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August 19, 2017

“After the accident, you went into a coma, Mr. Winterson,” a doctor said standing beside a hospital bed. Dressed as a doctor with a clipboard in his hand and a pen in the other. “Did you hear me?”

“Yeah,” Gerold Winterson responded in a groggy haze. His head ached, and his eyes could not focus. “I’m dizzy,” Gerald said with his hand to his head.

“Your car hit a guardrail and flipped off over an embankment. You’re lucky to be alive.”

“Fuck, I don’t-”

“You had a broken leg, shattered foot, and many broken ribs and a cracked skull. Whatever you came down on was an immovable object.”

“Immovable object?”

“Do you remember anything?”

“No, just I remember one thought, before all this. One of Gina. God, I haven’t thought of her in years,” Gerold attempted to sit up, but the pain was too much. So, he just lied there and cried in pain.

“You’ll be able to leave in a few days, life is going to be rough for the next year,” the doctor said before exiting the room. As he left, the doctor high-fived a colleague before saying, “Thanks,” to a congratulatory word. The doctor then turned to his right and said, “He’s awake, you can go see him.”

Gerold sat there teary-eyed with vague memories that only brought back pain when his parents walked into the room eagerly. 

“Gerold, honey? How are you feeling?” Gerold’s mother asked with sad eyes. She looked a little haggard with deep sad wrinkles and a head of jet-black hair.

“Sore, son?” Gerold’s father innately asked as he approached his son’s bedside. “I mean, you  must be, but-”

“Dad, I’m… I don’t know, how long was I in a coma for?” Gerold asked in a slight confusion.

“It’s been months, honey.”

“You’ve turned 34 since the accident, son,” said innately.

“When can I go home?”

“You can go home in a week, they want to run tests and such,” sad eyes said. “I’ll be staying with you until you can walk on your own. What did they say?”

“When you can go home confidently,” was said innately.

“Confidently, yes. That was it, hon.”

“A thought popped in my mind right before the accident, I don’t know if it caused it, but Gina came to mind,” Gerold said sadly with his head down. “I feel terrible that I hadn’t thought of her in years.”

“Gina was special, honey, and she… she was-”

“Son, she was your sister, we miss her every day. We almost lost you. This is too much for your mother.”

“I’m sorry dad, you’re right,” Gerold said apologetically. His mother’s emotional state or face hadn’t changed nor mourned at the mention of Gina, which worried Gerold. He felt the deep-rooted sadness in his mother, that must be it. Gerold remembered the deep-rooted sadness that laid in his mother when she served Gerold his lunch several weeks later.

“What’s wrong?” Gerold asked.

“No… nothing’s wrong, honey.”

“You, you just seem… what’s on your mind?”

“I don’t know; I’m just in a funk I guess,” she said with a fake chuckle, “I’m just worried.”

“Worried? My recovery is coming along better than ever, well that’s what doctor… what’s his name said.”

“Your recovery is coming along, I dunno. Freaks me out a little that you…”

“That I?”

“That you were hurt.”

“I know mom; I really don’t remember the accident, all I really remember was that thought, I told you about it.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Do you have any pictures of us? I think I’d like to have a picture of her on my phone.”

“No, I… I…”

“I know that fire burned most of our things, but I’m sure something made it through.”


“Yeah, the fire. Dad ran back into the house to grab the dog,” Gerold paused with a sad fondness for his father.

“Y-yeah. I’m sorry, I’m still shaken up by the accident that I haven’t been thinking straight.”

Gerold ate his lunch with the fire on his mind; he remembered hugging his sister when his dad emerged from the billowing building with the dog in his arms. They screamed and cried in excitement. Then the thought sat in his mind; this was the last good memory of her. Fights and arguments, and then her death. The memories came flooding back, Gerold almost drowned in the consciousness of his sister’s death. The funeral, the wake, and discovering her body dead in the eyes that stared off into the distance with a needle in her arm. She had so much to live for. She had such opportunities! Tears dripped down on his lap, and they did again years later when Gerold went through his late father’s belongings. He saw that same look on his mother’s face.

“Do you think it’s a good idea to sell the house?” Gerold asked as he limped into the garage.

“I don’t know; I’m just thinking that something that doesn’t have so many emotions woven into it,” sad eyes said.

“It’s a nice house though, but…” Gerold walked over to his father’s work station and there was a key to a master lock hanging on a hook. “What’s this?”

