All characters or events are in the work of fiction. It may be highly coincidental and is not intended by the author. Additionally, "Rhythm Thief" belongs to SEGA and other respective owners.
He hid in the darkness, avoiding the eyes of the police officers. His canine partner followed him, leaving no traces. The inspector in charge of him exclaimed, "Keep searching! Phantom R still has to be in the perimeter of the Louvre!"
The thief laughed, although softly, then muttered, "I will not allow myself to be caught! And about Mary's Tear..." He brought the necklace out, inspecting it. The dog had a sullen face, then whined, "Hurn...?"
Marie was frantic. What was he talking about? She asked, "What do you mean, 'you don't remember being called that name'? You are Raphael!"
The boy chuckled. He repeated, "Raphael? Raphael..." He felt dizzy; unstable. Pain matched the beats of his heart. His headache hurts more, now that he realizes it. Raphael's eyelids are defeating and defying him, as the weight felt like a blue whale. As if it was saying, "Today is not the day. Just sleep."
...And so Raphael was in a deep sleep, frozen like ice. Marie witnessed the gradual process of him losing his consciousness. Fondue continuously barked to wake him up. "Woeuf, woeuf!" Raphael reacted to the sounds, flinching every now and then. The redhead was sweating, as if he was seeing a nightmare.
Marie went closer to the young man. She examined the back of his hand and suddenly gasped. There was a large bump ant it was covered by that. The thick, heavy liquid that every animal has. It was darker than Raphael's hair, and it was staining the back of his shirt. Fondue whined and tried to lick the substance, as Raphael flinched at the pain.
Marie needed to get some help. A light bulb struck—the hospital. She placed her violin case on the floor and used the same hand to take out her cell phone. On her other hand, she moved the umbrella in a way to keep her and Raphael dry. She dialed 112, the telephone emergency number of France. In an instant, a female worker answered her. "This is 112, the emergency telephone number. What is the situation?"
Marie was panicking, but she kept her composure. She told the operator the situation, expressing every information that may be important. A few minutes later, the loud sirens and the bright lights of the ambulance stuck out like a sore thumb in the rain. Men in raincoats were introduced and carried Raphael onto a stretcher. Marie and Fondue were allowed in, as long as she gave information about their relationship. A single thought of the term "relationship" made her blush. During the safe ride, Raphael was treated first aid to avoid infection and blood loss. Marie was praying the entire time, hoping for his safe health.
Finally, the ambulance arrived at a hospital and Raphael was taken to the emergency ward. His friends, a violinist and a dog, were left back in the waiting room. Surgery had to be performed on his head.
"It will be okay," a doctor assured. "I guarantee our hospital has higher success rates than other clinics." After the doctor left, the waiting room was dead silent. Silent enough to hear a pin drop...or a tear fall.
Droplets of water were pouring down on Marie's face. Every time she rubs them off, new pools of water arrive. She whispered so softly, "Why...? Raphael, why must you put yourself into danger? I don't understand..." Unexpectedly, there was a slight rubbing on her leg—Fondue was comforting the girl, stopping her despair. Marie smiled, grateful to have someone by her side.
She could not lose hope; there is still a chance that everything will be back to normal.
Marie was patient, and Fondue was diligent.
She waited, and waited, and waited...
Raphael will definitely come back.
A couple of hours later, the lights turned off in the operation room.
The operation was complete.
The same doctor from earlier returned and winked. "It was successful. The young man will be transferred to room 208. Oh, by the way, may you fill this form?" He handed a clipboard to Marie. "Please give this paper to the receptionist when you are finished." The doctor immediately left until Marie exclaimed, "Thank you, Doctor! Merci!" The doctor chuckled and waved his hand.
Soon after, she turned to Raphael's partner, Fondue, and rubbed his head. She whispered, "Aren't you glad he is alright?"
"Woeuf, wouef!" Fondue wagged his tail in happiness.
"But..." she continued. "His behavior is not right..."
Marie quickly filled in the form but left some spaces out. She did not know Raphael's full name, age, or anyone related to him. Of course, Raphael has a father, but she does not know anything about the man. Holing an incomplete form, she handed it to the receptionist in the main hall. She thought, Why did the doctor hend me a form to someone who might not be related to Raphael? We don't look like a couple...right? She flushed at the thought.
Looking at the time on the wall, Marie was shocked. It was already six at night. Memories struck Marie and she remembered the promise with Angie, the youngest child.
"Can I hear your violin again?"
"I will be back after rehearsal. I promise."
