The Ire In Viremia
Author's note: I had the idea at a sleepover with my friends.
Death Dreams‘Morning, Kurlz.’
My eyes flew open as my name was voiced in daybreak welcomes, and I was surprised by where I was.
I was still in the boys’ dorm. I had fallen asleep while talking, and hadn’t gotten up to go back to my bed.
Quex smiled down at me, holding a tray in front of him with breakfast on it, and the smell coming off it was incredibly mouth-watering. He made a gesture for me to take it.
‘Uh... thanks. Why’d you make me breakfast?’ I wondered, taking the tray form him, just in case he took it away on account of doubting his motive.
‘You’re my friend and a visitor. Bed in breakfast is essential here for those that stay overnight.’
‘Yeah, what a sleepover,’ I muttered, wondering who else had been welcomed with a platter in bed.
I looked at the food on my plate and smiled, delighted at the contents.
There was a dish holding waffles with ice-cream raspberries and maple syrup, there was sausages, bacon and eggs, toast with jam and butter, a bowl of cocoa pops and a cup of apple juice.
‘Wow,’ I murmured, eyeing the food hungrily as I realised just how starving I was.
I started digging in, scoffing the food like I hadn’t eaten in quite a long time.
After a while, when I had only the delicious stack of waffles left (which I had saved for last, because they are the best thing), I gazed up at Quex with a questioning look.
‘Bed in breakfast? More like feast in furniture, this is freaking amazing! Why did you make all of this?’
‘Because I’m fantastic. Plus Regal helped, being quite a cook himself. We just thought it would be nice to spoil you a tad.’
‘Yeah, when he found out you slept the night, he thought it was pretty funny, but whatever.’
‘Regal’s a jerk,’ I muttered, scowling at the image of him laughing his head off at me.
I continued to devour my waffles, savouring the melt-in-your-mouth taste as I chewed.
‘Thanks, Quex,’ I grinned as I finished. ‘That was probably the best breakfast I ever had. Or at least in the top five.’
‘You’re very welcome, would you like anything else?’
‘Well, aren’t you hospitable this morning? I’m actually not hungry, thanks, but I would like to go back to my dorm to change my clothes for the day.’
‘Okay, see ya later.’
I exited the room, hurrying down the hall until I reached my dormitory door.
I eased it open, hoping that I wouldn’t disturb anyone with my entrance.
When I slipped into the lounge room, I saw that Valish and Denim were sitting by the fire.
‘Hey,’ I greeted.
‘Where were you?’ Denim asked suspiciously. ‘We looked in your bed, and you weren’t there.’
‘I was at the guys’ dorm, hanging out with Quex at about two,’ I replied. Was this the start of some kind of interrogation?
‘Hanging with Quex? At two? In the morning?’ she demanded.
‘Not that it really matters, but anyway. I couldn’t sleep, and all of you were, so I went to see if anyone of the guys were awake. Quex was, so we talked and he told me this really weird story. I guess being unable to sleep must be some kind of werewolf thing.’
‘Yeah, whatever,’ Denim rolled her eyes.
‘Uh huh, it was so cool, because Quex and Regal made me breakfast in bed. It was soooo good. You should stay the night there one time and receive the bounty. I’m not even joking, it was if there was a party in my mouth and grossness wasn’t invited.’
‘When is grossness ever invited to parties?’ Valish wondered out loud.
‘I dunno, orgies?’
‘Ew! That’s gross alright,’ she stated, a disgusted expression taking over her features.
‘Yeah, I know. Anyway, it was random. You should sleep over tonight,’ I winked at Denim. ‘Jimone’s there, he might be able to stay up if you’re there too, ha ha.’
She flushed red. ‘Whatever.’
‘Okay, so where are Abcde and Zanza? Probably still sleeping, the lazy freaks.’
‘Zanza already left for a walk, and yeah, Abcde is still in bed. Should wake up soon, we have something planned.’
‘Since then. Well, a few minutes ago.’
‘Is this supposed to be a surprise, or can I know without doing the whole mind thing?’
‘No mind thing required, it’s not a secret, we’re just gonna go down to the lake to swim. The pulie fish are gonna be swarming.’
‘Ah,’ I beamed. ‘Pulie fish, how I love thee.’
Pulie fish. They are fish that are colourful, quick and friendly. Except to their enemies, who they camouflage for, and use their swiftness to kill them, usual by decapitation. We were no enemy of these wonderful sea creatures, or well, river creatures. Me with my animal power thing, and even without, we don’t cause any threat to the lovable underwater rainbows.
