Day by day, time passed quickly. 

Yi-Gyeol felt it worse and more desperately than others.

It has already been nearly five years since he got the disease called Rostov Syndrome.
His father, who looked much younger than his peers, suddenly grew white hair as if he was older than them, and the wrinkles on his mother’s face increased as days went by.
His younger sister, who was a middle school student, was stuck in the reading room and his room because she was busy preparing for the college entrance exam.

Every time he closed and opened his eyes, it seemed that the whole world was changing except for himself.
He couldn’t adapt to the passage of time just by waking up for a couple of hours a day or so at the most.

Yi-Gyeol, lying upright and looking up at the ceiling, barely raised his creaking body and sat down.
Thanks to getting enough sleep, he didn’t have a headache. 

As the life of having to sleep more than 22 hours a day repeats, his muscles also began to be difficult to control.
Like at the moment, just lifting his body made him harder to breathe, so actions such as standing up and walking were impossible at all. 

He raised his hand that didn’t have enough strength and put it on his hollowed stomach.
A few minutes ago, his mother, who finished her part-time job, hurriedly made porridge and fed it to him quite generously but the thin belly did not change much.
He said he was generously fed but because of his weakened digestive system and small stomach, he could barely eat a bowl of rice. 

The hand that went up from the stomach touched the ribs that stood out above it.
His body is so skinny that he can feel the curves of each of his bones.

As his day quickly went by, he had only grappled with his body for a while, but his throat was already dry and his mouth tasted bitter.
He picked up the tumbler that was placed near where he was lying and put his parched lips to it but only a sip of water flowed in.
His mother might have forgotten to fill it up when she dropped by.
After drinking a sip that couldn’t even moisten his lips, he felt even more parched. 

‘I’m thirsty….’

While holding an empty tumbler in his hand, he lifted his eyes and looked at the door.
The tightly closed door as if it was not going to open felt exceptionally large. 

He put down the tumbler and picked up the old phone next to it.
Without internet or gaming features, it was only being used as a means to contact someone.
And there were only three of them.

‘Who could be at home right now….
Dad’s still at work and mom went to her next job….’

It’s past 9 p.m.

The only person at home was his younger sister, Joo Yi-Jin.
Yi-Gyeol’s face quickly darkened.

His family made sure that one of them should unconditionally stay at home for Yi-Gyeol.
When Yi-Gyeol woke up, that person had to be with him when he needed someone to support him, whether he was going to wash up or go to the bathroom and had to feed him something.
Furthermore, the cost of using a caregiver or being hospitalized is never cheap.

He put down the phone he was holding.
No matter how his current condition is, his younger sister was staying at home for her studies, and he doesn’t want to break the flow of her studies and disturb her just for something like this.

He removed the blanket and touched the floor with both hands.
His forearm wobbled for a moment, but it wasn’t enough to hinder him from touching the floor.
He was using a thick mattress instead of a bed because he could get hurt if he fell down, so he could do enough to crawl out of the floor by himself. 

By the time he reached the front of the door by dragging his body, his forehead was already filled with sweats.
While lying on his stomach, he reached as far as he could and turned the doorknob.
As he forced himself to turn it with his lack of strength, he failed a couple of times, but soon he was able to open the door wide.

He passed through the room where Yi-Jin would be and reached the kitchen.
Like a person who had been running a race, he was already profusely sweating and dizzy.
He also regretted that he should have just ignored his thirst.

‘I’m almost there.’

Lying down, he grabbed the side of the refrigerator door and opened it.
The heaviness made it difficult to open, so he had to hold his breath, but thanks to the cold air from the refrigerator that suddenly came, he somehow felt better.
He reached out and picked up the lightest-looking water bottle in the refrigerator door. 

However, it was never light for Yi-Gyeol.

Unable to hold the weight, the bottle of water fell to the floor.
As a result of the shock, water poured out of the water bottle with the lid open, and some even soaked the front of Yi-Gyeol’s clothes. 

As Yi-Gyeol panicked and quickly raised the water bottle with little water left, Yi-Jin’s closed door suddenly opened.

“What the….
Oppa, what are you doing?!”

Yi-Jin, who tied up her long hair like an apple as if even a single hair was disturbing, crumpled her face.
Yi-Gyeol tried to raise his upper body first, saying he was sorry for making a loud noise, but his weak arm kept slipping in the water.

“Why do you have to make everything worse, why?!”

Yi-Jin, who quickly grasped the situation, shouted and raised Yi-Gyeol’s upper body.
Leaning him against the bottom of the sink, Yi-Jin took a towel from the bathroom and sharp-temperedly wiped off the water.