Rehearsal ended about three hours ago! What should she do: come back and play the violin? Or stay and watch over Raphael? In the end, she decided to go home, since Raphael cannot be discharged in one day.
As a friendly reminder, Fondue barked. "Woeuf!" Marie almost forgot about the furry friend. Thinking of doing the right thing, she selflessly asked, "Fondue, do you want to come home with me? It seems that your master will not be here for awhile, and I don't want to leave you alone..." The dog nodded in agreement.
When the two left the hospital, they looked at the sky. The clear night was free of clouds and fog. The hospital was quite far from the convent, so they went home by bus. A few bus stops later, they left the bus and walked to the convent in a few minutes.
Marie entered the door and said, "Sorry that I am back late—"
The youngest child came running to the entrance. "Miss Marie!" Angie hugged the young woman. "I missed you! Can you play the violin song like you promised..." The young child stared at Fondue like she never saw a dog before.
Fondue stared back, asking, "Woeuf...?"
Marie interrupted. "Angie, this is Fondue. He will be living with us for a while."
The child threw away the promise like crumpled paper. She exclaimed, "Really? Yay!" She ran upstairs where the other children were. The hallways carried her voice, echoing, "Everyone, there is a doggy with a weird name!"
Marie sighed. "Today is a tiring day, right Fondue?" Fondue barked in return. He followed the violinist up to the third floor into her bedroom. Monday never felt so long to Marie. She simply wants to turn off the lights and hide under the covers. Before doing so, she recalled hiding Mary's Tear in the locked cupboard, therefore, removing the priceless object out of the box.
Fondue sat on her bed, watching the necklace intensively. Meanwhile, Marie did not know how to use the mechanism. She wore the necklace and chanted several magic words, but no avail. The book that she read in the Paris Archives stated, "is said to grant the user a special power only to them." There must be a way to activate it. Marie tied the necklace on her neck and will keep it on for now.
From downstairs, a sister exclaimed, "Everyone, it is time for dinner!" Marie and Fondue left downstairs. There was a bit of explaining to do in order to keep Fondue...
Luckily, everyone agreed to keep Fondue for the meantime. Having a pet can keep company with the kids.
The next day, Marie trusted Fondue to take care of the children while she went to the Paris Opera once again. She took a short stride on the way there with no interruptions. The moment she reached the rehearsal hall, she was greeted by her peers. Ever since she got accepted from the audition, everyone knew her in an instant. The conductor, Céleste, walked on the platform. He clapped his hands, then exclaimed, "Okay, everyone! Take your seats! We will now play the first piece from the beginning."
In this piece, Marie is not a soloist, henceforth plays with the rest of the orchestra. The conductor swings his baton and counted off. "One. Two. Three."
The brass, percussion, woodwind and the bass instruments played on the off-beat. When it was Marie's turn, she made the first stroke. There was a monotone sound that came with it. She stopped, trying to find the source of the sound.
Tock. Tock. Tock. Tock. Its repeated beats were timed perfectly.
The conductor noticed Marie's movements. In order to stop the group from playing, Céleste had to execute his hands to make a fist on a circular motion. The musical sounds stopped playing like turning off a phone. He asked, "What is wrong, Mademoiselle Marie?"
Marie moved her head ever so slightly. She replied, "Excuse me. Does anyone hear a beat in 4/4? I hear a metronome, sir." Everyone stayed silent and used their ears as well. They did not hear any constant sounds.
Céleste was amused. "Dear, there is no metronome in this auditorium. It is just like hearing a laser-like sound if it is too quiet. Oui?"
"Yes, but..." The beats are still in her head. Perhaps she has good ears to hear a metronome in another room? Marie shook her head and answered, "Never mind. Let us continue, shall we?"
Rehearsal continued, and the beats are still in her head. It cannot be a coincidence—the beats in her head are matching the movement of the conductor. Because of the metronome-like sound, she played on time of the music. Magically, the speed of the beats changed depending on what was written in the music sheets. Marie never felt this excited on playing a song!
When rehearsal ended, the conductor once again praised the violinist. Before she knew it, the beats in her head disappeared. Marie was confused. When she left, she kept on pondering, "What just happened earlier...?"
Marie returned to the Saint Louré Convent to meet up with Fondue. She stated, "Fondue, I'm going to meet Raphael in the hospital."
"Woeuf!" The dog stuck his tongue out and wagged his tail. He really wanted to know if his partner was alright. Fondue panted as fast as the wind.
The violinist pitied him. She gently answered, "I'm sorry, Fondue. Hospitals do not allow pets to enter the patient's room." Or even hospitals for the matter; Fondue in the hospital was an exception since he had nowhere to go.
