Coma Kids
A novella

One day Sid started calling her Oda and the name stuck so well, eventually we couldn't remember what her given name was. This information would be important years later when Will crashed the car into a guardrail instantly killing and mangling Oda's body so badly they couldn't even do a dental to identify her.

Oda came from a broken family, forgotten roots and no ties. She showed up on the doorstep at 126 Newell Lane one day after the original CK's were released, looking for food and warm place to stay so we let her in, fed her, gave her some clothes and she ended up just hanging around. No one said anything at the time because once she was cleaned up, she began cleaning the house and kept it in order. Aside from Holy Holy, she was the greatest thing to happen to us, so it didn't matter where she had come from or what she might have been running from.

But I'm jumping ahead. I suppose I should start at the beginning, yeah? Okay.

Holy Holy was the best thing our generation had to offer. Five years ago doctors began testing it on young sufferers of schizophrenia. Six months later it was given the stamp of approval and schizophrenics around the country were suddenly cured. Or so they thought.

One year after the first batch of Holy Holy was prescribed, emergency rooms flooded with coma patients. Over fifty-thousand people in our province alone had fallen into comas and hospitals quickly ran out of beds.

So what did they do with those extra patients? I'm sure you're first thought is that they shipped 'em off to hospitals in other cities but allow me to shoot that idea down right quick: Every hospital in the country was overrun with coma patients; nobody had room to spare.

So our town, Little Prov was cram-packed with all these coma kids, right, and no one knew what the hell to do with them all. So what did they do? They started sending back the extras to their homes. That's right: they sent the coma kids back home. Didn't matter their age, they just left 'em on the doorsteps of their homes with a four-by-two card that had a number to contact in the event the patient showed any signs of life.

I mean, to look at it from their point of view, aside from being in a coma nothing was wrong with them. All were relatively healthy, they didn't have any comatose fits or pull at their tubes or anything; they just wouldn't wake up. So when they dropped the kids back home, they gave everyone enough IVs and medical equipment to sustain the kids for a few months. But of course, not everyone can stay at home to look after their comatose kid, so people began running marathons to raise money for Coma Kids everywhere. Every other commercial on television was about the Coma Kid epidemic, and the country was bustling with new doctors from other countries wanting to lend their aid and secretly find the cure themselves so they could get their time in the spotlight.

Edgar Von Schroeder, father of Holy Holy, was apparently perplexed by this sudden side-effect. The Drug and Health Administration had done extensive testing over a period of six months, he said, and nothing indicated vegetative states would be a side effect; nothing could prepare the country for this tragedy and—in Real Life Viewing only—you could see him wipe a single tear from his cheek, feigning immense guilt.

After that first news broadcast, Von Schroeder disappeared. Rumour has it he took an entire bottle of Holy Holy and fell into a permanent coma himself. I never believe rumours. I just think he decided to check out early because everyone knew he wasn't sorry for what had happened.

Now here's the funny part. Three months after the initial coma outbreak, ninety-percent of the coma kids woke up. That's right, just woke up. One minute they were asleep, the next they were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. The other ten percent? Still in comas to this day; except for one. And this is where Oda comes in.

Oda was an original Coma Kid; what we call a First Gen CK. Basically they're the equivalent to a top of the food chain cool kid. Or at least that's what pop culture's telling us these days: Coma Kids are cool. They dream within each other's dreams and experience life as it should be. I believe that's actually their slogan. If you ask me, they really need to work on it.

I could spend hours telling you about Holy Holy and what it did to our country and generation, but I don't want to bore you. The only thing you need to know is that after the coma epidemic, Holy Holy was pulled off the shelves and the whole thing was swept under the carpet. Doctor's didn't want to hear about Holy Holy, they didn't want to see Holy Holy, they didn't want to talk about Holy Holy. After all, they still had a few thousand kids still in comas from the drug, taking up beds, time, energy and resources.

The marathons slowed to a crawl when the National Health Board created Sweet Dreams Home for the remaining Coma Kids. The hype died down and society found a new problem to obsess about.

Six months later Holy Holy started turning up on street corners in the pockets of Pushers. New and improved and now for the low, low price of twenty a hit or five-hundred a bottle, anyone could get a taste of the Coma Kid experience. Anyone could fall into a dream within a dream with their neighbour, their lover, their friend.

Fast-forward three years later and people start talking about Holy Holy again. This time, however, about the lives it destroyed, the addicted youth, and the number of bodies in the morgue.

Holy Holy is the best thing our generation has to offer. Three in every ten users fall into a permanent vegetative state, never to wake up again. But to the users, that's a risk their willing to take. It's the most radical thing you could do these days; step into a permanent dream, no exit, by your own volition.

Coma Kids are seen as gods, especially the First Gen. Every teenager of our time believes that. Except for Oda, of course; a First Gen CK who woke up and vowed to never dream again.