‘So, when are we going?’
‘Soon, when Zanza gets the guys and Abcde wakes up.’
‘Have we got the picnic all ready, or am I here to help out with that task?’
‘Who said anything about a picnic?’
‘I did. Now, who’s gonna help me make some chow? If you’re not helping, you’re waking up her,’ I said pointing to Abcde’s room.
Valish stood up so fast it would make Zanza proud.
‘Me! I’ll help.’
Denim furrowed her brows, looking less than unhappy about the arrangement.
No one ever wants to wake up Abcde. She’s not a morning person. And that’s an understatement.
‘Have fun with the Morning Monster,’ I chirped. ‘What would you like on your sandwich?’
‘Okay, cat vomit it is. Ha ha, just kidding. The puke’s mine. You touch it, you die,’ I joked.
‘Um... on second thoughts, don’t surprise me. I’ll have what Val’s having.’
‘Insects for two, it is. Wise choice.’
Valish and I walked off to the kitchen, while Denim was wandering round in the lounge room, killing time, hoping Abcde might wake on her own accord.
‘So, we want sandwiches, fruit, butterfly and moth chips, slice and muffins. Anything else?’
Valish paused for a second, thinking.
‘Um... how about... cheese puffs!’
‘Yum! How could I forget that? Well done, let’s go make this thing.’
Valish decided to make choc-caramel slice and butterscotch cakes while I went on to make a range of different and delicious sandwiches and some flaky cheese puffs. The rest we had and would pack up when we were all done with the food preparation.
A while after I had made the puffs and Valish was onto the cakes, Abcde and Denim came into the kitchen. Abcde looked annoyed and tired, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and yawning. Denim seemed slightly ruffled and a tad disgruntled. I’m guessing she finally worked up enough courage to wake up the demon.
‘Morning,’ I greeted the tired-looking girl. ‘Ready for some picnic and river fun?’
‘Not really. I’m more ready to go back to bed.’
‘What about the pulie fish? You’ve got to be excited for them to be here, right?’
‘I guess,’ she yawned again.
‘Any of you want to help?’
‘S’pose so,’ Abcde said, walking over to me. I made a quick assessment and concluded that she was not going to be the best help around when she was practically sleep walking.
‘I think it best if you help Val,’ I said, shunning her to Valish’s side. ‘Denim can help me with the sandwiches.’
Valish gave me a sour look, and I shrugged, smiling.
So, we busily made food, Denim cutting cheese and other ingredients to put between bread while Valish tried her best to make sure Abcde didn’t ruin the cakes, or well, even go near them.
The end result was pretty spectacular, the table was covered in food, and now we had to pack it all away in one small picnic basket.
‘Shrinking spell?’ I turned to Valish.
‘Yeah,’ she nodded and flicked her wrists until everything was about half its former size, and we easily filled the wicker basket that Zanza had made with speedy fingers and given to me as a present last year.
‘All ready? Swimmers and everything?’ Valish called.
‘Yes,’ we chorused back, sounding like primary school kids. Not that we went to primary school as students, but we visited it when we were younger and curious about the human world. Oh, those defiant days.
I carried the container as we strode down the hall to the boys’ dormitory.
I knocked on the door, again using the special one we used, and Quex opened it.
He smiled at me, and then at the rest of the crew hoarding around. An eyebrow was raised as he gazed out our faces. Smiling, neutral, grumpy and tired.
‘Uh... hello,’ he said. ‘Wanna come in?’
‘No, do you wanna come out? We’re going to the river and we are inviting you and all that are in there.’
‘I’ll get them,’ he turned and was gone for a few seconds, then returned with Regal and Jimone at his side.
‘How was breakfast?’ Regal asked, smirking.
‘Delicious, thanks,’ I replied, ignoring him. ‘Hope you like the food I made you.’
‘I bet it’s satisfactory.’
‘Whatever, let’s go,’ I walked down the corridor, then paused next to Valish. ‘Will Zanza be there?’
‘That’s what she said, now come on, we’re blocking the hall,’ she replied, hurrying me.
‘No one comes down here, or hardly ever anyway.’
‘Except that creepy old zombie that sometimes wanders over here, bumping into walls. Gross.’
‘He’s harmless, and I don’t think he likes it here much either. He never wants to talk to me when I’m over here, only at the dining hall.’
