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The Strike Chapters 1-3
I sat over the toilet seat, my head almost all the way in it. Chunks of food from this morning and last night flew out of my mouth, dirtying the water in the toilet. My mom rushed in, worried.
“Are you okay?” she asked with a look of shear terror on her face. I gave her one of those often used ‘Do I look like I am okay?’ looks and she backed away.
“Are you up for going to school today?” she asked as her face tightened and her veins protruded from her face, making it look like she had more wrinkles than she really did. You see, I hadn’t been feeling well lately, and my mom has been insisting on me getting ready every morning. “Just in case,” she would say. Every morning I would either throw up, like today, or my temperature would shoot up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The doctor wasn’t sure what was happening to me. He said that my immune system was drastically failing and that every time I would get to feeling better another virus or disease would attack me. I was taking pills that were supposed to make my immune system stronger, but none of them seemed to be working.
“I am going to go back to bed,” I told my mom as I got to my feet and almost slipped on some throw up that had missed the toilet and ran out the door. The walk to my room felt like it took a lifetime. This was only because I was light headed and was holding in throw up the whole time. It was really just a few quick seconds around the corner and up the stairs. If you could even call them stairs. It was more like a carpeted ladder to me, leading up to the attic. My family didn’t have enough money to build a top floor when our house was rebuilt, so they only had an attic. This was where I slept.
When I entered my room I plopped down onto my bed and was whisked away to a sleepy dreamland. Of coarse, at the time, I had no Idea that it was all just a dream.
I was sitting in front of the toilet, yet again. This time it was different. The lights in the bathroom were flickering on and off, disturbed by something or someone. I glanced at the light switch to see if anyone was playing a crude trick on the sick boy. Yet, no one was there. “Mom,” I called. No sound came out of my mouth. My lips were moving wordlessly. I tried to scream. Nothing came out of me. It was as if the whole world were silenced. The lights flickered on, tantalizing me. Then I heard something. Something soft and from a distance. It was steadily becoming louder until it was as if it was in the same room as me.
“Wake up!” My mom screamed, “It is time for dinner. Haven’t you slept enough lately?” My eyes flickered open, just as the lights had done in my dream. I steadily gained consciousness and sat up. I grabbed a small red notebook from my beside table and moved the papers around to find a pen. I found a pencil and figured that it would do even though I hated working with things that weren’t permanent. I quickly jotted down a detailed version of my dream, before I would forget. My doctor had suggested to keep a diary of dreams in case any of my physical sicknesses would be displayed through my mind’s eye. So far, nothing had been deemed useful in finding out what I had.
I slowly got out of bed and walked down the very steep “stairs”. My older sister, Caroline, was already at the table which was presumably set by her. She always did my chores for me when I was sick. And it was my day to set the table. I pulled out a chair from under the table that was next to my sister.
“How was your day?” she asked me with sincerity. I knew that she genuinely cared, which was uncommon around people I knew these days.
“Same as usual. Got up, got dressed, threw up, slept, dreamt, woke up. Routine,” I answered, “You?”
“I got detention from Held because I asked a question that he didn’t know the answer to. How lame is that?” she asked.
I quickly pretended that I was listening and said, “Ya.” It wasn’t that I didn’t care what she had to say, it was just that I couldn’t listen to anything. I was still half asleep and very incoherent. My mom interrupted our conversation by bringing a to large plates of lasagna over. By the time that the delicious scent made it’s way to our noses, our mouth was already chewing the third bite. Mom’s cooking was amazing, even if I knew that I would throw it up later.
“This is really good, mom,” I said.
“Wewe goo. Wewe goo,” Caroline said with a mouthful of lasagna in her mouth, blocking out her words. My mom just smiled. I think that she felt a little under appreciated and that it why I try to compliment her so much. Her self esteem has been pretty low lately. When dinner ended, we all went to bed. Caroline had school early in the morning, mom had the early shift at the hospital and I was just plain tired. I climbed into my bed and fell right asleep with the thought in my head that I never wanted to wake up again.
