While Keith remains in a coma in hospital, twelve-year-old Rach learns to live without sight.
Until the day Keith reveals to her that the accident has also given him incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers.
Keith is a police officer and, when he learns his ‘accident’ was caused deliberately to stop him investigating a drug ring, he is determined to finish what he started.
And to do that he needs Rach’s help.
Monday 6 July
The most incredible thing happened to me today.
It’s so unreal that even if I could tell someone else about it I don’t think I’d dare. They’d think I’d flipped out or something. So Braille machine, old mate, since I have got to tell someone, you’re it. And the great thing about it is, Mum and Dad can’t read Braille – heck, even I couldn’t four months ago.
But then, four months ago I didn’t need it.
For me it started on the trip back home from watching Keith’s basketball game. For him I guess it started a lot earlier, when he first got involved with the drug traffickers. He didn’t talk about his police work much, but I knew he was close to making a bust.
So I guess this was the drug mob’s idea of shutting him up permanently.
Except it didn’t work.
The on-purpose accident, I mean.
Keith is my cousin, but he and Alan are more like older brothers to me. We lived only a street away from each other and pretty much grew up together. Keith’s a police officer, been one for three years now – he joined straight out of school. He’s good – too good, someone obviously reckoned, so they rigged his car, did something to the engine so it’d blow up on a timer.
And that just happened to be on the way back from the basketball game.
The accident made the front page of the newspaper, a thin column on the right side, but only because doctors figured it was a miracle we survived at all. I got a severely sprained wrist, which made learning Braille a bit tricky at first, and I got blinded by flying glass when the windows shattered. I’ve got one glass eye now, and the other one’s pretty much useless. I can tell light and dark, but that’s about it. Gives the old saying ‘keeping your eye on something’ a whole new meaning; ever seen a lone blue eye sitting on top of a school bag? My mobility instructor told me how someone had tried that on her, so I did it to Alan. Cracked him up severely; he was laughing for days.
Alan helped me a lot during those first few weeks. He’s an intern at the hospital where Keith is, and even when he was hurting too he made me begin accepting my blindness and start learning Braille – and he kept my spirits up with his sick jokes. He’s going to make a great paediatrician one day; that’s what they call doctors who specialize in treating kids.
He’s also the one who arranged it so I could come and see Keith whenever I wanted, even if he is in Intensive Care. I’m still not real confident with this white cane, I keep thinking it’s not finding everything, so I walk real slow. I miss being able to run. Anyway, I tell the lady on reception that I’m here and someone comes and gets me.
They know me pretty well by now.
Keith is in a room by himself, just him and a pack of humming, clicking machines making sure he stays alive. He’s not brain-dead or anything, he’s in a coma. They can pick up brainwaves and his heart’s beating and he’s breathing by himself, but he just won’t wake up. The doctors reckon its shock. They reckon his body’s having a hard time adjusting.
See, when we crashed into the bridge pylon the front end of the car crumpled and Keith’s legs got crushed. And he was so fit and active his body’s been traumatized by it. He knew what happened to him too – when we were stuck there waiting for help, in between my own pain and him asking me if I was okay I heard him mumble a few times that he couldn’t feel his legs. Then he was silent so long I thought he was dead till I frantically groped for his hand and found the pulse in his wrist. I guess I kept drifting in and out too, but I was definitely awake when we were cut from the wreckage. Keith woke as he was being pulled out and I heard him say real clear, ‘Oh God, there goes my career,’ before he was out to the world again.
They’ve managed to save his legs. Alan reckons they looked pretty disgusting, all bruised and broken and swollen, but they should look normal enough when they’re healed. He’s never going to be able to walk properly again but they’re hoping he might be able to manage with crutches or a cane and he won’t be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
The first few days sitting there next to him, holding his limp hand, I wished it was me lying there and him miraculously okay. He wasn’t going to be able to go back to his old job and being a cop meant everything to him. He’d never wanted to be anything else. Alan talked me through that guilt trip – he told me Keith’s bosses were already talking about finding him a desk job. I guess we helped each other, really. He felt guilty because he hadn’t been with us in the car. He was supposed to be playing too that night, he’s a great forward, but he got rostered on an extra shift at the hospital.
Alan told me that sometimes coma patients could still hear even if they couldn’t move, so I started bringing in books to read to Keith. I figured it would help me to learn to read Braille faster, and also relieve his boredom a bit too if he could hear me.
So today there I was, two days and about thirty pages into The Stars Are Ours! by Andre Norton – I like her old-type science fiction – when I heard someone say my name.
The voice was faint, almost hesitant. I stopped reading and said, ‘Yeah?’ Then I paused. The voice had sounded familiar. ‘Alan?’
Not Alan. The voice was stronger now. It’s me. It’s Keith.