't hear it at all because of what I saw.
The hospital bed contained a boy, roughly a few years younger than me. Pale. Screaming. He was in some sort of invisible pain. I continued to look on motionless until I got a good look at his face.
That terrified face.
He looked at me, bright blue eyes staring at me as he screamed. It was as though time stopped for a moment, for his blue eyes to lock with my brown ones, before the bed was wheeled deeper and deeper into the building.
My escorter puts his hand on my shoulder after I haven't moved for exactly three minutes. He leans down to whisper in my ear, I must have looked very out of it, this wasn't how I wished to be remembered.
"Do you know that boy?" He asked.
Of course I know that boy, the boy is my brother.
I do not tell the escorter this though, I merely nod, my silence was nearly wearing thin upon seeing my younger brother like that. I couldn't tell if I was upset or not, but it gave me an image I would rather put behind me.
The escorter looks down the hallway and pushes his hand against my back. "It doesn't look like you should see him right now."
I take a single step forward towards the hallway. Which room was he in? What caused that frightened face? I was not afraid, or was I? Was I in reality just as petrified as the boy screaming bloody murder upon a hospital bed? But why?
I had yet to receive an answer, the escorter lead me forward, keeping an arm around my shoulders. "Poor kid really," I hear him say. "Lots of people say that he ain't going to be living much longer. That body of his is deteriorating pretty fast."
"Ain't isn't a word." I reply quietly. The escorter laughs.
"Lets keep it between us then, quite frankly half the words said, they're hard to remember. You'll be expected to learn them."
"I shall." I want to remain determined, I don't want to lose this feeling. But something is bugging at my mind. I don't like this feeling. "
But when will he be released?"
My escorter pauses. "..It's hard to say, Kyde. You must be pretty good friends though if you keep bringing him up, maybe I can-"
"He's my brother." I finally admit.
The escorter lapses into silence, and nods softly. "
I see. Let me bring you to your room then, you can settle in for a bit, I'll get in contact with you later and see if I can get you in to see him. Though, frankly.." The escorter's arm drops off my shoulders. "I don't think you should be allowed."
He makes a good point, one I don't want to admit if I'm honest with myself. I'm quiet again, I didn't want it to be this way, I just didn't. He brings me to the boys' dorms, and to my room.
My room is no different from any other when the occupant is new. The flooring is a dark wood coloring with two round white rugs upon it, the walls are light blue. The bed is neatly made with dark blue pillows, sheets and blankets. A single window to look outside upon the rather sickly looking world upon this fine late autumn, a dark brown desk and chair with all materials still in their packages, and a box sitting on it, black and carrying the facility initials.
My bag is left on my bed, a grey suitcase. As I turn to unzip it the escorter speaks.
"Think fast." He tosses me a device. Looking closely at it, this is what people called awhile ago, a cell phone. It goes around one's wrist this time, and you may speak into it. We were not allowed such technology at the orphanage. Only the old laptops with outdated windows 7 software.
"Use that to get in contact with your teachers, me, and your friends. Your brother's got one too but, that's not programmed into it. When you get to him you can add it."
"..Thank you." I say, automatically going for the customization settings.
"Yeah, whatever. Set up your computer too while you're at it. You can't do much with the school's tight securities on it, but I'm sure you'll manage. You are a teenaged boy after all."
I nod, going for the dark box. I open up the top and the digital keyboard hovers off of the bottom part. The room becomes simply a part of the illusion of the digital pixels that make up the computer. I mess with these settings too, the escort leaves without saying a goodbye or a good luck.
It is evening when I see the escort again. I had to contact him with the phone on my wrist, turns out he is named Porter Legal. He pulled a few strings to get me through to my brother at last, but these strings seemed to be grudgingly taken, given the looks of the nurses.
Or maybe it's just me.
I walk into the room. "I want to be alone with my brother." Is the first thing I say.
"Sorry Kyde, not happening." The door is shut by the nurses, Porter sits on a chair one side of the room and I sit at the opposing side. My brother had his eyes shut, but now that he opens them, he looks at me.
His smile is bright and familiar, despite how weak he looked in such a position. It should have done more comforting for me instead of shaking me to the very bottom of my soul.
My brother and I share the same brown, dark hair. His eyes of a deep blue seem so dull in his weakness, while my dark brown ones, are holding back my remorse. I'm taller than my brother, he's short but smart, he always knew better than me. It doesn't feel right to see him in this white hospital gown, while here I am with perfectly normal clothes, a gray shirt, jeans and sneakers.