The dining hall is where most people ate. We like going there if we can’t be bothered to make our own breakfast, lunch or tea, or if the dining hall has better food. I usually go there; I like the atmosphere and how it is decorated all the time, a different arrangement every day of the week. You should see it on Easter, the ceiling is drooping with shiny eggs, and rabbits roam around with baskets of chocolates, and the bowls for breakfast are made of Easter eggs cut in half. Halloween is fantastic; everywhere there is something spooky and the whole hall is dimly lit with the glow of ghosts. Christmas is tall brightly lit trees in every corner, and at the front, and you get a present on your plate before you eat, and a Santa Claus wanders around laughing and patting kids on the head. Magical place.
‘Yeah I know, I wonder what bothers him here,’ Valish pondered about this as we trooped to the lake where we found Zanza doing laps around the massive body of water.
‘Hey,’ she called, racing up to us, her beaming face flushed from running. ‘Ooh! You brought food!’
She opened the basket lid and peeked inside.
‘Yummy. Slice and cheese puffs,’ she murmured hungrily.
‘We can eat later,’ I informed. ‘It’s bad to eat before swimming.’ I snorted at this. As if I cared.
I was already in my swimmers, and jumped off into the cool water.
I was instantly refreshed, loving the cold and the fluency of the water on my skin. I dived deeper, exploring for pulies, hoping to see the flash of vivacity of one of those psychedelic fish.
I was granted with a vibrant rainbow light and the slimy texture of a pulie against my arm.
The fish swam in front of my face, and it almost seemed to smile at me, showing off its brightly coloured scales. I smiled back at him, then went up for breath, feeling jealous that Regal had gills, and I didn’t.
When I came to the surface I saw that everyone else, except Regal, who was swimming a bit away from me, was kicking back and looking like they were trying to get a tan.
‘Hey!’ I called. ‘Come in! The water’s fine and the pulies are here. Loads of schools.’
Almost everyone joined, except for Abcde, who seemed to want to catch up on a little sleep before she had some fun.
I shrugged as she lay there, then dipped my head under to look at the fish that were swarming around me, their skin tickling my legs. I patted one that was close to my hand, and it gazed at me with pretty green eyes, then blue, then red. They had opal irises, changing with the light and position they were in.
They floated slightly away, then performed a beautiful underwater dance, graceful and silent. After the show, I applauded, paddled up for air, then returned to my fishy friends.
The school then made a platform under me, and I held onto two pulies near the front as they pulled me along swiftly through the water, and it would have felt breathtaking if I had not been underwater. I put my head up, so I could inhale as they took me for a tour and I smiled at the rest of the group who weren’t even close to having their own fish boat.
For ages we cavorted with the fish, swimming and playing water games like Marco Polo. It seemed endlessly fun, though not ever enough to satisfy. Amusement that wouldn’t last for long.
I had just been submerged, beaming at the other great occupants of the river floor, when I went up for another gulp of oxygen. But this time, I did not go back under for another visit. This time I heard screams.
I shot a look at the direction of the shrieks, and saw Abcde by the tree in fits of uncontrollable screeching. She looked unharmed, but who knew what could be happening. She could be under a spell of some sort, being tortured.
Regal and Zanza were already out of the river, and the latter was by her side.
I stormed out of the water, wondering what the hell was going on, fear grasping me as I thought of the possibilities.
As I reached her side, the screams had subsided and now she was shaking, terror in her eyes, cold sweat gleaming on her forehead.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked. ‘What’s going on?’
Abcde didn’t look at anyone, just muttering to herself.
Zanza was patting her head and staring at her with concern and curiosity.
Finally, Abcde raised her eyes to gaze into Zanza’s. There was a second of some sort of fear and then it was gone, lost from her mind, only a faded shadow beyond recall, and I couldn’t even catch what it was.
‘I... had a dream,’ she said shakily. ‘But I can’t remember what it was... it... no, I’ve forgotten.’
‘We should go,’ Regal murmured.
Everyone agreed, and Regal and Zanza carried Abcde back to her dorm effortlessly. The rest of us followed, edgy.
In bed I worried all night. There was a look in Abcde’s eyes, like something terrible was going to happen. And then it was erased from her memory, and even I couldn’t trace the forgotten thought. And that disturbed me more than I could handle. What could escape a mind-reader? What evil could delve into obscurity?
I tossed and turned, unable to sleep.
