Children of the Fever

May 23, 2011
Chapter One
One cold, dreary night, Aliah Lisas was hurrying home from the market through the snow. Her mother, sick with the fever, was unable to shop, or do housework, or anything other than rest in bed, so the responsibility fell on the seven children.

As the eldest girl of the family, Aliah had to look after most things in the house. Not only that, but, as her father had died as an innocent victim in a fight on the roads, Andrew was the head of the family, or he was supposed to be. He only sometimes acted his age, though. He was twelve years of age, she, thirteen. Her sisters tried to help, but it was difficult, especially for the twins, girls of eleven. They looked after Mrs. Lisas when Aliah couldn’t manage. Aliah shivered, becoming consumed with her dreary thoughts and the cold. She ducked her head and hurried onward towards home, hoping that her mother was doing better.
Walking in the door, Aliah was greeted by the expected pandemonium. It was chaotic, but in a good way. It was home. She sniffed the air and grinned. The twins, Jane and Jeanne, loved making spaghetti and sauce, and the family loved eating it.
“Hi, girls,” said Aliah, coming into the kitchen with the groceries.
“How’s Mama?” Before the two twins could utter a sound, Eliza sailed into the room. Eliza was nine years of age, and she was full of too much energy.
“Hi, Ally!!” she said, speaking loudly and bouncing around the kitchen.
“Hello, dear,” said Aliah, grabbing Eliza and tickling her until she squeaked. Then, Aliah made a “shh” motion with her fingers over her mouth at Eliza and turned back to the twins.
“How’s Mama doing?” Aliah asked again.
“Thee’th ok. Ya know, thee’s doin’ the thame” Jane said. Jane had a lisp, while Jeanne didn’t. It was one of the only ways to tell them apart, as they were identical. All of a sudden, Grendiara, or Grendy, as she was known, spoke from her corner of the room.
“Where’s Dana this time, Jane?” Grendiara spoke scathingly, a voice she had long since learned when dealing with the twins, and sometimes the rest of the family. Grendy was ten, and she loved books. They consumed her, and she half-lived in a make-believe world of her own. Whenever the library cart came along, little Grendiara always had at least five, six, or seven to check out.
“Jane, where’s Dana?” asked Aliah pointedly. Dana was their two-year-old sister, and she always wandered away throughout the house when no one was watching her. So, the siblings took it in turns to watch the troublesome slip of a girl.
“Well… I… Um… Thee…” Jane looked upset. “I’ll go find ‘er!” she exclaimed, running out of the room and calling Dana’s name. All of a sudden, a blood-curdling scream was heard echoing throughout the two-story house.
“Mama!” The children gasped, getting serious at once. Jeanne’s face paled, and Eliza looked stricken. Aliah took control.
“Jeanne, Eliza, Grendiara, you three stay down here. I’ll check on Mama. Jeanne, be ready to help me if I call you.” Aliah turned away and rushed up the stairs, expecting the worst.

Chapter Two

Aliah burst into Mrs. Lisas’ room, nervously holding her breath. She let it out angrily and worriedly at the scene that awaited her.
“Ma- Andrew, what in heaven’s name are you doing?!” Andrew looked at her, scared, and replied,
“I was trying to help her like Jane and Jeanne do, but…” he trailed off and gestured helplessly at Mrs. Lisas, who was moving and groaning softly. Aliah put her hand on Mrs. Lisas’ forehead.
“Aliah? Is that you?”
“Yes, Mama?” whispered Aliah softly, hopefully. This was the most Mrs. Lisas had spoken in little over a month. Normally, there were forced words or sleep-talking, even nightmares of some sorts.
Mrs. Lisas groaned again. “Oh, Ally, I fear that… But who’s that with you?” Andrew peeped out from behind Aliah where he had leapt to hide and exclaimed,
“It’s me, Mama! It’s Andrew!” Mrs. Lisas gasped and groaned as Andrew looked at her earnestly.
“The pain! I must… find a way! I fear I have little time left!” Mrs. Lisas groaned again. Aliah looked at Andrew, her face white with fear.
“Take Grendiara and go into town for Doctor Lestere. I’ll stay here with Mama.” Aliah said, taking charge again. Andrew looked up at her, glad that she was the leader, and that she could keep a cool head in this panicky situation.
“Alright, Aliah, I won’t let you down.” Andrew called quietly over his shoulder as he rushed downstairs to get Grendiara. Aliah took a sponge and gently wiped her mother’s face. Soothingly, Aliah talked to her mother gently, hoping there was enough time for Andrew to find the doctor.
“It’s alright, shhhh, don’t fret, don’t worry, shhhh…”