"Kyde." He says. "You made it, finally..I didn't think they would ever let you through to this part of the orphanage. It's real lonely without another Dawson here."
"Ha..right." Hearing him talk like that should have made me happier than this, I do smile back, but my mood is beginning to reach my eyes. "It's good to see you too, Sius."
"Sorry you had to catch me like this, big brother." He lifted his arms to seem to include the whole room. "It's not as bad anymore..".
That lie was so bad. My brother was in horrible shape. Tubes connected to him, medicines in bags. Machines.. this is not a hospital for people, it's a school. This was probably all brought here really for my brother.
"They're going to let me out tomorrow, so I can get to work again." Sius says, hopeful. "I hope I'm well enough to go on that trip into the city..ah, but if I'm not, you'll bring back something for me, right big brother?"
My eyes can't fight back this anymore. They hurt with holding back tears, so I let them fall. "..Y-..yeah. You know I will."
"Kyde? Why are you crying?" Sius frowns at me. "I'm going to be okay, you'll see."
They clearly haven't told him anything. Maybe it's best that way.
"I'll make this up to you." I say, out of the blue, standing from my chair. My brother goes a little wide eyed. I hold out my hand, clasping my fingers together, except the pinkie. We're not kids anymore, but sometimes being a kid is the only way to fix things.
He does the same, interlocking his pinkie finger with mine. He holds no ill emotions for me, though he should.
I hold on for as long as I can with this promise, before a nurse comes in and practically kicks me out. In the ruckus, I yelled to him. I yelled out a promise.
I didn't mean for this.
My dreams are hazy, but they remind me of what I don't wish to think of. My mistake. I remember, the sounds of running and water. I did this. But it wasn't my intention. This wasn't what I meant to do.
I don't know what happened. I don't know how Sius can be so calm with me-
My thoughts are interrupted by the chime on my phone. I tap at it to open the menu before my eyes. One of my teachers have just confirmed I am late for my very first class in the school. He has let me off with a warning, but I better not make a habit of it.
I gather my things and go. Luckily all our classes are private unless the subject is over being social. All classes are done via computer. I go straight for mine, and my session has started with Mr. Jay for English.
Teachers shall change sometimes, mixed up schedules and so on. But they're on generally the same program. I have a story I need to write, and then send it to him. My next classes are generally easy on me, and then I'm free for the day.
I'm mostly playing card games on my phone when there's a knock at the door.
I contemplate leaving it, but I get up and answer.
He smiles at me. "You're going to come for the field trip aren't you?"
I barely catch his words. I'm more caught up in how he appears about now, a light blue shirt and dark blue shorts. Sneakers, socks..he looks so normal, so lively, like he was never ill at all. But despite all this, I can tell he's making an effort. This was a show he probably put on for the nurses to let him go.
He waves his hand in front of my eyes. "Hey, come on Kyde! Snap out of it! We've gotta go!"
He doesn't give me the chance to respond, he pulls at my arm and I barely get the chance to shut the door behind me as he pulls me down the hallway.
"Slow down." I try to say. "It's not good for you to run."
"I'm fine Kyde!" He laughs, but then he wheezes, coughs, and stops to cough into his hands.
"You should be laying down." I say, going to stand in front of him.
"K-Kyde really..I'm fine." He coughs more. I take his wrist and lead him slowly down the halls.
"I want to go" Sius croaks through this coughs. "We haven't gone outside in so long, I want to go into the city with my brother."
"You're too sick."
"I am not!"
"BOYS!" One of the teachers comes out into the hall. "Everyone's waiting for you, so get a move on!"
I open my mouth to protest, but Sius puts his hand over my mouth. "We're coming Ms. Allard!" Sius at least answers to not running, we get to the bus. The back seats are at a loss, but at least the middle seats remain. Despite his coughing fit, Sius is just fine as he is.
The longer I stare at my brother, the more I remember what happened.
I was the one yelling, I was the one running around.
It was my fault.
But I didn't mean it.
"I didn't mean it." Slips from my mouth. Sius didn't hear me though. He was too busy looking outside at the land.
I wonder how much time he has left now..there's no way to come out of what happened unharmed. It got to his heart. It probably cut his life down into shreds. Though you wouldn't think that to see him.
