The first time her breath is stolen from her, Risae falls to the floor. Everyone around her is rushing, their movements bizarrely sped up, their voices echoing. She rises. The tile floor should be cool against her bare legs, but she can hardly feel it. Her attention isn't there anyway.
She looks at herself as a doctor shocks her chest. Her body jolts in the bed. All other sounds fade away so she only hears her ragged breath and the erratic beating of the heart monitor.
Risae walks to the other side of the bed and stares with a clinical lack of emotion. So that's how her brain looks. More than that, it bothers her to see her hair. The natural black color is returning. She needs to dye it blonde again before their album promotions end.
She sits cross-legged on the ground and watches them operate with a sense of timelessness. There is more yelling, more hurried action, as the nurses and other doctos rush to follow the surgeon's orders.
The surgeon finally straightens up and leaves the operation room. Risae jumps to her feet, pattering behind him. She's both fascinated and revolted by the morbidity of her dream.
Her mother-her mother!-stands shakily, her face scrubbed with tears. A handkerchief is clutching in her fist. Her eyes are rimmed red but clearly filled with hope.
Risae runs forward to hug her mom, who she hasn't seen in months, but her hands pass through her mom's shoulders. She laughs and shakes her head, remembering she isn't in her body at the moment.
"We had to stop the surgery," the surgeon says. "Her blood pressure dropped. She isn't stable enough."
"So what does that...?" Her mother pressed her lips together.
"Right now we can't do anything." He puts a hand on her mother's shoulder. "We just need to watch and see if she'll make it."
Risae's mother sinks into the chair, Auntie putting an arm around her. Ashley and Juni are there two, the latter with a neck brace. All of them are crying or have streaks on their faces. Risae has a vague sense of discomfort and regret because the people she loves about are in pain.
Ashley stands, gently letting go of Juni, who grabs for her. Ashley walks, zombie-like, and Risae follows her, ignoring anyone else in the hallway. They turn into a hospital room where Sojung is asleep, half her face covered with bandages. Ashley strokes her head, and she stirs slightly.
Risae backs out of the room, her hands pressed against her side of her face. How did her mind create these horrors? Somehow, seeing Sojung pale and injured is worse than seeing herself in the same condition. Wake up, wake up, wake up.
And then there's another question: where's Eunbi?
Risae whirls around to see Eunbi standing there as if conjured by Risae's mind. Risae runs forward and hugs her, rewarded when her arms close around Eunbi's body. Her skin is cool, and Risae thinks with concern that Eunbi needs a jacket.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up in my dream," Risae says, feeling a little bit brighter just because Eunbi is here now.
"This is a dream?" Eunbi looks around uncertainly, smoothing down her skirt.
As Risae looks in at Ashley with her head bowed over Sojung's body, shoulders visibly shaking, she realizes suddenly that Ashley is wearing all black. Eunbi, meanwhile, is wearing the same clothes she was wearing in the van.
Wake up, Risae tells herself again, not wanting to be lost in this terrible dream where Sojung's condition makes Ashley cry. She's afraid to even consider why Ashley is wearing black in the first place.
Ashley stands again and passes through Eunbi and Risae. Risae expects Eunbi to squeal, but she doesn't react at all. Ashley returns to Juni-who is also dressed in black-saying quietly, "We can't let Sojung know about Eunbi and Risae."
"Let Sojung know what about us?" Risae says, as they follow Ashley and Juni to another doorway.
"Risae Unnie," Eunbi says quietly, her gaze to the side. "I think I'm dead."ns 126.96.36.199da2