Chapter 3
Andrew flew down the stairs to the kitchen, where the all of girls were waiting expectantly for news of their mother’s condition.
“Well?” Asked Jane, who was holding the newly-found Dana. At the sight of Andrew’s face, however, they all looked scared. Even little Dana knew something was wrong.
“Mama?” she gurgled.
Andrew didn’t mince words. “Something’s horribly wrong with Mama. Grendy, Ally wants us to go get the doctor.” Grendiara nodded, speechless for once in her life. Jane immediately took charge as the second eldest. Handing Dana to Eliza, she pulled Grendiara’s book from her now limp grasp and gently shooed her towards the door.
“You two go, we’ll thtay here and watch Mama. If anything happenth to change, one of uth will come to get you.” Andrew threw Jane and Jeanne a pinched smile before rushing into the snowy world outside and dragging Grendiara with him.
Eliza, sore at being ignored in this dire hour, asked, “What can I do? Can I help take care of Mama?” Jeanne looked at her, and Eliza knew she was, yet again, going to have to be emplyed as a guardian to her younger sister. And, sure enough, she was right.
“Sorry Eliza,” Answered Jeanne, doing her best not to look at her sister with scorn, “but you must stay down here and watch Dana. If you don’t, no one else will and she might end up in a place she’s really not supposed to be. Remember the refrigerator incident?” Of course, Eliza remembered the refrigerator incident. A week prior, little Dana had found a way to climb on top of the refrigerator. She would have fallen if Eliza hadn’t sailed into the room at the right moment.
“O-kay.” Said Eliza, accepting defeat, just like she always did. Then, she put on a smile.
“Go help Mama!” she exclaimed, and took Dana into the playroom. Jeanne and Jane stalked up the stairs, Jeanne thinking about how good of a sister Eliza was.

Chapter 4
C’mon, Grendy, RUN!” gasped Andrew. The two siblings were running through the snow towards town, and Grendiara was at least twenty paces behind her brother.
“I CAN’T!” Yelled poor Grendiara, falling down for the umpteenth time since starting out.
“Werealmost there, you can make it!” called Andrew over his shoulder.
“Wait… For… ME!” Grendiara puffed, picking herself up and running like mad to catch up with her faster, more athletic brother. Andrew finally slowed to jog until Grendiara had pulled in front of him a bit, then sped up again. He heard his sister’s frustrated cries behind him, but tuned them out. Andrew had always loved running, and if this hadn’t been a matter of life and death, this run might just have been exciting and fun. This was a real mission, just like the ones in the books he inconspicuously checked out from the library cart every time it came trundling along down the dirt-strewn road to their little house. Whenever Andrew heard the cart coming, he would be the first to run out and choose a book. He wasn’t just first because he was excited, though. Andrew didn’t want anyone to know that he was reading, because it was sort of a secret. That morning, before he had gone to help his mother, Andrew had been reading his latest book: a doctor’s editorial. Since his love of reading was so secret, Andrew grabbed a random book each time. Sometimes he liked them, sometimes he didn’t. Suddenly, Andrew was jolted out of his reverie as he ran into something. Or, to be more precise, ran into someone. Inwardly, Andrew rejoiced as he realized who stood in front of him. It was Doctor Lestere! Doctor Lestere was a very pleasant man with a sunny personality and a rather large belly.
“Hello, Andrew,” he said with a grin, “Out for a run, are we? And, Grendiara, isn’t it? It’s a pleasure to see you, little one.” Grendiara looked up, as she had been standing in front of the doctor, panting.
“I’m not little!” she huffed indignantly, “I’m almost eleven years!” The doctor jovially looked at her.
“My apologies, lit- I mean, Grendiara.” Andrew, who had stood by for this exchange, suddenly couldn’t take the pleasantries. He jumped forward, and, in his haste, bowled right over poor Grendiara.
“Doctor Lestere, please, you must come with us! It’s Mama! She just…” Andrew trailed off, gesturing hopelessly with his hands. The doctor looked grave at Andrew’s depressing words.
“Come inside, get warm. Tell me what’s happened, and then we’ll go and take care of her. Alright?” Doctor Lestere asked, all traces of joy and playfulness gone from his face.
“How horrible it must be, to be a doctor,” Speculated Andrew as he and Grendy nodded. Grimly, the two worried children followed the doctor towards his house, towards a new hope for their mother.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

the_crazy_one said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm
I really liked your story! You're a very good writer :) Only thing that sort of confused me, is I think in the beginning you introduced too many of the siblings at once, it was hard to keep track of all of them.  But other than that, good story, and I hope you write more!!!
Always_Eternal replied...
Jun. 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Thank you so much! That really means a lot. And I know about the sibling thing, I'm just having a hard time trying to revise it. I'll keep writing, so stay tuned!!
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