My mom and I drove up in our car to our house. I could sense that something was wrong. Terribly wrong. I just couldn’t place it. Huge raindrops the size of golf balls were pounding hard on my windows, impairing my ability to think. As we turned around the bend toward our house I saw it. It felt like it was in slow motion. A huge blue lightning bolt formed right before my eyes and struck our house, bursting my house into flames on contact. My mom gasped. She started to scream. Her screaming became louder and louder until ...
“WAKE UP!” I heard her scream as I was roughly pulled back into reality. My eyes opened wide. I was having the strangest dreams lately. Most of them to do with my sickness, but some having to do with fire. Usually things lighting on fire when I am least expecting it. Like my house. Or like the dream I had the other day, where my TV suddenly burst into flames for no real reason. I quickly documented the last nightmare into my dream journal and got out of bed.
“Mom,” I said, “Do I really have to get ready this mourning? I am not feeling well.”
“How unexpected. Get ready. Just in case,” She said. There she goes with the whole “Just in case” thing again. As she left the room I stripped out of my clothes and put on the worst outfit that I could find. Was there really any point in dirtying perfectly good clothes with throw up? No. Then again, there was also no point of even getting clothes on. I walked over to the ladder and climbed down. Near the bottom, I almost slipped, but I conveniently caught myself. I then turned the corner into the kitchen and sat down at the table. Bacon and eggs were already on the plate in front of me.
“Thanks,” I muttered, knowing that this would end up giving me no nutrition value. I was almost finished with my eggs when I felt it coming up. I ran to the bathroom which was located right next to the kitchen and only missed by a few inches. Before any more could get out, I ran to the toilet. The rest passed quickly, seeing as I hadn’t had much of an appetite lately. Hmm... I wonder why. Yeah, not really. My mom didn’t even come in today. I guess, for some reason, she was sick of seeing her son throw up. Weird, right? When I felt that I was finished I grabbed a piece of toilet paper from the roll and wiped my mouth with it.
Without saying a word to my mom, I clambered up the ladder and sat on my bed. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to go to sleep. I wondered what was happening to me. Why was I so sick? What was up with my immune system? Why was mine so jacked up and everyone else’s was just fine? Of coarse, I couldn’t answer any of these questions. But I couldn’t help my mind from wandering from place to place. Did I have a disease like cancer or something? Some incurable thing that I would always have? Or was it like chicken pox. Where it would go away. Eventually. But unlike the chicken pox, I have been sick for four months. I had lost 20 pounds in that time. When was this nightmare going to end?
I pulled my covers over me, trying to make myself more comfortable so that it would be easier to lull myself to sleep. No such thing was accomplished. To many things were happening at once. I shut my eyes tight and tried to dream. It didn’t work. I opened my eyes and saw my dream diary. I grabbed it and opened it to a random page. The dream that I had chosen was particularly terrifying. It was one where I had been in my house talking to my mom while eating some dinner. She walked over to me and started to shake. She was getting hot. I felt her skin and cringed and pulled my hand back at the temperature. Then she started to burst open. Crevices in her skin started to appear and fire was shooting out of them. I had no idea what this dream meant, but I knew that this was definitely the worst.
My eyelids started to feel heavier and heavier as I kept reading the dreams. When I finally fell to sleep I was awaken at the same time.
“Dinner,” my mom said as she poked her head into the room. I wasn’t listening though. I didn’t want to go eat so I would just have to throw up in the morning. In fact, I wasn’t even hungry anymore. Five minutes later, my mom came in again.
“Honey, why aren’t you getting up?” she asked.
“I’m not hungry,” I said.
“But you have to eat something,” she said, “You need to keep your strength up if we are going to get you back to school anytime soon.”
“The thing is that we aren’t. I won’t be going back to school for a long time. I am sick. Really sick. And I am not going to feed myself just to throw it up in seven hours. Sorry,” I said. My mom looked stunned. I hadn’t talked back to her once since I had gotten sick. Maybe she hadn’t realized what she was doing. She was giving herself false hope. Hope that I didn’t have. And didn’t think that I would have until I got better. So, what I am saying is, probably never.
“You can’t just starve yourself,” she said, “At least eat something.” I grabbed a granola bar from my desk and held it up.
“This good enough for you?” I asked.