Finally, after about an hour of unbearable alertness, I rose quietly from my bed, just like last night and crossed the room, exiting mine and going into the lounge room.
I tip-toed passed Abcde’s room where Regal was staying the night just in case something happened, if she had another nightmare. The two were pretty much going out now, but not quite, though the two being in there together was something I didn’t want to think about.
I walked to the boy’s dorm, hoping Quex or Jimone were awake so I had some comfort.
Quex was the one to open the door again.
I smiled apologetically at my disturbance.
He rolled his eyes, gesturing, with a sweeping arm, for me to enter.
‘I’m sorry,’ I murmured. ‘I can’t sleep.’
‘Again. That’s ok, neither can I. Jimone seems okay, I couldn’t wake him if I slapped him in the face. Not that I have tried that. I might later, though.’
‘Okay... do you wanna go out?’
‘Huh?’ he looked a little surprised at this.
‘Want to go out?’
‘Go out, as in date?’
‘What?’ Now I was the confused one. ‘I never said I wanted to date you. What the hell.’
‘Oh... so, go out... outside?’
‘Yes, as in a walk.’
Quex laughed. ‘That was awkward.’
‘Yeah, it was, now do you want to go outside for a walk or do you not want to?’
‘Right now? It’s like... one... ish.’
‘I know, and yes right now. It’s perfect, snowing.’
Quex shrugged, nodding. ‘Sure, why not? I don’t have anything else to do. Except sleep, but I’m not tired. Let’s go.’
We went out into the night, the cold wind whipping our faces, feeling like ice on my cheeks.
I morphed into a werewolf and Quex did the same.
We were at the Cliff. The one that cut down and fell to an endless black abyss.
Snow covered the peak, but my paws weren’t cold, and I loved the feel of the roaring blizzard. Fur ruffled and clung to by flakes.
‘Isn’t it great out here?’ I murmured, my voice ripping from my throat, but Quex could still catch what I said.
‘Yeah, it is. The best view ever. You can see all of M.A. High from up here.’
‘I knew you didn’t hate Denim.’
‘I knew you didn’t really hate Denim,’ I repeated.
‘Yeah, I know. It’s just... I know people are supposed to say stuff like it’s okay, she’ll snap out of it, and stuff like that. But you already knew that, so why would I have to tell you?’
‘She can be annoying sometimes, and I know you both will be friends again. But at that moment you don’t want to hear that stuff. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, it probably isn’t, but I knew that going on Denim’s side would be a bad idea.’
‘Well, thanks. It’s all fine.’
We stood for a while, listening to the wind.
‘Did you see what her dream was?’ Quex asked, abruptly.
‘No... I don’t know why, but the whole thing disappeared without a remnant of ever being there.’
‘That’s strange... how is that possible?’
‘Maybe my power is just failing, or there is some dark magic that is blocking me, without me being aware. Or maybe it has been totally erased by someone or something.’
I gave a frustrated sigh.
Why did this have to be so alarming and irksome?
‘I might never know the cause of it all. And we might never know what the dream was. And that just makes it worse; not knowing.’
‘Yeah, I know,’ he smiled. ‘Keeping secrets from you is hard, and I suppose not being able to know one would be maddening.’
‘Yes, it is, thanks,’ I muttered, annoyed at this. ‘You know, you wouldn’t be able to tell if I entered your mind and find out what our little secret is.’
‘You promised.’ Suddenly serious.
‘You would never know if I broke it.’
He sighed. ‘Yeah I would.’
‘Hmm... ok, that’s making my day worse. Just tell me. Please? I won’t tell anyone. You can trust me, I’m very trustworthy.’
‘Sure, whatever, I’m still not gonna tell you.’
‘Uh huh, okay. Be like that.’
We were silent as I tried to not punch Quex, or read his mind to find out the hidden file in there, or both.
‘I think I might go back to my dorm now,’ I whispered after a while.
‘I just want to. You may join if you like. It’s up to you to decide, but I’m going.’
I turned to go wondering if Quex would follow. He did.
‘Are you tired?’
‘No more than before, but I want to go back. You can have a snack with me at my place if you want to, or you can just go back to bed.’
‘What snack are you having?’
‘Hmm... you know, whatever’s in the cupboard.’
‘Okay... do you even have any food left?’
‘Uh, yes, I do in fact. So shut up and eat some eggs, ‘cause that’s what I’m having.’
Quex shrugged. ‘Eggs it is.’