A Journey Without Me. (5)

&

‘I wish there were five of me…’

I’ve been wishing that a lot recently.

I even managed to time-slip into 1983 before, wouldn’t it be possible for me to create shadow doppelgangers of myself?

The reason I’ve been daydreaming like this is because my workload has been too much for me to handle in recent days.

We’ve been pushing the development of Super Family lately, and after work hours I would devote even more of my time into writing the scenario for “A Journey Without Me”.

For several months now, I would meet up with Morita and Hayashi or discuss work allotments with Chandra every Saturday, and briefly rendezvous with Yuki before returning to Kyoto on Sundays.

I can’t just sit and complain about it though, because after all, I’m doing this for my own good.

I guess I’ll just have to ride this out…

I like to think that as the beginning part of the cogwheel, I must spin in order to make other parts of the wheel such as the Pentagon or Lytex function flawlessly. This has been the one thing that kept me going even through the toughest times.

One Friday evening as soon as I got home from work, I was about to skip dinner and turn on my computer to work on the script for “A Journey Without Me” when I received a phone call.

I picked up the phone and heard Yuki’s voice come through.

“Joonhyuk, are you doing okay? You sound really tired.”

“Huh? Oh right… my workload has been crazy lately so I wasn’t feeling so good earlier today.”

“Did you take any pills?”

“Yeah, I took some after dinner earlier…”

Although I didn’t have any dinner today, I lied to her thinking that telling her the truth will only make her worried.

“Joonhyuk, I know you’re really busy but maybe you should take a day off tomorrow.”

“I wish I could, but I’ve already set up an appointment with Mr. Morita to hand over my script from this week. Mr. Hayashi also told me that he has something he needs to discuss with me.”

“I know work is important, but you should really take care of your health first. I can tell how sick you are just by hearing your voice…”

I could tell that her voice was getting more worrisome, almost on the verge of crying.

“Don’t worry too much. I’ll work hard this week and take a good rest next week…ugh….”

Huh? Why am I feeling so dizzy all of sudden? I even feel nauseous.

I placed my hand on my forehead, shaking my head quickly to get rid of the dizzy feeling.

I think I have a bit of a fever. I’m also sweating a lot. Maybe I’ve been pushing myself too much?

Suddenly the entire room appeared to spin around me, then everything collapsed to the side with a large thud.

“Joonhyuk?? Joonhyuk!! What happened? Answer me!! Joonhyuk!?”

Well crap… I’ve been feeling crappy since this morning… No wonder.

I tried to get a hold of the telephone, rocking back and forth hanging by its cords, but my body didn’t seem to move by my free will anymore.

I must have really overdone it lately…

My sight started fading, slowly turning into darkness.  Yuki’s faint voice over the phone started to sound almost like I was hallucinating. I need to call 911, oh damn….

&

It felt as if I was floating in space surrounded by complete darkness.

I could briefly hear someone’s voice around me, but all I wanted to do was rest.

Time has passed, and I felt a warm sensation on my right hand together with a regular beeping noise from a machine of some sort.

“What is this…?”

As I struggled to open my eyes, I noticed an unfamiliar ceiling above me.

I don’t think this is my room. I turned my head and saw Yuki tightly holding my hand and resting her head against it. Why is she here and not in Tokyo?

“Yuki?”

Surprised by my sudden voice, Yuki lifted her head to look at me.

“Joonhyuk, are you conscious again?”

“Yeah… but where are we?”

“We’re at the hospital. Do you know how much I freaked out when I heard you collapse over the phone?”

“You travelled all the way here because of that?”

“What else could I do! Your only other acquaintances Mr. Morita and Mr. Hayashi are both in Tokyo as well!”

“Then how did I get to the hospital?”

“I called Mr. Morita asking someone at Mintendo to call 911 for you, and that something is wrong with your body.”

She’s much smarter than I thought. I expected her to be crying helplessly calling my name, but she actually had some quick wits.

Turns out she quickly called Morita as soon as I stopped responding, and Morita could immediately contact the security office of the Mintendo employee dormitory.

One of the Mintendo security guards came up to my apartment with a spare key and found me collapsed on the floor, then called 911 to get an ambulance which explains how I ended up at the emergency room.

While this was all happening, Yuki packed her belongings and ran to the station to board the Shinkansen, and arrived in Tokyo at midnight. She called Morita to figure out the hospital that I was admitted to and took a taxi to get here as soon as possible.

This all happened within the span of 6 hours.

Tokyo and Kyoto are pretty far away from each other.  I was thankful that she decided to come all the way for me without any hesitation.

The resident doctor came up to me as soon as he heard that my consciousness returned.

