A Galaxy of Stars
Notice: I was trying to enter this in a Pen to the Paper challenge, but something went wrong and I had to submit something else. This is what I would have entered.
Ah, the stars. They glimmered... a rainbow of flickering lights surrounding you. You float amongst the stars, slowly growing brighter. Everything is warm... comfortable. Everything is simply... fuzzy. You hear blurred noises, and feel blurred pressure, but everything is happily fitting together, as if you were meant to be here, in the void of nothing and light. You can't help but feel like this is where you were meant to be, as the lights grow stronger, and it's almost as if they are calling to you... Growing louder... louder... so loud...
I was jolted back to earth, ripped away from the welcoming lights. It was even louder now, chaotic. There was fast beeping from a heart monitor, and a sore burning, as if someone had kicked me in the chest. There were doctors or nurses around me, bustling or watching me. I pieced together the eventful scene, still in shock from the separation from the dazzling lights of death. My mother was huddled over me, gripping my hand, tears streaking down her face. Across the room, my brother was shaking, staring at me.
I was in a hospital.
I almost died.
But... I didn't. A wave of relief and regret washed over me, muddled by the presence of reality. But it was short lived. A wave of horrible nausea washed over me, and I choked down vomit, resisting the purge. My head rushed as splotches invaded my vision, blocking my mom from view.
I wanted to speak, to shout for her to not let go of me, that I didn't want to die anymore, but my mouth was dry and I knew that if I pushed, the vomit wouldn't stop again. I stared at her desperately as she prayed for me, promising that she would be a better mother, as if this were her fault. Before I could think about it further, I was hit by another wave of dizziness, the world blurring heavily. Needles were being jammed into my flesh, fighting the battle for my life. My head and vision were swimming, and there was so much noise all around me, mercilessly shredding my already fragmented mind. Everything was cold... freezing, like the time we went camping in December. Flashes of everything that had led me here popped into my pained head. I pushed the thoughts away, and focused on the trembling hands gripping mine, anchoring me to life. The monitor beeped quickly, and It felt like my body was as heavy as lead, yet I was floating away. Nothing was still, and in the haze of mom and the doctors and the beeping and the pain, I could faintly see my lights. I wanted to go to them, I hurt so much, but how could I leave her? The doctor said something to her in a serious voice, and she looked more frightened than I have ever seen her. Frightened because of me. Tears were spilling over in her eyes was she squeezed my limp hand. She gazed at me in stifled desperation.
"I love you, Austen. It's ok, I love you. It's alright. You can go to sleep. It'll be ok, I love you. You know that, right? I love you..."
She looked more and more frantic as she choked the words out over and over again, trying to convince herself it was true as her eyes begged me to stay with her. But I couldn't. The lights were too bright, and I was floating away. With all the the strength I had left, I squeezed her hand feebly, wishing I could jump up and hug her and my brother one last time, but also wanting to give up. It hurt so much, and staying awake was so exhausting. the stars had created an entire universe above my head, and it was so, so beautiful. I gazed at mom once more, and floated up, to say hi to the stars.