Sam was one of these people that preferred to simply not broach the subject – not even to herself, as she always felt that debating such a ominous topic could only attract bad luck. Of course, her family tragedy left her well aware of her own mortality, but this didn't mean she would willingly talk about it.
So, at that moment, with all that darkness around her, the ringing on her ears and the pain in her head, Sam didn't stop to ponder about how her body felt really, well, alive. She simply arrived at the one possible explanation:
<i>"Oh God, I must be dead!"</i>
Barely 22 years old, and dead. This was so not happening to her!
"This is bad!" she heard what seemed like a male voice coming from somewhere far away.
"Doctor Li, please save my sister!" a feminine, very young voice followed in a heartbreaking voice.
Sam though she could hear some arguing and another man shouting orders, but everything was a mess and her head still hurt too much.
<i>"I always thought death should be painless" </i> she pondered, feeling dizzy and tired <i>"And why is it so loud...? Where are my parents? What is going on?"</i>
Sam was never one to pray or believe that forces bigger than herself were at work somewhere on the universe, but at that moment, just before everything disappeared once again, she started to silently pray, for anything that could hear her.
Someone had to help her. Someone had to tell her what was happening. But the silence was suffocating, and even though she prayed, no-one answered.
"Zi Zhu?" that young female voice was back, seeming closer this time "Is my uncle back already?".
"Third Young Miss, Master Jiang is still at the palace" another young voice answered in a subdued tone.
"I see" the Third Young Miss murmured to herself "Then you can go back first. I will stay with Yue'er a while longer."
Sam felt like frowning at the weird conversation. Even though she could understand every word they were saying, it still felt wrong, as if the cadency and the sound should feel foreign to her ears – and for some unknown reason, weren't.
"Young Miss, you have been here for almost two days! You didn't rest or eat properly since Fifth Young Miss was found!" the girl seemed to be holding back tears at that point "Please, Young Miss! Fifth Young Miss knows your devotion in her heart! She wouldn't want you to harm yourself like this!"
The girl that was supposed to be the Third Young Miss sighed deeply, sounding completely drenched of energy.
"Forget it" the girl she said softly " Zi Zhu, ask A Bi to come and take my place... I don't want to let Yue'er alone".
"Your servant will do it immediately". the young girl, Zi Zhu, answered quickly, her voice losing the tension from before and sounding almost childlike.
It was all very weird, Sam thought to herself, trying to organize all those names, words and informations with some kind of logical order on her head. Before she could do it, though, she felt a delicate hand grasping her own, tight enough so she could feel the slight tremble of the other's body.
"Yue'er, you have to wake up" Third Young Miss whispered in a clumsy voice "Qing Shan is begging you! Please, wake up".
Sam felt the girl leaving her side with growing distress. Along those small moments of consciousness, she had started to doubt her first assessment of her present situation. Even though the events following her conversation with Amelia weren't all that clear yet, she had that nagging feeling that something bad had happened on that fateful morning. Maybe something involving David.
Well, one figures...
So, after some time of brooding, she decided that, all things considered, she probably wasn't dead. Not that it was any better, with all those voices, and strange names around her. It was all so confusing! She desperately needed answers, but her body felt too heavy to do anything besides laying still.
<i> "This can't go on forever"</I> she reminded herself, hating how exhausted she felt after, literally, doing nothing.
Five days later (even though it felt closer to five years), Sam felt the pressure on her chest begin to lift, her limbs started to feel lighter and even her head didn't seem to want to kill her anymore.
With a clearer head, she now had successfully catalogued all the people that seemed to stop by her room on the hospital (cause, she decided, there wasn't another plausible explanation to where she was). She had never credit much those theories about comatose patients still being able to hear people around then, but right now she felt grateful that all those people stopping by didn't share her ceticism. Only thinking how boring days would've been to stay there alone in the silence already made her skin crawl.
Ying Yue, she concluded, should be the girl sharing the hospital room with her, and whose relatives were always coming and going – sometimes taking the time to talk to Sam herself, or even hold her hand. This girl definitely had a nice family.
Then there was that weird Doctor with the nosy voice, a girl named A Bi (probably a nurse that had been charged with taking care of both her and Ying Yue) and Jiang Qing Shan. This girl stayed in the room for at least one hour everyday, always reading something, talking about gossips and people she didn't know, or simply talking about their life in... Well, she supposed was the mansion of the family.
Once, she even brought a instrument to play and sing for then. The light tones and her sweet voice made Sam's heart ache and her still closed eyes burn with unshed tears.
