Visits From A Man Named Nobody 77

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 77

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March 27, 2038, 2:24 a.m. 

13 Years, 252 Days Ago

Paul wasn’t sure what woke him. He looked around from his bed. Did he hear that strange surge of electricity that accompanied an appearance of Nobody?

“Are you there?” 

Nobody didn’t usually just sit quietly, but Paul struggled to remember the last time he’d seen him. Nobody didn’t visit when Paul’s mom got diagnosed. He didn’t appear during the surgery. Maybe he finally gave up on Paul.

Paul wasn’t sure how he felt about that. While listening for a footstep or a soft word, he heard a distant coughing. That coughing quickly became a retching sound.

Paul launched out of the bed, throwing the comforter and sheets off his body. He was into his mother’s room and into the adjoining bathroom before the night air could nip at his bare calves and feet.

His mother was huddled over the toilet. Paul dropped to his knees and held gently rested his hands on her.

A stream of vomit erupted from her mouth. It could have been the stress of the moment, but Paul thought the yellow-green fluid poured out of her for a solid five seconds. It felt like it took for ever. 

His mother let out a few couches. “I’m .. .”

Another surge of sickness hit her. This time she only had a moment to take in a shuddering breath before another, longer attack struck. 

However long it really was, it felt like an eternity, and his mother had only managed a few inhalations through it all. 

Paul tried to keep the nervousness out of his voice and offer her words of love and encouragement, but she just kept on throwing up. Even as she began to weep from the pain and fear she had to have felt, she just couldn’t stop. 

She hadn’t even had that much to eat! There couldn’t have been much left in her stomach to force out. 

A fifth stream of bile flowed out of her, and finally, she managed a deep shuddering breath, and then another. 

Then the weeping resumed. She didn’t seem like she was going to be sick again, but she moaned.

“It’s hard.” It was barely more than a whisper. 

“It’s OK,” Paul replied. “I’m here.”

“Please give me strength.” 

Paul realized she was praying, so he just focused on holding her. He wasn’t sure if he did it intentionally, but his hand was on her back, and he couldn’t resist feeling her back expand and contract with each deep breath. 

She was halfway through one such breath when her body convulsed, and she leaned over the white, porcelain bowl. Nothing came out. There wasn’t anything left to come out, but her body still shook even as she coughed and hunched over.

“Please … “ It was one of only two words she could choke out. “God.”

Another round of hacks and full-body tremors struck her before her body seemed to be able to recover. By that time, she focused on her breathing. 

For some reason, Paul started counting his mother’s breaths. Each one seemed to be every bit as relieving as it was nerve-racking. Each one she offered made him hope she’d made it through, but it also made him wonder if it would be the last before another fit hit her. 

Five breaths passed. Ten breaths. 

“I’m going to call someone.” He should have called when this all started, but he didn’t want to leave her side.

He surged to his feet and went to his mother’s room, grabbing her PID rather than leaving to retrieve his from the night stand by his own bed. Even then, he returned to find her over the bowl again, coughing when she wasn’t sobbing. 

“Please … God.”

Paul positioned himself next to her again. Whatever he missed was over just as quickly this time. 

“I need your face,” Paul said gently. He positioned the PID in front of his mother to activate the facial recognition and unlock the device. 

He tapped frantically, bringing up the emergency contact he had received from the hospital. 

The PID gave a few blinks before a woman’s holographic face appeared. “Oncology Emergency Support. How can I … Oh.”

Whatever illness was attacking Paul’s mother chose that moment to give a brutal example of what was going on.

“You said it would happen within hours,” Paul said. “And nothing said it would be this bad!”

He shook with anger, but his mother had most of his attention. Paul set the PID on the water tank as he tried to console his mother. 

“It’s been more than 24 hours?”