Life has a habitual knock on affect. Anything that happens, whether something good or something bad, will ultimately affect the other people around the event in question. Such is the way of the world that everything, however large or small, will cause something else to happen, whether large or small. This is as true of the internet as it is of the real world. Nevertheless, there are some quite major differences between the two. For one thing, the movement of the internet comes at ridiculous speeds, and it is also filled with a great majority of incorrect information. Due to this, the knock on affect is often sharp, brief, and horribly wrong.
There are times when, by nature of being anonymous and en masse, the internet has been able to convince even the real world of facts that are anything but true. The real world, due to being unaffected by the information super highway, generally has to check the facts before they actually publish them in newspapers, magazines and other common forms of print media. Journalism on the internet being available to everybody means that some people still think that Muhammad has actually appeared in an episode of Family Guy, despite the fact that they're thinking of the entirely wrong animated series.
Unfortunately, for some people, the affects of the world at large weigh more heavily than others. Due to the push from the internet on one side and the real world on the other, the most deadly of information can often become overwhelmingly frequent and dangerous, whether it is true or not. Sometimes, even the slightest mistake, seemingly obvious to anybody even slightly in the know, can snowball into a major crisis event before anybody is even aware of it. Outside, the potential for damage is catastrophic.
There have been many times when the real world has wandered across the invisible barrier between the real world and the internet. Sometimes, when somebody has many friends online, or even an entire sub-life there, their disappearance, or even, at times, their death, can leave a substantial echo with their online persona. This is an ideal example of commonly misconstrued information. More often than not, a death can be considered a joke. In fact, just as often, a joke is made about somebody dying. Compared to the internet, the real world is oddly balanced and fair, despite the fact that all know otherwise.
For some, their internet persona is so important to them, that jokes in such a manner are somehow correct for them. This is in their own heads of course. In reality, the internet always has, and always will, go slightly too far. For one man, with both an internet persona and a life within the typical realms of reality, the internet was about to drop a horrible, horrifying bombshell onto his already exhausted self.
As a child, you are told that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you work hard and stay focussed. For some people, this was unfortunately far from the case. The unfortunate fate of the people around him was weighing on his shoulders, which made him feel nothing if not guilty for feeling so. At the same time, many more things were happening around him that were preparing to rear their ugly heads. It was a sad fact that, for Henry Jones, life was not about to pick up any time soon.
If there had been only one constant beep running through the hospital ward, Henry would likely have felt a much smaller headache forming within his brain. Instead, it was as though every machine in the building was making that infernal noise completely out of sync, leaving something that closely resembled a continual wall of noise. He had never been a fan of hospitals, ever since he had been a child and well recalled being forced to visit them by his hypochondriac mother. Today, the hospital had presented him with another horrible day to come.
Currently either asleep or unconscious, Jane was lying prone in a gown and wrapped in the covers. He had been very careful to keep her hair out of her face while he had been sitting beside her, and, even now, with his bladder informing him that not moving soon would be a very bad idea, her tender grip on his hand held him in position. There had been no other visitors so far; he was the only person available to her, so he maintained his vigil a little longer.
Jane had thus far refused to tell him who had done this to her, but she had arrived at his home, bleeding and without underwear, so what had happened was fairly self-explanatory. At first, he had been tempted to fury, but one second of looking into her eyes told him that she didn't need that. Jane needed somebody to be steady for her, and if there was one thing that Henry could do masterfully, it was to be a steady, unwavering rock on which to lean. They had come straight to the hospital, where the doctors had found some fairly large internal problems. It had been a week now; she hadn't been able to leave. Henry had been left very sketchy on the details, even when the police had been to visit and he had been told to leave the room.
