Two universes, one for the living, one for the dead

“Doctor! He’s waking up!”…

“Oh good, don’t try to talk - you’ve been involved in a very serious accident, but we were able to save you. Try to get some rest, and we’ll go over the details shortly”. I tried to reply, to ask what was going on, what had happened, but no words came out; the doctor flipped the chart, wrote something down and then stepped out of the room.

Looks like I’m in a hospital bed, and my wife Sue is here, in the chair next to me - talking, but the words are fading in and out; “Steve! Steve! How did you get here!? I got a call, they said you were here of all places. They’re going to try to help you as best they can.”.

I closed my eyes.. didn’t the doc say they had managed to save me, I feel fine, what is Sue going on about? Sleep took over.

“How will he cope? Will he ever fully recover?” Sounded like my mother, guess she’s visiting - I should open my eyes, see what’s going on.

“There was no other option Mrs Tripp, we had to perform an emergency hemispherectomy on the right side of his brain, that’s what is causing the drooping on his left side. His left eye wasn’t damaged, but we will get an ophthalmologist to assess once we have had a chance, to try to fully understand what is going on.”

“Mum? Is everything ok?” I caught pieces of the doctor’s explanation, Sue showed no sign of worry, she must have already had it all explained to her while I was out. “What did they do to my brain?”

The doctor explained in detail the procedure, about my treatment plan and how my recovery rate should be steady but slow. My mum, interrupted and questioned several times, Sue stayed by the beside, staring at me like I’d been away for months on a business trip.

After the doc had gone, and it had started to get late, I told my mum to go home and get some rest, after all - I was going to be fine. She hugged me and said good night, then left, but not a word to Sue; they must have had a shouting match while I was out of it or something.

“I’m going to get some sleep Sue”, and before I knew it, it was lights out.

“He shouldn’t be here Susan, not like this - its not natural.” - I awoke to a deep voice booming from the hallway outside my room. “We need to do something, how did this happen? One minute he’s talking to me, and the next he’s zoned out like he’s lost in a dream!?”. “He doesn’t realise what has happened, or where he’s supposed to be, so he’s in both”, “How is that even possible?”; I called for Susan, and she came running into the room hugged me, almost too tightly. “Thank god you are back, I thought you were lost in there again..”.

I’m not sure what she meant, I hadn’t been anywhere - then, a knock at the door and it opened, but I must have been seeing double, Sue had left the door open when she had come in.

It was the ophthalmologist, come to take a look at my eye, just to be sure I wasn’t going to lose it for now, and then a more in-depth check later, once I was on my feet. “How are you coping with vision in just the right eye Mr Tripp?”, got the wrong patient probably.. “My eye is fine, Sue is sat there on my right, and I can see her perfectly through that eye!”. “Mr Tripp, your right eye is severely clouded, almost grey completely; and I can assure you that it is just yourself and I in the room. Can you cover your left eye and read this chart please?”.

I read the chart perfectly, never needed glasses or contacts, always had great vision, well until now I guess the way this lady is talking about my eye. “Very good, and now, cover the right eye, and read this chart.”

As soon as I covered my ‘good’ eye, the ophthalmologist, my hospital room, the monitors, hell, even my catheter - all vanished, a cool blue wave rushed over the right side of my body. Sue shouted toward the hallway “Quickly, come and see what’s happening!”, she gripped my hand so tightly it felt like my fingers were breaking, and then the pain in my head and side went away.

“Mrs Tripp, I’m sorry to inform you that your son Steve passed this morning during his ophthalmology assessment. He briefly mentioned he had been talking with his wife Sue several times while here, would you like us to inform her of the news?”

“Susan!? Doctor, that’s just not possible, Steve’s wife passed four years ago.”.


This writing prompt is in response to
https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/8usr8w/wp_theres_always_been_two_universes_one_for_the/