“Your body is under extreme fatigue due to over-working. You have symptoms of harsh fever but thankfully nothing serious has been detected. You need to rest up and consistently take care of your health. How long do you normally sleep in a day?”

“Uh…around 3 hours?”

“No wonder. How do you expect your body to withstand all that workload without proper rest? If you don’t take care of your health while you’re young, you’re going to suffer a lot when you get older. I’ve given you a shot of nutritional supplements for now. Get some good sleep and you may go home tomorrow morning.”

“Yep… I’ll watch out. Thank you.”

As the doctor left, Yuki gave me a resentful look.

“Junhyuk… what have I been saying? I told you that you need to stop working so much!!”

“Hey now, I’m a patient here.”

“Ugh, it’s not like I can hit a sick person. I hate this!!”

“Sorry…”

“It’s fine. I’m just glad that it’s nothing too serious.”

“Thanks.”

“Try to get back to sleep now. The doctor said it’s because you’re sleep-deprived.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll get some sleep here on the side bed as well. It’s too late to go back home anyway.”

I turned my head slightly to look at the clock. It was pointing at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Did she stay here this late into the night just waiting for me to wake up?

Yuki laid down in the makeshift bed on the floor, fashioning her coat as a blanket. Soon after she fell asleep, I was relieved to hear her breathing peacefully and fell asleep as well.

The next day.

We exited the hospital during the day, had a quick meal and went back to the dormitory.

Yuki noticed that I was glancing at the clock in the cab repeatedly, and proclaimed in a slightly sarcastic tone.

“Joonhyuk, you better not be thinking about the Shinkansen departure times. If we leave now we might be able to meet up with Mr. Morita.”

Yuki saw right through me and asked the driver to hurry towards my dorm while holding onto my hands tightly.

After we got back to my dorm, Yuki strongly insisted that I do not leave the house until I am fully recovered. I decided to continue my work from yesterday and turned my computer on.

“Stop!! Stop it right there.”

“Huh? Hey… I’m fine now. I got plenty of sleep at the hospital and even got a shot of nutrients…”

But my excuses were not enough to convince her.

Yuki pointed at my bed.

“Get in your bed now.”

“What? You want me to sleep again?”

“The doctor told me that you should get plenty more sleep even after leaving the hospital. Now hurry!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I was going to get back to Tokyo later in the evening, but I don’t think I can do that anymore.”

“Are you saying you’ll stay another night?”

“If I leave, you’re just going to turn on your computer and start working again.”

I mean… she’s not wrong.

“Why aren’t you answering me?”

“Fine. Fine. I lose.”

Watching her being all serious, I eventually gave in and let myself crawl back into bed.

I’m getting so much sleep this weekend. I wonder if I’ll even be able to fall asleep after sleeping that much at the hospital.

Despite my expectations, I started getting drowsy as soon as I put my blankets on.

I didn’t know I was this tired…

&

Squawk! Squawk!

I woke up to the loud crow outside my window and immediately looked for my clock.

‘How long did I sleep for?’

The alarm clock on the table was pointing to 6 in the afternoon.

My goodness, I slept for that long even after sleeping all day at the hospital?

I gotta admit, my body feels a lot lighter after getting so much sleep. Thank god I’m still in my 20s since I just need to get some sleep to get rid of my illnesses.

I got up slightly to witness Yuki sitting in front of my computer.

Tapping on the keyboard with one hand while staring at the monitor, Yuki didn’t even notice that I was awake.

“What are you doing?”

“Ahhhh!!”

Yuki jumped out of her chair, freaked out by my sudden interjection.

“Don’t scare me like that!!”

“Okay, do you wanna teach me how to properly warn people before talking to them?”

“You must be feeling a lot better now that you’re joking around.”

“Yep, I feel all refreshed! By the way, what were you doing on my computer?”

“I was reading some of your work”

“Huh? Really?”

“I found a text file called ‘A Journey Without Me’, and I was dying of boredom…so…”

I looked away for a second in embarrassment.

“Is this the dating simulation game that Mr. Morita was talking about?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“I only read a little of it, but I think the storyline is really good. I read up to the part where you find out that the main character doesn’t have long to live. What happens next?”

“Oh…uhh…so…”

How am I going to look at those innocent eyes, yearning for a happy ending, and tell her that both of them dies in the story? I hesitated for a moment, then told her about the rest of the story.

To be honest, I’ve never shown this scenario to anyone apart from Morita and Hayashi, so I was curious to listen to some feedback from female readers, such as Yuki.

Besides, she’s a screenwriter herself. She might have some more professional insight in terms of improving my scenario.

Yuki was very excited to hear the rest of the story initially, but teardrops started falling from her eyes when she learned that the main character dies.

“Joonhyuk… that’s too sad.”

Hey, it’s only the beginning of the whole story.

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