You wouldn't think of a dying boy when you look at my brother. You wouldn't think that his older brother did this to him. We look just the same as everyone else.
Once we're off the bus, I begin to pay more attention to these strangers. Are they looking at Sius? Are they looking at me?
Do they know?
If they do, Sius clearly doesn't care. He's practically got his head stuck to a window, looking in at the tables of things. There's a plush inside, some sort of grey turtle with blue eyes and black spots. Looking closer, it was some sort of Pokemon toy, an 'Aron'.
"Do you want it?" I ask. Headmaster had given me money.. it was supposed to be for an emergency, but it was just a plush toy.
Sius doesn't answer, but I go in anyway. Seeing me gone, my little brother pops up and follows me in. He looks like he wants to apologize, but I've already paid for the plush. "..Consider it, my start..for trying to make it up to you."
Sius searches my eyes, almost as though he wondered what this meant. His eventual smile looks so sad to me, and he hugs me.
"S'okay Kyde, I know it is." It's not.
He lets go of me and runs back out to meet up with everyone else at the meeting point.
I tried to stop him.
I yelled to him to stop running.
But he didn't.
He stopped and started coughing loudly. Nothing came up for awhile, but after a minute there was blood. He was so petrified. He couldn't stop it.
A lady on the streets called the emergency line.
I remember this all so well.
An ambulance pulled up as my brother was now nearly drenched in his own blood, I followed. They steadied him, made him sleep, made him breathe.
My look of shock, and sadness, never left me in that vehicle.
The only sleep I found was the sleep of memory.
I could not stop it this time, I couldn't.
The junk was piled up high as we ran around and played. The childish minds of a ten-year-old and a nine-year-old. We were pirates. We were kings. This was our stomping ground and ours only, nobody could stop us if we didn't want them to.
It was a game of tag. It was a joke. Sius caught me and being the boy I was, I was mad and didn't take his attitude about it very well.
I pushed him into sickly water.
I knew Sius couldn't swim.
But I didn't think it was so deep.
I didn't think it was so deadly to the human body.
I screamed. I ran frantically looking for help. Blue and red lights blared on as I yelled out help for my brother.
The headmaster came up to me and slapped me across the face. "You damn idiot! You could have gotten him killed!"
My tears simply fell more. He said more things, but I couldn't understand him. The thought of being without Sius, it was enough to make me wish it was me.
His words faded out more as I slowly woke up.
But the heavy feeling on my heart never left.
The morning left me not wanting to do anything.
I hope my teachers understand. I sent them a message of my worrying about Sius. I haven't received responses. Nobody gave me a word about my brother's health, but I heard muttering from below me.
It doesn't sound good.
Hearing it made me slam my door open and disregard it. I ran. I ran past the nurses and doctors, here for only my brother.
They don't try to stop me somehow. They glare at me, the headmaster told them.
Getting into the room, my brother is laying in bed again. If I thought he looked bad on the first day, he looked horrible now.
"It was all my fault." I sobbed, falling to my knees on the floor. "We..we were apart for years.. because I messed up. Because I.."
Kyde..?" Sius looked up. His eyes were barely open. He was so weak. I could barely get up into the chair myself, to grip onto my brother's pale hands.
He smiled weakly at me. "Hey big brother
"Thanks for getting me the Aron.. "
"You shouldn't thank me for that, it doesn't nearly pay up for-"
His hand goes over my mouth again.
"I'm not okay big brother." He says. "But soon, I will be. Don't carry on that guilt with you, okay? We both know, we just wanted to play. It was just a mistake, it happens."
I brought his hand away. "But it shouldn't happen, when it takes your little brother's life."
"..That's just the way it is." Sius closed his eyes. "..I'm going to sleep now brother."
"Please, leave the guilt with me, okay?"
He lifted his hand up, closing his fingers, leaving his pinkie out. "Promise."
" I follow up, curling my finger around his. "I promise."
My brother smiles again, a real, bright smile. His hand falls down to the bed.
A loud beep cries through the room.
Sius is finally gone.
I don't know what I was expecting, but I go for his hand, grip onto it and cry.
Whatever could be done, has already been done too many times to save him now. He just wanted to live long enough, to see me again.
They leave his toy with me.
I go back to my room.
I have a story due, it'll be a little late, but maybe Mr. Jay won't mind if my story is a little real.
About a boy who played forever, in a Utopian land.