“That thing doesn’t have anything in it. Empty calories,” she said.
“I am not going down to dinner. Tell Caroline that I hope she had a good day,” I said a little more aggressively that I wanted it to sound.
The hospital bed hadn’t been as comfortable as I had thought it would be. Yes, that is right – the hospital bed. Last night was, to say the least, not the best night I have ever had. When I fell asleep, I woke up seconds later to a terrifying dream. Then, I started to hallucinate. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was tearing things apart. The posters on my wall are all gone. All of the posters, shredded into millions of pieces on my bedroom floor. I think you would agree that it was not the best night.
When my temperature reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit, my mom finally came up to my room and rushed me off to the hospital. At this point, I was fully awake again and in pain. I felt a lot of pain. It felt like the doctors were rubbing my skin raw with sand paper. That is not a good feeling, let me tell you.
More currently, they were doing tests on me to see what was wrong. Again. And of coarse, this time was no different. There was no reason for my sickness. My immune system was just . . . Gone. “I am sorry,” I heard a doctor tell my mom from outside my door, “But the tests have come up negative. Your boy is going to die.”
Those single sentences struck me as impossible. Me, Chans Dentin, dead? It was the unthinkable, impossible reality. I sat there in silence and glanced at my arms. They were covered in tubes connected to complicated machines that meant nothing to me. Only my current state of living , that is. No biggie.
The door started to creak open and I quickly shut my eyes quickly, hoping that their conversation would move in here, where I could surely hear it better. Through my eyelids I could see black images of two people coming into my room. “Good, he is asleep. We don’t want to tell him everything yet,” the doctor said with a strange voice, like he was hiding something.
Then my mom’s words came in. “Everything? What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“There is something that I need to tell you. Something that is really important. Something that no one else can hear,” he said. What was that supposed to mean?
“What is it, doctor?” my mother asked with a shaking voice, “What is happening to my son?”
“It has to do with his blood. The thing is, it’s gone. The only thing pumping through his veins right now is electricity. His body is like a factory, and within that factory are machines. All of his internal organs have become vital parts of this factory. Eating normal food creates a reaction in the stomach horribly. This is why his immune system is failing, you see. It’s ruining him. If he got the right amount food, he could have the three times the amount of power than a regular tazer that is up all the way. Your son is powered by electricity and he is not going to be okay. In the end, Chans could end up killing us all. There is nothing that I can do. I am sorry,” the doctor said with terror emulating from his words. How could I kill us all? How could I hurt anyone? Three times the amount of a tazer? Is that like a lightning strike or something?
Questions like this were buzzing around in my mind and going haywire. I suddenly sat up in my bed, opened my eyes and screamed. I heard the doctor and my mom’s whispering hurried concerns, but I couldn’t hear them. They were like the constant, annoying buzzes in your ears when a bee or a fly was flying right next to your ear. I finally started to make out conversation.
“Do you think that he heard you talking?”
“If he didn’t, he is going to be in for a big surprise when he starts to become coherent.” Their words started to muffle out again, becoming white noise. I wanted to black out, but I couldn’t. I tried to gain control of myself, but all hope was lost. I could hardly even make audible sounds. I felt cords being wrapped around me tightly and I was scared. What were they going to do to me? What did I do to them? Were they going to kill me? Leave me to die? Sadly, I knew none of these questions could be answered at this time. All I could do was try as hard as I could to sleep. In the morning, I would be allowed to be worried once again.
I was seeing myself from above. I was strapped to my hospital bed by metal cords. I was unconsciously fighting against the cords with all of my strength. I looked to see my mother’s worried face not too far off. Her dark brown curls looked like they had not been washed in weeks. Her face had many wrinkles from loss of sleep that she seemed like she was twenty years older. She was still talking to the doctor in rushed whispers, like she thought that I could hear. I couldn’t hear anything. I just had to see her face and be scared. She was scared for my life. Most likely her life too. I was a danger to everyone around me. I looked down at myself and I couldn’t even see me. I was thrashing around in the bed like I wanted to kill someone in that room. I had quirks. I was sort of like a living, breathing robot. A robot who could control lightning through his fingertips, that is.