She looked so small before him. Admittedly, she was rather slim and short, but there was something different. Jane looked diminished, and constantly in pain. It hurt him enough to see it, but that only made him feel guilty for thinking about his own pain at such a time. He had cried, almost continually, but even that gave him a pang of guilt for every tear. These thoughts weighing heavily on his mind, he surrendered to his aching bladder and carefully pulled her fingers away from his own sweating palm. He spent an extra moment giving her a gentle kiss on the forehead before he stood up to leave her be. There were three words that clamoured at his throat to burst out of his lips, but he held them back and turned to begin the march to the bathrooms.
This was the first point at which he had felt glad to be unemployed. He was ignoring the job centre for now, choosing instead to sit beside Jane and make sure that she was alright. Her guitar had vanished, which she had either failed to notice or had simply not wanted to burden him with. He felt almost crushed by recent events, and his optimism had never been all that strong, yet whenever Jane opened her eyes he would offer her a smile and a few comforting words of hope. They were lies - all of them. He knew that. Perhaps even she knew that, but it was another thing that she was choosing not to mention.
He heard the rushed conversation of two young men in the bathroom as he entered. Doing all that he could to ignore them, he moved himself to his chosen urinal and unzipped. Unfortunately, the words that he could hear still permeated his mind.
"I hate hospitals," one was saying to the other. The two of them were in the stalls, and yet they still chose to talk to each other. "They're full of ugly, sick people with diseases and warts and stuff. I never realised how much old there is in hospitals. It's like you're surrounded by dying people."
"You're surprised by this?" the other said. This one sounded somewhat older, but spoke in a much drier tone. "Every time they cure something, it means that people live longer, so there ends up being more old people in the world. Reckon when they cure cancer everybody will be pissed off because there's too many OAPs sitting around, stroking cats and making Monty Python jokes."
"You think they'll cure cancer before people forget about Python?" responded the first. "Typical fan boy attitude. You should attach your love to the modern stuff and hero worship that around people; they'll like you more for it."
The second voice, the deeper of the two, spent a moment in laughter before it continued. "I don't need people to like me, Hugh," it said to the other. "Besides, you're not the most intelligent person really, are you? Anybody who knows you, or has met you at any point, will tell you that you're one of the least liked people at school. You do all of this trying to be cool and everything, and it doesn't earn you any popularity. People like you less and less because of it."
"Yeah, but since when do I care about that?" asked the one called Hugh flippantly. "I'm an abrasive cock - I'm okay with it. I am what I am and all that crap. Speaking of crap-"
"Oh don't bother," countered the second, unnamed voice. "I don't want your details. I'm just here to be nice. What happened anyway?"
"Stupid bastard went to talk to Richard Meyers' dad, and when I say talk, I don't really mean talk. I mean shout, as you can guess I reckon," stated Hugh.
By this point, Henry had just finished washing his hands and, less than even a little interested in the conversation going on behind him, he turned on the hand dryer with his elbow and proceeded to listen to that instead. It was actually far more exciting to him, but it did leave him with his own thoughts for a while, which he wasn't actually that big a fan of. Still, as long as it silenced the problems of the youngsters behind him, all was well. He had plenty of his own issues to be getting on with.
Jane was stirring as he returned. The covers had twisted a little, and her hands were wandering back and forth over the bedding in search of a way to sort out her discomfort. Her eyes were only slightly open, as she was on a lot of painkillers in order to keep her calm. She looked distressed, but Henry's return allowed him to place a soothing hand on her shoulder. She relaxed quickly, though her hands continued to wander across the covers. The list of problems that they had discovered really was quite intense. Jane had lost several teeth, as well as having a good chunk of her hair pulled out. She had managed to get home on pure adrenaline and, after only managing a few words to him, she had collapsed. It was then that he had noticed the outright terrifying lack of underwear, and the blood that had dried between her thighs.
Since then, they had found that her insides had been more than a little messed up. Henry had felt physically ill just at the merest mention of the things that he did know about, but he was also completely aware that the doctors, the police and even Jane herself were all hiding the full extent from him. It was a horrible feeling, but one that he could not banish. After all that had happened to him recently, he felt that something absolutely horrible was coming. Perhaps Jane's uterus had been torn, or her ovaries breached. Numerous other ideas were running through his head, all making him feel worse and worse just for thinking it. Nothing of the sort had been mentioned, but, undeniably, something very very angry was building far beneath the face that he showed to the world.