“Ah, really! So annoying!”

At Yi-Jin’s angry roar, Yi-Gyeol could just smile, feeling sorry, and lowered his eyes.

I was trying not to disturb you…”

“Is this not disturbing right now?! I’d rather you called me?!”

“But you’re studying… No, I’m sorry, sis.”

After wiping the water off the floor, Yi-Jin took off Yi-Gyeol’s soaked top and threw it into the laundry basket with the towel.
After putting the water bottle that fell on the floor back into the refrigerator and turned around, Yi-Gyeol, who was trembling with his fleshless body, faintly laughed.
Which made Yi-Jin even angrier.

“Is this the situation to laugh right now? Stop laughing like a fool!”

Although he lowered his eyes again, the awkward smile on Yi-Gyeol’s mouth did not disappear.
Seeing Yi-Jin’s annoyed voice made Yi-Gyeol’s shoulders shrink even more. 

“From what time have you been awake? I think mom gave you food before she went earlier.”

It sounded as if he was treating him like a dog, but Yi-Gyeol didn’t express his feelings.

“I’ve been up from around 7:30.” 

“What? It’s been two hours.
You have to go to sleep quickly, why did you come out?!”

After estimating the time, Yi-Jin became angry again like fire lashing out.
She put her hands under Yi-Gyeol’s armpits and dragged him to the room. 

“If time runs out and you have a headache again, you’re not the only one who suffers.
Can’t you think of us, too?”


That’s the only thing that Yi-Gyeol could say.
Even though he was dragged by his younger sister like a sack of hot potato, he couldn’t think of raising his lowered eyes even slightly. 

Yi-Jin, who barely managed to lay Yi-Gyeol on the mat, took out an appropriate shirt and put it on him.
She covered him with a blanket then checked the time, and again, she made an annoyed expression on her face.
She told Yi-Gyeol, who is still wearing an awkward smile, to quickly go to sleep with a disapproving voice, and then left the room without looking back. 

He heard Yi-Jin making annoyed sounds as she went to the door.
Soon, with the bang of the door closing, there were no more other sounds heard.

The darkened room was as quiet as if nothing had happened.
All he could hear was the faint ticking sound of the wall clock. 

The smile on Yi-Gyeol’s lips gradually disappeared.

A useless lump of nuisance.

He can’t even drink a sip of water without the help of others, he can’t also find anything to do on his own.
It was not enough that he brought trouble to his family, but he makes it even more difficult for them as time goes by. 

Yi-Gyeol’s parents dragged money from all over the place just to try to overcome the incurable disease somehow, and now they are in debt.
They became so busy working just to pay off their debts, but Yi-Gyeol’s body, which actually cost them the money, only got worse day by day.
Even now, even though he had been visiting the hospital every two weeks and receiving a generous amount of nutritional supplements after a long IV, there was no sign of improvement at all.

‘Maybe it’s much better to just die.’

He sneered at himself and closed his eyes.
The thought that living itself was nothing less than tormenting his family quickly brought tears to his eyes.

He squeezed his trembling hand under the blanket.
Is there anything he can do to help everyone if he stays alive?

He couldn’t drink water, so his throat hurt, but he tried to ignore it and forced himself to sleep.
It seemed that being asleep is the best thing he can do for his family.
He thought that it would be much better if he could just completely fall asleep like this, never to wake up.

He slept until he was fed-up with it, but sleep always comes to him as he will it.
That’s the only advantage to him.

At some point that he doesn’t know when, the moment he fell asleep, he felt freer than when he’s awake.
When he was asleep, he didn’t have to lie down and stay locked in his room like a rat.
He doesn’t have to worry about anything, let alone pressure someone just to help him. 

In fact, he also thought it was strange to say he could feel something as he was asleep.
How can someone sense anything when he is asleep?

However, Yi-Gyeol was feeling a strange sensation all over his body as if denying the possibility of such thoughts.
The moment he felt like falling asleep, his whole body seemed to finely shake and seemed to rock up and down and repeat over and over again. 

By the time the vibration stopped, Yi-Gyeol slowly opened his eyes.
He could see the same surrounding area exactly as if he hadn’t closed his eyes from the beginning.

The ceiling looks much closer than when he was lying down.
Nevertheless, Yi-Gyeol looked away without showing any signs of being surprised.
With the feeling of floating in the air, his vision gradually returned. 

In Yi-Gyeol’s eyes, he could see himself sleeping deeply with a thin and gaunt face.

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