The doctor arrived about half an hour later and immediately went to Sylvia’s room where Alice was.
Alice looked so small and weak as she just lay there, not moving. She was so pale and so still. If not for the slow rising of her chest as she breathed, she could easily be mistaken for dead. I couldn’t think like that now, no. Nothing could happen to my sister and the doctor would know how to fix this and help her.
He had to, because there was no room for any other outcome except a positive one. My family couldn’t afford to hear any more bad news right now.
It was difficult being so helpless when she was so sick and we couldn’t do anything to help.
We all looked on as he checked what was wrong with her, waiting impatiently for the results. When he finally turned to us with a grim look on his face, I knew the news would be really bad, just what I had been hoping wouldn’t happen.
“What’s wrong with her?” My mother asked sadly.
The doctor took a breath before answering.
“She has a very high fever, and also there’s a very strange disease running through her system.”
What exactly that meant?
It was difficult to process what he was saying when he was saying all of the things that I probably didn’t want to hear. Alice had been just fine all along, so what had happened between then and now. And why did it get so serious all of a sudden? Was it being made worse by the fever, or was the fever just a symptom? All these questions needed answers!
“So, what does that mean? How did she get it??”
The doctor shook his head. “I don’t know how a little child such as Alice got this disease, but it’s very dangerous. I’m afraid there is a high possibility that she might not make it.”
As soon as he said that, my mother gasped and her legs gave in as she almost collapsed. Sylvia caught her just in time and held her up. I watched as my mother weakly walked to my sister’s side and took her tiny hand in hers.
I could almost feel the fear and pain radiating from Marianne. She was terribly worried, as we all were, and also scared. Her face betrayed her emotions and I understood what she was probably feeling. I was terribly scared too; would my little sister be able to get through this.
The doctor was surprised by how she had gotten the disease, which meant this wasn’t a normal situation. It wasn’t just an ordinary fever, which meant the solution to it wasn’t just ordinary either. We couldn’t just get some medicine from the medicine cabinet and administer to her while waiting for her to get better. I already knew it wasn’t going to be that easy and straight forward. Which made the fear in my chest very real and very valid in this situation.
“I’m so sorry,” she murmured, tears cascading down her cheeks.
She kissed Alice’s hand as she repeated that she was sorry over and over again as she cried.
I felt my eyes well with tears too just seeing my sister lie there. She was so little and so sick, and the doctor had said she could possibly die. Just the thought alone made my throat close up. I tried not to cry too as I held my tears back.
This was all my fault, I thought. I took all the blame for this. If I hadn’t been doing something stupid with my mother like that, this would never have happened. I should have rejected her advances from the beginning. Because then she would have definitely been by Alice’s side instead of being with me.
This was all because of my indecisiveness! It had caused all of this and now we were in this difficult situation.
“Is there a cure for the disease? Can Alice be cured?”
I looked at Sylvia, who had been quiet all this while, as she asked the doctor. Then I looked back to the man who had all the answers, or so I hoped.
Please say there is, please say there is, please say there is. I chanted in my heart and hoped that against all odds, the doctor would tell us that the cure was there and easy to get. I didn’t dare hope for it to be that easy though, because if it was then he definitely would have said something.
However, the question still had to be asked so that we knew what we were dealing with and where we stood. My heart almost stopped as I looked at the doctor, chanting away in my mind as if my words were a magic spell that would immediately make everything better.
“I’m not sure if there is a cure, but it could be possible with the Elixir. I believe with that its very possible that she could make a full recovery.”
“So we should just get the elixir? And then everything will be alright? She will be okay?” My mother asked, looking a bit hopeful.
The doctor looked like it pained him to keep giving us bad news, but he really had no choice but to be honest. I could see it on his fae as we asked these questions and he had to keep killing our hopes.
He must see this all the time, I thought. Families so desperately seeking answers and sometimes he would have to tell them there were none. That must be the most difficult job in the world, I thought. And also, probably the most rewarding when he got to heal and help people.
I just hoped my little sister would be one of those people he helped, because there had to be some solution.
“Unfortunately, that medicine is not sold in this small city. The elixir is actually very rare to be sold, even in the capital. And even if you could somehow find it, its very hard to get because its extremely expensive.”
Everyone became quiet once more with the gloomy news, except for my mother’s cry in the background.