Jane slipped back into sleep quickly, her hand taking Henry's into the lax grip once again. She had become so weak over the last couple of days, almost as though she was withering before his eyes, or simply giving in to how bad things had become. The few times, during which they had managed to talk, she had only rambled on in morose tones about things that could destroy the spirit of anybody. By this point, he was beginning to dread the rare moments during which she was awake. Unfortunately, he was more than a little concerned that Jane had the same on her mind.
He caught the eye of a nurse who was approaching the bed. She was a pretty young thing, dedicated to her job and eager to help. Her eyes were on the chart on front of her. Henry liked this nurse, but mainly because Jane liked her.
"How's she doing?" asked Henry. He would usually attempt to share pleasantries, but his constant concern for his girlfriend was undeniable.
"We think she's going to be physically alright, in time," the nurse replied. She was a tall woman, with striking blonde hair, but never one to offer a smile. "She's had a bad time of things, and there's going to be a lot of work needed to make sure that her head's okay. She's going to need you, even if she doesn't always say it, but you know that already, right?"
"Yeah, I know," Henry told her. "I'm not about to go anywhere. She knows that too. As soon as she's better, I'm going to move her stuff into my place, buy her some big presents and then look after her. And if she's afraid to ever be touched again, then I won't touch her. It doesn't have to be about that. It never has to be about that."
He felt betrayed by his own body when he felt a tiny cold chill run down his cheek. He took a deep breath, steadying himself to continue, but found that he had run out of words.
"You look like you could do with some rest," the nurse told him slowly, though it only served to remind him that there were witnesses to the wetness of his cheeks. "Perhaps you should go home and get some sleep. We'll take good care of her, and if she wakes up I'll make sure she knows where you've gone."
"I'd really rather not go anywhere," responded Henry, dragging his hand over his face in the hope that he simply seemed as exhausted as he did actually feel. He had been snatching small amounts of sleep, but the chair that he had set up beside Jane's bed was anything but comfortable. "If she wakes up and I'm not here, I don't think she'll be happy about it. I don't want it to be like I'm abandoning her here. That's the last thing she needs right now. I just have to be around, just in case I'm needed. You know?"
In return, Henry was gifted with a slow nod of acceptance. Even though his clothes were beginning to smell and his backside was beginning to itch horribly from how coarse the hospital toilet paper was, he simply had to be here, and there was no changing that, even if he had wanted to.
"You must really love her," the nurse said, closing the chart in front of her and looking him over with a tidy and almost proud smile.
"I do," stated Henry, without a moment of thought. "I really do. I'm going to do everything that I can to make sure that she's as happy as I can make her. Everything I can."
Drowsiness had overtaken him in the early hours of the morning, causing him to fall into an uneasy sleep in his chair. His rest did not last long however. He was roused before the sun had risen by the gentle movement of Jane's hand out of his grasp. That tiny motion was enough to make his eyes open almost instantly.
The lights were all out, leaving only some small shine to come through the little window that was opposite Jane's bed. Using this, he could see the tiny reflection of light from Jane's open eyes. She was shifting, very slightly, but very consciously away from him.
With his newly conscious awareness, the ache came in full force to his stiff and still legs. He moved them in the attempt to become more comfortable, but that only made Jane aware of it. In reaction, she stopped moving completely, becoming so still that she could have died on the spot and moved more from doing so. Worried, but determined to let her do whatever she wished, she stretched his neck a little, then settled into yet another uncomfortable position in the hope that she would think him still fast asleep.
As it turned out, she did not. "You should go home," whispered Jane, though the words were somewhat twisted due to the pain that her missing teeth and formerly bleeding gums would be giving her. "You look like you could really do with getting some sleep. I know you're not getting enough. Even in this light I can see the bags around your eyes."
