A Christmas Eve with heavy snow.

The busy streets were full of brilliant lights and carols were ringing everywhere.
Trees that were sometimes fully decorated or shining brightly wrapped around by light bulbs catch people’s eyes.
The streets were crowded with those who wanted to enjoy Christmas in advance.

“Ah, I’m so lonely! Damn it!”

Suddenly, a shout drew the attention of countless people walking on the street.
Some of them giggled and laughed at him.

Yi-Gyeol looked at his friend and awkwardly smiled.
Then he stabbed his friend’s side, who shouted a while ago, with his fingertips.


“Shut up.
Aren’t you embarrassed?”

The male student, wearing a coat over a school uniform, pouted his lips while rubbing his side that was stabbed by Yi-Gyeol. 

“Yeol, they’re all couples.
It breaks my heart just looking at them.”

“If you’re jealous, you can just find a lover yourself.”

“It’s easy for you to say since you aren’t the one you’re suggesting to do it.”

The student put both his hands in his pocket and glanced at the cake box in Yi-Gyeol’s hand.
It was a Christmas cake he bought a little while ago from a famous franchised bakery.
It’s also cute and prettily decorated with red strawberries. 

“Hey, do you have a girlfriend?”

Yi-Gyeol grinned when he noticed that the male student’s suspicious eyes were directed at the cake box.

“Where do I have the time to get one? I’m busy preparing for college.”

Although his grades were originally good, he got a particularly good score on this CSAT[1].
Thanks to this, he was able to enter the prestigious university he was aiming for, so he started preparing for college early. 

“Really? Then what’s that?”

“My sister’s.”

After hearing Yi-Gyeol’s answer, the student fell one step away and trembled.

“Uhhh, so much for denying you’re a siscon….”

“What, you punk?”

He jokingly raised his fist, and the male student quickly apologized and stuck next to him again.

“But isn’t it too much to buy a cake for your sister on Christmas Eve?”

“What’s wrong with it? Christmas is originally meant to be spent with your family, don’t you know that?”

“That’s what kids without lovers say at Christmas.”

“Then you’re the one who should be saying that even more than me.”

I also think that Christmas should be spent with your family.

Yi-Gyeol burst into a small laugh when he saw the male student nodded boldly with a serious expression on his face. 

Then suddenly, Yi-Gyeol felt a throbbing headache.


Yi-Gyeol closed his eyes tightly with one hand on his forehead, distorted his face, and shook his head due to the headache.

“Hey, are you okay?”

The headache quickly began to subside but the momentary pain was so severe that his complexion became worse.
After removing his hand from his forehead, Yi-Gyeol tried to smile and shook his hand as if implying he was okay.
The male student looked at Yi-Gyeol’s pale face and sighed.

“Have you visited the hospital? You frequently have headaches these days.”

“I’ve been there and they said it’s just a normal headache.
Probably because of stress.”

“Well, the stress of entrance exams is indeed no joke.”

The male student clicked his tongue and recalled two months ago.
Every time he remembers when he was studying until his head almost broke for the CSAT, he thought he would have a headache, too.

“Make sure to take your meds.
You’ll be in trouble if it turns into a chronic disease.”

“I know.
I’m taking them even without you reminding me.”

Although Yi-Gyeol answered in that manner, his complexion gave him away.

It hasn’t been too long since he started getting headaches he has never had in his entire life before.
It was just before the CSAT, so he thought it was caused by stress as the hospital said.
He was afraid that the headache would interfere with the CSAT, so he took medicine and went to the hospital often, but it seemed that the frequency and pain were getting worse, let alone getting better.

‘Should I go to a bigger hospital?’ 

Even today, it was already the fifth time he’s having a headache.
As many modern people suffer from stress-related headaches, he thought his case would be the same, but nevertheless, he’s also worried that something else might be the cause.
When he visited a hospital for an examination previously, nothing wrong was found with his brain, so it could be just a simple headache as the doctor said, but sometimes, unknown anxiety chilled his spine.

After parting with his friend, his anxiety reached its peak when a headache wound him up again in the alley heading to his home.


A pain more severe than he had ever experienced came.
It hurt so much that Yi-Gyeol wrapped his head with his hands, and was so distracted that he didn’t even notice he dropped the cake box he was holding in his hands.

