He suddenly woke up, and that was his first thought.
'Where am I?'
He tried to move his limbs only to realize that he couldn't properly feel things by touch.
'Wait, I can think!'
'I clearly remember getting shot in the chest by those gangsters. Am I in a coma?'
He tried to move or open his eyes again. Yet, he couldn't do anything else than feeling helplessly cramped in a space where darkness was the only thing he could perceive.
'I guess I'm still alive. It seems that I can't even achieve a quick death in my life. Well, at least it's warm in here.'
The constant warmth in his body was making the environment quite cozy.
'At least after I wake up, my parents will let me off the hook for a while. Maybe I should take this chance to get away from that house and go abroad. I reckon there must be something like a cleaning service to hire me at least.'
He thought of exploiting that near-death experience as a means to break free from the cage he called home.
He considered how his parents would react after listening to his plans of dropping university to be a dishwasher.
'Dad won't care too much about all that, but mum... She will surely go crazy. Nowadays, reading is the only thing I can do at home without starting a fight with them. Maybe I will lose that too.'
Since he could remember, he had always loved playing games, reading books, and getting drunk.
He found everything else annoying, and that had severely affected his studies ever since high school.
So, the situation in his house grew more and more difficult for him to bear as his parents would rather yell all the time than accept that the university wasn't fit for him.
'I guess a big part of that situation is my fault. After all, I've spent most of my life being drunk somewhere or isolated with some book in hand. Not a good job as a son indeed.'
Regret emerged in him after he thought of that.
If he had known better at that time, he would've not used booze as a means to vent, and maybe the situation in his family would be more peaceful.
'Well, I can't change what has already happened, and I didn't really have many options to keep my cool while pretending all the time.'
When he was fourteen, he figured out that something was not entirely right with him.
He would see his friends going after girls or pretty clothes, emphasizing love and social status among their people.
Yet, he only felt curiosity toward sex without ever being able to really bond with someone.
As for human society, he couldn't help but just see a bunch of man-made rules set to force people to live together.
'Aren't those rules created by men? As a man, I should have the right to ignore them and live the way I want to.'
Time kept on passing while he was thinking, without him noticing that his thinking speed was way lower than usual.
'In the end, it's a world ruled by money. If you have it, you can do whatever you want; if not, you can only end up chained in one of the many gears of society, gathering goods until you die.'
'What a pitiful way of living. Getting forced to follow those rules blindly, and work, and earn things whose virtual value is rightfully given by the same rules you are subject to. True freedom is only achievable by having enough money, titles, recognition... In other words, pieces of paper. Is there even value in living a life like this?'
His reasoning would stop from time to time as he would sleep or try to wake up his body.
Days went by according to that simple schedule.
'Maybe I'm in a permanent coma, and I will have to wait for true death to be freed from this darkness.'
The darkness surrounding him started to affect his mood. The only thing keeping him sane was the warm feeling in his body.
It was at that point that light appeared in that world of darkness, and it seemed to get bigger as time passed by.
'Finally, a change! I should follow th---'
Suddenly, some kind of compression pushed him out of the cramped space he was in toward the light.
It seemed to be a slow and painful process of which he felt the pressure.
After some time, the world of darkness became a world of light so bright that his eyes hurt.
He started hearing some cheers and voices speaking an unknown language.
When his eyes got used to the light, he could finally see what was around him: a fat middle-aged woman was looking at him with worry, lightly touching his chest.
The strange thing was that her hand seemed to cover his entire body.
'The fuck is happen---'
Abruptly, while he was trying to figure it out, the fat woman had already turned him to the side and lightly slapped his buttocks.
For some reason, he felt pain from that light slap.
'What the fuck are you doing, woman?!?'
He said, or at least he thought he did since only a shrill cry came out of his mouth.
After hearing that cry, the faces of the people in the room relaxed, and the fat lady brought the baby to the arms of a pale but beautiful woman lying on an old-fashioned bed.
"It's a boy, my lady, and a pretty curious one, according to the way he looks at everything."
Even though he understood nothing of what she was saying, the young man in the body of a baby could quickly realize the situation he got into.
'Am I reborn? Wasn't it a coma?!?'
The woman holding the baby uncovered her chest and attempted to feed him.
Before he could say, or rather yell anything, a liquid poured down his mouth, and he lost himself in the dizziness of his first meal.
"I will name you Noah. Yes, Noah Balvan is a good name."
Noah looked at the woman feeding him with half-closed eyes.
The woman had long black hair untied on her back and ice-blue eyes below her thin eyebrows.
'Sure, my mother is beautiful. I believe she named me Noah. Well, it's a good name at least.'
The door of the room opened, and a man in his forties with short black hair and a stern face walked directly toward the woman on the bed.
"Lily, let me see the child."
Saying so, the man abruptly took Noah in his arms and raised him in the air to have a better view of the baby.
The fat woman and the other two maidservants on the side of the bed lowered their heads at the sight of the man.
Even Lily held her angry voice back seeing Noah suddenly taken away from her chest.
"Mh, a bit pale and skinny, but there seems to be some kind of wits in him. Maybe he will not be able to be a guard for the main family, but he might succeed as a counselor. You did a good job, Lily."
After he said that, the man gave the baby back to his mother and moved toward the exit.
Seeing this scene, Lily said softly:
"Rhys, he's your son, and his name is Noah. Can't he aim at being more than a simple guard?"
Stopping at the doorstep, Rhys turned to look at Lily and said in the most natural manner:
"Even if he has my blood in his veins, he has yours too mixed in. The son of a whore should consider himself lucky enough if he's allowed to protect the descendants of the main family."
And he went out of the room, leaving Lily with watery eyes.
She didn't see the grave stare of the baby in her hands toward his father after he left through the door.
'It seems that this family is not so simple. I should do my best to learn the language of this world as fast as I can.'
Thinking that, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Edited by: Alessandro Sica