Chapter Seven: Professor:

Shichiro sat at his desk with the pills in his hands. These pills keep me from killing, he thought. His body was in constant need and falling apart. His wife knew that and constantly used that as his leash. However, she knew nothing about his pills. He kept it as his little secret. Everything was in balance because of these pills, but lately something was off.

Shichiro found himself getting sicker lately. His headaches were pounding worse and his breathing became labored. He could hardly focus on the lecture this morning.

"Kimoto-sensei," one of his students spoke up. "Is something wrong?" Shichiro tried to play down his pain.

"It's nothing," he lied. "I'll be just fine."

"You need to see a doctor," another student said.

"No," the professor insisted, "I'll be fine."

"You sure?" a third student asked.

"Yes!" Shichiro shouted as he slammed his hand on the desk. The class went quiet as he took in a deep breath. Class resumed, but the pain persisted. He had to sit down at one point. The students looked worried.

"Kimoto-sensei, are you…" another student spoke up.

"Yes," he said through gritted teeth. "I'm just fine! Thanks for asking!" The students went quiet as they wondered if they should get their professor some help or not. The lecture went on and so did the pain. Finally, Shichiro couldn't take it anymore.

"You know what?" he said. "I don't feel well. So, I'm letting class out early." A sea of whispers ripped through the room. The professor glanced at them.

"What?" he snapped. "I said get out!" The students packed up and left rather quickly. Shichiro now sat alone at his desk. He looked at the pills in his hand again. These were supposed to work. What is wrong with me? he thought.

"You need to see a doctor," the student's voice echoed in his head. Yeah, they were right about that. This wasn't the first time this had happened either. These attacks were getting more and more frequent; each day they got worse. The professor had been ignoring it until now.

That's it, he thought. The man stood up and left the room.

The infirmary was packed to the door this morning. Shichiro looked at the heavy crowd. Good thing I called hours ahead, he thought. The professor battled his way through the crowd to the front desk. The lady didn't even look up.

"Yes, Kimoto-sensei?" she asked with her nose in a girly magazine. The man pressed his palm against the glass, panting. The shame of them knowing him too well hadn't kicked in yet.

"Just give me the chart!" he said. "It's an emergency!"

"I can see that," she said.

"No, it really is!" the professor pleaded. The receptionist lowered her magazine.

"Sir, you'll have to wait," she said in an attempt to calm him down.

"But, I can't! It's an emergency!" Shichiro wailed.

"I can see that sir, but you'll have to wait like everyone else,” the lady explained. “We're full today."

"Yes, I know! Just let me in!" the professor argued. His pain suddenly kicked in again. He slumped over breathing faster.

"Please help me out! Hurry!" he wheezed out. The woman finally dropped her magazine and snapped to attention.

"Okay, okay, sir. Just write down your name here and we'll send the doctor out to you," she told him in another effort to calm him down. Shichiro nodded at her. The receptionist had to help him with paperwork which took about a couple of minutes, but they made it. He straggled and collapsed into a chair near the back wall. He felt his head spinning. Shichiro put his hand to his temples and moaned. The professor felt as if he had been running for miles. His pills should have been working by now.

The door swung open and a man close to his fifties peeked into the waiting room. He spotted Shichiro among the sea of faces and shook his head. Here we go again, he thought.

"Next, please!" he called pointlessly. Shichiro tried to stand up, but found it fruitless due to the pain. The doctor noticed with a serious face.

Oh damn, he thought. This looks worse than the usual. I better get to work. He broke through the crowd and made it over to the professor. The other man could barely look up. His doctor looked at him.

"Can you look up?" he asked. Shichiro slurred out his answer. The doctor nodded.

"Okay," he said, "Here, let me help you." The man helped the patient to his feet and walked him to the back. Shichiro slurred his words the whole way there.

“Don’t talk, save your strength,” the doctor said before the door swung door.