1 PROLOGUE: All just a bad dream

"Harry!" I called from behind the door. Was my brother playing tricks on me? "Harry!" That was not like him. He would not scare me like that, so what was wrong?

At first, I did not notice what was happening since I was busy admiring my work. It was finally ready. I planned to give it to someone quite special. Then, my nose smelled something burning. As I scanned the room, more smoke entered the room from under the slit of the door.

Realization dawned on me that the house must be on fire. I started to panic as I found myself trapped in the attic. There was no other way out except at the other side of that door, but I was too scared to open it.

"Harry! Help me!" I started shouting. I kept repeating his name, but the darker smoke was the only thing that entered the room. Maybe he could not hear me. I had to get out, so I gathered enough courage to open the door.

More smoke engulfed the room, which was coming from the stairs. I shouted again for Harry to help me. I yelled for someone to help me. I was now terrified that I might not get out of this house alive.

The next thing I knew, I was having difficulty breathing, and it was getting harder to keep my eyes open. The smoke was getting thicker and spreading all over the room. Finally, I felt someone grabbed me by my shoulder, ushering me towards the door.

"Don't worry, I got you," he said. I felt comforted knowing that I was not alone anymore. Someone finally came to rescue me. "Come on. Put this on your face." He gave me a piece of wet cloth that I could use against the smoke.

"Thanks for coming for me," I said, feeling a bit relieved as I tried to catch my breath. I could barely open my eyes, unable to properly find my way out. He guided me towards the path to our exit.

We walked down the steps, going down the second floor, then I suddenly remembered my artwork. I halted. "I need to go back and get my painting," I said as I tried to go back. I could not let it burn. It was special to me.

"We have to get out of here now." He insisted as he pulled me to the narrow hallway.

"I need to get it. Please," I pleaded. From the other end of the hall, I could barely see another shadow moving toward us, finding it difficult to make out what was in front of me. Then, my brother finally emerged from the smoke asking if we were ok.

"Can you take her outside?" the other man asked Harry.

Harry held me by my arms. "Sure, where are you going?" They were talking, I could hear them, but everything was starting to become a blur. I think the lack of oxygen was making me dizzy.

He started walking back to where we just came from behind the thick smoke. "I need to get something. I'll be right behind you." His voice disappeared behind the thick smoke. After that, nothing followed but darkness.

I found myself drifting back and forth from sleep to consciousness until I eventually opened my eyes to bright lights. After staring at it for a few moments, blinking my eyes to clear my vision, all of a sudden, I found myself wandering into an empty hallway, walking towards a particular room for no reason. I could not stop myself, even if I wanted to.

Eventually, I halted in front of the room, with a glass wall and a sliding door. I was in a hospital, basing on the medical apparatus surrounding the bed. There was a patient with several tubes around him, but I could not see his face. Something was blocking my sight, some form of haze, which obscured his features.

I wanted to know who the person inside the room was, but then, unexpectedly, the machines started beeping. As the noise got louder, I began to panic. I tried to slide the door, so I could enter and help him, but it was stuck. It would not open no matter how much I pulled and pushed on it.

"Help! Somebody out there." I walked along the hall, searching for someone, anyone who could help him. It was quite odd. The place looked deserted. "Help! Something is wrong with him. Somebody, please help." I continued to yell, but still, no one responded to my call. I ran back to the room, not knowing what else to do.

Then, a dark cloud of smoke started to envelop the whole room, covering the entire space. I tried banging at the glass, hoping it would break, but it was a futile attempt. I started shouting at the top of my lungs, but no one was coming to help me. No one came to help save the faceless man.

"Help! Someone, please help us!" I shouted and shouted, but no one heard me. I dropped to the floor, trembling, afraid, and hopeless because there was nothing else I could do. I cried, but my tears were useless. It would not help the man lying on that bed, dying alone. I looked at the room one last time, but the only thing I saw was the black smoke-totally engulfing the room.

With a renewed spirit, I refused to give up. I had to find a way to help him. I stood up and tried again to slide the door open. I pulled and pushed, not wanting to declare defeat. In one final pull, it finally opened. I quickly entered the room, searching blindly. No matter what I did, I could not seem to find anything behind the thick smoke. I shouted, but the room remained still and silent.

Then, that faint sound. I heard it. I could not understand it. It was as if he was trying to speak, but something was preventing him from saying anything. Then, it was gone. Complete silence remained.

After that, I found myself crying about losing him, but who was he? I did not even know him. Was that just a dream, or was it real?

I hope when I finally woke up that I would realize it was all just a bad dream.

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