Someone burst into the room and I turned to see my father frantically enter. He looked like he had been running for miles and was out of breath.
“I came home as soon I heard what happened,” he said, walking to my mother and giving her a hug. She was still crying and he held her.
My father just held her, offering her some of his strength. He was protective of all of us in his family, and I could see some of that protectiveness in the way that he held her. My father had always been a strong and loving man, and I felt that stab of guilt again when I thought of what I had done. I had brought this upon my family and I was the one who had put us all in this difficult position. If I could take it all back, then I would. My father didn’t deserve to be going through this pain. And my sister didn’t deserve to be suffering this sickness either. Even Sylvia too. I could have prevented this, I thought. But I hadn’t, and now this is what it had all come to.
I had never seen my mother so distraught, because we had never gone through anything this scary as a family. I could only hope that my father would have some answers.
“I’m so sorry, Luthor.” My mother wept.
“Everything will be alright,” he replied, rubbing circles across her back.
I looked sadly at my parents and felt the guilt eat me up inside. It was really all my fault and very difficult knowing that if anything happened to my sister then it would mean that I basically destroyed my family.
My father calmed my mother down a little bit then turned to the doctor with a serious expression.
“Doctor, can the Moon Dusk flower be used as medicine to cure my daughter?”
The doctor looked shocked at the question but quickly replied.
“As a doctor, I guarantee… No, I am pretty sure that would work and would save her.”
I was certain we all felt relived in that moment. If there was a cure then I knew my father would get it and save my sister.
“But I know what you are planning to do. And I have to say that your intentions are very dangerous,” the doctor said.
“I don’t have any other choice but to go,” my father replied.
I was confused by what they were saying, or not saying; but it wasn’t difficult to decipher that Luthor would be going to a very dangerous place. I turned to Sylvia and asked in the lowest voice I could manage.
“Sylvia, what is dad talking about? What is he going to get?”
“Moon dusk flower is a miracle healing flower,” she explained. “It can rival even the elixir. But its very hard to get because it is guarded by the forest guardian.”
That was very interesting indeed, but I didn’t know what it now meant for my father trying to get such a flower. Sylvia continued to explain.
“A hero in the past managed to get it once, but he lost two companions as a price.”
“Where is the flower bloom,” I asked.
“In the deeper part of the dark forest, which is south east of the city.”
I thought of how I could find the forest and then the flower. It would be difficult and I had no clue what could be awaiting me there. When I looked up again, my father was already done speaking with the doctor and was now arguing with my mom.
“You can’t be thinking of going to that dangerous place alone!”
“I don’t have any other choice, our daughter is dying,” my father replied in a pleading tone.
“No,no,no,no!!” My mom cried hysterically, holding on to my dad. “There is always another way. You should be here with me and our daughter right now! I can use one of my connections to pick up the flower or to get the elixir. But you can’t go.
“But if we do that it means waiting for a few more days. And Alice might not have a few more days to spare. We can’t waste any more time, Marianne. We don’t have that luxury.”
My mother seemed to have nothing to say to that but just held on to my father, refusing to let him go.
“You know that I have to do this. It’s my responsibility as her father to do everything in my power to keep her safe. And if I have to go find that flower, then that’s what I will do.”
“But it’s dangerous!” My mother argued.
“What good is it for me to be safe in here while our daughter is very sick?!”
The fear and panic in the room was heavy and causing serious tension. Luckily, Sylvia stopped my parents just as they were about to start screaming at each other.
“Stop it, both of you. There are children present in this room.” She said.
My father looked ashamed that he had been in the argument and he drew my mother in for a hug.
“I’m sorry. I know you are just worried,” he said gently.
“I’m sorry too,” my mother replied.
“Everything will be fine, Marianne. I’ll get the flower for our daughter and return safely to you.”
My mother just continued crying. When her gaze fell on me, I could tell that she felt regret over what we had done. I didn’t know what to feel about this whole complicated situation but I definitely knew what to do now.
When the adults began discussing something, I saw my opportunity to sneak out of the room and go to my parents’ bedroom. My father had his swords there and I picked one before going out of the house. I looked in the direction Sylvia had said and felt determination fueling me.
With my sister’s health in mind, I began running towards the forest to get the flower.