“What’s what?” sad eyes said from the doorway into the house from the garage.

“There’s a key here, but you guys don’t have anything that…” Gerold grabbed the key and walked back towards his mother. “What do you suppose this is for?”

Sad eyes widened with fear and said, “Oh that’s just a… I mean that’s-”

“You’re acting weird mom. Why are you-”

“It’s nothing. That’s just a key, I think it was for our old shed, but we don’t have it anymore.”

“Oh, OK. Why keep it?”

“It was… uh… it was the only thing from the old house. Yeah.”

“You’re acting odd, what’s-”

“It’s nothing!”

“Fine, just odd that you have a key so prominently placed on the wall that serves no purpose. I’ll put it back.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry? Stop it, mom. You act weird sometimes, and it’s just… well weird.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just that you’re not you anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“That’s a key to a storage unit.”

Gerold opened the storage unit and saw that the storage facility only housed 3 boxes. Confused, Gerold opened a box and kneeled down in front of it. His eyes immediately began to tear. The box had five photo albums in it. Confused about the fire, he opened the album. Pictures of him as a child, starting kindergarten, and starting the first grade. He smiled at the memories, but something wasn’t exactly right. He went through the entire album and saw that Gina, his sister, was not in any of the pictures. He opened the next album- no signs of Gina. Every album had no traces of Gina, it hurt him to see her vanish from the past like that. Then he saw the house, the house that burned down. His father, his mother, Gerold, and no Gina in front of the house. The house. Gina was born before they moved into that house. He noted the address, and there it was. The house stood there, untouched by fire, just worn.

The words, “What the fuck!?” left his mouth as he confronted his crying mother.


“What’s happening!? I’m confused by so much!”


“What’s going on mom? I’m seriously scared right now.”


“Mom! What’s-”

“She’s not…”

“She’s not my sister? That sounds crazy, why are you talking crazy?”

“N… no. I…”

“This is scary, mom, please tell me and stop shivering! You’re scaring the shit out of-”

“I’m so sorry!” said sad eyes.


“They said it’d help, and it did! Just…”


“Just, you weren’t you anymore.”

“What do you mean, ‘I wasn’t me?'”

Gerold looked at that olden doctor in the face and judged him, he was smug. The motion to sit was offered, and Gerold did in front of a large mahogany desk.

“You were a success,” the doctor said with confusion. “First of the kind, really. I mean, it was a bit drastic, but it’s been what? 6 years? Yeah, six years, it says so here in your file. I know you’re probably confused, but I think it’s been long enough and I always felt that the truth needs to come out sometime.”

“What did you-”

“You’re an addict. Were an addict. Wait, have you been using?”

“Using? What the fuck? Why would I ever do that?”

“See, it worked. You were a dope user, heroin I believe. Your parents were concerned, and I just got into the experimental stage of the therapy.”

“What therapy?”

“This might be hard to hear, so believe me, and please try to stay calm.”

“What the fuck are you-”

“The procedure makes you hate what you are, by a death to a loved one. We tried using a friend, I mean that’s just easy right? Nope, doesn’t take, the addict goes back to using. So, we used a sibling. Bingo! Loving memories and sad depiction of their demise. Mostly, we have you find them. I think it’s easier to see what your future would be.”

“What are you saying?”

“You have been clean right? You’re not an addict anymore. You’re welcome.”


“We implanted you with a memory of a sibling that died. It was mostly a series of hypnosis and therapy meetings. Oh, we did break your leg, crack some ribs and shatter your foot. That seems to be the key and the bare minimum of damage.”

“Wait a minute! There was no accident!?” tears started to dribble out of Gerold’s eyes profusely.

“No, you were high when you came in. I can see how that was a blur, but we locked you in a room and watched you withdrawal like a sonofabitch,” the doctor said as he fixed his tie. “We weaned you off of the heroin, then we started the hypnosis and therapy to rebuild your past. We built your memories around the stories you told, but we made you an outsider. Then we made her die in your mind and boom! Cured! You’re no longer a drug addict. The unstoppable force, your addiction, against the immovable object, which was your love for your sister and her death.”

“But…” the thoughts came back. They flooded back like a nightmare. Gerold’s life came back, and he knew the truth, and he knew the shit that he had done- being a junkie.

“Look, it’s a price to pay, but know this. You’re cured.”

“Yeah, I know…” all Gerold could think of was heroin, he missed it like he missed Gina. He felt cured.

From → Short Stories

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