oxygen

I should have appreciated goofy, trying to prove he’s okay Neal more, because now that he’s feeling bad this is all a whole lot scarier.

We’re at Hedgewood. Neal’s tucked into his own, beautiful white room, with a view of the countryside. They have him sedated and all connected to tubes and shit to make sure nothing he exhales gets into the air. We’re not allowed inside the room.

The witches here are all glad to have him here though. They’re glad to have someone to study in their lab, instead of just samples of the fog itself.

Julian and I just sit outside his door in the bright hallway, watching witches come and go. They’ve been very kind to us.

Nothing new to update. Rook called me earlier, just to check in. He doesn’t totally know what to say — there’s nothing TO say — but he checked that I’m eating, and when he found out I wasn’t sleeping he made me go lie down in an actual bed instead of just sitting in the hallway outside Neal’s door and stayed on facetime with me while I lay there, not sleeping.

I can’t stop thinking about the balloon people in fog town, their horrible boneless faces and sagging bodies.

Silvia came and basically told us that all of their initial treatments aren’t working. He’s getting worse.

“From what I understand, his exposure was relatively short, but even so, the fog has taken root in his lungs and is beginning to eat away at them. It seems as though the fog attacks your tissue at a cellular level, transforming the existing cells into more fog.”

According to Silvia though, other patients — the ones her coven mates are working with back at the Infirmament, and the ones that were sent out here — are doing much worse though. At the very least, he’s not getting sick as quickly as other people are.

“Do we need to start calling people?” Julian asked.

“I’m confidant that we have some time,” she said. “We’re removing any excess fog, and slowing the process as much as we can. And I promise, our witches are even now in the lab working as fast they can. Even a few months ago, we would not have been powerful enough to face down something like this, but our powers have expanded tenfold very quickly. Even now, we have a cure we suspect will work.”

Julian blanched. “Will you try it?”

“Yes,” Silvia replied, very patient. “But not before we’re confident that it won’t cause more harm than good.” She reached and took his hand. “The body is a delicate mechanism. It does not always like magic, and we do not always understand the way magic and matter interact.”

“I’d rather he have a chance than none at all,” Julian said.

“And I’d rather we slow this as much as we can and give him the best cure we can.”

Julian nodded, and wrapped an arm around me.

“At this time, we can’t allow anyone inside to see him,” Sylvia went on. “And if at any point we realize there is nothing more we can do for him but help him pass over comfortably, you’ll be the first to know. We haven’t reached that point yet, but I do recommend letting his loved ones know what is happening. Just in case you do have to make the second call.”

Julian nodded again.

I’m worried he’s only barely holding it together. I want to tell him to go and be wild for a while, but I also don’t want to be alone here. Especially if Neal gets worse.

Julian called Jasper, Louie, Cara, Beverly and eventually Celeste. He told them not to come yet, that Neal’s sedated, and we can’t go see him. Everyone is scared. My body feels cold all the time.

It’s super late, probably like 3 am. I just woke up because witches came suddenly running up the hall and into Neal’s room. They’re all quiet and purposeful, everyone moving around each other frictionlessly, a fluid choreography. I can feel the strange, smoky, electricity of magic in the air. All Julian and I can do is stand in the hall and watch.

He stopped breathing. We’re not sure why his lungs aren’t working already. I forget the witch’s name who’s in there right now, but she’s got a hand on his chest and is basically using magic to be his lungs.

Julian called Jasper and Bev, they’re flying in tomorrow.

I keep trying to think of a way to end this post, but I have nothing to say and nothing to do except write everything down

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