It was all very weird... As if she was stuck in some kind of in-between moment, even though she wasn't certain what exactly would be waiting her "after" all that.
All things considered, however, her only complain was Amelia. That treacherous friend of hers didn't bother to show up even once in all that time!
<i>"You just wait! When I'm able to stand again we will have a long talk about loyalty!"</i>
The light was so bright that she couldn't keep her eyes open. Her whole body ache, and she felt stiff and sore all over, as if she had been ran over by a truck.
With still tearing eyes, she tried to raise her hand to cover her face.
"Ouch!" she grumbled, feeling her throat burn as if she had eaten sand.
She wanted to ask someone to please close the blinds and turn out the light, but her voice seemed to have deserted her. In fact, Sam was about to try and call for help when the sound of porcelain crashing on the wooded floor broke the silence on the room, small droplets of water landing on her still immobile hands.
"Oh, thanks the Heavens!" someone cried – a bit too loudly – and than apparently dashed through the door, still screaming " Third Miss! Master! Third Miss! Fifth Miss has woken up! She is awake! Third Miss!".
Sam groaned, squinting a bit while trying to find a more comfortable position for her aching body. It felt as if she didn't move a single muscle for ages! And than all that shouting still ringing on her years... What was the problem with these people!?
She tried once again opening her eyes, just to have to close them again some four or five times before being able to see anything beyond that blinding light. Still, it wasn't enough to have any real clear image of the surrounding area. Everything seemed big, intricately decorated, and a mess of blues and whites that her eyes couldn't still understand. And then there was the smell... The room smelled just like Amelia's living room – of strong incense and medicinal herbs.
Sam frowned. Maybe Amelia hadn't actually forgotten her existence. Maybe....
A door slammed open suddenly, making her heart jump.
"Yue'er!" the Third Young Miss almost screamed, covering her mouth with her hands "Yue'er!".
Sam couldn't really make up the girl's features, as she was too faraway and her eyes still too weak, but even all this couldn't mask the beauty of the girl's long black hair that flowed like a midnight river, or even the delicate cut of her clothes, of light green and white brocade. Sam was about to try and turn her head to the other side, so she could finally see who exactly was Ying Yue, when all of a sudden the Third Miss fell to the ground beside her bed, took her hand in hers and lowered her forehead to their joined fingers.
"Oh God!" the girl cried, still clinging to her for dear life "Oh God! I though we had lost you!"
Sam felt her body going completely cold, a weird, foreboding feeling starting to creep over her like cold water down her spine.
"Yue'er!" The girl looked right at her stunned, wide eyes, tears still running down her beautiful, very white, very asiatic, face "Yue'er you came back to us! You are really here!"
Desperately, Sam tried to sneak a glance to her left side... There had to be another girl there. It simply had to be!
But it didn't matter how much she looked or tried to turn her head, she could only see more furniture and some kneaded clothes on a corner.
There was only the two of them.
In a room that didn't look anything like a hospital facility.
"Oh my God!" she whispered, her voice a rasping sound barely high enough for her own ears.
"Yue'er" Third Miss called, drying her tears with a prettily embroidered handkerchief, her dark eyes locking in on Sam with such strength that she could barely breathe "Jiejie wasn't good for you... I didn't protect you enough. Yue'er do you trust me? Jiejie won't let anyone bully you anymore. I will protect you from now on".
Sam could barely acknowledge her words, her head still spinning nonstop trying to understand what was happening there. That girl couldn't mean... She didn't actually think Sam was...
No, no. It was impossible. Totally inconceivable.
"Who... Who are you?" she finally managed to whisper though parched lips "Where am I?"
Jiang Qing Shan dropped her hands suddenly, as if they were on fire. Her big, black eyes growing round as saucers.
"Yue'er..." she starter in a clumsy voice, not wanting to believe on her own ears.
"Not... Yue'er..." Sam insisted, trying to ignore her aching throat and head "Who... Where... am... I?".
"Wu Xiaojie" a very young girl cried softly from her place near the door "What are you talking? Don't play games like this! San XiaoJie will be very worried if you do it!".
What are they talking about? Why can't they understand? Sam asked herself desperately, her thoughts spinning like the wheels of her car before...
Before the accident.
"Oh my God..." she repeated, tears threatening to flow as image after image of the car crash assaulted her senses.
"Zi Zhu! Call Doctor Li! Fast!" she though she heard Third Miss shout, but Sam wasn't sure of anything anymore.
It was all too much. All too weird.
Maybe she had really died after all.