Her concern was touching to him, but he had no plan of going anywhere. "It's alright. I'm tired, but I'm not so tired that I'm going to leave you."
He saw her lips twist into a tiny smile, but it was her first one in a while, so Henry savoured it. "You're not really leaving me though, are you?" Jane asked him. "I'm in a hospital, surrounded by nurses and doctors. I'm more worried about you right now really. I've got my meds and everything; you should go back and just lay down for a bit. You look worse than I feel."
"I really doubt that," replied Henry quickly. He straightened himself up in his chair, which served to ease most of the new aches and twinges from all of his muscles. Most of his body held a particular pain by now, but he had nearly adapted to it.
"You know, you don't have to always focus on me," Jane said in a near whisper. This was not something that Henry had been expecting to hear. "Just because I'm not doing well, that doesn't mean that everybody else stops mattering. You're knackered; go home and get some sleep. I'll still be here in the morning, you know that. You know I can look after myself until then."
"Fine," Henry conceded. "Is there anything you want me to pick up or bring back for you?"
"It would be nice to have some jam for the toast they give us in the morning," announced Jane, as though she had no cares in the world. "It's always so dry; it makes everything feel worse because of it."
He got to his feet slowly, feeling like a far more elderly gentleman because of the way that his bones creaked through it. "I think I've still got some raspberry jam of yours in one of my cupboards somewhere."
He took a few steps away, considering the bus schedules for the early morning hours as he did, though he had no idea of what the time actually was. He moved towards the door, thinking over what last words to say as a goodbye, but only three words wanted to come.
He turned back to her in moderate silence, feeling his lips struggling to wrap around the words that he wanted to say. Finally, he managed it. "I love you," he stammered. He saw her face change ever so slightly, but pushed on anyway. "I'll be coming back as soon as I can, and I'll be looking after you from now on. Good night honey, I'll see you soon."
Silence reigned supreme for far too long, before he heard her say, quite simply: "Good night."
He took that as his cue to leave, so he did so, holding his hand to his chest in the hopes that it would still the beating.
Home was quiet and dark without his father there, but Richard Meyers, his father and his uncle had made quite a horrible mess of that man. Consumed by guilt for forcing his father into such a position, Hugh arrived home from visiting him far too late. The buses had stopped running, and he had had to walk home. His mother was already fast asleep when he slipped in.
His mind was as active as it could be, refusing to let him calm down and prepare for sleep, so he turned on his computer and scrolled through the world of Ultimate-Guitar. At this time, I was oddly dull and repetitive. The Pit was, as ever, filled with masturbation topics and random news broadcasts. Boredom consumed him; the boredom of a defiant and unorganised mind. It directed the rhythmic motion of his fingertips to dance across the keyboard, littering thread after thread with repetitive garbage and meme culture.
After nearly an hour without saying a word, barely having moved at all, he came to the thread of one 'HinJo'. His friend request had still not been accepted, which was proving quite annoying. People didn't usually ignore Hugh. In fact, on this website, most people virtually worshipped him. There had been multiple new replies in the thread, mostly in response to a comment that Hugh had made when he had seen Jane in the street. Jane was the partner of 'HinJo', or Henry as he had actually informed them in some earlier post.
He glanced over the responses, but found nothing truly inspiring. One girl, prominent in some of the more popular threads, had been questioning Hugh quite viciously, but it was all falling, quite quickly, into a flame war. Hugh, currently on an active warning and half way to being banned once again, chose not to get involved this time around.
In the darkness of his bedroom, the newly-repaired guitar that his father had sorted for him called out. The fresh, new neck had been highly polished, making the instrument look better than ever. With the only other noise being provided by the fan on his computer, Hugh threw together six of the chords that he had been learning randomly and liked what he heard. Silently dedicating it to Henry Jones and Jane Moon, Hugh began the progression one more time.