It took 0.0039 seconds for the bullet from a Glock 17C to travel from its firing chamber to David’s skull and silence the world. It took David three weeks to realize that the silence was not complete.
First he heard the Music. Sometimes it was a flute solo, echoing in vast imaginary distances. Sometimes it was an orchestra, complete with the warmth of strings, sharp brass, and a full choir in eight-part harmony. Sometimes it was electric guitar in sweeping arpeggios and triumphant melody. Regardless of the instrument or theme, the Music was always hopeful. Real or imagined, David could have listened forever.
But there were other sounds. At first they were faint, hidden behind the Music. Gradually, David was able to distinguish them.
He expected the beeping of a heart monitor, remembered from television. Instead, he heard many loud hums, layered in subtle discord. These were punctuated by clunks of doors closing, the rapid clatter of typing in the next room, the measured step of hospital staff. Though it was unintelligible at first, David began to comprehend the most welcome sound of all:
“David, can you hear me?”
“David, I love you.”
I love you too, Becky.
“Please come back to us, okay?”
I’m trying. God help me, I’m trying.
And then Becky would leave, gone to work or home to return the next day and say much the same thing. He liked it better when she explained things.
“The doctor says we should wait and see. There’s no reason to think you won’t recover.”
But there’s no reason to think I will, is there?
“Your chances of recovery decrease the longer this lasts, so wake up soon. Please? David?”
David ached to answer. It was worst when she cried, because he couldn’t reassure her, couldn’t hug her. All she wanted was for him to sit up and speak. But he couldn’t. He had no sense of his body at all besides the things he could hear.
Sometimes even the Music turned sad.