Marie left her violin in her room and dashed off to the hospital. The hospital was approximately an hour from the convent if she were to walk there. She waited on the bus stop that will eventually stop near the hospital. She went on the bus when it arrived, however, Marie fell asleep during the ride there.
"...Next stop, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre. Le Kremlin-Bicêtre." The voice of the driver awakened Marie. Her destination is the Bicêtre Hospital, which is part of the small community. The bus took a halt beside a bus-stop shed. A handful of people flooded the bus, forcing Marie to squeeze though to escape. She could see the bus leave as she continued to walk to the destination. The hospital should be there after a five minute walk.
A couple of minutes later, Marie reached the Bicêtre Hospital. Just like every hospital, the interior was a clean and peaceful environment. She went to the receptionist and asked, "I would like to visit Raphael."
The young woman looked up. "Oh, you mean the boy in room 208? Sure, are you his relative?"
"No," she answered honestly. "I am simply a friend."
"Okay. Here." The receptionist gave her a tag and a pass to visit a patient's room. Marie thanked the woman and went to the elevator. She arrived at the second floor and took a stride across the hallway. The violinist counted the room numbers as she walked.
205. 206. 207...and 208.
Marie stared at the door, mesmerized by the silence and simplicity of it. She read aloud the plate. "Room 208...Master Raphael."
Knock, knock. A voice from the other side of the door responded to the sounds. "You may come in."
Marie turned the knob of the door and pushed it. The same doctor as earlier sat on a chair besides the redheaded patient. The doctor smiled. "Ah, it is you from before. Please take a seat, s'il vous plaît." Marie just nodded and did as she was told.
She asked, "What was the problem with Raphael, Doctor? He was acting strange..."
He replied, "As you suspected, there was an abnormality." He brought up an MRI scan and presented it to her. He pointed on the film. "This is his brain. Do you see this? This part of the brain stores memories. It seems that he was hit there by something blunt."
Marie stayed quiet.
"You need not worry," he continued. "I am positive that his memories are still there. He just needs to...awaken it."
The doctor nodded. "Yes. He has a severe case of post-traumatic amnesia. It will take about a week to have them back. Now, if you will excuse me." He stood up and left the room.
Marie stayed there, looking at an asleep Raphael. She remembered hearing somewhere that people look younger when they sleep. It may be true. He looks like a baby, Marie thought. Amnesia, huh? Please gain your memories back, Raphael...
Marie felt sleepy, worrying about a young man for a whole two days. When her eyelids closed, everything became quiet and pitch-black.
Everything was blurry when Marie woke up. She rubbed her eyes and noticed that she was leaning on the hospital bed. She sat up slowly and had eye contact with him.
"A-ah..." Marie staggered on her words. The young man had bandages wrapped around his head and an IV attached to his arm. Even still, he smiled.
Raphael had a slightly sore voice. He smiled and said, "Bonjour."
Marie blushed and looked away. She answered, "O-oh yes. Hello to you as well." What should she say? "So...how are you feeling?"
"Great. Thanks to you." Raphael folded his fingers. "About yesterday...you called me Raphael. Is this my name?" Marie nodded. He continued, "Then I take it that you are Marie?"
She was surprised. "How did you know?" Surely, the young man had lost his memories. How he knew her name is a mystery to Marie; she never revealed her name to him when they met again.
Raphael looked confused. "Your name was on the violin case. You acted like we know each other, right?
"Then I'm sorry." Marie widened her eyes. What is he apologizing for? Neither of them did anything wrong. She questioned, "Why?"
"Because I am probably not the Raphael that I used to be. I'm different, with amnesia and all."
Marie laughed. In return, Raphael asked, "Hey, what's so funny?"
She answered, "Yes, it is certain that you are not the Raphael I once knew. Doesn't that mean you are a new person altogether? If that is the case, it is nice to meet you. I am Marie."
She took her hand out. Raphael shook her hand in an instant.
The boy grinned. "Well, my name is Raphael. It's nice to meet you too."
CHAPTER II: TAKING THINGS SLOWLY
And so Chapter 2 ends. This chapter certainly feels short like the first one. Now there are more mysteries that need to be unraveled, but don't worry; they will be explained soon. The ending for this chapter...I simply cannot think of a good ending so it's just blah for me.
The places, such as the hospital is real.
Before I forget, should I add a Rhythm Game or something similar in the story? Just a thought.
Hold your horses, because Chapter 3 will come!