7 The boy who had simply...changed*
It took Rassa a long time to wake up. Not because he was incapable of doing so, but because he didn't want to. Every time he attempted to do so, his senses were assaulted with various sounds and smells that were so strong it gave Rassa a headache. It took him approximately thirty hours before he finally felt he had the ability to process all of the information coming to him and open his eyes. That was another thing he felt overly aware of. He could feel time passing, but not affecting him. Almost as if he was an observer to the world around him. He could count it in the heartbeats of his mother and father as they waited by his bed, in the beating of a bee's wings as it collected pollen for it's queen. It terrified him at the same time that it fascinated him.
Drawing his eyes open in the stillness around him, Rassa first noticed his father sitting in a chair by the corner, sleeping deeply. The boy could see the bags under his father's eyes, the worry in his frown. Better to let him sleep. Rassa shifted so quietly, the sheets barely fluttered. It was then that he realised he wasn't inside his house, this was the doctor's home. He knew because he'd been here plenty of times before, whether with a sore stomach, a broken arm, or a fever that was so high they had feared he wouldn't live.
The doctor himself was nowhere to be seen, but his mother was asleep in the bed beside him. someone had dragged it closer so that she could hold her son's hand as she slept. Her knuckles were nearly white she held his hand so tightly, yet Rassa felt as if it was a feather against his skin. He frowned at the feeling, it didn't feel right. After a better observation, Rassa determined that it was night time. He could see stars through the windows, and a light glow from the moon. Rassa knew he should go back to sleep, but he didn't feel in the least bit tired.
No...Rassa felt hungry.
Lifting his head, he sniffed for food, and immediately turned to the inside of his mother's wrist. His vision zeroed in on the blue vein that stood out against her creamy skin, and watched as each heartbeat pumped blood through it. Rassa tilted his head, and his gums started to ache. He felt himself start to lean forward, then he shook his head. What was he thinking? He should be looking for food.
Rassa turned to his mother's expression, and noticed she looked just as worried and tired as his father. Very well then, he could look for food himself.
Rassa carefully released his mother's hand from his own, tucking it back onto her bed and pulling the sheet higher over her. She shifted slowly, rolling over, but stayed asleep. Standing, Rassa moved around the bed slowly, passing by his father and making way to the door of the room. He opened it and cringed as he heard it creak. The sound was so loud right beside his ear! He turned back to see if his parents had heard it, but they remained asleep. He turned and walked out into the front room of the Doctor's house, only to see a lamp light on in another room. The doctor. Rassa approached the room quietly so as not to disturb his parents, then looked inside. The doctor was barely awake, writing notes at his desk. Rassa knocked on the door, and was shocked when it flew open, knocking into the wall. The doctor spun around, and Rassa jumped at the sound, looking at the door in confusion, then his hand, before turning to the stunned doctor.
"Sorry," he said, "I was hungry but my parents were-"
"Rassa!" his mother shouted, throwing her arms around him from behind. Rassa barely moved, looking back at his mother as she hugged him tightly. Only he couldn't feel it. Rather, he could feel it, but it felt nothing like before. He frowned in confusion, something was wrong.
He managed to peak past his mother to where his father watched him. There was something in his father's eyes. Something Rassa hadn't seen before.
"Don't scare me like that!" his mother scolded as she pulled back, "Are you okay, how are you feeling? You're not feeling sick are you? What about your body? any pain anywhere?"
Rassa looked at the worried face of his mother, "I'm fine mum just-"
His stomach gurgled and he looked down sheepishly, "Hungry".
"Well of course your hungry!" she said, "You've been asleep for nearly two days. Wait here, I'll be right back".
She rushed off to what Rassa assumed was the kitchen and Rassa stood still, looking at his mother's retreating back, then his father, then turning to look at the doctor. Both men stood very still as they appraised Rassa.
"It really is remarkable," the doctor eventually stated.
"Rassa, do you remember what happened?" asked his father.
Rassa opened his mouth to reply, then stopped. The memories assaulted him in rapid succession. the rabbit chase, the cave, Diggory's weird behaviour. The cave, the darkness, the...creatures within. It was all there, and Rassa could no longer deny it was what had happened, but, it all seemed so unreal. So terrifying that it couldn't possibly occur in their little corner of nowhere.
"Rassa?" his father spoke.
Rassa was dragged out of his memories as he looked at his father. After a moment, he shook his head, "We were chasing the rabbit, then there was a cave, Diggory dared me to go in but it was over the boundary line so I said no, but he wouldn't leave without the rabbit, so I went in to get the rabbit...I don't remember after that".
Rassa's father watched him for a moment, then nodded, "Okay, tell me if you remember anything else. Diggory and your mum found you in the woods unconscious with your shirt torn off. You don't appear to have any wounds so I don't think you were attacked...but if that was the case you'd tell me right?"
Rassa had never lied to his father before. He had had a need to. His father was an honest man, and Rassa had always looked up to him for it. But this...Rassa somehow knew that what had happened to him would terrify his father and anyone else he told. Attacked or not, Rassa would not say a word about this.
So, forcing himself to put aside his guilt to protect his family, Rassa nodded, "Of course, father".