Chapter 231: World after the fall (3)
It had been 2 weeks since Jaehwan returned to his 10-year-old body. Jaehwan was now able to realize where he had come back to and in what era.
This was the Earth in 2008, 10 years before the Tower of Nightmare appeared.
This was strange. He came to a place where the [Nightmare of Beginning] was supposed to be, but why was he back on Earth?
‘Did go back in time? That is impossible.’
Even with the power of the ‘Transcended’ ones that could control time and space, even with the power of Big Brother, it was impossible to rewind time. Beastlain once said to him that there was no way for a being to return to the past.
‘Is it an illusion then?’
Jaehwan then remembered the [Stone of Nightmare] at the Tower of Nightmares. Maybe all of this was an illusion. As far as Jaehwan knew, there was no ‘dream’ that could trap him. Even if it was the [Nightmare of the Beginning], there was no way to fool him.
‘What is this place?’
It went nowhere however long he had thought about it. The only thing Jaehwan could do was think. Everything he could’ve done had no power here anymore.
All of his powers had no use in this place. Not only that, he did not have his unique world, and he had lost his Settings such as [Fall] or [Naked]. Not to mention, he did not have any of his equipment either.
The only thing left in him were uncertain memories, answers without proof, and his weak 10-year-old body.
“Haha, Jaehwan. It’s only natural. This is ‘reality’.”
The doctor seemed to be very happy that Jaehwan was beginning to think.
“You might not know because you are young, but there’s a clash between your imagination and your conscious within you. It’s very normal for you to have such thoughts. I even want to congratulate you.”
The memories calmed down during the past two weeks and the shattered memories went back to their respective places. However, Jaehwan still couldn’t find his real self. Rather, it was the opposite. As he became his self more, he was considered ‘not his self.’ Jaehwan couldn’t accept the doctor’s explanation.
A delusion? All those memories were just an imagination? All of those memories and all of those times were just a creation of his imagination?
Jaehwan sometimes had a seizure, he sometimes tried to fight with the doctor, and he became violent. But the doctor did not panic and easily pressed Jaehwan down and whispered to him.
“Jaehwan. Your ‘world’ does not exist.”
Jaehwan heard the doctor’s hand pressing him down against a cold linoleum surface.
“Think about your mother. You must return to reality.”
Another two weeks passed by and the doctor changed his methods as Jaehwan didn’t seem to be getting any better. The doctor raised his both arms and declared, “Good, Jaehwan. I understand how unfair it feels to you. Let’s change the perspective.”
The doctor walked around Jaehwan’s chair and brought up a whiteboard at the back of the room and began drawing something on it. It was the tree that Jaehwan had drawn the first time.
Tree of Imagery.
That was the name of that tree. The doctor smiled satisfyingly as he watched Jaehwan shudder.
“Is this how it’s supposed to be?”
“Jaehwan, you must use full sentences. That’s how you speak.”
“It does matter in our world. I have told you multiple times.”
Jaehwan tried to fight back, but stopped. It was apparent that the doctor was going to argue with all sorts of psychological, and ethical reasoning to teach Jaehwan.
“It is a beautiful tree, but it is lonely.”
“Tree of Imagery… I think your name is wonderful. It is hard to believe that a 10-year-old boy can think of such a thing.”
“…I didn’t name it. And besides, I’m not 10 years old.”
The doctor smiled. It was a warm and soft smile. But as Jaehwan looked at the smile, he felt like he was being dropped onto the cold floor.
“Jaehwan, do you know the worth of your own world?”
“Your world is very valuable. If the day comes where you can see your world in unbiased perspective, people will pay you everything to peek into your world.”
The doctor peered at Jaehwan’s eyes and continued, “But if you have yourself trapped within your world and do not look around, your world will just put you and your life into darkness.”
Jaehwan opened his mouth to object, but the doctor did not let him start.
“Jaehwan. You have to get out of yourself to use your world to its true value. You have to accept that the world you created is not ‘real’.”
However, perhaps the doctor should not have said that word. Jaehwan’s eyes seemed to blaze with cold fire within them.
“It’s not fake.”
Jaehwan looked straight back into the doctor’s eyes and continued, “I was definitely there.”
The voice, the expression, and the eyes. Everything showed such angry determination that the doctor was soon at a for words.
‘Haha… it is…’
How could a 10-year-old speak like that? The doctor gasped. Even the ones from a large criminal group would easily be overwhelmed by the doctor’s authority within the hospital. But this kid…
‘He really is something.’
Of course, if it wasn’t, he would not have added an extra hour to the appointment to meet with this kid. He came back to his senses as he saw Jaehwan’s lips moving again. He must have lost the short words, but if his guess was right, Jaehwan probably said ‘You don’t know anything.’ The doctor smiled.
“I don’t know, huh? What do I not know?”
“10 years from now, this world will fall. I cannot explain my words in science or logic. But I know. In 10 years, it will…”
“Oh, that is something new. You sound like you are from the future. Is that right?”
Doctor asked intriguingly. It seemed as if he had ‘caught’ Jaehwan in a trap.
“So, everything you have said until now is a story that will happen in the future?”
Jaehwan became silent. He couldn’t answer. He wasn’t sure if this was really in the ‘past’ or another dream that the Nightmare of the Beginning created.
“Yes. It will happen in the future.”
Jaehwan nodded anyway. He thought he needed to accept it to go further. However, the doctor smiled decisively.
“Jaehwan, can I ask a few questions then?”
And with that smile, Jaehwan felt like he had made a wrong choice. But there was no going back.
“Can you explain the future that you came across?”
“I explained enough. The tower appeared in 2018 and…”
“Oh, not about that. I want to know what you did until 2018.”
Jaehwan became dumbfounded. Things that he did until 2018? What did he do? Most of the memories were faint and had been destroyed. Maybe it was because his memories were divided and the Transcended ones left him. As he became silent, the doctor spoke again.
“Did you meet me in your future?”