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When I was six...
When I was six, my family went to Disneyland. We spent the week taking pictures with Mickey Mouse, riding Space Mountain, watching Fantasia. That summer was a time of contentment, of quietness, of peace. But it had to end.
The seven hour trip back went by quickly. I slept most of the time, but when I awoke, I sniffled, crying at the scratchiness of my throat, of how it was so hot all the time. My mother decided I had a fever, and gave me medicine. Still, I got worse. By the time we returned home, I had gotten the whole family sick.
A trip to the doctor was needed. A cure was found. In days, my family began to get better, me included.
I mentioned my family began to get better, and we did. Things did begin to go back to normal. Only one thing was different this time. I began to see things.
I would be outside; sitting in our front yard, reading as my mother gardened, and see something out of the corner of my eye. I’d scream, thinking it a bat or a spider, ready to descend on me. It was bright daylight, and I would see these things lurking in the shadows, ready to eat me. My mother dismissed it as a ploy for attention. But I kept seeing them, over and over again.
I lived in constant fear for a month, seeing them in the corners, seeing them in my closet, seeing them in the kitchen. After my initial rebuke, I was quiet. Except to my sister. To her, I told my problems. She laughed, and told me I was crazy. She told me my brains were turning to mush, and they, my parents, would collect it and feed it to us as oatmeal. She told me that was the fate of my other siblings, and that my parents hushed it up. What other siblings? Grin spreading across her face she told me, exactly.
I was scared for so long, seeing things all around me, living in a never ending nightmare. I was terrified.
One night, my dreams were peaceful. I dreamed of ponies, unicorns, rainbows, clouds and candy. Then one hairy leg poked its way into my cotton candy dreamland. Then another. Spiders flooded my dreams, taking over everything, frightening me. And when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, bats flew in, with their sharp teeth and red eyes aiming for me. My dream-self ran, but they were catching up.
I started to sob, uncontrollably, face frozen in a perpetual scream. My parents ran into my room, tried to wake me, frightened. They didn’t know fear. My eyes shot open and my nightmare became real. I saw the spiders, the bats, all around me. Crawling faster and faster, trying to get me. I screamed and screamed, eyes bulging out of my skull. I started running, trying to get away, sprouting gibberish. My father caught me in a few strides, before I got to the stairs. In my state, I would have fallen down them; I couldn’t see anything but the nightmare that was around me.
He yelled to my mother, get the kids! Get them in the car, we’re taking her to the Emergency Room. The ride there was long, and I was so scared. In the dark of the van, I saw the creatures, scrambling to get me. Whenever I closed my eyes I saw them, grinning in the darkness behind my thin eyelids. They were everywhere.
In record time, we got to the ER. Blinding whiteness shone through the dark, and I screamed, over and over. My eyes felt like they were searing. Nurses ran to me, crowding around, yelling a million questions at my parents. I kept screaming, they were coming for me, please, please make them go away. A shooting pain in my arm, my voice faded away. I fell into a sleepless rest.
That was the first time I wished I was dead.
When I awoke, I was groggy. My mother was facing off against the specialist doctor, and she was yelling at him. To this day, I’ve never seen her so angry. Spit was flying from her mouth as she shook the medicine I took at the doctor. My eyelids were heavy, drooping. The last thing I saw was my mother throwing the medicine with great force into a metal trashcan, and the doctor, a stooping, pale, shivering stick of a human, running from the room.
That is my first experience with medicine as I remember. I was six, after all. But it stands so clear in my mind. It was a bad memory, yes, but a memory all the same. I’ve never trusted doctors or medication since.