He fell on his knees in the snow-covered ground and screamed as he sat down.
It seemed as if someone was squeezing his head and beating him without mercy.
Along with the smashing headache, his whole body convulsed and leaped, running wild.
From his hands and feet, to everywhere in his body that has muscles aches terribly.

The severe headache stopped Yi-Gyeol’s thoughts.
The only thing left in his head was the thought of being in excruciating pain.
He couldn’t even think of picking up his cell phone, calling an ambulance, or asking someone for help.
He grabbed his sore head and groaned, hoping and praying that this pain would pass quickly. 

Then at some point, he couldn’t stand the severe headache any longer and lost consciousness.

When Yi-Gyeol opened his eyes again, what he saw was a pure white ceiling.

Looking up at the strange cool-looking ceiling, his head, which seemed to have been paralyzed, began to hurt.
Only then did he recall that he lost consciousness due to the headache that overcame him and lifted his arms.


More shock was delivered to his head as he tried to raise his arm.
The pain that was as if an ice pick was poking through his head seemed to be a little less if he avoided moving.

“Oppa[2], are you okay?!”

Yi-Gyeol, who was groaning, slowly turned his head to the worried voice from his side.
That alone led to pain, but he clenched his teeth and endured, and looked at his sister.
He felt sorry as he looked at his sister’s face that was covered with tears as if she had been crying for a long time.

Next to her, was their likewise tearful mother and distressed father.
As soon as he saw their faces, his heart dropped and an unfamiliar fear surrounded his whole body.

He frowned and narrowed his eyes because of the headache but still tried to squeeze out a voice.
He asked why he was in the hospital and why everyone was crying so much. 

Did he catch an incurable disease?

His eyes turned dark before he could even hear the answer.
The sun had already risen while he was out of consciousness, and even though bright sunlight was coming from the outside, it seemed that every side of the room was immersed in darkness.


His mother, who slightly opened her mouth as if to tell him something, eventually sat down and wailed loudly.
Her younger sister tried to raise their crying mother and was also on the verge of tears, but eventually, they just hugged and cried together.
Yi-Gyeol’s face rapidly darkened by their reaction.
The thought that something was definitely wrong with him made his head hurt even more.

“Stop crying! He doesn’t have a terminal disease, what’s wrong with all of you?! You’re just making him nervous!”

My father scolded with a loud voice.
However, his face wasn’t good either.

Yi-Gyeol was belatedly relieved when he realized from his father’s words that he was not suffering from a deadly disease.
And as if the blockage in his heart had been cleared, he breathed out a loud breath and spat out a despondent voice.

“What is it, you all made me so nervous, I thought I was dying.”

“I’m sorry.
It’s not like that.
Why would you even die?”

His father forcibly smiled and stroked his head.
Yi-Gyeol couldn’t feel any relief as he looked at his deeply sunken eyes and sad face.
Prickling anxiety struck him.

“Then what is it? Why am I in the hospital?” 

He could tell why he was in the hospital even without asking the fact.
He collapsed due to a severe headache, and even now after he came to his senses, not only were his hands and feet numb but his head was still also hurting.
The reason why he is in the hospital is probably because of these symptoms.

His father painfully smiled and trembled.
His father, who repeatedly opened and closed his mouth as if he was choosing the correct words to say, slowly voiced out, hiding his agitation as much as possible.

“Yi-Gyeol, don’t be surprised and listen.
The truth is….”

His father’s voice endlessly trembled as it resonated.
The more his sad words went on, the more Yi-Gyeol’s face gradually turned pale like a corpse.


Rostov Syndrome.

A rare incurable disease that affects 1 in 1 million people. 

They can only stay awake for two hours a day.

Even with a small movement of the muscles, toxins flow out of the body and move forward to damage the brain.
To relieve this toxin, 22 hours of sleep must be taken every day, otherwise, the toxin will soon become pain and you will suffer from severe headaches.
Nevertheless, it is a terrible disease that can eventually lead to death if the toxins continue to accumulate in the brain.

Joo Yi-Gyeol became such a rare terminally ill patient that he had to spend 22 hours a day sleeping.
The only time he could move with his eyes open was when he’s awake for those two hours.

December 25.

It must be a happy Christmas for some, but for Joo Yi-Gyeol, it was the day when the future he had dreamed of was shattered and his warm daily life began to collapse. 

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