It had been three days.
Hero’s eyes had dark circles; his cheeks had become very pale covered with a four-day stubble. His hair was caked with mud and sweat and his clothes, had a few tears here and there.
‘I’ll be here, Hero.’ Jason said looking worriedly at his best friend, ‘I’ll keep you up to date. Just go and freshen up. And have some rest.’ It was the fourth time Jason was repeating this to Hero. But as usual, Hero gave no sign of hearing as he sat stiffly on the hospital chair. The Intensive Care Unit’s door opened and the doctor, dressed in white came out.
‘Is she all right doctor?’ Hero stood up.
‘I’m really sorry, Mr. Grace.’ The Doctor said, ‘We have to remove her leg, it took too much force, and the wounds are infected. We will of course attach a mechanical leg...’
‘What?’ Hero shouted. His face had blanched paper-white. He grabbed the Doctor’s collar and yelled, ‘Why do you have to remove her leg?!’
The Doctor to his credit calmly nodded and said, ‘Burns, blood and wounds, with multiple fractures from knee-down Mr. Grace. We have to remove her leg or she could risk losing her life.’
‘Fine, anything for her life.’ Hero muttered darkly.
The doctor nodded and calling up an arsenal of nurses and ward boys marched into the I. C. U again, ready to war. Jason had been stunned to speechlessness. His best friend, Esme, who had saved his and his girlfriend’s life, was now at a risk of losing her own. What kind of a friend was he?
He opened his mouth to say sorry when something landed in his gut, knocking him three feet off. The pain shot through his system as he looked weakly at his attacker. Hero’s eyes were bloodshot. His fist was curled like he wanted to punch Jason again. Hero said in feral voice, completely opposite to his jovial personality taking up armour like his sister, Esme would, ‘It’s all your fault!’
He grabbed Jason’s collar and stood him up, the change in his eyes and face was drastically unlike him, he had gone nuts at the loss of his sister. Jason forced his face to maintain calm, but he could feel chills down his spine.
Hero said in a low sinister way so unlike him that time stood still, ‘If only you hadn’t called us here. If only you hadn’t asked us to protect your girlfriend. If only,’ he looked at Jason with pure hatred, ‘if only Esme didn’t bloody love you! Get out of my sight! And never show your face to us!’
Hero dropped and turned away.
Jason looked at him once, hoping it wouldn’t be last and humiliated, walked the other way off, his footsteps making heavy sounds in the corridor.
He hadn’t failed to notice that Hero was for the first time he had seen him, crying.
Esme was still in mute shock.
She had been told how serious the injury was. But she still couldn’t feel at place, the mechanical leg sticking out from her knee, still couldn’t replace her normal legs entirely.
Would she be able to run her races again?
She had been assured that she would.
But, to know that she was indirectly a cripple for life, saddened her heart. She looked up presently as Hero stepped in.
He looked cleaner.
Obviously they had forced him to take time off to be presentable.
‘How’re you Hero?’ she asked, ignoring the fact that he chose to glance at her leg before he glanced at her face.
‘I’m fine.’ She could see just how tired he was. All because of the worry she had caused him. He hugged her. Seconds later, she could feel him shaking as he cried on her shoulder, for the first time in her life, completely trusting her with his feelings, and said how he’d spend the two weeks feeling like an utter failure as a brother.
‘I should’ve been on the train,’ he muttered, ‘I shouldn’t have allowed you to persuade me.’
‘It doesn’t matter, Hero.’ She murmured running her hands through his hair. She could see he was weaker and more tired. She softly murmured him to go to sleep in his room.
He nodded meekly and said, ‘I hope you’ll be fine.’ He pecked her forehead like a big brother he was and sauntered out the room.ns188.8.131.52da2