: Is this a joke?
: No, no joke.
: Then what are you doing?
: What does it look like I'm doing? I'm demanding answers. And I swear to God I'm going to get them this time.
: Ok, ok, let's just calm down here...
: If you'll notice, Erin, I am very calm.
This was actually true, somewhat to my surprise. Usually I wasn't very good with confrontations; even in a minor argument with a roomate I would find my heart racing and my hands shaking. Not so now. I was dead calm, almost detached from the scene, as I pointed the gun at them. As for them, well, they looked calm too. Surprisingly so, seeing as how they were being held hostage. I smiled a humorless smile; this only served to further confirm my theories.
: So, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to ask you a few questions, and you are going to answer them fully and truthfully. Otherwise...
I gestured with the gun, letting the threat hang in the air.
: This is ridiculous. You can't honestly expect us to believe that your going to shoot us...
I just smiled and kept staring at them. Deryl's voice drifted off as he saw my cold smile. Finally, they were beginning to realize that I was not playing around.
: Ok, well, what do you want to know?
I laughed in their faces.
: What do I want to know? Everything. I want to know why this city grows so fast, I want to know why I can't leave, I want to know why nobody else seems to think anything is wrong, and I want to know why there's an cliff to the fucking abyss on the edge of town! WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS TOWN?!
: Nothing! Nothing is going on...
: I don't know what your talking ab...
The lamp on the end table next to the sofa shattered. I aimed the gun back at them.
: That was the wrong answer. But I guess you can't be blamed, after all I did ask a bunch of questions at once. So, I'll ask them one at a time. First question: why can't I leave.
They were silent, for a moment, just staring at me. And then...
: I've already told you why.
: You did?
: Yes. I told you why you couldn't leave. You have unfinished business that won't let you leave.
: Unfinished business? What are you talking about?
: The city, you fool. The city! You are the mayor of this city, and this city can't exist without you.
: Why? Why can't the city exist without me?
: Oh come on, you have to have noticed it by now. How you are doing affects the city, and how the city is doing affects you. Remember when that chemical spill hit? You almost passed out. And your headaches that suddenly went away? All of it connected to the city. And the city connected to you.
: How?! How is it connected to me? I just want to leave! For god's sake, help me!
: We can't help you! You have to help yourself! You're the only one who can get you out of here. And there's only one way for you to do that.
: How?! How do I do that?! I want to leave, I want to get out of this city!
: But the city needs you first! This city was practically dead when you got here. Thanks to you this city has rebuilt and grown. And that's how you will be able to leave. By completing the work you started. Do you want to help make this city complete again?
: Yes, yes, if it is what will get me home than yes. I want to make this city complete.
Light flooded the room. I was seized with fear, my mind flashing back to every police movie I had seen, certain that a SWAT team would come crashing through the window at any second. But everything stayed quiet. I looked to the others in confusion. They both had big smiles on their faces.
: It's done.
I walked to the window. The light was coming from up the river.
: What in the...
: What is that thing?
: The final piece. The city is complete now. You...are complete.
I turned away from the window, away from the view of that huge object that now dominated the night sky over City Name.
: What are you talking about?
: You did it. I knew you could do it!
She threw her arms around me and hugged me. I let the gun drop to the floor and put my hands on her shoulders, pushing her away. Holding her at arms length.
: Please, just tell me what is happening.
: I can't tell you anything some part of you doesn't already know. But you have done the right thing. Despite your worry and your hesitation and your fear, you took the correct path. If you had faltered, or failed to pursue your duty...
: Or thrown yourself off that cliff.
: ...you would have certainly died. Now, I have a question for you. Do you want to go home?
: Yes, more than anything in the world.
: Then go home.
I felt myself rising. The object near City Hall kept getting brighter and brighter, until I was enveloped in light. I looked around and saw I was high over City Name. I looked down upon the now sprawling-metropolis, lights and activity now flashing all over the landscape. I had never noticed it before, but the city never really seemed very busy. It did so now.
And then everything went dark.
And I opened my eyes.
: Oh my god. Doctor...doctor come quickly!
: Huh? What, what is it?
: He's awake! His eyes are open. Where is that doctor?
Deryl was now standing at the foot of the bed, looking at me.
: Holy crap, you are awake.
: I had this terrible dream...and you were there.
Angry? Disappointed? Before you close your browser window and prepare an angry PM, bear with me, please.
After a few hours had passed and the doctors had run a plethora of tests, I finally got some answers to my strange ordeal.
: You were in a car accident during your road trip up north. Deryl was driving and you were asleep in the passenger seat.
: Thanks for nothing, asshole.
: Hey, I had the right of way and that truck came out of nowhere, I swear.
: Alright, well, you did save my life afterwards, so I guess we're even.
: I did what now?
: Never mind. Keep going, mom.
: Deryl was fine, just some minor injuries, but you, you were in a coma. And you have been for the last three weeks. Here, I'll let the doctor explain more.
My doctor had stepped into the room with a stack of papers under his arm. And it was from here that everything began to make sense.
: Well, when we brought you in, you had some pretty serious brain trauma. As you can see from this MRI we took, your brain activity was limited to a very small area in only one hemisphere of your brain.
: This had us quite worried for a while, as it seemed like you were going to slip away. But then, after a few days, something interesting started happening.
He showed me another MRI scan. My brain activity had spread outwards, and even jumped to the other hemisphere of my brain.
From there, it steadily increased until it reached normal levels, and then with an extra little push:
I woke up.
: Not that we didn't have our fair share of scares, you know. You started to develop blood clots in your brain, that could have been fatal were they not dealt with.
: We were going to try and perform surgery to deal with it, but fortunately your body seemed to handle it on it's own.
: Also, there was a dip in your white blood cell count, and it looked like you were developing an infection.
: Fortunately your WBC stabilized in time to fight off any more infection. Now, your vitals have all stabilized, and your other injuries from the crash are healing up nicely, so I don't see any reason why you can't be discharged in the next day or so. Do you have any questions for me?
: There were times when I could hear the EKG and the respirator in this room. When I was in the coma, I mean. Is that...normal?
: Well the simple truth is we have very little idea what goes on in the brain when someone is in a coma. People who have been in comas have given conflicting reports. The brain is a mysterious thing; it's possible once your brain had repaired the area responsible for receiving external sounds that yes, you would be able to hear but not be "ready" to wake up yet. Is there anything else?
: No, thanks doctor.
A day and a half later, I was discharged from the hospital. I still couldn't fully explain my experiences...was it a near-death thing? Had it just been a dream? Or had I really taken control of my own brain and directed its repair? One thing was for certain, though. I had a new lease on life, given to me by the residents of City Name, whoever or whatever they were. And I was definitely going to get out and live.
: I'll drive!
: Like hell you will!